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Let's talk about... Ugly pigeons!...
Author: Bob RowlandTitle: Let's talk about... Ugly pigeons!
Date: 2005-09-03 22:29:13Uploaded by: webmaster
This is not a children's story about the ugly duckling that grows up to become a beautiful black swan nor is it about Cinderella that gets cleaned up, meets the Handsome Prince, and they fall madly in love and live happily ever after. This is about ugly pigeons that have ugly parents and will also produce ugly offspring.

The current dilemma is that we are looking for ONLY BEAUTIFUL PIGEONS. If a pigeon is not so beautiful, we look for a reason to eliminate it from our future. Perhaps we would think differently if our best Racing Pigeon was also not such a beautiful one. My first 3 time winner was long, skinny, and deep but he sure made me look good when my name was at the top of the race result sheet. I would gladly have a loft full of these same athletes as on many races one gets the recognition because of their results and not their beauty.

We need to ask ourselves if we are looking for beauty or performance! Most will say both but from my many years of experience in this game, I found that getting a pigeon to perform near the top of the sheet was much more difficult than it is to buy and then breed only beautiful pigeons. Then the trick is to make these beautiful pigeons win!!

I know of those that have these beautiful specimens but will not race them for fear of losing them. So now I must ask if this is merely an ego situation? When we visit lofts there are people that want to tell us about what famous pigeon they have children from. Rarely do I hear them say that this pigeon from the special one has bred a number of winners. All of us would like to think that we have something special and bragging rights seem to be more important than what the facts actually are.

The good pigeons generally come from the good ones but when you look at the OLD PIGEON BOOKS of 40 to 60 years ago, the photos of the pigeons were mostly NOT RETOUCHED!! This means that what you were showed in the photo. Many were not so beautiful! Now we have specialists that can take a picture of a pigeon and with the help of a good sharp scissors or knife, they can make many things appear differently than they really are. This has all become part of the game. Look at any publication and notice the appearance of most of the sales ads. There is no comparison to those that attempt a picture of their pigeons and have not mastered the art of posing and retouching their pigeons.

Another problem that happens often is the distance of the races that some champions did well in are generally not given. The name of the city is given but to many of us that are living in a different country, we don't know how far the distance really is. In addition to that, when you see a pigeon with a long string of top positions, generally this is from a sprint pigeon. This is because of the ability to send that pigeon to many of these short races. For a pigeon to have a string of victories at 500 miles or greater, this is very difficult simply because of the time it takes to recuperate the pigeon after their return from a long race. With sprint pigeons they can be flown weekly and in some cases, more than once per week. For a good long distance pigeon to be entered into 50 or 60 long distance races, this pigeon would have to be more than a few years old while the sprinter that is being entered in only short races can be flown many times in just one season.

We must make up our mind as to what we wish to be known for and then to concentrate with that specialty being the key to all our preparations. If you want to be a great long distance racer, then you must have pigeons that are bred for the ability to go the distance. These pigeons will probably look and handle differently than the sprinters that everyone seems to be seeking.

The world is full of 6 hour pigeons so there will always be more of them shipped to the races of that required time to complete. As the time stretches out, the pigeons begin to give up and this I refer to as the fatigue factor. We all have the wall that stops us from doing certain things and our pigeons are also only capable of so much. Some pigeons hit the wall quickly while others can maintain for a longer period of time.

There are no RECIPES for success that are a guarantee. In all my writings I try to get you to think about what I have just said. Many tell me that I do NOT tell them what to do and this is because I don't know what you did yesterday so how can I tell you what to do with them today? Also, unless I live in your area and am familiar with your course and the basic obstacles of it, how can anyone tell you what must be done today?

What I can tell you is that the recipe requires GREAT PIGEONS, a loft that is comfortable and disease free, and a system that fits with you and your pigeons, IN YOUR AREA!!

When I moved from Wisconsin to Florida, I brought my pigeons with me that won before. Some of those pigeons have continued to give me wins here in Florida but there were also lines that were excellent in the Wisconsin environment and they have dissolved here in Florida. Try moving an eskimos to the equator or one of the equatorial tribes to Antarctica and see if they will survive. Some may but there will be more attrition than success.

Your feed will also vary greatly from climate to climate as the ingredients required for one climate may be a hindrance in another climate. Here in Florida, the squirrels are small and have no fat as they do not need it to survive a Florida winter and yet the squirrels in Wisconsin had to have layers of fat or they could not survive the brutal winters.

The amount of feathering varies differently here in Florida as compared to Wisconsin. Although I believe the number of feathers is the same, the quality of the feathers appear to be different. In Wisconsin I would allow my pigeons to be in the aviary during the moult as this seemed to give them an abundance of thick feathers to maintain their warmth for the winter and here in the sun of Florida, the pigeons appear to require more oils in their feed as the sun has a brutal effect on the feathers due to the UV Rays and for them to keep the feathers soft and supple requires an abundance of oil so they can use their preening gland to keep their feathers from drying out.

We seem to worry so much about how our pigeons appear and yet when it comes to feeding them we also seem to try to do this as cheaply as possible. I don't believe good feathering is obtained by using cheap feeds as they are mostly carbohydrates rather than protein and oils. Does it make sense to buy expensive pigeons with many sellers costing in the thousands for a young one and yet we try to save $2 on our feed?

For my self, I would rather have pigeons that win or place near the top of the race sheet often and then if they are beautiful, then I am really a happy boy but my goal in this sport is to win races and to experiment to find better ways than what we presently do for our pigeons. I am sure I shoot myself in the foot quite often but every now and then the sport gets a kick forward because of the experimenters and pioneers of the sport trying what others won't do.

It is my belief that Mother Nature will only allow us to make so many mistakes and then her rules will come back to stop us from going any further with that idea. There will always be some that will make their mark as the Janssen Brothers did but as they sold many pigeons, others attempted to do better than they had and in many cases, they failed to just maintain the level they had purchased.

Remember that nobody knows your pigeons any better than you do so don't be concerned about whether people find your pigeons beautiful or ugly. If all they see from you is a result sheet, this should be enough to impress them or nothing else counts. If your pigeons can't win for you or anybody else, then I would say we have missed the boat and are treading water until we drown.

I hope this message may have acted as a life line to you so that you can proceed forward to a high level in the sport with your current pigeons. If so, then you are evaluating truly what you are doing with your pigeons and your future.

Bob Rowland
SpringHill, FLorida USA

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