Selecting a Quality Breeding Pair
The chances of breeding a winner are increased when it is bred from a winner.
We all realise, that even from the best breeding stock in the world, only a very small percentage of the pigeons produced become champions.
To increase the chances of breeding champions we must first and foremost use quality stock. Quality stock are inbred, line-bred or mixed families that have bred winners or have been bred from several generations of winners.
The quality of the breeding bird can only be tested by the race results of its offspring and more than one test pairing may be necessary to achieve the combination of genes that works. The art of the master breeder is the selection of the correct pairs to ensure an aerodynamically efficient body type plus the character and brains of the champion racing pigeon.
How do we assess the quality of the untested racing or breeding pigeon?
The racing potential of the pigeon depends upon the quality of its parents. However, there is no single gene determining the racing performance of the pigeon and we must look to the physical, physiological and psychological features which make a champion pigeon.
- The physical features (structure, feather, wing).
- The physiology (fitness parameters).
- Psychology (attitude and will to win).
Some fanciers are able to assess both the racing and breeding potential of a pigeon in the hand.
The best fanciers agree that although there are certain physical characteristics common to the best racing birds, the race basket still remains the truest measure of the racing qualities of the pigeon. The physical qualities (bone structure, feather quality and wing) that we assess, when handling a racing pigeon, determine its aerodynamic efficiency. Although the aerodynamic soundness of the pigeon is paramount to its ability to race successfully and without it the pigeon will never be a champion, it alone does not make a champion pigeon. Many pigeons are aerodynamically perfect, but it is the physiological qualities (fitness metabolism, homing ability and racing attitude) that make the bird with the perfect physique a champion and the physiological potential can only be determined in the race basket and not “in the hand”.
The only way to test the abilities of the breeding birds is to race test their progeny, but the selection of breeding birds is not always based on race performance. In many cases stock birds are selected on bloodlines and/or known family characteristics. The physical qualities required for successful breeding birds are the same as those for the race bird, namely the physical requirements for efficient flight. The physiological qualities of the stock bird can be predicted to a certain degree by its bloodlines, but in the end the breeding performance of the stock birds can only be measured by the race performance of their children or grandchildren.
Selecting a Quality Breeding Pair by Dr. Rob Marshall
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