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Tips for Beginners

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Site last updated on 06/01/2024

There is a lot of information on this site. Sometimes though when you are starting out, too much information can be confusing. What we list here are a few basic suggestions for beginners to the sport of pigeon racing.

  1. Start small - the number one priority for the first year or two is to learn. You will need to learn about feeding, training, motivation, breeding and banding. You will need to understand how the moult works and what the major diseases are. You will have to learn about hawks and how to keep them from decimating your loft. The point is you have much to learn and you want to limit your inevitable mistakes to a small flock. You also don't want to start out with expensive birds. You want to get good birds, but you don't need to worry about having the best in your club. That will come later once you know how to care for them. Generally club members will be happy to give you some starter birds. Take them and go learn.
  2. The grass is not necessarily greener . . .   - Once you get to the point where you know how to take care of your birds, you will want to take a good hard look at the birds you have. Genetics is a huge part of pigeon racing. If your birds don't have the genetic tools needed to compete, you are not likely to be very successful. Now, having said that, make sure you understand this; some of the best birds you will ever have will be birds that someone gave you! Don't make the mistake of thinking a free bird needs to be replaced with an expensive bird. The value of a bird is in how well it flies and/or how well it breeds. Once that race starts, condition, health, motivation, nutrition, genetics and a little bit of luck all come into play. The price of the bird or its parents is never a factor!
  3. Read, visit, listen, observe, test and learn - You will find most pigeon flyers are very willing to help you. You will also likely get a lot of conflicting advice. There are a good number of books, magazines and web sites that are out there that are very helpful. They too will not always agree on the best way to do things. The only way to deal with all of this information is to keep an open mind and go with what works for you. In the beginning, keep it simple. Pick a system and stay with it long enough to really understand how it works. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is to introduce too many changes during the course of a single season.
  4. Understand this - health and the absence of stress are vital for winning. Do not over crowd! Keep plenty of clean fresh water in front of your birds at all times. Make sure your loft(s) have plenty of fresh air and no direct drafts on the birds when they are in their nests or on their perches. Make sure the loft is dry. Keep out the mice and rats. Sounds simple but you would be surprised how many veteran flyers forget these fundamentals.
  5. Finally, remember this is a hobby. The sport has many facets - there are young bird races, old bird races, futurities, shows and club activities. Sometimes it can become overwhelming. Don't feel you have to participate in every aspect of the sport. If you find that it is taking up too much time, then back off. Do what you enjoy most. Its a hobby. Keep it fun.

Here is some more information that you might find helpful getting started in this sport:

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