5 mistakes of the beginner in the racing pigeons sport

I’ve made them all 5 and I hope this article will be useful for the beginners just starting this wonderful hobby.

1. View and visit as many lofts as possible before building yours – preferably visit lofts of constant successful fanciers. There are many chances to build it wrong and changing it after that is very hard. You’ll notice many common aspects in ALL the lofts and they are there for a reason (the sputnik, the compartments, the nest boxes, the V perches, and so on). Even if you are stubborn like me and want to build the loft without advice, you’ll soon understand that you were wrong and you have to change it.

2. Get very good pigeon stock right from the beginning. You can’t say that you will start with modest pigeons and as you learn, you will get better birds. It’s a waste of time. Good pigeons have a different behavior and all that you think you’ll learn with modest no-name pigeons you’ll soon have to forget and start from scratch when you get better birds.

  • A poor origin bird doesn’t like to fly at home, and you’ll have to force it exercise; it might land on taller buildings around and drive you crazy! A good origin bird loves to fly(if it is healthy), and fills you with joy.
  • A poor origin bird will make your enthusiasm fall to the ground right from the beginning of your racing life, when your club mates have all the birds at home after a race and you have only 6 from 20 and those tired like hell.
  • A poor origin bird isn’t hardy, it catches diseases very easy because it’s ancestors are also poor birds that never completed a racing season successfully. A poor origin bird has poor muscles, poor homing abilities and poor motivation in races. The problem here is that most of the poor origin birds look exactly the same as the birds with high qualities, in the eyes of a beginner. This is why it is wise to get birds from honest fanciers that win races on a regular basis each year. Very important: get pigeons from fanciers that still race, a loft that didn’t race for the last few years is in decline even if the birds in there have good blood and the loft was extremely successful in the past. Each year without selection in races makes the birds worse.
  • Forget about beautiful pigeons, rare colors, big heads, and so on…the most beautiful racing pigeons are those that are home by the end of the racing season, with excellent results ready for their pedigree. You have to decide right from the beginning: do you want beautiful birds that you can enjoy at home or you want pure performance in races. If you just want beauty you could get other pigeon breeds. Very often, the “ugly duckling” of the flock might have the best results by the end of the racing season, and you’ll love it the most.

3. Don’t keep strays and don’t even think about breeding from them. They are weak low quality pigeons most of the time and they only set you back. It’s a waste of time. The good pigeons always get home.

4. Don’t hurry to the medicines shelf. You have to remove the cause, not the effect, most of the time. Good quality racing pigeons remain healthy if they have:

  • dry loft with a lot of fresh air
  • clean high quality food, with different procents of seeds in different periods of the season
  • fresh clean water changed at least once a day, better twice
  • supplements like grit mixtures
  • enough space for the pigeons; overcrowding them produces stress which is the main trigger for diseases. It drives me crazy when I see 80-100 pigeons in a tiny loft, so overcrowded that you can’t see the floor when they are all down feeding.

Overall, the entire flock must be resistant to the usual diseases like canker, coccidiosis, and so on. Treat only per individual or better don’t treat at all. If just a bird is weak, and the others are OK, get rid of it. You don’t want such birds to slow you down.

5. Don’t forget that defects are easily passed from parents to the next generations. Don’t keep a pigeon just because it has a great pedigree. Pedigrees don’t fly. Each pigeon must work for its position in your loft either by racing wonderful or by producing great racers in the stock loft. Doing a very serious selection might leave you with a few pigeons, but this is not a problem – they will breed and if their babies are are as good as them you are on the good track. Unfortunately a lot of lofts are filled with birds that are there just to fill space.


  1. Sayuri

    I’m a beginner in California, USA and would like to know if there is any loft in here with good resolts from where I can buy a couple of pegeons in a good price to start breeding.

  2. Nico,pedigree/s donot win you any racers.Go to a honest fancier in your surrounds/area and ask him a little about the sport e.g who is the current club/fed or union champion.How do his birds perform and so on.Ask him if you can buy a round of yound birds…so on and on..


  3. I like to try and give a bird a LIFE. It is not in my nature to cull , nor to neglect a sick bird, needless to say I am not a Pigeon Racer, just a person who loves BIRDS You need to be quite hard to be able to do all that and I am not.There are times when an irretrievably sick bird is best put down, and I do believe in feeding the birds for a good immune system and their exercise also helps, but there, we are not all the same that’s what makes a bit of variety in this world.My brother used to fly pigeons and got a lot of enjoyment out of it, and to be frank, a lot of strees too, but its like any stressful sport, that’s part of the attraction.

  4. I have rescued a wood pigeon a large young one from the road, and it seems viable but I think it has canker, would like to get it over the worst,my question is, I am very wary about the DAZOLES, it is possible the bird can over drink and get too much, it is mixed as per instructions but its only young, how much should it ingest during a day, for a full grown young bird, anybody know?I am a bird rearer so can tube it if necessary.

  5. Gabriel

    Good article.I don’t read much about pigeon sport because most of this people is just talking shit!they try to make this sport far more complicated then it really is,just good pigeons,good loft,strong selection,the bible is the result sheet and you should select on that and forget the rest!

  6. jesus

    thanks for the tips I have some pigeons that are from pigeons that have done good in races just dont have peds should I get rid of them and buy some with peds or is it better to keep them can.I still race them with out ped’? plz reply to.my email

  7. Double D Lofts

    Good day,

    First of all great advice. I have been in racing since the age of 13 and we learn every day. I have youngsters available to South african beginners at very avordable prices. This is all bred from pigeons I have had success with myself and other pigeon friends like M. Smit, M Bezuidenhout, Johan Faber. E- mail me with any questions and feel free to call me on +2783 546 8283

  8. I think its good advice but would like to know where to start racing and what it would cost me ,because i have had my birds for about 1 year and a half and i do alot of loft flying.Once without any training toss it flew for 80km home.Thats why im gonna start training toss them now for even better and fit results. I live in robertson on a farm in the western cape.

  9. LM

    Dear Beginners,

    I reside from Paarl in western cape(SA). All you need is good pigeons, a dry and well ventilated loft. The size of your loft will determine the amount of birds you can keep. Rather befriend a good local fancier and ask for some late-bred birds or eggs than buy expensive birds. The sport is getting more expensive so would advise a partnership if finance is a problem. The rest comes down to management, here you will have to read and experiment a lot. Only medicate when needed. Do not over-complicate and enjoy the sport.Regards

    Yaseen, feeding is very difficult to master.Principle is for short sprint races, feed high protein(More Peas) early in week, and high cards(More Maize) close to basketing day.Rationing is very important(Feed Light).

    For middle/long distance races, feed as above with fat rich seeds(Peanuts/Peeled Sunflower/Hemp Seed) early in week to build reserves.

  10. Darrell

    Very informative, thanks. I’m curious about why people say improper training will cost great losses to a long distance bird on short races. How do you lose long distance birds on short distance training tosses? What makes this a long distance bird? We had a horrible yb season with what are some long distance birds.

  11. pigeonmania.com

    I don’t think this is a problem. I never trained my birds this year, they went directly with the club and most of them were fine. Most of my birds are all-round and long distance birds.

  12. Leonardo Daniels

    I going to build me a loft but if anyone can help me to archive something I will be grateful especially well known champions I had pigeons before but I never join a club I dont have friends animals is my friends I have a passion for birds

  13. Shah

    I started with 35 pigeons and now I have 15 that have made it to 4 miles. I fully agree with what’s written here except, I am not going to pay big dollars for pigeons that I don’t know. My $10 pigeons are making it home and some $700 pigeons that my friend bought didn’t like to fly and walking most the time so became the cat’s dinner. I am doing it the hard way but it’s still fun. I like 30 pigeons fly above me. I also like to look at the 15 that have survived. I have pigeons for fun not for competition and business. Every time people get to have some fun, some people make it a source of stress by trying to make it a business. I have so much fun without competing against other pigeon owners. I see so many new pigeon owners selling their pigeons and getting out. When I talk with them, I find that what was once fun for them had become a source of financial stress. If you are a new pigeon owner and reading this, don’t compete just have fun with your friends and take your pigeons out and release them and see if they will come home.

  14. john griffiths

    I totally disagree that the best pigeons always get home, that is incorrect, I had pigeons 40+, I have had some really TOP strays especially from abroad, they don’t keep rubbish.

  15. Just wondering what you think about racing LARGE number of pigeons to racing a small number say 100 or 30.
    I usually do ok I don’t win but some times get places, I race 30 Pigeons. Now I can only manage to get 5 place Those who win race larger numbers..

  16. steve foster

    If you breed 50 birds when the young bird season starts you’ll most likely have about 40 birds to start training. 5 miles is a good way to start. William 8×12 is what I have, nothing smaller please. Thats for young birds. STEVE

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