Lamberton Racing Pigeons

Loft Management Series

"Begin With The Best Young Bird"

Schools often develop their educational curriculum based upon the learning and performance criteria of "average" students. In many school systems, more gifted students are selected for an Advanced Placement (AP) or honors program and removed from the general population of students.  We believe that the same analogy is true for pigeons.  We remove the brightest young birds from the general population of young birds and place them in an advanced placement (AP) program.  We select the most intelligent, the most powerful, and the most athletic young birds from  the first two rounds of young birds and place them in a "gifted" program in which the requirements of their training program are much more stringent than most "average" young birds can perform.  Since competition is at the core of the racing pigeon game, the performances of the each young bird on the race team is the single most important variable of the game.

We compare the performances of each young bird in the first two rounds with the performance of the very best young bird on the team.  In order to determine which pigeon or pigeons are the "best" young birds on the team, all of the young birds are evaluated each and every day through intense observations that are recorded and maintained.  In addition, young birds are thoroughly "road trained" before the young bird race series begins.  All of their performances throughout the training program are closely monitored and recorded.  The data generated from this process will reveal which young birds are the very best and which young bird is the very best.  That young bird will become the criteria against which we evaluate the performances of all of the other young birds.  Those young birds that perform significantly less than performance of the very best young bird are removed from the race team on a constant basis.  For instance, those young birds that return from rigorous training tosses significantly later than the very best young bird are removed from the team.  Each of you must determine what "significantly later" means.  Is it an average of 15 minutes later - 30 minutes later - an hour later - three hours later - the same day?  Just remember this fact, the more rigorous the criteria, the higher your pigeons will perform on the race sheet.  If you continue to keep young birds on your race team that come home hours and hours after the first young bird returns home, the worse your pigeons will perform on the race sheet.  Remove all of those young birds from the race team that consistently do not return home within one hour after the first young birds return home.

After the weaker, less intelligent youngsters are consistently removed from the race team, the young bird team will exercise longer around the loft.  All of the young birds will look brighter.  Their droppings will look much better.  The overall bloom of the young birds will become much richer and they will train much better.  Average or poor young birds will always negatively influence the performances of the better young birds on the team. 

Many fanciers wait to train their young birds until they are six or eight months of age.  Often, these fanciers use the entire young bird race series to select their best young birds.  At the end of the race series, their race team is finally selected based upon the results of the race series.  We believe that this process is not the way to go.  We select our best young birds before the young bird race series begins.  Our small team of elite racers race much better because of all of the many advantages that come with racing a small team of elite young birds.  Why?  Several reasons are time, resources and effort.  It is much easier and much faster to basket a few pigeons than it is to basket many pigeons.  Consequently, a small team of elite young birds often get many more training tosses because it is much easier to train a few youngsters than a large number of young birds.  It also costs less to manage a few pigeons than many pigeons.  It is more affordable to use better grain, those extra supplements and more affective medications if you are administering these products to a very few pigeons rather than many pigeons.

Several days ago, a very nice young bird was removed from one of the race teams.  She was a favorite.  But, when she returned from several exercise periods, she was the first to land on the loft.  We could tell that she was very tired and that her performance influenced the rest of the team to come down to the loft with her.  We will medicate her and try to determine her problem.  There were no visible signs of injury.  So at this point, her condition is a mystery.  She had been performing very well.  If we left her on the team while we medicated her separately, she would influence the team to exercise until "she" became tired.  However, we want the team to exercise until the "best pigeon" becomes tired.  This nice hen should not become the measuring point from which the team is evaluated.  For some unknown reason, she has rather quickly become the lowest common denominator.  Leaving her on the team will only reduce the overall performance of the team. Therefore, we removed her from the team.  And, once a pigeon is removed from the team, they seldom, if ever, are returned to the team during the calendar year.  Due to the short young bird race series, there simply isn't enough time to rehabilitate this hen so that she will race at the top of the sheet.  Perhaps we will race her as a yearling.

We were really counting on this hen.  But the selection process is often a "cruel" process to use Antoine Jacops' word.  Although the word "cruel" in English has a negative connotation, Antoine meant that the selection process should be strict, disciplined and uncompromising.  Sometimes very beautiful pigeons do not turn out to be the "best" pigeons in the final analysis.  The expectations that we develop for our young birds are often disappointing in light of the harsh realities of the racing pigeon game.  Our favorite pigeon or pigeons sometimes succumb to the strenuous rigors of training and racing.  That is why it is not prudent to develop favorites, although we've never been able to resist picking favorites.  It's just human nature to do so.  But it is not good to let our favoritism affect our judgment.  If you examine your records, we guess that very few, if any, of your pigeons that developed some type of problem prior to the young bird race series, and were removed from the race team for a  period of time, raced well as a young bird.  They may have raced well during the next season; but not the season in which they developed the problem.

Let us suggest that the criteria that you choose for evaluating your race team be determined by the very best pigeon or pigeons on the race team rather than the average or the poorest pigeons on the team.  Look for the most gifted young birds on the team and continually separate them from the remaining birds.  Create an AP class of young birds to race.  If you use the highest criteria possible on the team created by the best pigeons rather than the average or worst pigeons, we believe you will find that the overall performance of the team will increase significantly - that the race team's results will be much higher up the race sheet - and that you will be more pleased and satisfied with playing the game.