You are on page 1of 6

SuccessfullyBreedingtheRacingPigeon

bySilvioMattacchioneBAMA
Silvio@silvioco.com

SuccessDemandsKnowledge
SomeofyouwillknowthatIamanavidreader.Iread
anythingandeverything.Ireadthingsthatinterestme
greatly,thingsofonlypassinginterest,andthingsofno
possibleuseorinteresttome(thingshereindefinedas
articles,books,scholarlypapersinwritten,audio,andvisual
forms).
Oneofmyauthors,averysuccessfulCanadian,the
chairmanofalargeWinnipegprivatecorporation,a
philosopher,entrepreneur,jazzmusician,artist,and
consummatebudgerigarandpsittacinebreeder,putitlike
this:
"Inadditiontodedication,persistenceandoptimism,successdemandsknowledge,
anditisherethatmanytrapslieinwaitingfortheunwary.Youreadbooks,
magazines,journals,scholarlyarticles..everything,andthenyoutalktoexperienced
breedersofbirds.Youareinundatedwithdogma,goodarticles,opinionsandfacts.
AH!Thosefacts!Thereinliestheproblem:somuchexpertadviceiscontradictory.The
problemwillalwaysbewithus."

Expertsandcharlatansalikeparadeassumptionsandopinionsasfactsandpropound
immutablerulesforyourbirdstoliveby."
Successdemandsknowledge!Evensoyouwouldbecorrectinprotesting,"Butbirdkeeping
isanart,notascience."Inspiteofthesecomments,youronlyhopeistokeepreading.You
mustdevelopthisisabsolutelyimperativeifyouaretohaveanyhopeofsuccessaninstinct
forthosethingsthatmakesense.
"Todevelopaninstinctforthosethingsthatmakesenserequiresingestingmassesof
information(andmisinformation)inordertoprovideaperspectiveagainstwhichto
makeinformedjudgments.Butreadwithanopencriticalmine."

IntheimmortalwordsofJohnDoole'sIrishgrandmotherinlaw,"Ifyoubelieveeverything
youread.youwilleateverythingyousee!"
Now,dearreader,thatappliesasmuchtothis,myarticle,astoallotherbooks,articles,
andjournalsyouwilleverpickup!

BewareoftheBlindLeadingtheBlind
Youhavethereforebeendulywarned,Isincerelyhopeyouactuallylearnsomething,
however,mydetailedknowledgeofpigeonfolkdoesnotgiveonemuchoptimism.This
minorpointnotwithstanding,Iamnowtoofaralongtostop!
Itismypositionthatinlifeandthatnecessarilyalsoincludessuccessfulpigeonbreeding
thattheonlythingofrealorlastingimportanceistruth.Withoutitthereisneitherhopenor
possiblefuturehappiness!Lfyouasapigeonfancierhopetoeverbesuccessfulandever

wanttoattainfuturehappinessinyourbreedingandracingprogram,thentruthfromall
sidesisabsolutelyimperative!
Sotheinevitablequestionis,"Whatistruth?"MyWebster'sNewWorldDictionarydefines
truthasfollows: 1)thequalityorstateofbeingtrue2)conformitywithfact3)reality,
actualexistence4)correctness5)agreementwithastandardrule6)thatwhichistrue
Nowthatweknowwhattruthis,itisimportanttodefineonefinalwordforthepigeon
enthusiastbeforewecontinue,andthatisthewordblind.Nowagainreferringtomy
Webster'sNewWorldDictionary,wefindthedefinitionsofblindasfollows:1)sightless
person2)lackinginsightorunderstanding3)donewithoutadequatedirectionor
knowledge4)closedatoneend5)notcontrolledbyintelligenceorreason6)todeprive
ofthepowerofinsightorjudgment7)anythingthatkeepsoutthelight
Overtwentyyearsago,asayoungmancompletingmymastersdegree,Ihadawonderful
professorattheUniversityofWaterlooinCanada.HisnamewasDr.EddieEvans.Dr.Evans
wasaclosepersonalfriendwithdegreesinPedagogy.HisfavouritesayingIwillnever
forgetanditsumsupmostadequatelythestatusofthemajorityofpigeonenthusiastswas,
"Theblindleadingtheblind!"
Souponcarefullystudyingourdefinitionsabove,therealizationbeginstodawnthatthe
truth(thatwhichistrue)ofthepigeonsportandpigeonenthusiastsingeneralseemstobe
thattheblindareleadingtheblind(donewithoutadequateknowledgeanddirectionandis
neithercontrolledbyintelligenceorreason)rightintoadeadend.Wearetherefore
deprivedofthepowerofinsightandjudgment.Wethereforeneverprogress,never
succeed,neverreallywin.
Forthoseofyouwhomayhavelostmydrift,KarlWintersteinmightputittoyoulikethis,
"Whatdoyouwish,thesteakorthesizzle?"Theanswerbeing,mostnevergetpastthe
sizzle!
Thetruthisthatmostpigeonenthusiastswillneverseeachampionletalonerecognize,
breedorownone!
Championsarerare!Prepotentchampionsaretherarestoftherare.Theyarerarely
recognizedbyanyoneregardlessofhisconfidence,experience,selectingabilities,or
manifoldselfproclaimedstudies.HowoftenhaveIbeencalledbynoviceandexpertalike
andhaddescribedtomeinminutestdetailtheresultsofselectionprocessesthatproclaim
soandso'slofttohaveanaboveaveragenumberofworldclasspigeons?Imaginean
absoluteplethoraofworldclasspigeonsinoneloftalone!Thenoviceandoldproalikeare
delighted,theyhavebeenstroked,theiregosinflated,theyhavealoftfullofworldclass
pigeons.Theyhavejustbeendeprivedofreason,judgment,insight,direction,and
knowledge.Theyhavewalkedintoaclosedendedtrapandthelightwasturnedoff.They
haveacceptedandfilledtheirnostrilstooverflowingwiththesizzleandwillnevertastethe
steak,letalonedigestit!Thishappenscontinuouslytheblinddeludingtheblind.
Ifyoutrulywishtoeverachieveanylevelofcompetenceyoumustcometotherealization
thattruementorsareexceedinglyfewandfarbetween.Soforgetyourmentorallhis
teachingsandpreachings,allhishangupsanddelusions.

RulesforSuccess
Rule1: Makeyourownmistakes!
Birdkeepingofanykindisbydefinitionahandsonactivity.Donotbeafraidtomakeerrors.
It'sO.K.!Youonlyreallylearnbydoing.However,youmustlearntorecognizeyourerrors,

learnfromthem,anddonotrepeatthem.Howoftenhaveyouheardsomeonesay,"Butso
andsohashadandbeeninpigeonsforthirtyyears,andhedoesitlikethisorthat"?
Howthisblindnessinfuriatesme,asthetruthreallyisthatsoandsowhodoesitlikethis
andthathasnothadpigeonsforthirtyyearsbutratherforoneyearthirtytimesover.He
haslearnednothing,andneverwill,becauseheneitherrecognizesnoracknowledgeshis
errorsanothercaseoftheblindleadingtheblind.
Rule2:Readeverything,studyeverything,butdosocritically!
Yes,byallmeansreadtheoldfavouriteslikeOldHand,Violet,andcountlessothers.Butdo
notdeludeyourselfthatthesedinosaurshaveanythingofvaluetoofferyou.Readtheseto
developyourinstinctformisinformationinordertoprovideaperspectiveagainstwhichto
makeinformedjudgments.Wehavecomesofarsincetheseextinctfossilsparaded
assumptionsandopinionsasfacts.Alsorememberthatnewmoderncharlatansareonthe
sidelinesjustwaitingtomoveintocenterfield.
Readandstudyeverythingeverywhereanduseonlywhattrulymakessenseandcanbe
supportednotbyopinionorassumptionbutbyfact.Inoursportaswellasmanyothers
animalandhumanMDsandDVMsarereportingstudiesinallareasfromgeneticsto
performance.Readthemall!
Rule3:Learnandapplyknowledgeofgenetics!
Ifyouwishtolearnandapplyknowledgeofgenetics,thenreadandstudyallyoucanget
yourhandson.Mostmaterialwrittenbypigeonenthusiastsforpigeonenthusiastsis
rubbish,absolutequackerywithlittleornobasisinreality!Howoftenwouldyou,a
reasonablehumanbeing,gotoajanitortohaveatriplebypassortoanautobodyor
collisionpersontorecommendtheuseofpharmaceuticals?Whataquestion!"Never,"you
say!YetIseethiseveryday!Youmayinfactbeabletoexpertlyfixafender,butcanyou
spellthewordgeneticsletaloneapplyitsprinciplesorevenvaguelyunderstandwhatthese
principlesareormean?YetIwatchpeoplelistenintentlytothesecharlatansanddisregard
confirmedknowledgeofgeneticsthathasbeenappliedtothefieldsofpoultry,cattle,
horses,dogs,andsoon.Soyousay,"ButSilvio,apigeonisnotachicken,isnotacowor
horseordog."AndIrepeatafenderfixerisnotageneticistandcannotclaimknowledge
thathedoesnotandneverwillhave!Byinsistingthatyoucanlearnnothingfromthose
whohaverightfullymadetremendousprogressintheseotherrelatedstockareasistowear
yourignoranceonyourlapel!
Rule4:Stocksenseisessential!
Therearesomepeoplewhoreallydohaveagiftwithanimals.Thisgiftofrecognizing
qualityinanimalsiscalledstocksense.Ifyouwereasuccessfuldogbreederorcattle,pig,
sheep,orhorsebreeder,thenyouprobablyhavethisstocksense.Thisusuallycannotbe
taughtyouusuallyhaveanaptitudeforitornot.
Nomatterwhatyoubreed,theprinciplesareandalwaysremainthesame.Onceyoucome
toknowwhatdoesordoesnotconstituteaqualityanimal,youarewellonyourway.Good
stocksensestackstheprobabilityofpotentialsuccessmuchmoreinyourfavourthanin
thatofsomeonewithnosuchsense.Youcanquicklyseethisinhowonehandlesand
relatestohisstock.Mostpeopledon'thaveit!
Rule5:Twopigeonsinone!
Donotbefooledandalmosteveryoneiswhenhandlingandevaluatingapigeon.Most
peoplepickupapigeon,pullitsbeak,(I'dliketopullyournoseandseewhatIcan
concludefromthis)forceopenitsmouth(yes,Ihaveconfirmedtheexistenceofatongue

andthroat)openitswings(recognizenothingandclosethemknowingly)andcommenton
itsweakvents(yetIhaveneverseenventsnotuptotheirpurpose)and/orweakback(not
knowingthatthebackisactuallybetweenthebirdsshoulders).Theserealexpertslookata
pigeon'seyeoreyes(inrealityalltheycandoisconfirmthatyesithastwo),andthen
eitherproceedtohaveanorgasmordeclarethattheyhavebetter.
Therealityisthatnoonecanconcludeanythingfromthephysicalmakeupoftwoequally
wellconstructedpigeons.Ifyouarehonest,youcan,inreality,onlyconfirmtosomeone
yourownpersonalsubjectivepreferences.Notallopinionsareofequalimportanceorvalue,
allbydefinitionaresubjectivebutthecorollaryofthisisnotthatallopinionsareofequal
valuebecausethetruthisthattheyarenot(seestocksense).
Nowineachpigeonthereareactuallytwopigeons:theonephysicallythatyousee,andthe
hiddenbirdthatyouhavenowayofseeing,andthereforenowayofjudging.
Whenyouevaluateabird,youmustofnecessityevaluatebothwhatyouseeinfrontofyou
andwhatisinthebirdandyoucannotsee.Inhorsesthisisoftencalledheart.Ifyou
misjudgethisyouloseyourchancetoownthechampion.
Forexample,in1960,asmallhorsewasborninOshawa,Ontario.Asayearling,hewas
offeredforsalefor$25,000(Canadian)andtherewerenotakers.Hisownerretainedhim,
trained,andracedhim.In1963,NorthernDancerwontheKentuckyDerbyandPreakness
wentontobecomethemostprepotentsireinallhistory.Iwatchedatayearlingsaleashis
sonsanddaughterssoldforbetween$1.5and$3million(U.S.)each.E.P.Taylorwould
eventuallyrefuse$40million(U.S.)fortheDancer.Hefoundedadynastyworldwideand
singlehandedlycreatedahorse
Mypointisthatalloftheexpertsandfenderfixersevaluatedthehorsethattheysaw,and
nottheonethattheycouldn't,andtheywereallwrong:Mostpigeonenthusiastsareall
wrong!
Rule6:Natureisnotonyourside!
Ifyouwishtobreedgoodpigeons,orgoodanimalsofanykind,youmustcometotruly
understandthissimpletruth.Whattruth?Well,thesimpletruthisthatNatureabhorsorder.
NatureisthegreatequalizerNaturedoesnotwillinglyadmitofextremes.Lefttoherself,
Naturerevertstothecommonform.Natureneverprogressesfromlessordertogreater
order,butalwaysfromordertodisorderiflefttoherdesigns.
Mostcurrentlivestocksurviveintheforminwhichtheyexistbecausetheyarebeneficialto
maninthatform.Theyexistinthatformbecauseexpertherdsmen(orgeneticists,
scientists,andothers)haveappliedknowngeneticprinciplestocommonstocksoasto
modifythemtotheirownends,i.e.,moremilk,moremeat,moreeggs,fasterhorse,andso
on.Ifmantookhimselfoutoftheequation,theresultwouldbeareversionorextinctionof
theform.
Whatdoesthismean?Thismeansthatoncetheprepotentsireordamisactually
discoveredusuallybyaccidentoruncovered,thenyoumustatallcostsdevelopaline
aroundthisspecificbird.Youmustnotdilutehimbecauseyouwilleventuallylosethe
qualitythatmakeshimgreat.Youmustperpetuateasmanyoffspringinasmany
combinationsaspossible.Inbreedingisyourtool!Ifyoursireordamdoesn'tputupwithit,
thenheorsheisnottheprepotentspecimenyoubelievehimorhertobe!Ifthisisthe
case,youmustlooktouncoveranother!Youcanlearnmuchofbreedingbystudyingthe
theoriesofChaosandRelativity!
Rule7:Trulyprepotentsiresordamsaretherarestoftherare!

Theyaretobecherished,andunlikediamonds,theywillnotlastforever.Usethemwisely!
Tofindoneistrulylikepanningforgold.Yougothroughtonsandtonsofrockanddirtto
findonlyagrainanuggetofrealgold.Thatiswhyithasvalue,becauseitisrare!Yetonce
foundtheyareneverappreciatednorproperlyused.Thisisbecausepeopleignorantly
believe,"Oh,well,I'llfindorbreedanother."Well,goodluckbecausetherealityisyou
rarelywill.
So,Silvio,whydoyousaythis?Well,hereiswhy.Letussay,forargumentssake,thata
pigeononlyhad25pairsofgenes.Ifthiswasthecase,theneachpairofpigeonswould
produceapproximately33,500,000differentgenotypes.Youmustadmitthatthisisan
incrediblenumber.Buthowmanygenesdoesapigeonreallyhave?Wellhe/shehas6,000
pairs,whichreallymeansthatifeachpairwasheterozygoustheywouldinfactproduce3to
the3,000thpowerdifferentgenotypes.Doyouunderstandjusthowbigthisnumberis?
Sowhatbecomesonlytooclearisnotthatvariationsoccurbecausethisisthenormbut
ratherthatoffspringofaprepotentsireordamcanbesoconsistent!Thisiswhyprepotent
pigeonsaresorareandvaluable.GobacktoRule6andrereaditNaturedislikesorder!
Onlythroughawelldefined,wellthoughtoutandexecutedplancanyouseektothwart
Nature'slaw.Mostpeoplelose.Oncethesireordamisgone,soistheir,andtheirhuman
owner'ssupposed,abilityasagreatbreeder.Yousee,ithadnothingtodowiththemor
theirabilityithadtodowithchanceandblindluck.Soitiswithsomanyselfproclaimed
masterbreederswithmany,manyallAmericanaccolades.Weretheyreallymaster
breedersorjustextremelyfortunatetohavealonglivedprepotentsire?
Rule8:Crossinbredlines!
Onceyouhaveidentifiedyourprepotentsire,asdefinedabove,andhaveproceededto
developatrulyinbredlineofpigeons,thenwhat?Well,whatweseekisalwaystoimprove!
Wewishtoobjectivelyimproveourstockwhilemaintaininglongevity.Alwayslook,neverbe
content!AlwaysseektomodifyandmanipulateNature'soddsinyourfavour.
Youmustdeveloparapportorfriendshipwithotherlikemindedandmultitalentedpigeon
enthusiastswhohavealsoproducedinbredlines.Cooperatewitheachothertofurther
developeachother'sfamilies.WhatImeanisthatwhentwoormoreinbredlinesof
pigeons,orlivestockofanykind,arecrossed,andwethenbreedthecrossbredfemales
backtoeitherside,weshouldimmediatelyseeverybigimprovementsineverythingfrom
fertilitytolivability.
Alloftheadvancesmadeinbreedingcommercialanimalsoverthepastfiftyyearshave
beenbasedonthisoneprinciple.Thisprincipleisreferredtoasheterosis.SowhatamI
saying?Well,HorstHackemer,rememberthatredinbredMuelemanhen,sistertothe
"Patriot",andthatblueHofkenshenbothwonderfulpigeonswithgreatflesh.Weshould
breedthosehenstomyinbredSpanjaardsandsharetheprogeny!Cooperateandweboth
win!ShallIcallyouorwillyoufaxme?
Rule9:Introduceonlywhatyouabsolutelyknowtobefact!
Neveruseapigeoninyourprogram,nomatterhowgoodorhowgreataperformance,
unlessyouknowexactlyhisgeneticorigin.WhydoIsaythis?Well,youcoulddestroy
twentyyearsworkinjustafewyears.Ifyourfamilymeansanythingtoyou,neverriskit!
Inconclusionnoonecaneverhopetobreedconsistenthighqualityracingpigeonsunless
hethoroughlyresearchesandunderstandsthebackgroundofhispigeons.Anythingshortof
thisisselfdelusionandselfdeceitandcannothopetosucceedoveralongperiodoftime!
Theblindleadingtheblind.AllIseekisthetruth!