Selecting a Pigeon for Distance Racing
And the breeding box
I start have a look at the three birds above, each has been a Champion in both racing and breeding.
thing that is noticeable with the three birds is the stance, on a gradual slope upright position with the tail touching the
ground, all the birds have the centre of the eye above the line of the beak, the blue bar hen is Strinesdale Queen, she is
the dam of 19 birds to fly over 530 miles and G/dam of over 100 Channel pigeon, the second hen was never beaten in a race,
although she only had four races she was well ahead in all, she bred numerous birds to fly over 400 miles including the cock
below 1st at 1000 miles, The third pigeon as a baby flew both 730 miles and 1000 miles in the one year and then
went on to breed a winners for me and others including 2x1st Federation in NSW.
first thing I look for is to watch the birds in their respective perches, the best birds will be watching you too to see what
you are doing, this is where to start they are usually very alert without being flighty, I have also observed the birds in
the toss and race crate these same birds do not get into any squabbles with other pigeons they look for a quiet part of the
box for their journey to the release point they reserve all their energy for the task ahead.
at the top the first think to study is the pigeons head, it should have a nice rounded appearance with the eye positioned
as near to the centre as possible, the centre of the eye would have to be higher than a straight line from beak to the back
of the head, when looking from the top directly above the head you should see the black of both pupils, the eye should be
bright, a dull eye will not breed you any birds that you will succeed with, colour does not mean very much to me as most champions
have a different colour eye to another champion. The throat should have the slit at the top open at all times, I like to see
the opening of the wind pipe not to large if it is this way it gives the pigeon room to move when it needs more air, the birds
should have a full curtain although this is not a necessary item for success, it is always helpful to see the throat are a
slightly pink colour
neck should not be short or withdrawn it will be larger at the base with a gradual curve leading up to head, this curve would
continue down to the back of the pigeon to the tail area, I also like to see a small lump at the base of the rear as seen
in the second photo, Looking from the front the chest will have a nice rounded look, the legs will not be close together or
have a bend in them and not too long, sometimes the wing butt will protrude out from the body a bit but this is also not something
to worry about.
wing and its mechanics are possibly the most important part of any racing pigeon, if it does not have the muscles and the
conformation they will be of no use in distance racing, It doesn’t matter how big the step-up is as long as there is
one there, the older the bird gets the longer the step-up comes, the feathers should be tighter and closer together near the
body, opening up as they progress out towards the primary flights, the ends of the primary’s should show a complete
curve with the curve dropping away from the eighth flight making the 9th and 10th shorter than the 8th,
in my opinion is most important in selecting a distance pigeon, working back from the tip place your thumb at least two inches
from the end, check the outside of the quill to see how far back the outside of the feathers come before it starts to bend
out to a wider feather, the further it comes back the better the birds will perform in distance races, at the tip of the 9th
and 10th flight they should have a slight curve out, this I call the propeller, I do not like to see wide primaries,
they must medium width without loosing their coverage, I am also a believer that the pigeon can change the shape of its wing
configuration to suit the weather conditions that it is flying in something like an aeroplane uses its wing confirmation to
take off and land. The shape and configuration of the wing as described would make it easier to achieve this.
balance is another thing that a good birds must have, when the holding the bird this is not an easy task to judge at first
as it takes handling a lot of birds until you find the one that sits and feels comfortable in the hand, from here the keel
is the next item it should not be too deep or to shallow but well developed because if it is where the muscles are that drive
the pigeon are, It also takes a lot of practise to find and judge the muscles along the keel, the keel should be a continuos
curve from the front to the rear with the vents being on that same curve, the distance between the end of the keel and vents
I believe should be no wider than one finger width, any pigeon that’s vents drop below the line of the keel will never
be any good for distance racing.
we are on the frame of the pigeon, pick the bird up with the left hand and let it relax then place the index finger of the
right hand between the rib cage and the first knuckle of the wing, the bird will contract that muscle and if it is any good
and has strength there it should leave a indentation in your finger, if you can move the finger between the rib cage and that
knuckle do not waste your money sending the bird to a distance because it does not have the strength in the muscles in that
area to keep it in the air for prolonged time.
the pigeon is at ease and comfortable in the hand it is also the best time to feel the heartbeat of the pigeon
tail should be wedge shape larger and strong where the connect to the body narrowing down to the bottom of the tail
After taking all the above into consideration the three things that go into making
a champion long distance racing pigeon nobody can see or evaluate
are the brains the heart and the lungs