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The Ace pigeon is he the best breeder too?

The answer to this question can be short: not often. We see often that an ace pigeon is born out of mediocre parents. Also it happens that an excellent breeder as a racer was an absolute zero.


How is that possible??


The ability of winning races comes genetically seen out of the lot of quantitative characteristics that inherit from the parents to the offspring additive or not additive.


Concerning the additive qualities we can almost be certain how they pass on from the parents to the next generation.


Concerning the group of not additive characteristics we can not be so certain! Much depends on coincidences!(e.g. influences from the out-side or the quality of the combination of the genes).


To say this pigeon is good or that one is so-so, is not so simple is it looks like. It depends of many different characteristics!


For instance:

By this pigeon it is: Intelligence.
By that pigeon it is: Character.
By another one it is: Supervitality or speed or ........


In fact the mentioned 3 pigeons are all 3 "good" pigeons, but what I want to achieve is that fanciers understand that the difference between "good" and "good" is often a world of great differences! When we think this over, we see that in case of mating it is not so simple just putting two "good" pigeons (first prize winners) together!!


We must analyze the positive and the negative characteristics careful and write them down. In this way we are able to make the very best of it. When we analyze the qualities of our birds we meet many variations. The fancier who thinks he can do without the analysis of his birds, has very little chance to breed better youngsters! To make this better to understand I'll give you an example.


When we look at the results of those two birds, if we were allowed to, it is not so difficult to make a choice. But as said before: at first we must make an analysis of our birds.


The 312 possessed a miracle vitality, he was always in excellent condition and won many firsts in big competition. His strength was the group of characteristics containing: organism, vitality, form signs etc. When so many factors meet we get a super organism. This happens purely accidental. So many different characteristics are responsible that it is an organism that hardly can be reproduced. That's the reason why the 312 just gave one good youngster!


The qualities of his full brother the 411 were the characteristics out of the group containing: character, intelligence and speed. These characteristics are much easier to reproduce. The first couple of youngsters he bred before being a widowhood cock, became the foundation stones of my loft of to-day.


After long thoughts I decided to mate their parents. I spend quite some time to analyze their characteristics carefully in order to make less mistakes. Their son the 312 was sold to Japan, because regarding his analyzed characteristics I could not await a super breeder out of him. However I gave his new master a special hen free with the advice never to separate them. Their first youngster won a national race in Japan. But because the mother did not win any prize at all her owner decided that he had much better hens than this one and got rid of her. The 312 never bred a youngster that could properly get on the race sheet in his life again.


With the 411 I was unlucky. I mated him to his half sister in order to keep the good characteristics together. The youngsters from them were put on the breeding loft right away without being put on one single race.


The 646 duif became mother of many champions. Her best son was "The Good Yearling" who was 2nd National Ace Yearling and won 1th Semi-National Chateauroux(650 km) against 8500 birds with 18 minutes ahead.


The 150 duif formed with "Het Boerke" a fabulous breeding pair responsible for generations of winners.


The 411 was a good racer. His talents were the characteristics character and intelligence, the most important ones to breed winners! His worse talents were vitality, signs to come into form. He in fact had to be put on the breeding loft straight away, but I could be sure after a bad result he followed up always with a good result. One day I lost him in a smash...


The above example teaches us that in first place when we want to buy pigeons, we must not buy blind the bird that was accidentally blessed with the gift of winning many races. But that we buy best birds from a population where the breeding itself stands on a high level, where the direct ancestors are of a great value. In such a population are often excellent pigeons born. They aren't just born out of a successful mating, but it is possible out of any pigeon of the whole population. That means that the heredity of the population is very good.


When all excellent pigeons form the population come out of one breeding pair, we must try to buy youngsters from them. And it is wise to do research on the sons and daughters to see if they breed well or not. Doing so we know what we can expect when we decide to buy.


To make it all clear I must admit that it is possible to catch an excellent breeder out of the church tower, only if you are very lucky. However the serious fancier does not climb into towers, tries not to depend his success on luck, but he analyses careful the loft of his choice where he wants to buy pigeons from. He reads all kinds of papers and regularly visits interesting lofts were the racing successes are based on a well thought breeding plan.


About a good 25 years ago my choice were the birds of Valere De Smet-Matthijs. By means of strong inbreeding he fastened the quality of his world famous Klaren. Such inbred birds can easily be mated against an excellent bird of another strain. The offspring however would almost always show the characteristics of the De Smet-Matthijs strain. The most famous birds bred 10-15 years in Nokere and gave the strain a strong backbone. At first the Klaren was the most famous breeder, lateron his sons and daughters took over. There famous descendants are numerous.


Because of the value of his strain and the inbreeding on worlds famous breeder & racer the Klaren, the loft was full of excellent material. It was no problem to sell here and there from the best, because the strain gave each year new champions. So Valere gave up farming and the Klaren and his descendants took care of the De Smet-Matthijs family.


When we study the family pedigree of the Klaren, you'll notice soon that it spreads out into numerous excellent birds. The family pedigree is an excellent method to use when you study an auction list. It is immediately clear which birds have breeding talents and which birds not at all!


It is from this strain that I chose the foundation birds of my own family of birds. The Klaren was born in 1946 and I got hold of a number of his grandchildren in the early seventies. Because the Klaren was such a dominant breeder it was not so difficult to decide to try to reconstruct his blood. Because children of the Klaren were not alive anymore, I started to breed out of a number of his grandchildren. The ones I chose were outstanding in characteristics such as: intelligence, intelligence and character. Almost all of them never saw a racing basket in their life!


I mated the grandchildren amongst each other and did the same with their children, but in this way that only the Klaren was repeated as common ancestor. The inbreeding method was finished by putting the second generation back on a grandchild. All this bred material was hardly tested in races, but only selected on presence of those qualities that inherit easy from the parents on to their children!


After several generations of inbreeding and collecting special breeding material there comes a time you have to go out and look for birds out of other strains to cross against your inbred birds, because our aim is to win races!


The strains I have chosen for that purpose, all proved to match very well in a crossbreeding with my own strain. The fresh blood brought in all had some special characteristics with which I could improve the quality of my inbred De Smet-Matthijs family. The crossbred material was severely tested on the races. After a couple of years the most successful birds were mated back on the inbred old family and so I improved the old family by adding better characteristics. Youngsters out of such matings have 25% fresh blood in them and can serve either for racing or for breeding.


I brought in Janssen's first of all for their ability of being very fast. The 08 hen I imported also had fantastic muscles and her descendants already had proved themselves to be successful up to 1000 kms. So my new family was faster and still could fly without problems 750 kms.


The first tested specimen out of this combination was 77-990312 who turned out to be one of the best sprint pigeons ever to fly in Holland.


Surprised by this success I inbred heavily in the 08 hen and the result was 2 full sisters born out of a combination half brother x half sister. Both of them were crossed against the old inbred De Smet-Matthijs family. The best result was 82-448368 known as "The Good Yearling" famous as a racer and famous for his passing-on capacities for over many generations.


Because of the fantastic combination of the old Desmet family and the 08-line, I regularly inbred on this line and each time when these products are brought back in a cross, they produce valuable pigeons for racing and breeding.


The next family brought in was a crossed Janssen x Delbar, a mother("Het Schoon Blauw") and her 2 sons. I named them my Turbo-line. They brought their fantastic strength over on the next generations which are capable of flying one hour more into a head wind and still beat their competitors. "Het Schoon Blauw" again was never raced and the man where I bought her from nobody ever heard about him. But this hen impressed me so much that I could not resist buying her and mate her immediately against the best I head. She brought me in the 1th generation a National winner on 650km and my friends Pilunthanakul brothers in Thailand the Derby winner on the prestigious 750km Chiangray Kingscup Race being the 2nd generation! This also was reason enough to inbred on "Het Schoon Blauw" in order to be sure of a future clicking crossbreeding.


The third family I brought successfully in was the one of the "Donkere Supercrack". His daughter "Triple 111", herself a Provincial winner, produced "475" a three times Provincial winner. Another unraced daughter produced 2 fine breeders(never tested on the races) to give me each a Provincial winner.


Reading this it seems so easy, but it isn't!!


In the winter of 1986 I bought 2 related(again: not raced) Tournier birds, which I put together in order to observe their offspring. Their first youngster became 1987 1th National Ace Youngbirds. One year later they produced the National Orleans Derby winner. However these birds crossed into my family made the next generation slower. Most of these birds were brought into Thailand were they won long distance races under though conditions.


The same winter I bought 7 Stichelbout birds of which I formed 3 pairs. They brought me important wins e.g. 1993 1th Semi-National Ace pigeon, but the very strong passing-on of their type made me hesitate to give them free hand to change the type of my own family.


So even when you bring in birds into your loft successfully it may be so after some generations there is not much of them left because of a specific reason!


I do hope I have been able to convince you of the importance of to study the characteristics of a pigeon well before you buy it or before you are going to breed a loft full of youngsters out of her. So we can conclude that the best racer or the ace pigeon is almost never the best breeder. Sometimes we have better chances with a brother or a sister of a very special pigeon. The last example:


Daems & Son of Belgium had a cock to win 3 years in a row within the first 10 in the National Bourges race against tens of thousands competitors; one race he won the National. As there were lots of winning genes in this loft, I went there and came home with a full sister of the Bourges cock. I mated her against a heavily inbred son of my "Good Yearling". Their first youngster is H93-2353516:

St. Ghislain
St. Ghislain
Orleans 610 kms
533 kms
475 kms
240 kms
650 kms
533 kms
220 kms
220 kms
160 kms
533 kms 6319 b
5540 b
672 b
3947 b
5009 b
2542 b
4265 b
2944 b
4619 b
4711 b


Both parents were'nt even allowed to fly free around the loft, did it influence their son a bit? But the proof should convince you at least a little isn't it? The basic principle of this lecture is: try to learn from outstanding breeders and racers what their outstanding characteristics are. This lecture teached you how to make use of them in your own loft and that you will be able to finish in near future your won pigeon puzzles more successfully!


This text belonged to a lecture given in 4th Asia Pacific Racing Pigeon Conference.

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Steven van Breemen