Quality of pigeons
Start right. Get the best pigeons you can afford. The shortest route to success is to buy babies from top fanciers in your area. Test them. Take the best ones to stock. Get more of the same. Build your own family with proven birds.
If you start with mediocre birds being handed down from people that have no use for them, you will lose years and probably stop racing before you have tasted success. Pigeons that are not good enough for someone else should also not perch in your stock loft. Hereby I am not saying that “free” pigeons are worthless. Our best pigeons were gifts – from honest fanciers that really tried to help us. Know your fellow fanciers.
Build a loft that will make the pigeons feel at home and happy. A palace is not needed – pigeons are quite happy with a simple loft. If you want to spend money on a palace – go for it. Just ensure that your loft has decent ventilation and that it’s dry at all times. I know of champions that race brilliantly out of a simple loft. I also know of champions that race brilliantly out of smart lofts. Your choice.
Do not get too clever
I’ve often seen novices that start lecturing senior fanciers after a good race. Remember – you are only as good as your last race. Do not ever think you know it all. Nobody will know it all – EVER. Yes you will gain experience – but respect the ones who have walked the path before you. Soon enough you will see that the trick is not to win a race. The trick is to consistently win races and stay on top. The sport moves forward quickly and you do not want to be left behind.
Supply your stock loft from the race loft
Ensure that you constantly take your winners and best birds to the stock loft. Do not race them until they are gone… Your race loft must ensure that the breeding loft has enough superior genetics to keep you racing for years to come. Replace old stock with younger stock – your click pairs will not live forever. Try bring in some new PROVEN blood every now and again. Test them. If they do not improve your own loft – remove and try something else. Otherwise you will be left behind…
365 days a year
Pigeon racing is not a May to October thing. It takes 365 days a year of care and love. You cannot neglect them and then expect to suddenly “fix” them up with a “klein botteltjie”. Look after them the full year and you will be rewarded.
Lending out your ears
DO NOT TAKE ADVICE FROM MORE THAN ONE MENTOR. If you listen to all the recipes and doepas and methods that fanciers so easily share, you will not clock in front consistently. Stick to what works for you. Tweak here and there. Do not make drastic changes. Always consider the source of information – think about it – if it makes sense then test it. BUT on the other hand – listen carefully to what the champions share – what are the trending diseases, feeding etc. You can figure out a lot by just listening… Then TEST and either keep or discard.