Pigeon Buying Guide Part 1

Pigeon Buying Guide—Part One

Buying in Volume

In this four-part guide to buying racing pigeons we will cover four approaches to replacing or increasing and improving your racing stock.  The first approach we will discuss is buying in volume. Buying in volume is the least expensive way to buy racing pigeons. Some fanciers buy a large number of late-hatch babies, while others prefer to purchase the pigeon eggs from a breeder.

Selecting the Right Breeder

Before you purchase any eggs or hatchlings, you need to evaluate the breeder. Study the breeder’s loft from some time before you make the decision to buy. Some criteria you need to evaluate:

  • Breeder’s overall reputation
  • Outcome other fanciers have had with this breeder’s birds
  • Examine race and futurity records of the breeder’s birds for:
     1. Success of the loft within its own competition
     2. Racing success of the breeder’s birds sold to other fanciers

Continue to gather information. Talk with the breeder/fancier.  Inquire as to his most successful pairs of breeders thus far. This is important to know. In lofts the size of 40 to 50 breeding pairs, the breeder should have at least eight or ten outstanding pairs that produce a higher percentage of offspring than the others.

When you have identified the top pairs in the loft, and you are satisfied with this particular breeder, make arrangements to purchase their young. Many fanciers will allow you to come and choose the young while still in the nest, so be certain to copy their band numbers for future verification.

Dealing with New Breeders

You may not want to limit yourself to established breeders when buying racing pigeons. If you find an excellent young pair of breeders, particularly a pair that has produced two or three great racers, you may want to purchase the babies. Quite often they produce a higher quality bird.

European Breeders

You may have the opportunity to travel to Europe to purchase racing pigeons. Prior to your travel, thoroughly research the breeders you are considering. The top lofts in Europe will most likely not sell you their best breeders or best racers, but they should be willing to sell their young.  Be sure to buy from pairs with the high percentage of success to improve the odds that you will get good birds.

Middle-Distance Racing Pigeons

Personally, I like to purchase middle-distance racers. These birds have the ability to fly 300 to 400-mile races as young birds. I find these races to be the most lucrative. So, it certainly benefits me to find birds that can do that. This is something you may want to consider.

Disadvantages of Buying Young Birds

Of course, the obvious disadvantage with buying young racing pigeons is the unpredictability. There is no guarantee in how they may turn out. On average, fewer than 20% of all racing pigeons turn out to be suitable racers. So, keep in mind, out of ten birds you purchase, only two may be ‘keepers’. But, if you are dealing with reputable fanciers, you can buy about ten young birds for the price that one proven racer will cost you. That’s where the value lies.

Potential Advantage of Buying Young Birds

Though, overall, you have to buy many more ‘unproven’ birds to get suitable racers, you may strike gold with finding real gem among your purchased birds.  If this ‘gem’ was in the hands of the original owner, you wouldn’t be able to buy it of any sum of money.

The Pigeon Racing Insider


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  1. #1 by John Gladwin on December 28, 2010 - 2:58 pm

    We tend to identify a loft whose birds we want to buy from and then we go and buy a round from there main birds in May time, we then sort through these birds over a couple of seasons to find the best ones.

    we only buy old birds if we no the seller or it is a entire clearence sale.

    All the best for 2011

    John Gladwin
    Formula 1 lofts based in the UK and the USA

  2. #2 by dennis v. nallas on November 4, 2010 - 10:28 pm

    good day Sir/Madam
    i am Dennis Nallas from Philippines,i would like to ask some contact persons whose a pigeon fancier near in Kawasaki Japan,i am just new in pigeon racing and i would like to acquire some good breeders. I would be very grateful for some information that you can give me. thank you very much

  3. #3 by john on September 25, 2010 - 1:05 pm

    to Craig poido: you still use bleach in the drinking water??? I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU to try and drink that water yourself. All you are doing in dehydrating your pigeons on the days you put bleach in the water. They will take only enough sips to stay alive, because two teaspoons (less than a capful) in a gallon is enough to make a human vomit! I spoke directly with Clorox Bleach Company, and all it takes is 16 drops of bleach in a gallon of water to kill all bacteria up to typhoid! This includes the AIDS virus – so why are you burning out your birds???

    • #4 by terry downs on December 23, 2010 - 7:35 pm

      This is true folks,if you look on the OLD bottles of bleach, the concentration is much higher now.Think before you use item folks, your birds will do better for it.

  4. #5 by pij lover on September 23, 2010 - 3:33 am

    well a good one, actually i have at present 16 pairs which are breed and bought in last eight months. i bought ten youngesters from a renowned breeder in july this year but unfortunately only three of them survived. the remaining three are fine and healthy. what is the right time to buy youngesters? what should i be looking for in those youngesters?

  5. #6 by Whitney on August 14, 2010 - 11:37 am

    Another good reason to start out with youngsters is that you don’t have to deal with prisoners!

  6. #7 by Michael Spiegelberg on August 4, 2010 - 5:24 pm

    Hey all , Like always very good info and teaching skills on here …. I was actually looking at getting more birds , pairs…. Then switched my train of thought …. and decided on some late hatches and younger birds seeing that the price is a big difference and I will also be able to fly these Homers when the right time comes …. So This time around you’s actually saved me alot of wasted time on birds and lots of money ….. Much appreciated ….. Without this type of help one could sure waiste alot of time and Cash …. Very Good Information, Peace and Thank You , Mike

  7. #8 by bryan omandam on July 17, 2010 - 2:14 am

    in buying pigeon i expected that their some expensive pigeon that have quality in race but their something not

  8. #9 by Andy Buchek on July 4, 2010 - 10:58 am

    i don’t have time to race pigeons. I am a farmer who enjoys looking up and seeing birds flying overhead and knowing that those are my birds. After a loss of my birds, I’m having some trouble finding homers for sale. I’m interested in a few breeding pairs for my small hobby.I live southeast Mo. area and would like some info about bird sales etc.Any info would be appreciated. Andy B.

  9. #10 by Royal on May 19, 2010 - 6:19 pm

    All of everybodys comments make sence club flyers that help out a beginner most time wont send any bird off there best breeders but heres how you do it that same breeders more then likely is going to put his best birds in the club auction race that’s were you can get good birds and maybe even end up winning some money for you and the breeder but if not once the bird has trained out at the end of the season you should be able to have a few good foundation birds.


  10. #11 by Spiderman on April 7, 2010 - 12:59 am

    @Gille, I’m more than 100 percent agree with what you share in what you read in certain article of Ad Schaerlaeckens. Thumbs up!!!

  11. #12 by Ron Osgood on March 16, 2010 - 8:34 am

    I will buy youngsters at auctions I will not buy an old bird at an auction unless it’s has lots of diplomas backing it up and it’s relatives need to be diploma winners on both sides. As Ad Schaelaeckens said. “Cull the bad ones, sell the good ones and keep the best ones.” I really believe that statement. I’ve found success in purchasing birds at the one loft races races where they need to turn the birds in order to get ready for next years race. Remember the flyers entering birds in these races are paying some big entry fees so they are not sending in junk.

  12. #13 by Craig poido on March 5, 2010 - 4:34 am

    i remember years ago when i first started racing as a junior flyer back in 1977 at the time i was the grand old age 14 a experienced old flyer said to me when there right son you could feed them coo coo pops thats always stuck in my head what im trying to say is there is quite a lot of different ways to feed our feathered friends ive forgotten half of what ive learnt its a tough game but dear friends never give up feed is only a part of it you must have good loft management as well poido

  13. #14 by Craig poido on March 5, 2010 - 3:57 am

    regarding their feed once the birds are finished the moult i change there feed from a breeding mixture to a racing mixture 31 parts pop corn 38 parts barley 16 parts wheat 15 parts dunn maple peas also with wet weather my pigeons are given lemon juice from the super market every day dosage 4 tsp per drinker and crushed garlic 1 tsp per drinker and i also put iodised sea salt as well to also help combined with the lemon juice and crushed garlic to keep their droppings nice and tight not sloppy these are just a few secrets that i have been using for years the lemon juice is cheap and it is full of citric acid and vitamin c and at this time of the year is exellent for a healthy moult all the best to every one craig poido

  14. #15 by Craig poido on March 4, 2010 - 10:48 pm

    i will be open and honest most good pigeons are not for sale i have found over the years my best pigeons were given to me as gifts i am yet to have ever bought any champions from sales but these are only my experiences you talk to other fancyers and they swear by going to sales isuppose each to there own yours in pigeon racing craig poido

  15. #16 by Craig poido on March 2, 2010 - 4:49 am

    i swear by the bleach i use it on a reguler basis i use it at least once per week mainly as a preventive i use a full cap per drinker also depending on observation i sometimes will give the bleach for 3days

    • #17 by terry downs on December 23, 2010 - 7:41 pm

      Check your concentration, it is much stronger now, I would cut it in half.

  16. #18 by terry on February 7, 2010 - 8:06 pm

    I do agree with most of Ed’s article, but how many flyers really give up youngsters off their best? A new flyers best bet is listening and learning from the older flyers and watching the race results at the club/combine level and hopefully aquire some good local birds to learn on, until he/she figures which family of pigeon he/she wishes to start their base birds on.After all folks we all agree that about 60-75% won’t do much except eat feed.So beginners should not be expected to pay top dollar on birds when most will be lost due to lack of education,that my firends is how we won’t keep new flyers.Most clubs that I have heard from will help most new flyers with a couple of youngsters to get them going.hopefully it won’t end there, but help them with advise until they have a good idea just what they are doing, if nothing else for the birds sake.

  17. #19 by Rob on January 28, 2010 - 11:42 pm


    Ad Schaelaeckens site is very good to obtain a realistic view about buying stock. His comments make an lot sense although with all “extreme” opinions a certain amount of “counter balance” needs to be used by the reader. It is a fact that a lot of fanciers are pedigree crazy and the market will suit what is demanded which most of the time is detrimental to the purchaser. You can never analyse race and loft results enough when buying birds. Buy pigeons from a a good flying fancier who is not “fussy” in his management as you can always improve performance with those birds. Buy only birds for the distance you want them for. etc etc.

  18. #20 by Brown Kant on January 28, 2010 - 8:47 pm

    I agree with your point of view on this article “Pigeon Buying Guide Part 1” very much.

  19. #21 by Derick on January 26, 2010 - 7:17 am

    once again its all about pigeon knowledge, you can study a fanciers results but to be able to go there and pick the best breeders that is the ultimate challenge as well as satisfaction…at the end of the day you buy pigeons and you still don’t know what the reason is they particularly good at that distances,the best breeders also breeds duts

  20. #22 by jamm on January 11, 2010 - 12:07 pm

    thanhs to i learned how to a helhty pigeon cause i a newbie for this hoby

  21. #23 by asif on December 30, 2009 - 8:44 pm

    its great

  22. #24 by Gille on December 13, 2009 - 6:17 pm

    I don’t get to race yet but I’ve been searching the net to learn so when I do get to raise birds to race hopefully I’ll have a better understanding of what I’m to do to gte good results. I was given a web address and started reading over the articles there and to be honest the man makes alot of sence. His names Ad Schaerlaeckens and his articles can be found at http://www.schaerlaeckens.com/
    One of the things he says is, “In the past they took their bad pigeons to the poultry, today with the Internet and the ‘pedigree-craze’ those junks are put in an aviary where they wait for (foreign) buyers.” He not only looks to see who’s birds won but just how many birds that loft flew. If they flew a hundred and had several winners in the top ten they tend to get acclaims while the guy who flew only six birds and got 1st and 3rd goes unmentioned in many of the mags that report the results. Why? Money is why it gets attention and the mags profit from advertising the pigeons from the first oft while the second loft being much smaller does not have the funds for advertising. From all I’ve read the main thing to look for is “how many birds the loft flew”. Think about it, good birds that are consistant winners can be purchased at much better prices from the little guy, as with eggs and chicks.

  1. Pigeon Buying Guide Part 3 « Pigeon Racing Pigeons
  2. Pigeon Buying Guide Part 2 « Pigeon Racing Pigeons
  3. Pigeon Buying Guide Part 4 « Pigeon Racing Pigeons
  4. Ed Minvielle « Pigeon Racing Pigeons

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