From the very beginning the selection of breeders has been fascinating for me plus rewarding in meeting top flyers in different parts of the world. Like any other subject matter, Pigeon Graders, there are several good ones in America, have different beliefs and styles.
Some graders will grade your birds and possibly give you a score. Some will tell you that this bird can fly the distance and this bird will not. Ask some what they are looking for and they will dance around the subject matter just like a true politician. Let’s cover each of these three items.
Item No.1– to look at a bird and give it a score tells little and not the total story. To me very few pigeons are perfect; if you look very closely you can discover that pigeons will have strengths and weaknesses. To give each bird a report card on their strengths and weakness gives you a much better idea of the quality of the bird plus even more important tells you what this bird should be mated to. Only by mating the two correct birds together will you come up with a better product. Isn’t that what we are really after? If your 2nd or 3rd generations of birds are not better then the originals then you are not on the right track.
Item No.2 — This bird can fly the distance and this bird will not. In most cases the owner of the bird already knows this information, with regards to the bird’s breeding. If you really want to make an impact by adding more speed or distance to your family you are better adding a bird from a loft that is well known for the trait you want to add. If you asked Pied De Weerd to add a top distance bird for you he would not go to a performance middle distance or speed loft and select a bird for you. Common sense should point you in a different direction. Piet or any other top grader would go to one of the top distance lofts and select the best bird from the best proven pairs, or possibly pick out one of the top breeders or the champion himself.
No. 3 — Asking the grader questions. In this area some graders will take the time to answer a few questions and some will not. I am under the belief that sharing the information can only help and that’s what you are getting paid for in the first place. A grader should have enough confidence in himself that sharing some details in one conversation will not make the next pigeon grader.
Traits that are not worth looking for.
Blue tongue Some graders will disqualify a bird with a blue tongue. I have personally found blue tongues in several World Class Breeders. In my own birds, some of the best flyers and breeders have blue tongues; others do not. While you have the beak of the pigeon open, if you see small white dots in the back of the throat, don’t worry. I have asked several pigeon vets about these dots and they claim they are in most cases encapsulated protein and normally these small dots will not go away.
I also believe in some cases there is too much importance placed on one individual trait rather than the bird in total. Two examples: Eyesign and wing experts.
To date I have yet to find a so called eye sign expert that has a fantastic race record. I like to see a strong eye myself but only use the eye as one of my 6 Common Denominators tools.
To me some also place too much emphasis on the wing. As long as the wing is in proportion to the rest of the pigeon that is really all that matters. I personally like to see the last three flight feathers well vented, not sharp like a stag knife or not too round like a butter knife. For me trying to analyze everyone of the 10 flights or having a large or small step does not seem to matter. I have handled several champions with large steps while others have very small steps. In race horses it is no different. Many have tried to say this size, style or confirmation of horse will be the winner but in reality this has never held true.