A very insightful article on this can be found on the Diamond pigeon stud’s website by clicking here
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.
Quick start guide- Racing pigeons
This is an attempt to highlight the most important factors that should be taken into consideration when starting with racing pigeons. It’s only our opinion and you are more than welcome to adapt it to suit your unique circumstances. We are in no way claiming to be experts on the subject.
Dates and time lines mentioned are applicable to South Africa and our conditions.
What is the fuss about?
Racing pigeons have been around for many years. Belgium is seen as one of the countries where the sport originated. Carrier pigeons were even used during wars – an interesting documentary on this can be seen on youtube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZfjbfe5SXM
The sport progressed from a simple hobby to a professional sport today. Millions of rands are spent yearly on pigeons and pigeon related products.
For us it’s still just a hobby. And a very satisfying hobby! It doesn’t matter why you’re interested in racing pigeons – it stays a very rewarding sport and pastime.
Training tosses with the new team of youngsters is considered as a waste of time and petrol by some.
We as fanciers are sometimes not too sure how to gauge a pigeon’s health during the racing season.
Steady progress should be made in the breeding loft so that there are more above average racers in the the race loft each year.
Weaning the future champions can be very stressful for both the fancier and the pigeon. The approach we follow is documented below. Nothing is cast in stone but this approach works well for us.