Looking for a good breeding pair – part II

We honestly think chances are likely that the majority of fanciers have a few cocks and hens in their lofts that could make for a good quality breeding pair.

Make no mistake: this does not mean the fancier has yet discovered that breeding pair. This is in fact a game of chance: it takes some luck to discover a good breeding pair.

An interesting example
A few years back a friend of mine, who is a successful long distance fancier, lost one of his breeding cocks. The pigeon did not arrive home after a training flight. That cock had been paired with the very same hen throughout his life and the two had been breeding very decent racing pigeons. Meanwhile the fancier had to get rid of one of his breeding hens, which had always been paired with the same partner as well and which had also bred a lot of good youngsters.
As you might have already guessed the remaining hen and cock were paired, even though the fancier was not very enthusiastic about it. It soon appeared that this pair bred much better youngsters than the previous ones. Unfortunately the hen no longer bred youngsters after a couple of years.
Imagine he had discovered this breeding pair much earlier... there is a chance that he had been breeding a lot of champions. He is convinced that there are several other cocks and hens in his loft that could make for a great breeding pair. But you have to be lucky enough to discover the right combination.

It would be too simple to conclude that finding a high quality breeding pair is only a matter of luck. You can for instance increase your chances of finding a pair by trying to combine as many partners as possible. Compare it to playing the lottery: the more numbers you fill in the better the chance of winning. You can further increase your chances by trying to combine top class pigeons only.
There are, of course, plenty of examples of highly successful racing pigeons that were completely useless in the breeding loft and of highly valuable breeding pairs that were composed of two below average racing pigeons.
There is another common problem that occurs when a fancier is trying to find a good breeding pair: it happens regularly that by the time you have discovered that a couple has bred big champions one of the two (or both) partners has already been gotten rid of because he or she did not perform well as a racing pigeon.

What we are trying to say

We think it is very important to test at least one descendant of each of your newly composed breeding pairs. This does not only apply to the pairs of old birds; it includes the yearlings pairs as well.
We decided to write an article about this topic after we heard a fancier say that he was unwilling to keep youngsters bred from racing pigeons. We honestly think this is a major mistake.
We moved ten young cocks (which are yearlings now) to the widowers’ loft. We make sure that they will each have a decent partner; these will be one year old hens which we think have everything it takes to become good breeding hens. So we will end up with ten breeding pairs and we are planning to ring at least one youngster of each couple. Every youngster that grows up well will be put to the test later on.
In addition we will keep a few excellent young hens aside. They will be used later on to be paired with some of our proven breeding cocks to see if they have good breeding qualities. In fact we will not miss any opportunity to find out if one of our pigeons has the qualities to become a top class breeding partner.