The way to better birds

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If it’s success you’re after, get rid of your average pigeons and use world-class birds, urges Thomas Smit.

As we explained last week, there are two main factors to take into account when it comes to selecting racing pigeons – their phenotype (external or visible attributes) and genotype (the hidden genetic composition). However, a super racer might not score high in the show pen, while show champions often fail miserably in races. But there are indicators of physical quality that cannot be ignored, while a pedigree provides data about the bird’s ‘track record’ – how it performed in races and its success as a breeder.

Now – to further illustrate the points – let’s look at some of the pigeons recently auctioned by Corrie Naudé & Son at the Alberton Homing Society, east of Johannesburg. Corrie is a champion fancier and his birds show us that, when it comes to breeding, it’s better to aim for a high hit-rate than an occasional win.

Top birds
Winning is not the only indicator of ‘quality’ – the consistency of the offspring of the foundation pigeons and the overall ability of the flock are also important.  

Lot 7: Blue Chequered cock (GB 05 T29766). This is a medium-size pigeon with a very compact and aerodynamic conformation, and supple musculature soft to the touch. Lot 7 was bred in Great Britain from Dirk van Dyck’s Kannibaal bloodline, on which Gerhard Koopman in the Netherlands managed to build a dynasty of superstars that perform well all over the world.

It was purchased by Corrie at a Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race auction. It sired several winners and its offspring are breeding winners. When it comes to its physical appearance, Lot 7 has no show ‘disqualifications’. For the ‘eye-sign’ fancier, however, its narrow grey-brown circle doesn’t make quite the same impression as the broad, dark circles found on many super breeders. An imaginary line extending backwards from the corner of the beak sees the pupil fall fully in the lower half – regarded by many as a sign of intelligence.

Lot 34: Blue Chequered hen (ZA TRPF 07 4919). One of Lot 7’s very successful daughters, this bird has the super racer’s perfect balance of body, and its muscle quality is superb, coming ‘alive’ under your finger tips. This proves that a bird doesn’t need bulging muscles, just quality ones. Lot 34 has a short to medium wing length, which needs a faster ‘rowing action’ for the bird to stay airborne, thus helping it pick up speed. Tail/body attachment is perfect. The arm connecting the wing to the body is short, which provides strength in flight.

Lot 6: A beautifully conformed blue hen with silky feathering and rich pearl eyes. This is a ‘refreshment’ combination between the Clausing lines directly from Dave Clausing on the dam’s side, mated to a cock from Joop Koch’s Houben line.

High quality
Going back into a pedigree you’ll find many of the same base pigeons, but sourced from different lofts. Recombining the initial thread connects us to the golden line all breeders strive for. Foundation pigeons from world-class breeders are littered in the pedigrees of Corrie’s pigeons. These include Ziko and Dana from Dave Clausing, the Kletskop line from Gommairre Verbruggen, offspring from top pigeons from Gunter Prange, Louis van Loon and others.

As Corrie puts it: “High quality pigeons bred from a world-class proven gene pool will award you champion status”. Get rid of your average pigeons and use world-class pigeons!

Contact Thomas Smit on 011 680 4778 or at [email protected]. Please state ‘Pigeons’ in the subject line of your email.