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Annual Show of the Association of German Racing Homer Breeders (Verband Deutscher Brieftaubenzüchter e.V.) 09 & 10 January 2016 in Dortmund

The German National Show of the Racing Homer Association was again a magnet for exhibitors and numerous visitors. With all the special shows and pigeons for the auction about 1,200 pigeons have been shown. In addition, about 1,700 fancy pigeons were exhibited in the same hall at the 'Revier-Schau', the annual show of the Club 'Rote Erde' Dortmund. The show always is combined with a fair of the industry around pigeons, and thus crowd there was not so much in front of the cages, but in the industrial section.

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The different Categories

Placed at the beginning of the exhibition were the special sections for the Championship in 2015 of the National German Association, the Championship with pigeons banded 2014, and the Championship with young pigeons banded 2015. The top national As-pigeons with great performance and top ranges at special flights followed. On display were the national race winners at the national flight over long distances. The regular classes began with top performers in the class 1a (a - cocks) and 1b (b - females) with up to 14 prices at 14 contests, and following classes.  Also young birds are intensively flown. They managed in some regional organization up to 7 contests in the year of birth.

Impressive are always the pigeons with a great live performance shown in class 3. A cock was shown with 83 prices and 27,685 price-km, an average of 333 km per flight. In the number of prices he has been surpassed by a female with 93 prices and 30,796 price-km . This particular performance was appreciated on display boards at the entrance to the exhibition hall.

 

From the pigeons shown in the performers' classes the so called Standard Pigeons were elected which have received the highest score in the hand evaluation. The score or the Standard pigeons, however, traditionally is not printed at the scorecards. But the performance at the races was, and that was remarkably like for all pigeons shown in the performance classes. The Standard cock had qualified with 11 prices in 2015 for the class 1a, the hen as a yearling with 8 prizes for the class 2b.

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Standard cock (cage no. 14), Standard hen (301) and at the right most best cock in the beauty-class (596) 2016 IMG_4097.jpg

Performance record of the standard cock with 11 prices in 2015

In addition to the performance classes since several years also pure beauty classes compete. They need not to prove any performance by successfully completed flights. The difference of the phenotypes of performers and beauty homes got obvious in the direct comparison of the standard pigeons with the ' Most Beautiful males in 2016 ' and the ' Most Beautiful female 2016' as it says in the catalog on p. 24. The sense of beauty is very subjective, for the rapporteur, the standard pigeons were at least just as beautiful.

In the Footsteps of the Ancestors

Ancestors of the Belgian pigeon is the Liège pigeons. This in turn resulted from the region-based coarse frilled owls and long beaked highfliers. Liège pigeons were still sold in the 1820s to other region to upgrade the local Belgian strains. With the merger of the Belgian strains after 1850 in Antwerp again highfliers were introduced, the Ghent pigeons may have contributed their Pouters background with feathered feet, the Brussels pigeon with the Turkish pigeon as an ancestor might be responsible for a more pronounced wattle in some racers. British homing pigeons are told to have also contributed, but the potential derived therefrom should not be overestimated. From English sources, we know that about 1850 the news agencies in Britain had already switched to the time for the pigeons post on the continental pigeons originating from Belgium. Thus British homers at that time were mostly still continental racers, only raised and flown in England. A discussion of the creation of the Belgian Racing Homer is given in the author's book 'Pigeon Genetics' and the German language monograph 'Brieftauben und ihre Verwandten' (Racing Homers and Homer-Related Fancy Breeds).

It is always a nice surprise to find after so many years relics of the origins. Two hens in the special section of the Championship for young birds had a nice looking frill at the breast. Both had an excellent performance record, 6 times winner at 6 competitions, and that at the top. The ash red bar hen ranged e.g. first in a competition with 2517 pigeon and the blue pied hen third in a competition with 7202 pigeons. One of the As-pigeons, a blue hen, also had a distinct frill. She was successful at 11 contests, and that with top ranges that qualified her as As-pigeon. The delicate face, however, is an indicator of the involvement of highfliers in the development of the modern racing homer.

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Pigeons from the National Championship for young pigeons  (1108, 1104)

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Frilled As-hen with outstanding flying record (994)

Feathered feet in the form of feathered shanks was found in a yearling with 13 prizes in 13 flights and high As-points, he was one of the nominated 'Super Star' to be voted by the visitors. Short muffs could be seen in the 'Revier Show' for fancy breeds at the Hungarian beauty homers.

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Yearling nominated for the 'Super Star' with feathered shanks and cock from 2007 with extensiv wattles

Reminiscent of the Brussels strong nose wattles, especially in older cocks, could be seen at an other nominees for the Super Star.  This cock from 2007 in his good years, inter alia, in two years, respectively won 14 prizes in 14 flights.

Colorations

Homing pigeons are defined by their performance and not by their color. It is nevertheless interesting to see the emergence of interesting colorations in them. Some of the rare colorations have been present since the beginning of the modern racing pigeon, others may have come as additional mutations in the course of time. The colorations shown here were for sure not brought in from fancy pigeons recently, that's another section of the sport.

The main colors are blue checks in different intensity of checks, also some very light checks seldom seen in fancy breeds, and blue bars. Ash red in different pattern were also seen, but seem to have become rare.

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Different kinds of checks (168, 166)

Sooty pigeons were shown in great numbers. In the Netherland and Belgium they are known as 'Crayonne', German fanciers often take them as light checks. They appeared in different kinds from only a few flecks around the distal rachis of the convert like the standard cock and the standard hen up to heavy dark flecks, some of them even covering a greater area of the feather.

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Different expressions of  Sooty (13)

Smoky, in Germany sometimes called Schallie, were also shown in greater number and a great range of expression. At homers they are not as light as in some fancy breeds, and a great difference is the darker beak compared to smoky fancy breeds. The genetic difference between these types still has to be explored. Dirty darkens the plumage and at the young may be observed in the first few weeks by the dark feet. The darkening at the racers shown was not as extreme as in some fancy breeds shown in the 'Revier-Show' in the same hall.

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Smoky hen (32) and lightened blue check cock with uncertain classification (8)

Black is available in racing homers since the beginning, however, we may not compare it with the intense black of some fancy breeds. Some look mealy like powdered with flour, and this duff color is a characteristic also of many homer related fancy breeds as well.

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Dirty (435),  black (151) and black pied hen (299)

In previous years more Indigo were shown. Indigo is available in racing homers since long, but was not recognized as a trait for its own but intermingled with checks showing some bronze. The rapporteur had them in a competing strain even in the 1970th and discussed them in the German journal 'Brieftaube' in 1978. In combination with the Spread gene present in blacks some Andalusian may be produced.

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Indigo check hen (295) and blue bar with slight bronze

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Blue check with some lightening in the shield (9)

Recessive white homers were shown in the sales section, near to white, 'light tigers' were shown in the section for long distance homers, and, if the look is not deceptive, one of them had a brown base color.

 

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Light tigered long distance racer hens (532, 533)

Some bronze intermingled with black in the bars were shown by several racers. An interesting dark check cock was shown with some bronze lightening at the tips of some feathers in the shield.

Lightening effects with similariy to heterozygous faded cocks and hemizygous faded hens are common in the section for beauty homers and some homer-related fancy breeds, but similar effects are also shown in the performance classes. Some cocks appeared like frosty similar to frosty homers that were detected several decades ago in the US and also similar to frosty at Thuringian Selfs, an old German fancy breed (see e.g. the discussion in 'Pigeon Genetics' pp. 113 ff.).

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Faded-mimic hen (369) and frosty or frosty-mimic cock (421)

Possibly some of the homers shown here are new mutants not yet analyzed. As was demonstrated by the certificates of performance at the cages all these colorations are as strong as the main colorations. Therefore, to reserves pigeons only, because they have a beautiful or rare color, makes no sense in a competing loft. However, those who sort out pigeons because they are not blue or blue checks or have a white feather, do themselves just as little a favor.

Beauty Homers

The beauty homers besides the racing homers were still mentioned and they could not be overlooked because they already made about 30% of the total racers shown. Within few years the physical difference performance racing pigeons and beauty homers has become considerable. If you look at the ratings according to the hand evaluation, and if this be an expression for the potential performance, then you should send the beauty homers with their often higher grades on the journey. The grade of 94 point like this hen were not in the range of most performance homer shown.
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Beauty Homer cock in class 7a (619) and class 7b (655)

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Certificate of the Beauty Homer hen in cage no. 655

In the colorations outweigh 'soft' colorations. Often found are colorations similar to blue check hemizygous female Texans (and identical heterozygous male cocks). Also light blues were shown, which corresponded to the Polish Exhibition Homers 'lichtblau', shown in the 'Revier show' as fancy breed. A difference is given by the typical faded pattern of many Beauty Homers instead of the black bars of light blues.

IMG_4207 Schönheitsbrieftaube lichtblau 647.jpg    IMG_4241 Polnische Schönheitsbrieftaube.jpg

Beauty Homers in the class 7b (647) and 8a (752). To compare with a 'light blue' Polish Exhibition Homer at the Revier-Show (at the right).

The growing interest in racing homer related fancy breeds was demonstrated by the entry to the Revier-Show: Homer related fancy breeds with dominance of Show Racers and Dutch Beauty Homers accounted for 22% of the fancy pigeons shown in total.

Recommended Literature:

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