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translation from Dutch by LCB
 Just believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear…
message posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

It’s not always easy to make a choice. I always used to say : when you chose between two things, you have one thing but you’ll miss the other. When you want to do winter breed, you’ll have to deal with this. When we select pigeons to breed with, we follow this system: first we catch all pigeons and put them in the baskets. We move them from the open aviary to a space underneath the loft, where they have to stay for about at least two hours. We make sure the pigeons are in the dark so they don’t start to fight and they are much calmer. My wife always helps out every year again.  She’s very handy in catching pigeons: she takes them out of the basket one by one and passes them on to me. Normally they always say : “Where the trousers talk, skirts have to be quiet”. This is not the case at our home.  Usually we start with the cocks but this year we started with the hens because they are the most important partners in a breeding pair.  We don’t like pigeons that are too small, we prefer them a bit bigger. Of course we don’t select pigeons pigeons as big as a chicken. We look for hens that are good in the hand, who bread slowly and which have the perfect weight. Every pigeons has its own cart, on which we write everything down. Not only the ring number but also the colour, the sex, the colour of the eyes, long or short muscles, the quality of the feathers, something about their character and our general impression. When the pigeon succeeds in the hand, we approved to check out further. Next we check their balance and if they’re well closed…which is very important! Pigeons where you can put in two fingers between the end of the Brest and the coccyx, are put aside. These pigeons are build in two parts and it’s like they drag a trailer. This is certainly not good to breed with. It’s a mistake that will be inherited in two out of three times. We call it pigeons with a bad “lock”. They have to get out… We keep on looking for further visible qualities. Another important aspect are the soft feathers because that’s important with moist weather. When a pigeon is both your hands and you push a little bit on the breast and at the same time two thumbs on its back.  When the pigeon makes a sound, coming out of the longs, its fit to breed with. Then we check the wings, which is another important subject to work with and we also like to check the throat, which tells a lot about their health and condition. Let’s continue about the wing; very important by the selection. Pigeons with a negative point on this subject, have to get out. The wing must be in proportion with its weight and volume. When they have a large and supple wing it’s better than a short and stiff wing. We like to see pigeons with a short back wing, but most of all we prefer wings that staggered twice. The change of the back wing and the first pinion has to be clear, a staggered seventh pinion gives more value to the pigeons. The pinions have to be flexible and supple.  When you take them between two fingers and try to bow them, you can’t get the feeling that it will brake. The top of the last pinions has to be round and we even prefer their 10th pinion be at least be as long as the 9th. And good to see is when the last 4 pinions have the same length.

The beards of these pinions can’t be too wide.(see example) Pigeons that have too wide beards will pass it on to their youngsters. When you don’t pay attention here, you’ll get pigeons with chicken feathers. With the last four pinions, we’re always looking for pinions that have the shape of a potato knife. Another positive aspect is when they have a short thick forearm, close to the body. About the breast bone: a pigeon with a long breast bone, normally has long muscles. When these muscles feel like a tire of a bike, you can be sure that this is an exceptional bird. The breast bone has to give you a strong and solid impression. When the bone feels to sharp, don’t put it on the breeding loft, even if they already won some prizes.  Then there’s also the “lock” and the coccyx of the breeders. When the coccyx is strong, it’s usually tightly closed. You have to get a good impression when two fingers glide over the end of the breast bone. It takes some practising before you get to know it but it’s necessary for your future. Most fanciers take the paws between two fingers because it’s safer and the pigeons can’t escape. Still it’s better to feel the bird with both hands. With your right hand you can check on the “lock” and the coccyx while your left hand can check on the muscles, next to the breast bone. Of course you have to careful and be sure to keep it close to your body. Try it our inside your house because I’m sure that you can’t check the bird when you hold it with its paws between your fingers. It’s clear that this technique is the very best to judge a pigeon. Finally this: we’re always looking for pigeons with a perfect balance, pigeons which are good in the hands, that fly better and longer without getting tired. Next time we’ll talk about the throat and the eyes and also the search for the perfect combination of cocks and hens to put together. In fact everybody knows that the eyes are the mirror of the soul. But remember that the eyes can deceptive just like with women. You have women with very beautiful blue eyes and many times they’re all feminists. So be ware. A beautiful woman belongs to the world, an ugly one only to you…So open up your eyes before your weeding and half closed afterwards.


At the moment there’s peace and rest on our racing loft but still a lot of feathers all around.  Luckily they discovered the vacuum cleaner, which we use every day. For some days now, we only feed them once a day and this in the afternoon around 3 or 4. When the weather is fine, they also can get outside to spread their wings while we clean the loft.  Every day they get clean water with “BRONCHOFIT”, a liquid tea in which we also add Oregano. It’s a natural product that supports the respiration and the digestion.  We’ll give this for about three weeks while every day we add “HERBIAL”  or “ZELL-OXYGEN” to the food together with some BMT (beer yeast) to dry it all.  Our breeders that were left after the selection and others that will fulfil them are totally through the moulting for some exceptions. Every year we have the habit to select out the older pigeons So at the end of November, beginning of December, there will no pigeons born in 2003-2004. Even when it sometimes hurt to eliminate them because these are at the base of our colony and our successes. 2003 (our return to Belgium) was the first year we began again to breed and race with the pigeons, after we stayed in Taiwan for 20 years. And to be honest, we didn’t regret our return for one minute. In fact: ”He who lived hidden, lived well.” It’s better to die two years earlier than live one year too long… We will be back on November 17th, a few days before the National days of the K.B.D.B. in Oostende. Till then…


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© 2004 Michel Vanlint
Michel Vanlint
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