My soap box or sermon on starting with quality stock...
What the heck do any of us really know about pigeons ?
I am sure we all know, or heard, or read about somebody , concerning some subject, who acted like they knew everything about something. When the facts were quite the opposite. Heck, ask any teenager about any subject, and for the most part, they already know everything !
(Teenage readers who are smart enough to read posts on this site, are different of course..
Heck, I confess, I don't even know what I don't know. I read some of my posts from 2004, and I think to myself, boy ....you were a real smarty pants, weren't you Warren ? The more I learn about pigeons, the more I have learned to be humble, because I have learned that in a year or two, I will look back, and say....boy was that a stupid comment. (Sometimes it only takes a day or so...)
So, never accept most things I say as gospel, because there is always the chance I will later change my mind, or discover some new "truth". Everything I say, is only my understanding or experience up to this exact moment.
I don't know if starting with average or typical pigeons and then winning, brings more gratification then starting with $10,000 pigeons and then winning, is true or not. I myself started with .25 cent "barn" pigeons purchased at a farmers market, and some "fancy" pigeons for .75 cents. If I would have selectively bred those pigeons for the last 45 years, maybe I could have reached the point of winning a club race, I don't know. It's an extreme example of course...but most of those decades would have been discouraging. I would have invested years of blood, sweat and tears, to reach the level of the average birds in my club. Not sure that would be real satisfying. One could start with average to start with, and after 45 years still have average. Mathmatically speaking, most fanciers own average pigeons.
I didn't win too many races as a kid, in fact, I didn't win any. And the only real bright spot, was getting a bird home on the day from 500 miles, but that was not with the stock I started with, I had upgraded to some Paul Sion bloodlines down from Imported stock. I had managed to get my hands on some good stuff.
Personally, when I got back into pigeons after a long time on the side lines. I didn't want to spend the next couple of decades attempting to breed some typical birds up to good. If I had decided to get into race horses which I love, I don't think I would have tried to start with some old broken down horses ready for the glue factory, and then try to breed up from them to someday win a Kentucky Derby type of race. It might be possible yes, there were some famous cases of someone buying a horse that nobody wanted and it turned out to be a great racer. But, that might be a 1 in a million shot. I would have acquired good solid stock, that I could afford, and started from there.
If someone is starting out in racing pigeons, and they have modest means, then acquire the best that you can with what you have. Then attempt over time, to upgrade your stock, according to what you can afford, and what becomes available. Some of this upgrading may come from breeding a better bird, and some you will have to buy, or have given to you.
Even if you are in a position to start with $10,000 birds, that is not the end of it, that is just the starting point. I'm not satisfied with my pigeons, I want to breed or acquire even better. It may be more challenging now, in that when I started with .25 barn pigeons, someone like Mr. Ressel gave me a $50 bird, which in 1965 was BIG money, based on my $3 a week paper route. That was like 4 months of my gross income ! But, today not to many people are going to hand over to me, a pigeon valued at 4 months of my gross income. And even if they did, odds are it would be a lesser bird then what I already own.
Show me someone who is completely happy with the quality of their current breeding stock, and I will show you someone who is not striving to improve what they already have...and why should they...they are already happy. Show me someone who owns real, world class quality stock, and is not satisfied with the status quo...and demands improvement, even greater perfection.....well, I will show you the stuff that Champions are made of.
The people who sell diamond engagement rings, suggest six months of your income to buy your girl a pretty rock, she can show off to her girlfriends. Personally, I would suggest a weeks pay for one of those real good fake rings, and then take 25 weeks of income and invest in a couple pairs of some decent breeding stock. Or instead of sending your kid to one of those $30,000+ colleges, send them to the local community college, or have them join the army, and then invest the savings into something for yourself, like some first class breeders. Instead of that big expensive new car, save $15,000 and purchase a certified used car, and invest the rest into your hobby !
See....you get the picture, it really is all about priorities, and what is important to you....invest in yourself, you have worked hard your whole life, you deserve to get something really special...treat yourself.....