I agree with you, we need to maintain the long distance families because of their homing ability. Too many of us push our YB's to hard and lose possibly the good long distance birds. Like you mentioned, some families take longer to mature. I know some say they won a 500 or 600 with yearlings that flew the entire race season as YB's and they won with them. It happens, I have a friend in our combine that did just that. So many things factor into our pigeons homing ability, we just don't know everything. A lot of YB losses the last few years are caused by ????????????????? - wish I knew . The ones we have left in our lofts, what do they have that the others didn't ? Maybe their ancestors had long distance homing ability. But it does not show up in every youngster from the same parents - gene variability. So many combinations - thousands or more. Work with the birds that can do it ( get home ), then work on speed.It used to be you flew old birds out to 700-1000 miles and then you bred from the best. Could it be that we are flying old birds less now on these long distance races and mostly flying young birds now? I remember when some old birds showed their best at 2-3 years old and older like the Trentons. Are we doing a disservice to their homing ability by not doing this anymore. I know people that are still flying old birds but I don't think they are flying the miles anymore. A bird that can home from 1000 miles for them 4-500 miles is a piece of cake. A bird that only flies a few hundred miles maybe that is the top of their ability. Just talking out loud don't really know why.