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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am thinking about getting into racing homing pigeons but it seems the more I look into it the more confused I get. I see pigeons with winning lines for sale for $200 more or less and I see others for $10 a bird. When is a bird worth more? Obviously a winning racer would fetch more than a bird that got lost and came home the next day but is that the difference?

I would like to learn more about this hobby and about getting started. Is this a bad time of the year since many prefer to raise babies in the spring?

I have called the AU to get their starter kit but is there any other source online or elsewhere that can give me good advice about getting started?

Thanks,
Harry in Ohio
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Hello Harry,

One of the things that I found to be most beneficial when I was doing my initial search was to value patience. Take your time and really look around. Trust your own common sense and read everything you can get your hands on. One source that really helped me was the sit of Mr. Silvio Mattachione.

www.silvio-co.com

If you access the pigeon tab and then look on the left side for his articles, there is an absolute treasure trove of information there. Now, be forwarned, he has strong opinions and is not affraid to share them! I stumbled onto his site after months of getting bogged down in "you must have this or that champion bloodline in order to be successful". His articles were like a breath of fresh air to me. They just made sense to me.

You might also want to try the site of Dave Shewmaker.

www.shewmaker.com

He is a geneticist that has done some extensive research on the breeding of many forms of stock including pigeons.

I hope these help. Just don't be affraid to make your own mistakes and learn from them.

Dan
 

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I wouldn't spend a whole lot of money on birds if I were you, since you're just now starting out. I think the best thing to do is join your local racing pigeon club first. Usually if the other members have any extra birds, they'll be willing to give a few to you or sell them. Getting birds from other places can get expensive, so try to find some birds more locally that are winning. At least then you'd know you have some birds that can do well in the environment around you.

You don't need a $200+ bird to win a race. Some of the best birds come from 'mystery' parents with no pedigrees or anything. I think one good example is of another member here, Lovebirds. A stray racer decided to stay with her, so she bred out of him, and now Checkers' babies are doing pretty good in the races so far. http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/showpost.php?p=317055&postcount=31
Just because you get some good birds with good pedigrees at high prices, doesn't necessarily mean they'll do well for you. They may or may not have it genetically, but there's a lot of other things that count too, like good training and health.


I don't really think it's that bad of a time to start. It's too late to race this year, but next young bird season you should be able to if you want to get into it that quick. A lot of fanciers get rid of any birds that didn't impress them after racing is over so they can get their old bird team and their breeding stock sorted out. So you may find some of this year's hatches being sold, or maybe some breeders they decided weren't what they wanted anymore. But just because it didn't work for them, doesn't mean it won't work for you either. Next spring though you'll start seeing kits of young birds being sold that you can settle and train in time to race.
 

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A few sites you might try that lead you to others are:

www.pipa.be
www.pigeon.org
http://www.pigeonnews.tv/
http://www.pigeonradio.com/pr/
www.ipigeon.com
http://www.racingpigeonmall.com/loft/articles/index.html

My new webpage that is a work in progress. May not give you any advice, but had to throw it in anyway.

www.hillfamilyloft.com

I think the best way to go is the mentor route. I also agree in joining a club. I raced birds when I was young so I had a head start. I have still enlisted the advice of mentors.

As for birds, i dissagree with many. I would rather found a loft with four qualitly birds than some hand me downs. Just my philosopy. I founded my loft with a dozen birds that I could not afford and it has done me right. My mentor wanted to help me become sucessful.

Randy
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So how did you get these birds that you could not afford? How did you pick them out and where did you find them? Also what price range are you talking about? I see birds anywhere from $6 up to over $1,000 and I am still trying to figure out why some are worth so much more than others.
 

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So how did you get these birds that you could not afford? How did you pick them out and where did you find them? Also what price range are you talking about? I see birds anywhere from $6 up to over $1,000 and I am still trying to figure out why some are worth so much more than others.
It's like anything else. A pigeon is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. If I were you, and I was in your shoes about three years ago, I would start trying to find websites of breeders that share my vision of what I want in my pigeons (distance, sprint, young bird success, etc.). Then I would contact these people and tell them what you are looking for and a price range you are willing to pay. If they are honest, and not all of them are, they will be up front with you and tell you if they feel they can help you or not. I had several that didn't fill my needs. Take the time to develop a relationship with these people. I took two years finding the one that I was comfortable with and trusted.

Once you make up your mind, come to an agreement and then you have to trust them to give you what they promised. I left the actual selection of my breeding stock completely in the hands of my breeder. I felt I could trust them and I relied on that trust. I could not have been happier with my results. Once it is in the hands of the breeder, you have to trust your decision. After all, they can send you anything they want and claim it is the best in the world. That is why developing those relationships is so important.

When it comes to this type of thing there is no substitute for patience and time.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So from what I can tell the best way is start out with what ever you can get and learn with them. Then as time goes on buy better quality birds from quality racing stock and breed those to other top quality birds. Continue to race what you have and compare results, keeping the best and cull the rest.:confused:

Harry
 

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I guess I've got to throw my two cents in here.
The first thing you've got to do is decide how much money/effort/time you want to put into this new hobby. The best birds in the world will be of no use to you if the time and effort isn't applied to getting the results that you want. We ALL want to win, but that doesn't happen by throwing some food and water at the birds and training them here and there..........although this sport is fun, it CAN be a lot of work.
And you can spend little or lots on birds and at the end of the day, you won't actually know what you've got until the training and racing begins. Pedigrees are nice. But they're just a piece of paper. You best make sure, like Randy said, that you can trust whoever you are dealing with. Most of us have some sort of computer program that we use to keep up with who's breeding what.........I could make a Pedigree that would make your hair stand on end, and put the band on a baby feral. :rolleyes:
And don't think for a minute that some of that doesn't go on. Maybe not the feral part, but pedigrees are simple to make.
Race results is what you really want to see. They CAN be made up too, but it's not as likely for someone to do that as it is with a pedigree. Just my opinon.
I've spent money on birds with the pretty pedigree, and got nothing in return. I've also got a "lost" bird in my loft that has been with me since 2000 when he trapped in with my birds. Best thing that ever happened to me.
And, just for the record, don't know exactly what you mean by "cull the rest"....but we don't use the word cull here in referrence to killing/destroying birds. It jumped out at me because I've seen the word used twice this morning in different posts. So, be forewarned. ;)
 
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yeah everytime I read that word in here I cringe too :eek: so please keep that word on the downlow.. we believe in placing unwanted birds in new homes and thats another reason why you should try and get the best birds you can if you are serious about racing because the better the birds you have the better offspring they will produce and the more you will not have to get rid of ..... looking to get birds from a club member gives you the chance at seeing what you are getting thru the race results as most clubs have that posted on their websites , those cant be faked at least for the most part so you will see whos birds are doing what and you can go from there at least ..it doesnt mean that you wont get duds but you will at least know where you are starting from and not just taking a chance buying birds over the net and hoping you get whats advertized ..it does help if you read everything you can but be ready for all the head spinning along the way from everyones person opinions lol good luck ;)
 

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Thank you Renee about the webpage.

My thoughts are a guy or girl could establish a good family of birds for under $1000. There was a great article in RPD, where a guy bought an auction bird for $250 that was down from the Verbart 46. He also boutght a full sister and I think some siblings or nieces and nephews of the birds. He established a family from these birds, crossed in a few select birds and began winning races. I think the pigeon brokers have made us think that thousands get you good birds.

My last aquition was a daughter off of a first national Bourges winner. I bought her at an auction for $50. At the same auction were quality birds including some I had for auction and I purchased the most expensive birds. There were two youngters off a World of Wings bird that went for $10 each. Birds off of imports for $15. Good stock does not have to break you.

Now for what everyone calls "Culls". My view here is something that my mentor told me. He said his culls are better than most peoples best birds. What he meant here is that he does get rid of his undisriable birds, but that he does not have to kill them because people want them. I have yet to kill a bird and will not. Some do, that is the nature of the game. My goal is to not bring a diriable bird into my loft. I controll my numbers and select good pairs.

Stock your loft with good birds and this becomes less of an issue.

Randy
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Excellent advice!
To me to cull a bird means to remove it from your loft.
You might do it by giving it to a new person starting out if you sincerely believe it will help them or you might sell it at an auction as it might match up with something they have. Birds will also cull them selves! They don't return. Sometimes they find a new home/loft on their own and other times a hawk take one out. The last example is the least desirable.
Harry
 

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Every loft will produce Cull birds The best in the world still produces culls. Any bird you get rid of is a culling one way or the other. Yes several people have culls that someone else wants badly.. The right idea is never let anothr race person get a bird you would not breed from your self. Then you have helped the sport All other birds that are lesser should not be sold or gave to race people. BUT given back yard people Or even the pigeon peddler That sell birds chep to most any one. If 1 person never culls soon the have a loft full of so so birds. Culling does not have to mean KILL. it just means you have to get rid of the bird to move forward. And many a pigeon is born each year BUT just that small handful of good useable birds perhaps just 1 in a loft gets born each year. getting into race birds or show birds cultivating the birds is the whole project. That means work towards improvement or at least stabilty or quality. A lifetime worth of work A liife time worth of enjoyment. From the 1 dollar bird to the mighty high dollar bird All can be improved Just start the best you can at the time and go from that.
 

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So how did you get these birds that you could not afford? How did you pick them out and where did you find them? Also what price range are you talking about? I see birds anywhere from $6 up to over $1,000 and I am still trying to figure out why some are worth so much more than others.
Well it is like this. I called a local guy up when I wanted to get back into the sport. I only had two fliers within 100 mile of me, Vern Crawley and Scott McCallister. I went to check Vern's birds out and was very impressed with his stock. Great looking birds everyone of them. I had done as much research as I could and new exactly what I wanted. There was no one to fly with in the are because these guys only flew futurites. I went home and did a little research on the two guys. Vern had told me some of his results and I knew Scott had won the Snowbird Classic in 2001. Scott was never home and always working so I became friendly with Vern. Vern had many top 10% finishes in futurities. Vern also knows the value of a bird and had aquired many quality birds. He threw some names out that I knew and did not. More research.

About a year later when I was established and converted one of my sections of my goat pen to a bird loft, I payed Vern a visit. He had five pairs of birds set asside for me. I did not get to pick them out, he had them in a box. Five hens and Five cocks from his 2004 young birds that he did not fly. He grumbled a bit and handed me the baskets. I asked him how much he wanted and he told me that if he had to charge me that I could not afford them. No pedigrees, no descriptions, nothing, just free birds.

I stuck the birds in the loft and stayed frustrated for about two months. They paired up and started building nests, all the things pigeons do. They were nice looking birds, but no papers. Finally I called him and asked if he could make me copies of parents pedigrees.

to be continued:
 

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Well it is like this. I called a local guy up when I wanted to get back into the sport. I only had two fliers within 100 mile of me, Vern Crawley and Scott McCallister. I went to check Vern's birds out and was very impressed with his stock. Great looking birds everyone of them. I had done as much research as I could and new exactly what I wanted. There was no one to fly with in the are because these guys only flew futurites. I went home and did a little research on the two guys. Vern had told me some of his results and I knew Scott had won the Snowbird Classic in 2001. Scott was never home and always working so I became friendly with Vern. Vern had many top 10% finishes in futurities. Vern also knows the value of a bird and had aquired many quality birds. He threw some names out that I knew and did not. More research.

About a year later when I was established and converted one of my sections of my goat pen to a bird loft, I payed Vern a visit. He had five pairs of birds set asside for me. I did not get to pick them out, he had them in a box. Five hens and Five cocks from his 2004 young birds that he did not fly. He grumbled a bit and handed me the baskets. I asked him how much he wanted and he told me that if he had to charge me that I could not afford them. No pedigrees, no descriptions, nothing, just free birds.

I stuck the birds in the loft and stayed frustrated for about two months. They paired up and started building nests, all the things pigeons do. They were nice looking birds, but no papers. Finally I called him and asked if he could make me copies of parents pedigrees.

to be continued:

Well, crap!! I hope you're "continuing" now??? :rolleyes::D
 

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When I called he told me that he wondered how long it would take me to call. He is not one to keep great records, but does have pedigrees from all his purchased birds as well as good breeding records. He photo copied the peds and breeding records for me. He does have about 12 individual breeding pens and told me that the young birds that he had given me were from those pens and the pedigrees were true. If you want to know what the birds were down from hit the foundation link on my webpage.

The next season, he came to visit when he went to ship some birds off and brought me two late hatches and this time the paperwork for three out of four of the parents. He told me that I probably wanted the birds and set them at my feet. In the box was a grandson of four Ganus birds Ikon, Magic Star, Lady Luck, and My Girl. The other off a $1500 Vic Miller bird and a grandaughter of Scotts Snowbird winner. Both have bred me more than one winner.

So when you ask how I was able to afford my foundation birds, all I can say is that I got them from a true friend in the sport.

Randy
 

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Well Harry, there you have it, that is how got my birds. I am also leaving you to a link about a story of how another fancier established his family of birds.

http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/index.php

Why I am leaving you with this story is that out of my 12 foundation birds two are from a little hen Vern got through the World Of Wings gold band program. She the "08" recently passed on this summer. I have two daughters and a son off this bird. One son Vern brought down last fall because he knew I wanted more of her bloodline. He crossed her with a DTL 969 Janssen. He sent one of their offspring to the Spirit of Colorado. The bird finished 22 and was the first bird on the second drop in the 300. It was the first bird in by itself on three of the training toss. I liked the fact that she broke for the pack. Oh by the way no one bided on her at the race auction starting at $100. Ok back to the story. The story is how Bob Kinney established his Silverado family of birds. The "08" was a Bob Kinney bird. The story also shows you how money is not always the means to obtaining great birds.

Randy
 

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Well Harry, there you have it, that is how got my birds. I am also leaving you to a link about a story of how another fancier established his family of birds.

http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/

Why I am leaving you with this story is that out of my 12 foundation birds two are from a little hen Vern got through the World Of Wings gold band program. She the "08" recently passed on this summer. I have two daughters and a son off this bird. One son Vern brought down last fall because he knew I wanted more of her bloodline. He crossed her with a DTL 969 Janssen. He sent one of their offspring to the Spirit of Colorado. The bird finished 22 and was the first bird on the second drop in the 300. It was the first bird in by itself on three of the training toss. I liked the fact that she broke for the pack. Oh by the way no one bided on her at the race auction starting at $100. Ok back to the story. The story is how Bob Kinney established his Silverado family of birds. The "08" was a Bob Kinney bird. The story also shows you how money is not always the means to obtaining great birds.

Randy
I think that's the wrong link. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
An excellent article. Certainly sound and proven breeding principles to develop a winning loft! Thank you for sharing it

It seems that the key is to get good foundation stock. That seems to be one of the important threads in both accounts but of course the question turns to how and where. As a new person starting out obtaining good stock to start with is the key. Sure it will be fun to loft fly and to just have birds return from a race but at that point it might be better to buy white birds and do wedding releases at least this way you are sure of a prize and may get a nice meal at the reception too! lol

Getting off to a good start seems to be my focus now.
Harry
 
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