A notebook or a computer to keep track of your loft: it does not really matter

We would like to talk about something that is definitely not new. However, it can be very interesting to keep detailed records of all the pigeons that are housed in your loft.

It is also useful to have information about their parents and grandparents, in other words about their origins. That is why most fanciers have seperate pedigrees for every single pigeon. These pedigrees carry information about the origins of the pigeon, its date of birth and other aspects that the fancier considers to be important. You should of course add information about the races it has done and the prizes it has won, as well as the number of participating pigeons, the speed per minute and the weather conditions (very important!). You might as well write down the prize money it has won, although this does not have much to do with the sport itself. This is of course our opinion. You cannot expect a pigeon to win 1,000 Euros with a bet of only 50 Euros. In fact we are usually no longer impressed by fanciers who manage to win 1,000 Euros. Nevertheless, we want to emphasize the importance of keeping records of your team of pigeons, whether or not with the help of a computer.

In the end the 19th and the early 20th century fanciers put a lot of effort into keeping close track of their pigeon breed

After all, such a system can give you plenty of interesting clues throughout the season. This information is also very useful when it comes to selecting pigeons at the end of the season, especially when you are in doubt about whether you should keep a certain pigeon in the loft or not. 

It is usually not difficult to select the pigeons that have proved their worth and to get rid of the pigeons that are not at all useful. The other pigeons are a different story of course. However, if you write down all the results of your pigeons you would sometimes be surprised about the quality of some of these pigeons that you are hesitant to keep in the loft. You will notice that some pigeons perform much better than you expected. On the other hand some of your favourite pigeons will appear to have won less prizes than expected. This happens a lot, because fanciers usually have a few pigeons in the loft that they are particularly fond of.

It seems that fanciers always have a few favourite pigeons and they only seem to remember their best performances. On the other hand they immediately seem to notice a bad performance from a pigeon that they are less fond of (for different reasons). You can avoid drawing the wrong conclusions if you have a correct list of achievements for each pigeon at the end of the racing season. This will prevent you from blindly selecting the pigeons that you favour and getting rid of pigeons you are not fond of.  All results of all of your pigeons are there in black and white; the good results as well as the bad results. Numbers don’t lie!

The lists of achievements should easily allow you to make a points classification for each of your birds. In our loft we make a ranking for all our racing pigeons every season, based on the information that we gather throughout the year. Every pigeon has its own file that contains the following data: date, release site, number of pigeons, the achieved result per 100 pigeons, speed per minute, the type of weather and, for breeding pigeons, the position of the nest. We think that the achieved result per 100 pigeons is very important but this is of course our opinion. We think the result per 100 pigeons gives a much clearer view of how well the pigeon really performed.

To those who are not familiar with this system: the result per 100 pigeons is based on a simple rule of three. For instance: a pigeon that has won a 20th prize in a race with 1,000 pigeons has won a second prize per 100 pigeons. If a pigeon misses a prize per three it gets a score of 34 for that race; in a race per two the score will be 51 and per four it gets a score of 26. At the end of the season we add these results together and we divide it by the number of races. The result gives us a good idea of how the pigeon performed over the season. The lower the number the more successful the pigeon.

With the help of computer software we can calculate this coefficient much more quickly. It allows us to make a general ranking of all the racers in the loft with ease. Obviously, a fancier who uses computer software has a lot less calculations and paperwork to do than a fancier who writes everything down in a notebook. At the moment there are several computer applications available for pigeon fanciers, that allow you to enter calculations, rankings, pedigrees etc. A fancier only has to press a few buttons to see any piece of information.