Pigeon Talk –   A Fast Way to the Top by Using Selection and Performance

August 17, 2017
Cindy and Alex Bieche

Cindy and Alex Bieche

By  Alex  Bieche
e/mail acbieche2@gmail.com
Ph. 707-410-6604

From my very beginning back in 1978 the selection of breeders has been fascinating for me plus rewarding in meeting and grading breeders in different parts of the world. Without question the very best tool we have in selecting your best racer is the basket.  But on the other hand in several cases the best racer is not the best breeder. The full brother or sister can in fact be the better breeder. So knowing these two facts to be true I decided to study what traits or tools we can use in selecting top quality breeders. After 10 years I came up with my 6 Common Denominators Bieche grading system. In 1983 My Bird “ Domino “  had the highest score in the top California awards class. Close to 200 points higher than the 2nd place bird.   I worked with this cock for 6 years and never reproduced his like. I tried everything several different hens and also tried skip generations. But nothing. On the other hand a full sister of “ Domino “  that had all breeding traits that I look for bred 2 hall of fame winners in 2 years.  When it comes to grading pigeons. In America there are several very good Graders that can select top breeders using different styles or tools.  Some graders will grade your birds and give each bird a score. For me to look at a bird and giving it a score tells little and not the total story.  In my eyes very few pigeons are perfect. If you look very closely you can discover that pigeons will have strengths and weaknesses. To give each bird a report card on their strength and weakness gives you a much better idea of the quality of the bird plus even more important tells you what this bird should be matted to. Only by matting the two correct birds together will produce a better product. Isn’t that what we are really after?  If your 2nd and 3rd generations of birds are not better than the originals then you are not on the right track. Some graders can tell you that this bird can fly the distance and this bird will not.  That’s o/K but if a breeder wants to add more speed or distance to his family there is a better and much simpler way.  In this case Pied De Weerd said it best. For example when Hank Vernazza wanted to add some distance to his Janssen family Piet De Weerd did not look through Vernazza’s birds hoping to find a bird that would add more distance. Instead he selected the “Dax “ A Jan Arden Hen that placed 2nd National Dax. So looking for a distance bird in one’s own loft is a waste of time. If you are having your birds graded. Ask the grader Questions. In this case some graders will take the time to answer a few questions and some will not. I believe that sharing the information can only help and that’s what we are getting paid for in the first place. A grader should have enough confidence in himself that sharing some details will give the owner some value and still not make the owner the next pigeon grader. Coming up with my grading system the tools that are of value to me need to be true each and every time.

Tadlock Letter

Some traits that are not worth looking for.

Blue tongue.   Some graders will disqualify a bird with a blue tongue. I have personally found blue tongues in several World Class Breeders. In my own birds some have it some not. While you have the beak of the pigeon open, if you see small white dots in the back of the throat not to worry. I have asked several vets about these dots and in several cases they claim they are encapsulated protein and normally these small dots will not go away.   I also believe in some cases there are is too much importance placed on one individual trait rather than the bird in total. Placing too much importance on one trait can give you a negative effect. To date I have yet to find an eye sign expert that has a fantast race record year after year. Way back. Mr. Fleming from Australia moved to the Los Angeles area and thought that he would dominate the Top Flyers the likes of Art Hees,  Marty Ladin just to name a few.  Three years later from what I was told he moved out not winning a race.  I love a good eye myself but they are still only one of my 6 Common Denominators. Some also place too much emphasis on the wing. I do like to see a wing that is in proportion to the rest of the pigeon. I personally like to see the last three flight feathers well vented. Not sharp like a stag knife or too round like a butter knife. For me trying to analyze every one of the ten flights is not worth looking for. In race horses it is no different. Many have tried to say this size, style or confirmation will be the winner but in reality this has never held true.

Eye of Warlord

Eye of “Warlord”   96 DV 551-09711

Warlord pigeong

Some examples that grading breeders can help. Heinz Meir the 2008 best loft of all Germany. In the past Piet De Weerd graded his loft. To get another opinion since 1991 on many occasions I was asked to grad his family of birds. I placed his De 499 cock which is a full brother of our “Warlord” with a daughter of Goede Jarrling ( Brother of “Nationaal 1” ). Offspring from this pair can be found in several of the top current Heinz Meier Schellens breeders.  Back in 1999 while at the loft of Marcel Sangers . I picked out a Janssen Cock for Mr. Meier. The following year this same cock turned out to be the sire of Marcel Sangers “Eagle Eye” 1st National 2000 One Day long distance bird of all Holland.  I am not aware of any other American grader that has selected a bird for a client and sired the best bird of all Holland.  In 2005 I was asked to go through about 80 birds and I could have any one of these birds. These birds were all placed in the cull loft of Mr.  Meier from these birds I selected two birds.  The first bird was 92 B 5052995. She turned out to be the Schellens Foundation hen “Bonny “from the famous Belgium pair “ Bonney and Clyde. This pair bred 4 Belgium Ace Pigeons in one year. The best of the 4 was “Asterix” the No.1 National Ace Pigeon of All Belgium KBDB 1998    I later found out she was in the Cull loft because she was not laying eggs no longer.   The 2nd bird I pickled out and took home was 03 DV 40 09711   I named her “Erika” the wife of Heinz Meier.   In 2007 the loft manager for Heinz said that he would love to have this hen back because 3 of his best breeders were direct from this hen. Bill Tadlock purchased a daughter of “ Erika “  that turned out to be his best hen ever and down from her won him over $300,000 in the big money races.  In his words.  “I bred her to every good cock I had and she bred winners with each one of them.  “A true one in a million Hen.

Doug Sanders of California started racing pigeon’s back in 1996. Right from the start Doug had me grad his pigeons every year. The first two birds that I Picked out for him turned out to be of golden quality. The 0420 Bieche hen which is a direct daughter of our Schellens “Warlord” turned out to be his foundation hen. In 2003 he possibly had the best Y/B season that any California flyer ever had. That year he spread his Y/B team, into four different A and B Combine races.  He won first average speed in all four Combines 2 in the Bay City Combine and 2 in the Nr. California Combine. He also won 1st Ace pigeon in each of the four Combine races.  On the National level he won 1st and 2nd Ace pigeon of all America in his class. His four Ace pigeons plus 80% of his whole team all go back to his 0420 hen.

Yours in the Sport,

Alex Bieche



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