Good Feather, Handling For Quality

Good Feather, Handling For Quality

Handling For Quality
When the experienced fanciers handle a racing pigeon they are assessing its racing ability by judging its aerodynamic soundness. Their skill has been taught by time and their success in predicting the quality of the race pigeon rests with the fact that the aerodynamics of every champion is sound. The “expert handlers” cull birds in the race team that handle poorly, because the chances of a poorly conformed bird doing well are extremely low. It is good practice to cull “poor” pigeons from the race team well before training begins, but the decision to cull must be made by a good “handler”. Remember, the expert handler is always a very good flyer or breeder of pigeons and never a poor or mediocre fancier.

Although the athletic potential of the pigeon cannot be determined by its physical qualities alone, an understanding of the features of the racing pigeon which enable fast sustained flight provides the fancier with the knowledge required to both select and breed aerodynamically sound race birds. When handling a bird to assess its aerodynamic efficiency pay special attention to the feather quality, wing, body structure and balance.

An understanding of the aerodynamics of flight will improve every fancier’s skill at handling pigeons correctly. Around the world there are many families of pigeons varying enormously in appearance, size and shape, but the very best birds share the same important physical features. These features give the best birds an aerodynamic advantage. Every champion racing and breeding pigeon has good feathering, a good wing, a balanced body and are naturally buoyant. Every one of these is a hereditary feature passed on from parent to offspring.

Good Feather
The importance of good feathering as a reflection of the quality of a pigeon can never be overemphasised. For every fancier the quality of the feather is a very good and immediate indication as to the quality of the pigeon. A good quality feather is the foundation stone for breeding the champion pigeon and a pigeon with poor feathers should never be considered for stock because good feathering is a reflection of both good breeding and good health.

The healthy feather is silky, flexible, strong and waterproof. These features are all important for efficient flight. The high oil content of the healthy feather gives it the silky feel. The silkier the feather the greater the lift due to the streamlining effect required for efficient flight. The dry feather we get with many illnesses means that there is less streamlining (over the body and wing) and more drag with a subsequent loss of lift and less efficient flight. More energy is required causing the bird to tire more quickly. The dry feather being less flexible means that the twisting motion of the end flights that gives forward thrust is lessened, which results in a slower bird. The dry feather is brittle and lacks the strength of the silky feather, wearing out by the time the long races, when flying efficiency is needed most. Dry feathers lack the waterproofing qualities of the oil laden silky feather and flying therefore becomes more difficult in wet weather.

The feathers of the racing pigeon in top form are tight and silky. The aerodynamics are further improved by the feathers covering the body. These contour feathers of the body and the coverts over the wing and tail feathers of the bird in top form overlap each other very tightly to create a very smooth surface. We describe such a bird as having “tight” feather. During flight this very tight feather allows the moving air to flow smoothly and quickly over the body and wing surfaces in what we call “streamlines”. “Streamlining” gives “lift” to the flying pigeon and is one of the reasons why it can fly for sustained periods without tiring. For whatever reason (health or breeding), poor quality feathers fail to form the tight smooth surface required for “streamlining” and efficient flight. When the surface is not perfectly smooth the air does not flow smoothly across the surface and creates air eddies and bubbles of turbulence. Turbulence has the effect of slowing the airflow over the wing and body surfaces that increases the “drag” or “resistance” and reduces the “lift”. Therefore the bird with poor feathers flies slowly and requires more effort to stay aloft. The end result is a bird that tires sooner. A good feather is essential for racing performance because it is the basis of “lift”.

Good Feather, Handling For Quality by Dr. Rob Marshall

The Leading Online Pigeon Racing and Racing Pigeons Magazine – The Pigeon Insider

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54 thoughts on “Good Feather, Handling For Quality

  1. A good moult is a must and a very stressful time for the birds, so allowing some warm baths is a very good indication of how your birds are fairing during the moult.

    pete. diss. uk

  2. adding to my previous post forgot to say after training for two weeks on the day i yurn off the lights i pull the 9th and tenth feather to speed up the moulting of the primary flights.

  3. to speed up the molt for your young racers in the young bird season start by turning on the lights 24 hours for your breeders aruond the end of november. continue having the lights on when u wean the young birds. this would speed up the moulting of there primary flights because the young bird is tricked into thinking it is summer time which is the time the birds moult there primary flights. when routing on there own clip about 1/4 or 1/8 of there 9th and tenth flight train for about 2 weeks short no moe than 6 miles start with 1 mile from all directions after completing this turn off lights and lock the birds up for six weeks and let the young birds complete there body moult without flying or any training @ all. feed light during this time and do not let birds put on too much wieght. after the six weeks the young birds should br completly moulted and ready for the young bird races. for a better understanding buy the bieche young bird light system. it als explaines how to feed and train the young birds

  4. To many people look for something in a bottle to do some magic to the birds.Products that do this and that.In the end,it comes down to one simple thing.Healthy birds grow healthy feathers.Healthy birds are more likely to win races.If you want to buy something for your birds,get them Probiotics,(Good Bacteria)A healthy gut and bowel allows the bird to digest and absorb more nutriants from their food.An unhealthy gut and bowel causes the bird to empty itself prematurely loosing many beneficial nutriants.This is the main reason for a bad moult and/or poor feather quality.

  5. Can you guys tell me were to get some articles on the “wing”. Cant find much on the net. Hope all birds are well.

    1. I Jaco
      I am from Cape Town now living in London I have quite a few boks on pigeons. The wing formation is important when selecting pigeons for short and long distance racing. I have recently have just restarted with pigeons. It is difficult obtaining pigeons. It would great to hear from you.
      Goed gaan


  6. Interesting article, and lots of good ideas and thoughts from other pigeon fanciers. I’m just getting into the racing part of it and I already have become attached to my birds. I think I will not try to breed to many per season and maybe not get overrun with them so I won’t have to figure what to do with too many….

  7. I just try to make sure all the flight & tail feathers are there! Yes, there’s much,much more to it than this! But to sum it up,bright eyes,no wheezing,good tight feathers,both you & the bird have a chance! Sorry, it’s gettin’ late, but I had to throw in my 2 cents!

  8. i have written on my loft ‘you are welcome if you like to stay or if you like to leave’
    some will die and some will fly away and the ‘some’left are mine. i try to give my extra birds to beginners so that they are taken good care. NEVER KILL MY BIRDS

  9. Hey Chris,
    Keep up the good work. am really enjoying your articles. as for the moult. I find adherb very good. keeps them healthy and gives nice silky feathers.

  10. I hate getting rid of birds too, but we have to remember that they are just animals. Today we live in a crazy society that doesn’t have any morals. Everything is screwed up because we have a right to “choose”, but animals must be protected??? Culling birds is a heartbreaking thing to do, but we all know how overrun our lofts become if we don’t.

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