It is impossible to look at a bird and say without doubt whether it is a great specimen or not. The following information is designed as a good guide to how to spot best quality pigeon signs.
Some fanciers can hold a bird and instinctively feel by its weight, breastbone and body firmness whether it is a possible tournament winner, but for those of us who are not so fortunate.
For the purpose of understanding i will present a rough overall guide. I am not saying that birds that tick all these boxes will win, nor that birds that do not tick them all will never win. I am saying that from experience these birds have the highest chance of success.
Pigeon Head Shape
Should be well rounded (but sometimes slightly flat on top) and well developed and large, even slightly bulbous, between the eyes. Overly small heads tend to result in a bird that is not as intelligent as his larger headed peers.
Quality Pigeons Beak
Solid and strong looking and firmly planted in the head. Size should be in proportion with the rest of the body. Upper mandible should be larger than the lower.
Pigeon Body Structure
Should be of a sturdy build with flesh feeling hard and not soft to the touch. The back should be broad with strong shoulders while the chest should be deep with enough room for large, well developed lungs.
Quality of Pigeons Breastbone
Obviously the wing muscles are connected to the breastbone, so if it is not well formed then the bird will not fly well. The breastbone should therefore be strong and thick to give hold to these muscles.
Shape of Breastbone
If a pigeon has an arched breastbone then it will never be a good racer and should certainly be avoided but in case of highflyers, arched shape or a shape of boat (from bottom) is consider as the best.
Shape of Pigeon Wings
Supple when stretched; not too easily giving and not overly hard to open. Primaries will offer great resistance due to the small feathers covering the wings. The larger and stronger these feathers, the better the wings.
The tip of the wings should be very close to the end of the tail but wings do not necessarily have to completely cover the rump.
Quality Sign in Pigeon Eyes
Five elements of eyes are also known as the “five circles” and they consist of the pupil, the circle of correlation, the circle of adaption, the iris and the health ring. Eyes of pigeons must be bright, pupil should be jet black and in center of the eye. There is a complete post on all elements of eye in the blog section.
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Color is unimportant but the quality of the quills matters. Quills should be flexible whilst the feathers are silky and smooth. Good plumage has a shine on the bird’s neck and throat.
The surface area of the wing should look like a marbled flat and hard surface. A healthy bird will deposit a white bloom on contact.
Tail of Pigeon
Slender and not overly long. At rest it should have a width of one feather. As with all the previous tips, this is not definitive, a wider tail is not necessarily a disadvantage.
Important to realize that pigeons use their tails for balance, turning and controlling their movement in the air.
Feet of Pigeons
Clean, sturdy looking and nimble. If your bird is ill you can almost always spot it first in the feet. Healthy birds will always keep their feet clean whilst sick birds can let their feet get dirty.
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