Breed from Leaders Part 1
Like people, most of our racing pigeons become followers instead of leaders and independent thinkers. It is a very dangerous and fatal mistake for a fancier, and his breeding program for success in racing, to place these followers in a breeding loft.
Followers are the birds that lack the mental ability to find their own way home. They follow a group of birds ,and if they are lucky enough to select the right group, they home safely for that race. If they follow the leaders of that race, they may very well score in the high prizes. What about the next race? Can these followers be lucky again and have a good performance next week? Will these types of birds be able to be lucky 7 weeks in a row to complete a race series? We know that they have the physical ability to race with the leaders and to perform and succeed in one race. But can they find their own way home?
These followers are bred and created in certain parts of the world because of the style of racing and land conditions they must fly over in short races. The birds fly in a so called “bowling alley”: Large numbers of birds, close together on narrow courses or valleys following each other. These birds do not have to think or navigate home. They just stay straight, and the fastest ones win the prizes. They cannot get lost because there is only one way to fly, and the distances are short (50-100 MILES). Speed is the only quality that they must possess to win. These followers can build very impressive race results against thousands of birds in a race season, especially when they fly 2 races a week at 50 miles.
It is easy to breed this type of bird. We breed speed to speed, and with strict selection standards, we can produce the desired physical qualities needed to breed champions for this style of racing. In their own country these birds are of great value and have made their owners famous and rich.
However, the honest truth is that they are of “NO VALUE” to the fancier and his breeding program. A champion pigeon must think and navigate for himself for several hours to home safely. He must possess the individual thinking skills of a leader not a follower. The real truth is that these mental capabilities are more important than the physical qualities many fanciers look for in their breeders or birds to purchase. Without the correct mental skills, no pigeon can ever be a leader. Even if it has all the physical qualities to be a champion racer, without the compass, homing instinct and navigation skills the bird is worthless.