It is advisable to maintain about 4 lines within the family; even five or six lines are good if you have the room but four works fine. You keep these lines separate and maintain them through flying and breeding. You can use these lines to cross to one another when needed.
You can maintain a line pretty well with four legs for 15-20 years without too much complication. After that you may need to add some blood to spark up the genes again. When looking for new blood, remember it took you a long time to get where you are so bringing in inferior blood would not be an acceptable option.
Find someone that has built a loft of consistent birds that match your philosophy on what constitutes a great racer. They may not click the first mating. Sometimes they click right from the start and sometimes it may be the grandchildren that kick it in high gear.
Remember also that in the beginning it is like casting a net for fish. You may not get anything worth keeping on the first few tosses. You try many times and only keep the best. After the family is established your main attention should be in your family and not chasing rainbows by continuing to buy pigeons from different families. You will never gain the true satisfaction of building a family of consistent pigeons unless you stay the course.
Every time you bring in new birds you bring in a whole host of new genetic material to weed through. The more of this type of weeding through process you have, the less serious time you give to your line. There is nothing wrong with trying a lot of pigeons on the start to find out what suites you but after that move forward with your line. If you continue to purchase pigeons and play the addiction to acquiring new blood game you will be destined to fly other peoples work. This is fine for some but not for a true stock man.
Many will tell stories of brothers to the champ being the best producer. This is a sign that the family is not established. In an established family the champions will produce the best. This is evidence of a family built from top class proven champions. Once you learn what a champ looks like you begin to recognize some of the traits. You can see confidence in the expression of the bird. Nothing beats a real air proven warrior.
Enjoy your quest and remember it is for your enjoyment, have fun.
Building Consistency (part 6 of 6) – Conclusion by Ken Easley