The Selection Process
We are simple and strict in our practical approach to selection. Any yearlings will be built up in National races over the water and the residue all go to Barcelona International starting at 2 years of age. Latebreds are taken from these and picked over, along with birds of key genes. The racing proves the quality, as we do not have to cull for quality control. The procedure selects out on racing ability in practice rather than what is in our biased brains, as man can be so wrong when he thinks he knows best. The leading race in Europe is a potent, natural selector of our birds in classical Darwinian style. For stock I love birds that are closely inbred to key performance racers at our chosen distance of 700 to 879 miles. In this way our bloodlines do inspire some confidence.
DIRECT FROM GSON BARCELONA DREAM/ODDBALL AND NO1 STOCK HEN-EMERTON/HARVEY PARTNERS.
Changes in appearance of my latebreds
Some of the birds become smaller, finer and more refined. Hens and cocks may look similar with some flattening of the heads. I notice lighter iris colours and a sharper looking head. In my strain, they appear more beautiful and delicate to me. I love these birds, packed full of Barcelona genes for outbreeding. You can expect the progeny to be bigger and more robust looking. There is no set plan to performance inheritance and it is all about progeny testing. Some families support and tolerate very extensive inbreeding and I have found some of the DVH Stichelbaut lines to be like this. Family breeding is a fascinating series of experiments into the unknown, when reality will dawn in the nature of the breeding and racing results. Over 39 years we have put some genes into them of performance birds from others, whilst keeping the blood of the old 7 key birds. Types of birds will be those left after rigorous race testing, with no standard, exacting appearance.
DIRECT FROM GSON BARCELONA DREAM/DARK ENCHANTMENT AND NO1 STOCK HEN-HARVEY/EMERTON PARTNERS.
Reliance on “good looks”
We have bred some lovely lookers this year. Other than being oil paintings and pleasing to the eye, how good are they I ask myself? The harsh reality is that a small minority will be good racers and breeders - it is the hard fact of pigeon racing! Fortunes are made on the exchange of pretty pigeons, with beauty in the eye of the beholder. In my family are some lovely birds to look at and I tend to select the latebreds well from the performance birds. My key criterion of selection is the performance of the ancestors, although good marathon birds tend to be compact and balanced in the human hand. Wise to think hard when flattered by good looks-may be no engine in that Ferrari.
Products of "THE PROCESS OF SELCTION" and potential contributors to continuous development of a strain - EMERTON/HARVEY.
Good Hard Little Hens
In my long career, I have flown some great hens on widowhood and natural systems to an ancient loft. A well seasoned little hen will perform against the odds at any conceivable distance up to 879 miles. If raced from the same family origins, where you know the ancestors, they often leave a strong influence as breeding birds like Mystical Queen/Oddball/Dots Delight/ Musgrove Addiction and Insanity etc-all these are down from my No 1 pair. It is natural wisdom to test all birds of both sexes in your loft and most marathon men go beyond the widowhood cocks syndrome and cliché-they score with the hens. Some great men have distinguished themselves with hens like Donaldson/Denney/ Gordon/Neil Bush-and the evolution of the sport is a parade of great hens like Lancashire Rose/ Storm Queen/ Mystical Queen/Rennes Lass and Northern Lady. We have been blessed in the North to put our hens to the sword at great distances where 700 miles is the norm, not the exception.---------Now--ITS WHATS BETWEEN THE EYES THAT COUNTS-- Have you realised that the pulse and the beating heart in man and bird is the BRAIN. I t determines the nature of the mind, instincts, emotions and the total psyche and personality. It is the source of any success of fancier and bird and with the right type you may do well, under the influence of a changing external world. Cultivate it, celebrate it and nurture it and squeeze the living juice from it. The brain of a champion would make a worthy study-take a look in the mirror =what do you see? I do believe that we westerners would benefit from a little introspection. When you look in the eye of a bird, do we not want to look within??