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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have noticed that unless you send your bird to a one loft race and it competes against other birds returning to the same loft then it really isn't a very good competition because the birds could be flying varying distances and returning to different areas. So my question is how do you determine if you have a good pigeon or a great pigeon when you are doing your own trials? Where do you have the selection cutoff for who you keep and breed to and who gets to be cut from the program? As a side note what happens to everyone's culls, how do you get rid of them?
 

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You ask age old questions, that are what pigeon racing is all about. Sure they are not fair, because obviously everyones pigeon return to a different location and from a different distance. But that is the sport and unless all we had were one loft races, then it can be no other way.

As to how do you know when you have a good one. Well, the race results or to a lesser extent, the training results, will tell you.

And as to how does one cull, there are a whole lot of methods. What happens to culls depends on how they were culled. Giving away birds is one way of culling. Another is to sell them Still another is to keep sending them to longer and longer races until one race day, they do not come home. Yet another is to leave them out (open loft) all day and eventually the predators will get them.

Mos of your questioning amounts to how each individual decides he or she wans to do this "pigeon racing thing". There is no one right and correct way. You make your choices and decisions and see if your decisions win out over the other guys choices and decisions.

That way we all don't tie every race day. :)
 

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Against competition is the best way. A one loft race (as you suggested) is good. But flying against other club members is good also.

You can not measure the performance of your pigeons by eyesign, wing structure, color nor general looks. Although several of those factors can be used in making breeding decisions (many believe).

Personally, I believe that racing with a club is the best way, because in pigeon racing, IMO, it is not just about the pigeons. It is also about the owner of the pigeons and his care taking, breeding decisions, training, feeding, etc, etc.

In my humble opinion, pigeon racing is a partnership of the handler and the pigeon. It is not just all about the pigeon/s. Those that win consistently do not have better pigeons than those they are beating. They just "do it better". They have found what works for them, with theirs. If it was just the pigeons, then a rich guy could buy his way to the top. Been tried and sometimes works but sometimes doesn't.

Start with the best you can obtain on your budget, You do not have to spend big money to get good pigeons. You can if you want and there is nothing wrong with that. After all, it is your money. Read up and ask questions constantly. Then formulate a simple plan. Then actually do what you have planned, without too much "dropping of the ball". Join a club and race. You will do okay and have the time of your life. You will win some and you will lose some. But to me, it ain't about the winning and losing. It is about the pursuit. The challenge. The "chase".

At this time of year, we are all breeding some new little boogers, that we hope will someday be famous and carry us to the promised land of fame and fortune.

But right now they are just little balls of feathers and hopes. Little flying prayers that we hope will turn into little flying miracles. It is a blast. I really can not understand that more people do not participate in it. They just don't know what they are missing.
 

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This will be my second year racing. It was a real learning experience last year. When I started I thought it was all about the pigeon, but know a lot better now. There are some really wonderful "pigeon people" who devote themselves to the care and handling of the birds. The condition of some of the birds going to races is spectacular.

Hugh
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am still wondering how you measure your pigeons performance, How do you know if you personally are making any progress in the speed of your pigeons, either through genetics or through changing feed or exercise routines? Do you calculate a speed in mph or feet per minute or do you have a set spot you always drop them off at and time them back, where is your consistency in measureing performance? So far everyone just tells me how fun it is, but if you are going to try and make improvements in speed either genetically or environmentally then you have to be able to measure performance, or do you all just hope to get lucky and have a wonder pigeon pop out and win all the races?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Again to try and clarify, in horse racing everyone knows that if your horse can't run a mile in x amount of time then it probably won't win the race and therefore won't enter. Tracks have records and everyone tries to beat those records. In pigeon racing is there records, are there measurement criteria like my pigeon can fly 70 mph or how do you measure what your pigeon can do and does?
 

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Well some strain lines of birds average a slower but steady speed. More of a distance bird. While others fly faster and more of a speed birds. This being done on secltion of breeding. NOW you measure yrads per minute for racing. And you can check your birds even with your training tosses. On how they get home. NOW far as speed A base line speed of 45 miles per hour Is a good TRUE speed base then factered in is tail wind which increases the speed Head wind that decrease the base speed then cross wind which not only decreases speed But increase the race distance by off set distance as it increase the arc in which the bird flys.. Now some people Think they have faster birds PERHAPS but it may be that these birds are not faster BUT smarter birds. That can fly in a more correct flight from point A to point B. there by flying the short course home. And then you have to hve a bird that holds its condition and holds its flight ability Over the race course. The more a bird sits down to drink rest ect The longer it takes to get home. Then you have the leadr follower syndrome Some birds The smarter birds head for home others follow the leaders. Many things way into the birds speed. But when it hits the loft Its home win or loose
 

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I am still wondering how you measure your pigeons performance, How do you know if you personally are making any progress in the speed of your pigeons, either through genetics or through changing feed or exercise routines? Do you calculate a speed in mph or feet per minute or do you have a set spot you always drop them off at and time them back, where is your consistency in measureing performance? So far everyone just tells me how fun it is, but if you are going to try and make improvements in speed either genetically or environmentally then you have to be able to measure performance, or do you all just hope to get lucky and have a wonder pigeon pop out and win all the races?
I think the best answer to your question is found during the racing season. When you look at a race result sheet, there is no doubt where they stand. The race sheets can be broken down in a number of ways, but you will see where your bird ranks against the other birds and you will see their speed based in yards per minute. The race sheets record the distance, weather conditions, visibility, wind speed and direction, number of birds, all which play a factor. Over the course of a season or seasons, you can then compare you and your birds' performances to see if you are progressing or regressing.

It's a long time to wait between racing seasons, though. It's not like you can take your bird to the track and clock him at the quarter pole every week. However, training tosses CAN tell you a thing or two about your birds if you pay attention and keep records.
 

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You figure in yards per minute, any distance under 100 mi is just training. After that you can figure speed. Go to the AU web site, there you can find the link to see fastest birds.
Dave
 

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Again to try and clarify, in horse racing everyone knows that if your horse can't run a mile in x amount of time then it probably won't win the race and therefore won't enter. Tracks have records and everyone tries to beat those records. In pigeon racing is there records, are there measurement criteria like my pigeon can fly 70 mph or how do you measure what your pigeon can do and does?
Both the IF and the AU have speed records my bird just missed out on the IF speed record in the 300 to 350 mile catagory. The record is 2141 yards per minute or 72.9mph my bird made a 2121ypm 72.35mph. But ppl really don't go by those records it's how the bird proforms in comparison to the other birds in the race. Because the speeds change according to the way the winds are blowing and what kind of weather you have. My bird won that 2121ypm race so in my eyes she was the best bird that day. To me I judge how good my bird are doing and which ones are on top form by taking them to the same spot and I know by the times they make (taking into consideration the weather factors) how they are doing compaired to past seasons and how they should fair in the races. That helps me pick out the birds I'm going to fly then how they fair in the races determines their future as either a breeder or a lifer on the flying team.
 

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You figure in yards per minute, any distance under 100 mi is just training. After that you can figure speed. Go to the AU web site, there you can find the link to see fastest birds.
Dave
I'm pretty sure for the AU the distance has to be over 75 miles to be considered for national honors. Because we have one club in our combine that is in the AU the Staten Island club and some of their members are too short they are only 73 miles in the 100 mile race when I fly 122 miles but we are in the process of making a new station so that they would be over 75 miles so they can be eligable for AU honors.
 

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I am still wondering how you measure your pigeons performance, How do you know if you personally are making any progress in the speed of your pigeons, either through genetics or through changing feed or exercise routines? Do you calculate a speed in mph or feet per minute or do you have a set spot you always drop them off at and time them back, where is your consistency in measureing performance? So far everyone just tells me how fun it is, but if you are going to try and make improvements in speed either genetically or environmentally then you have to be able to measure performance, or do you all just hope to get lucky and have a wonder pigeon pop out and win all the races?
I measure success by the race results. A few things for me are how many birds I have in the top ten percent and how often. How many birds did I fly to get the amount in the top ten. It has nothing to do with speed at all. The longer the race the more important it is. Each bird is on a grading system and I can look through and find my best birds right away at the end of the year. Combine and concourse results are even higher graded. Because of flying against more birds.


If your bird does not fly 75 miles at is not a race. The results will get disqualified by the AU.
 

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You can not compare horse racing and pigeon racing.

Horses go in the same direction and do not have the hazards of having to deal with predatory birds, telephone lines, dove hunters shooting at them, etc, etc. But just like in horse racing where there are horses ha excell in longer distances and those the excell in shorter distance. And also horses the excell on hard surfaces and those that do better in mud. Pigeons also can excell in different distances. A bird that wins every 200 miles race it is entered in, may never wind a four hundred mile race. Some pigeons can win in really bad weather only, and some can only win in really nice weather.

As alluded to above, the fastest pigeon does not always win. The pigeon with the capability of actually flying faster than any other pigeon in the whole world, may not win a race against a pigeon that knows the way home better or is smarter about several factors, such as landmarks, not stopping for water, or how to lose a predator bird on his butt. The shortest distace between two locations is indeed a straight line. A bird that flys two hundred miles in a straight line at 40 miles and hour, will get home quicker that a bird that flys two hundred miles in a zig zag or "L" shaped homing path.

I have heard tell of pigeons so into flying home fast, that they fly right by their home loft and just keep going for a lot of miles, before they figure it out. Then they have to turn around. That can happen especially with birds taken on too short a training toss, and especially with young birds. Pigeons love to fly and sometimes they love it so much, they pass home. Humans can do the same thing also. Ever be driving and miss your exit because you were in "automaic mode"? Just cruising along without thinking? Happens to me a lot.

But then again, I ain't the brighest light bulb on the Christmas tree. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
well, it seems like a bad idea IMO to base your progress or performance on something like the race where everyone else is always changing, granted weather and other uncontrollable factors can't be controlled but saying you are successful if you are in the top ten percent isn't really telling you if you have improved or not. It only tells you how you are doing compared to everyone else, you might be breeding slower and slower pigeons and not realize because maybe one of the best breeders has found a new passion in life or had a rough year and suddenly you are moving up compared to everyone else even though your pigeons are slowing down. So if you have selection criteria for selecting pigeons to breed from, what is the cut off for different distances in yards per minute (YPM)? For example, 100 mile, 200 mile, 300 mile and 400 mile?
 

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Some people have speed birds short distance birds that don't go past 250, I like my Houbens good out to 500. I don't think they are slowing down, weather plays a big roll in how fast they fly, I have a lot of 500 and 600 mi day birds. I think most pigeon racers have a program on the PC that tells you how you did last yr this yr and in the race. We don't really leave that much to chance.
 

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You are not making much sense. I do understand the concept you are alluding to, but it is flawed IMO. In your concept, one should eventually go from pigeons that now fly a 100 miles at 1500 ypm, to pigeons that fly 100 miles at 44,000 ypm, given enough time for breeding the best to the best, over centuries.

That has already been done and pigeons are not going to get any faster. At least not a whole lot faster. No matter what you do.

For instance. If a human can jump 8 feet high in the Olympics, does that mean if we only allow winning high jumpers to wed and have babies with other winning high jumpers. Then in 2000 years, there will be humans that can jump one mile high, without anything other than just muscles and technique?

No.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You are not making much sense. I do understand the concept you are alluding to, but it is flawed IMO. In your concept, one should eventually go from pigeons that now fly a 100 miles at 1500 ypm, to pigeons that fly 100 miles at 44,000 ypm, given enough time for breeding the best to the best, over centuries.

That has already been done and pigeons are not going to get any faster. At least not a whole lot faster. No matter what you do.

For instance. If a human can jump 8 feet high in the Olympics, does that mean if we only allow winning high jumpers to wed and have babies with other winning high jumpers. Then in 2000 years, there will be humans that can jump one mile high, without anything other than just muscles and technique?

No.
I am sorry that this isn't making any sense to you, I am not trying to breed humans that can jump a mile or pigeons that can fly 44,000 ypm. I am only trying to establish a selection criteria for how fast a pigeon should be able to fly. I am not an expert on genetics, in fact the more I learn on the subject the dumber I feel, but I do know that as long as there is genetic variation in a species/population and you are selecting for one trait (ie. speed or stamina) then there is still progress to be made and a need for selection. If all the pigeons that are in a population, (the race world, your loft, my loft however you define your population) if all these pigeons flew at 2000 ypm and there was no variation and there hadn't been for several generations then I would agree with you that pigeons are not going to get any faster and we have maxed out there speed. But I don't believe that we have reached a threshold where pigeons can't go any faster and I don't think anyone else who is still breeding and selecting pigeons based on their performance believes that either. Or why would you be breeding them?
 

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Talking about pigeon speeds--you did not mention if flying into head wind--with tail wind--cross winds. One speed record helded by my friend is 85 MPH for a 500 mile race. Well I think it was really 453 miles. 2493 YPM
 
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