To identify which pigeons are the ones to surround your program around you must breed many youngsters from them and fly them out. I have never been one to coddle my young up and coming pigeons. My best stock birds and proven champions get my respect and are given the best, but they must earn it. I don’t give any preference to youngsters off of “big name” in the sport pigeons or imports. They are flown just like the rest. They have to prove to me they are worthy of any attention.
It is best to keep notes. I keep a notebook handy so I can write down what I observe. I used to use my memory for everything but realized that writing things down keep it very realistic. You cannot be sentimental about the birds that are in the process of proving themselves if you truly want to build top quality pigeons. I am now sentimental toward some of my champions and best proven stock birds but they earned it and after all we do keep pigeons because we enjoy having them.
There are many things to look for with the building process. One of the major things not to look at is physical appearance. Beginners to the sport will begin listening to all the old secrets of champions. There are no secrets. If there was a secret it would be this, “do the work”.
I would advise against looking at wing length, structure, keels, eyes, feather etc until you understand what it is that gets the job done. A pigeon may look like someone poured the feathers on and they are truly beautiful but the bird could be a hopeless cull.
Learn what a true champion looks like then you might begin to pay a little attention to the physical characteristics. The most important aspect of a great pigeon is what he has to commend himself in the smarts and intuition department.
You can always make a pigeon with excellent character and tenacity more beautiful through selective breeding but you cannot make a beautiful pigeon smart by using just beautiful pigeons in the stock loft.
For myself personally I prefer the look of a true champion above any others and until proven I am highly suspicious of the pretty ones.
Building Consistency – Identifing “The Ones” (part 2 of 6) by Ken Easley
The Leading Online Pigeon Racing and Racing Pigeons Magazine – The Pigeon Insider