I just can't stop mentioning that nobody in the world can tell for sure if a bird is a good breeder or racer.
On the other hand it is far easier to say if a pigeon is NO good.
Some have so many and such great defects that they just cannot be any good.
When I mention that to fellow sportsmen many do not misunderstand, because they turn things round.
All dogs are animals but not all animals are dogs.
Apart from the result sheet there are some things that I find essential when grading birds and for those that do not have these qualities there is no space in my loft.
Birds should have soft feathers.
I have seen big birds that are good, small birds that are good, long birds that are good, short birds that are good, birds with a deep keel that are good, birds with a poor back that are good, but never ever did I see a bird with hard feathers that was good. It is especially birds that have flights that easily break you should not want.
A good bird has a good balance.
I prefer pigeons that are average sized but that is not a must, a perfect however is.
Pigeons should have natural health.
Any bird may get sick but those that need medical help again and again are the ones you should get rid of.
The pupil of the eye should be small and positioned forward. The colour is not relevant.
Good birds have a strong character or fighting spirit. They love their territory (nest box) and will fight to defend it. I also have a preference for hens that do not leave their eggs even if they are breeding for 3 weeks.
And I have a preference for birds that I can find at a young age in the dark, since I know where they are.
Pigeons that do not have their own roost and that I have to look for everywhere in the loft are not my favourites.
All good birds have a perfect throat. Not too red, not gasping and not wide open.
Again we may not turn things round.
Bad birds may also have a perfect throat but' if the throat is bad the bird is not good for sure.
I prefer pigeons that do not moult too fast. Birds with the 5th flight out cannot be basketed.
During the racing season (and at other times as well) birds should be eager to take a bath. But'if they like it or not also depends on the weather.
When is it warm and bright they do not feel like taking a bath but in rainy weather they do. If pigeons of fellow fanciers take a bath and yours don't, it cannot be blamed on the weather and you have a (little) problem.
Pigeons should be on eggs 2 weeks after they were mated at the latest. If not, they should be separated for some weeks since they are not in good shape.
If you really want to be a champion you have to be hard sometimes and get rid of birds that you love just because they are tame or have a nice colour.
From their day of birth the body should be strong. Birds that you can only put on a band when they are 10 days old because the legs are too thin lack vitality.
Good birds do not easily get fat, no matter how much you feed them.
6 Weeks old babies should also pick big grains, if they only eat the small seeds it will seldom be a good bird.
Good birds are calm in the basket. Watch out for those nervous types that can't stop fighting.