No future (17-02-23)
Someone who did a lot for his pigeons but had trouble getting good results had asked me to take a look at his pigeons.
I said I didn't know anything about that, but that I could see if they were healthy and maybe see if they were junks too.
Good enough for him.
It must be said, the pigeons were beautiful. Glowing with health too. "But why don't they win a simple prize?" the man moaned.
An explanation couldn't be difficult: Beautiful and healthy, but no quality.
Possibly the boss made mistakes in the selection and did not select enough on performance. And it was his fault that he paid too much attention to appearance and pedigree.
The problem with the selection is that factors that make a pigeon a good one, such as 'character', attachment to the territory, orientation, stamina, natural resistance, etc., are not visible externally.
It makes pigeon sport difficult and fascinating at the same time.
So if no one can say with certainty whether a pigeon is a good one, the question becomes interesting whether the opposite is true.
Whether you can see from pigeons that they are NOT good? I think this is indeed easier! Some pigeons show such big defects that they just can't be good.
So what do I do 365 days a year? Don't look for the good ones, I can't pick them out anyway, but for the bad ones. I also pay attention to negatives such as a faltering health, bad feathers, no balance.
Especially pigeons with bad (dry) plumes should be avoided. Because we know so little about the pigeon phenomenon and its qualities and characteristics, people will always make mistakes during the selection, but less if you get rid of pigeons with poor health and defects.
Especially now that darkening is in and long distance races for youngsters are popular in the autumn, at least in Belgium, some find 'old flights' a problem. I barely look at it. Those old flights almost always get thrown.
Until February, when the pigeons are coupled, I experienced.
In the spring, the last flight will not fall easily because of the lengthening days. Because it is known that the moult is a hormonal matter of light and dark. What one should certainly never do is draw the tenth flight.
This has failed miserably with me a few times, although I did it completely by the book. I dipped such a flight in lukewarm water, then it was gently pulled in the right direction without wringing, jerking, or twisting, but still... wrong!
So hands off!
Drawing flights rarely leads to problems as long as it's not the last one. Sometimes it never comes back, or just a small stub that is renewed every year but remains a stub. Because such a last old flight only has the disadvantage that it can still be bumped during the races and you take risks with drawing, it is best to stay away from it. There are bigger problems than a tenth flight that doesn't get bumped.
What requires our attention for a whole year is natural health.
Take winter breeds. Anyone who thinks that you can be less strict with winter youngsters, that you can spare them because of the cold, for example, is on the wrong track. What to pay particular attention to when breeding?
- Babies who have trouble hatching from the egg. Just a bad sign. Have you ever thought about WHY that doesn't work? The answer is astonishingly simple: Too weak! Such a pigeon may be able to maintain itself 'struggling', but it starts with a 0-1 deficit. Nothing good can be expected from pigeons that hatch a full day later than their mate.
- Pigeons that you notice when ringing that they have remarkably thin legs also offer little perspective. The legs seem, as it were, dried out. Usually again pigeons that lack strength and vitality.
- Youngsters who constantly hear beeping despite being well fed also lose their residence credit here. Furthermore, it seems advisable not to leave beepers with their parents for too long. In the summer you can wean them when they are about 23 days old, in the winter you can add a few more days.
Beepers who have problems with that can leave.
- Distrust newly weaned babies that obstinately refuse to peck large grains. They are mostly pigeons that, if you check them in the evening, only have a half-filled crop. Quickly forget such.
- When pigeons have been weaned for about two weeks, the coccyx should already feel firm. That indicates a good bone structure. Soft coccyx is often associated with a weak mouth. That indicates soft pigeons so again... get rid of them!
- Also distrust beepers who are the last to get a perch, who are the last to sit on the valve and who are the last to get out of the loft. I think quick, curious birds that are always the first to arrive are better.
- Pigeons where the plumes on the shoulders mature later than their peers or which remain bald above the beak for too long also score negative points.
AND WHAT ABOUT TRICHOMONIASIS THEN?
Selecting on natural health is a must, but I've learned to be careful with canker. I once let live a pigeon that was infested seriously.
He has become one of my stock birds. With canker there is no congenital weakness, pigeons get that from other pigeons.
By feeding babies, for example. Pigeons also get canker by drinking from a shared drinking trough. Canker is therefore a separate story and fortunately much less threatening than it once was.
I cure for a week before the racing season and then the ‘yellow drops’ are used. Working on natural resistance is good, but you can overdo it. Years ago, here in the region there was massive mortality among ‘wood pigeons’ due to canker. Being able to 'work' for hundreds of years on resistance and immunity should not have helped. It remains true that the stricter you select for natural health, the less you will have to rely on medicines. Good luck with it !!!
In 2022 I got all the Ace pigeons in the Combine. Both with old birds, yearlings and young. With yearlings 2 birds of the same nest (138 and 139) even became 1st and 2nd Ace. Since Bros Leideman have two of the same parents which performed even better I have another promising pair. Furthermore I have my 154 that arrived together with 190 (in pedigree) TWICE while 190 and 154 won 1st and 2nd.