Preparing Your Birds for Showing by Larry Holbrook
This article is written mainly for racing pigeon fanciers who show a few birds in their local club shows or sometimes in all-breed shows. Showing is a good way of extending interest and interacting with other fanciers.
If you show in racing pigeon club shows you should not have a problem knowing which classes to enter. When you decide to show in an all-breed show there will be a lot of confusion. There are classes for flying birds and non-flying birds. Racing pigeons will be in the flying category of course, but so will rollers, tipplers etc. Then there will be classes for American Show Racers, Genuine Homers, Beauty Homers, Giant Homers, Exhibition Homers. None of these are racing birds. If that wasn't enough,there are two more confusing categories. Racers for show have been developed in the U.S. and in Europe. They are beautiful birds but they are not raced. I prefer a type that I developed myself by selection from my racers. They are good looking and they can race too. Most fanciers just go into the loft and pick out a few good-lookers when show time is here.
There are show standards to follow for other breeds but a standard for racers is usually just in the mind of the judge. There is a standard developed for the European Olympiade shows which occur every two years in a different country each time. For these shows beauty is recognized but birds must also have a racing record. I developed my own guide for judging, based on a point system, and the form I used is shown at the end of this article. Racing ability can be judged to a certain extent by handling but not totally. In my opinion, performance is the only sure way of judging racing ability. I do not subscribe to theories but some of them are interesting.
If you are going to show your birds you must plan ahead. It is much like conditioning for a certain race. Don't expect to go into the loft the day of the show and pick a few birds. You might do fine but you will do better if they are prepared ahead of time. I usually select my entries two months before the show date at least, then they get individual attention. If a bird is in a show pen with my name on it, I want it to be a credit to my loft. The bird must appear to be in very good health and this means no external and internal parasites. If the moult has been completed the bird stands a better chance. Inspect every feather and if you find one that is twisted hold the feather over the steam from a boiling kettle and it will right itself. Make sure that the bird appears clean, no dirt on feathers, feet or beak. Polish the band until it shines! If the top part of the beak overlaps the bottom part too much, trim it with nail clippers, but not too far back or you might make it bleed. Check the claws and trim any that are too long. A show is like a beauty pagent, your birds should look good. One reason for starting well ahead of time with conditioning is to allow time for changing feed. If a bird is a little thin increase its ration of safflower or conversely if it is too fat. Make sure that your candidates have been given plenty of vitamins and probiotics, it will be obvious when they are in the show pen.I have more information on showing at my website http://www.racing-pigeon-fancier.com/
Mr. Andy Loudon
Mid Island Racing Pigeon Association
Qualicum Beach , BC V9K 2L7