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How do you select pairings

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Andy123
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Now is the time of year when we are looking back on what the birds have achieved and making decisions on how to improve next year. 

Always at the heart of this must be the breeding. We should be continually looking to improve on what we have. Unless your going to be forever buying pigeons in, which I don’t think is necessary, you should be looking to do it with what you have. This will take longer to achieve but a lot cheaper and more satisfying in my opinion. Although you can get good results quickly by buying in you still need to be able to breed down from these pigeons to stay doing well. 

The most important thing in any breeding plan is the keeping of good records. Both for the breeding and for the racing. Within those records needs to be included the good and the bad. It’s no good having a pair who breed one good pigeon in every 6 bred. Or a pigeon that only ever does well in one race. 

I think that a combination of inbreeding and cross breeding is required but I would go more for the inbreeding. 

The hardest part is finding the foundation stock. Now to start with these can be quite modest. I have always thought that through selective breeding and testing of offspring you can improve anything. I have done this for years with cattle as well as pigeons. The place to start is to find the best that you have. I would pair best to best to start with. I would then pair the best offspring back to their parents. I would continue to do that until I had offspring better than the parents. At this point I think you should replace the original parent with the better descendant and start the process again. The best way to use a cross is to have bred down a couple of different lines and then cross these together. This way you then have the original lines to pair these crosses back into. 

What methods would other members use for selecting pairs? 

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devo56
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Good write up Andy, we all work in different ways in breeding. Many say you dont need pedigrees, well if i was buying a car for good money i would want to know the history before i buy,

To me pedigrees are so important in breeding, its all about that individual bird, i think that is what is lost when coming to breeding. Every bird in your loft has a history, its knowing how to get the best out of each pairing you put together. So take time to know what you have in the loft, and when you come to buy any new birds the pedigree. Will give you the information if you are enriching the blood to what you already have.

So i choose when pairing what i think is the best pairings, from the lines that have already proven they are not only winners but also proven breeders. How do i know this, well from the pedigrees of course.


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Andy123
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I do agree with you mate. I have never said that pedigrees aren’t important. It’s what’s written on them.

I do keep good records, always had do in my farming days as well as with cattle you can’t inbreed to close without getting problems so you need to know the pedigrees of all the cows. Having said that most of the Holstein cows nowadays are bred down from 5 bulls bred back in the 70s. 

Pedigrees are important and I keep my own pedigrees for all my pigeons. But also backed up with other records around all progeny and races. 

The trouble when buying in pigeons is the pedigrees only show the good points. They will have what races a pigeon has won but not the races that bird returned late from. It will have the offspring that have preformed well but not from how many bred. I do know that there are fanciers who if having a pigeon reported will have it back just to sell it because of it’s pedigree. There are also a lot of pedigrees where the previous couple of generations haven’t even seen a basket. 

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devo56
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I think you will find not only Pedigrees, but a lot of observation and record keeping. Leads you to the way of the Art of Breeding, some may say different but i know it worked for me. Time with birds is the loft bible, i would say myself.


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George & Morgan
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at least one of the pair has raced soon i hope that to be only raced birds will breed off 


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Buster121
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Good info there all, thanks

Sadie's Loft's, home of great birds, just a poor loft manager


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Andy123
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I’m afraid I have to go back to my farming days again lol.

One big thing that is taken into account when breeding dairy cattle is reliability. Of course with cattle the bulls are the main ones that are used to improve the breed standards due to the numbers of offspring that can be tested each year because of artificial insemination. A cow will only be able to have possibly 3 female offspring in her lifetime, although flushing for embryos has increased this for the top cows. 

The reliability is used as a % term. The higher the reliability the more likely they are to produce a like. If they have a 80% reliability 80 in 100 offspring would be within certain parameters. Leaving 10% that would be worse and 10% that would be better. These were used for both production and body type. It was no point having a top producing milker that would only last 2 or 3 years due to having bad legs and feet or a bad udder. 

So moving on to our pigeons. Forgetting the National winners or big race winners who if they had been in the same race the day before or after in slightly different conditions probably wouldn’t have won. There are so many different things that can effect our pigeons when racing. 

My aim is racing over 500 miles. So what I want to produce is pigeons that can regularly return and compete in 500+ mile races. I’m not worried about them winning as if things are right on the day they could well be lucky enough to be the front runner. 

So on the breeding side I want to find those pigeons that can produce pigeons capable of racing over 500 miles. Not just one but a few. I want a team of distance pigeons not just the odd one. To achieve this I need to keep good records and pedigrees. I want pigeons that breed at least 50% of offspring capable of this, 2 of 4 bred. This would give them a 50% reliability. Any lower than that really aren’t worth keeping as stock birds. 

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devo56
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Some good points on this topic, a bit like the good old days when the site was alive and kicking. lol


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Andy123
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Posted by: @devo56

Some good points on this topic, a bit like the good old days when the site was alive and kicking. lol

I am very much with you mate in saying that the breeding is the most important part of maintaining a good loft of pigeons. 

Good to have you back on mate. 

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Murray
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I select some of my pairings, but a lot of my pairs are love matches. A cock takes a fancy to a hen and I often leave them to it. Some of the pairs are never separated, they live together for years. I take the nest bowls away in the winter and put them back in the spring when the hens look like nesting.

With some of the new whiz bang Fed winning Jos Thone' pigeons, and the Van den Bulcks and Heremans and De Rauw Sablon pigeons, they will be in the stock shed paired up to what I want. They will still be free flying once they lay the second eggs. 

I do agree that pedigrees are important, but it's the performances in the last couple of generations that really matter. That is why I need fresh blood in my loft. They all have pedigrees, but I need to put some fresh performance strains into them. 

My pigeons are not fast enough any more. 

I am good! They aren't firing rubber bullets at me. Yet.
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Andy123
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 @murray good post. Certainly a way I would pair the race birds that I don’t want to breed from. Those I would want to breed from I will pair the way I want. 

Can I ask why do you think yours aren’t fast enough now? What do you think has made them slower?

I don’t think the pigeons today are any faster than those from years ago. I know some will disagree with me. But I remember races of 2000 ypm in the past. No speed records have been broken for many years. I do think that racing is different nowadays. Partly due to less members and some of those left sending large numbers resulting in the birds not having to think so much for themselves as they are homing into smaller areas against fewer pigeons. I remember back in the 80s & 90s our race sheets had room for I think it was 16 pigeons. If you filled the sheet, and very few did, you were deemed a mob flier. My average in those days for old birds was around 8. Now you see teams of 30 or 40+ being sent. 

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Andy123

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killer
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Eye ,Wing , Type , performance ,working with in the families we have ,if I think we need need an outcross ,I,ll try an find the best available ,then test ,test them hard ,I’ve seen many ordinary birds kepted far to long in the stock loft ,if they can’t produce with in 3 years move them on , 


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Murray
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Yes, killer, very true.

I have been quietly moving some old stock pigeons on. I have been a pigeon keeper rather than a pigeon racer for the last 5 years or so. 

They breed nice pigeons, but others are breeding faster pigeons. 

I want nice, fast pigeons! 

Doing some modifications on the loft and the strain....... 😉 

I am good! They aren't firing rubber bullets at me. Yet.
Welcome to Victoria, 2021.


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Murray
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@andy123, I think the overall quality of the racing pigeon has improved in the last 30 years or so. 

The 'strain makers' relentlessly test and select every generation, only the best of the best breed the next generation. 

The pigeons get better.

I have 'nice' pigeons that go ok but are off old Jansen and Van Loon strains. Racing pigeons, but not Fed toppers.

Now I have two red Jos Thone cocks, whose mother AND father were Federation winners! 1st against 6000 pigeons, etc. Their parents were Fed winners in Europe. I raised them from eggs, thanks to good old Gordon. High-quality pigeons. Worth a bit of money.

One is nesting in the corner in a cardboard box. 🤣  

Then there's the Billion Dollar Baby. I have a pair of eggs off her father, the top Heremans cock, from a Bosua hen. Hopefully, I breed a mate for her and breed some rockets.

I do believe that if you want to be more competitive, you need more competitive pigeons. 

 

 

I am good! They aren't firing rubber bullets at me. Yet.
Welcome to Victoria, 2021.


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Andy123
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Posted by: @murray

@andy123, I think the overall quality of the racing pigeon has improved in the last 30 years or so. 

The 'strain makers' relentlessly test and select every generation, only the best of the best breed the next generation. 

The pigeons get better.

I have 'nice' pigeons that go ok but are off old Jansen and Van Loon strains. Racing pigeons, but not Fed toppers.

Now I have two red Jos Thone cocks, whose mother AND father were Federation winners! 1st against 6000 pigeons, etc. Their parents were Fed winners in Europe. I raised them from eggs, thanks to good old Gordon. High-quality pigeons. Worth a bit of money.

One is nesting in the corner in a cardboard box. 🤣  

Then there's the Billion Dollar Baby. I have a pair of eggs off her father, the top Heremans cock, from a Bosua hen. Hopefully, I breed a mate for her and breed some rockets.

I do believe that if you want to be more competitive, you need more competitive pigeons. 

 

 

I agree that the families have moved forward from those of the past and the new names dominate the results but that’s how it should be. But I wouldn’t necessarily agree that they are superior. These new families are just extensions of the old families. It’s right that these “new” families carry the names of their owners. I have always maintained that pigeons can only be called those of the strain makers if they come from that persons loft, or at the very least kept pure. Once a single cross is put into these families they should no longer be given the name of the strain. They then become the strain of whose loft they are in based on the strains in the pedigree. 

There are no pure old families now as all their makers have long since past. The Busschearts for example aren’t a patch on the originals as they have been so diluted by many crosses over the years. 

Breeding has to be based on testing and selection and the “new” families originators have been good at doing that. The problem then comes when these families then become commercially viable. All of a sudden from a small team of top pigeons the market is then flooded with hundreds of pigeons somehow down from these. 

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