Pigeon Buying Guide– Part Four
Knowing what characteristics to look for in a breeder pigeon is essential to successfully improving your loft’s bloodline. There are probably as many preferences among fanciers as there are fanciers. In this article we will discuss some of the characteristics that good breeder pigeons may possess.
Buying Breeders Based on Bloodline
Assuming that you are dealing with a successful and reputable fancier to begin with, a good rule of thumb is to look for the same characteristics in a breeder pigeon that the fancier does. Determine if the two of you like the same things in your breeders. If so, then make sure that the pigeon you are interested in is closely related to the fancier’s best breeders and racers. If the bird is not of his core bloodline, do not buy it.
Be aware that some fanciers will sell pigeons that they themselves have purchased and have tried with little success. Assume this to be the case if the bird is not closely related to the loft family. You really want to purchase stock from the birds that are performing well for him. So, the first question to ask yourself is, “Does this bird have the same genetic background, or pedigree, as the core birds in this loft”? Don’t get caught up in pedigree authentication papers because many fanciers simply do not have those. Look beyond that.
Evaluating Bird Performance
For some fanciers, the accomplishments of the bird itself factors in the decision to purchase. If it was a racing pigeon, how has it performed? Has it been bred for stock? If so, evaluate the breeding performance of the brothers and sisters of the bird.
Physical Characteristics to Look For
You will need to handle the bird when evaluating its physical characteristics. It is important to hold the bird properly to get the best evaluation. Handle the pigeon as gently as possible, so the bird hardly realizes it is being held. The high sensitivity of the bird causes it to tense up if it senses it is being manhandled.
Spend a few minutes just holding the bird as gently as possible. Then gently open your hands and allow the bird to simply sit in your hands. Many times the bird will not attempt to fly away. You can easily feel and judge the inner qualities of the totally relaxed pigeon. Then, evaluate for the following:
Eyesign: Some fanciers look only to the eyesign of the bird. While I like to see a beautiful eye and there may be a strong correlation between eyesign and performance, this characteristic alone does not predict the future success of the pigeon.
Balance: Balance in a pigeon is an important factor. Look for a well, balanced, strong bird. Look not only in the bird’s body and musculature, but also in its determination. Does this bird give you the impression that it is an athlete?
Muscle: As you become more experienced in handling pigeons, you become adept at evaluating the desired characteristics in the musculature of the bird. Feel the vibrations in the muscle. Look for suppleness and a feeling of buoyancy. Gently dig your fingers into the muscle and observe for a swelling of the muscle in response.
Wing: Wing characteristics can vary from strong, abrupt or “snappy” wings to very loose wings. I have seen good performance from both. I think it becomes a matter of experience and the personal preference of each fancier.
Rear end: Look for a rear end that displays strength. You don’t want to see the tail wobbling and moving around as you handle the bird. A pigeon that has a tail set that extends straight back when you hold it will generally have a nice, strong back.
To summarize, there are several characteristics to evaluate when buying a pigeon for breeder. As a fancier, you will eventually devise your own set of standards that work best for you.
Continuing on this pigeon buying guide we will go into more detail regarding the aspect of genetics in breeding.