Once again (03-02-2020)
Once again (15-01-2020)
More than once, I have tried to put the meaning of pedigrees in the right perspective. A super bird does not guarantee that its parents will ever give another super. A super in your loft plus 5 full brothers? This does not mean you will get 6 supers. Just read on.
As a teacher, I had several students in my class that were from the same family, brothers and sisters. How different they could be in both the looks and skills. A student who was good at English while his brothers or sisters were not so good at it? After some years, I was no longer surprised. A ‘pigeon friend’ of mine has three bothers. You cannot believe how they differ. Yet they all have the same parents.
‘They have the same genes’ you often hear, both for humans and pigeons. It is not that simple though, thank God. Throughout the years, I have handled lots of super birds. But never ever could the breeder show me a handful of brothers or sisters that were just as good. I remate my breeders every year, including the pairs that have produced a super earlier. I have seldom experienced the pair producing another equally good bird.
If you have an excellent racer and his brother does not achieve at all, the brother is the better breeder you sometimes hear. To me, this is BS, just like mating birds on a full moon, or ‘breeding feathers’ under the wings. I prefer the babies of the excellent racer itself, my competitors may have the babies of its brother the on that was unable to win a decent prize. Are good results a negative? Come on.
But I must admit I have changed my mind in some facets. When I heard about a super bird in the past, I tried to get youngsters of its parents, that is brothers or sisters of the super.
To-day I think differently. Now I prefer youngsters off the super itself. Only fools never change their minds. Now you may understand why I find the crazy money that is sometimes paid for youngsters of a ‘breeding pair’ just insane.
Do you know what I have good experiences with? Mating a yearling cock with a yearling hen that both had good results as babies, regardless of their looks or origin. A long way back, Stan Baelemans had his ‘Donkere,’ it became National Ace Sprint. The Internet did not exist yet and the Chinese were still not buying pigeons in those days. If there were a Superbird somewhere, only the locals were aware of it. And since ‘locals’ never pay much money for local birds, you could buy good pigeons for reasonable prices then. At least, if you were a bit smarter.
I had the reputation of always being the first to find these good birds, especially from un-known fanciers. If a star was rising somewhere and his pigeons were still cheap, I paid him a visit before any others. Eric Limbourg always claims I was the first foreigner that visited him. Leo Heremans said I was the second, after the German old fox Roeper. At Baelemans’ I saw the parents of his Donkere. I was not impressed and asked him: ‘How come you mated those birds?’. ‘As youngsters, they were my best racers’, he stated.
Some (especially foreigners) pay attention to the colour of the eyes when mating their breeders. Recently such a foreigner asked me to mate a cock with orange eyes with a hen that has dark eyes. He would like youngsters from that pair. How naïve. Even icons such as Janssen Bros and Klak ignored the colour of the eyes when mating their pigeons.
It very rarely happens that two pigeons out of the same nest are both fantastic racers. Those are the ones to breed from! There is a big chance their babies will make you happy. I had my Ace Four (145) and its nest sister (144). A book can be written about the results of the offspring of both. Gust Janssen had his Olympiad, purchased by Leo Heremans. His nest brother was also a fantastic racer. Hooymans had his ‘Harry.’ His nest brother also raced fantastically. How good breeders these birds from Janssen and Hooymans were should be well-known.
It must have been about 5 years ago that a friend of mine had 3 fantastic racers. He sold all 3 to a Chinese buyer, ‘because of all 3 he had full brothers and sisters to breed from’. Now he realizes how stupid he was.
After the young bird season, fanciers have questions. ‘Which youngsters should I keep, the birds that were always on time but never really early? Or the youngsters that were too late regularly but won a top prize both with strong tailwinds and with headwinds? I prefer the birds that won ‘top prizes,’ which means for me a prize in the top 1 %. Young birds that won many moderate prizes but that were never real early have mostly disappointed me.
Some fanciers think that there is a connection with appearances and quality. They call it ‘linkage.’ For example, they have a pair that produces mostly checked youngsters. But when they produce a blue baby, it is often a good one. Or, if a couple seldom provides a white flight, but if they do, it is a good bird. Is it possible there is a connection between appearances and quality? I really do not know.
Good racers are very rare. Last year in a club nearby, there was not one bird that stood out. Since, as mentioned before, proven breeders also produce junk, you shouldn’t quickly conclude that you were cheated if the pigeons that you acquired turned out to be no good. And believe me, I know what I am talking about. All my life I was looking for better birds, but 95% or more of the birds that I brought in were junk. Still, I never had a feeling the fanciers had not treated me well.
Baelemans and his National Ace. Both its parents were ugly birds, but they were really good racers as a young bird.