Selecting racing pigeons is a learned skill, and not all of us not agree on what makes a good pigeon. The only real selection test for racing pigeons is the race performance. If your bird cannot perform in races don't even think about keeping it, except in the case of inbred stock pigeons which are used to produce your best flyers. A good source on the WEB for pigeon fanciers can be found at http://os2.iafrica.com/sport/pigeon/index.htm. A good book on racing pigeons is Bob Kinney's "THE WILL TO PREPARE". Both of these sources go into detail on the facts and theories of pigeon selection. One thing to remember is once the pigeon is in the air, only his intelligence, health, homing ability, and his love of home is going to make your pigeon race home. You are the Coach of your pigeon team. Your handling of the team means the difference in winning or just flying pigeons.
I just bought some new breeders from Mr Tom Barnhart (excellent birds), Mr. Dennis Augustine, and Mr. Joe Alva (super bird). The Augustine birds were bred by Mr. Bob Kinney. I am going to use these birds to enhance my white racers (11/9/98).
Train young birds out to 5 miles at 10 or 12 weeks of age, never later. All animals learns best and retain their learned skills longer if taught at the youngest possible age; hand feed a treat seed to each bird every day to tame them; tried and proven race birds should be used for breeding; mark the first egg if your breeding pairs are not in individual pens, second egg might be fertilized by a different cock, keep the birds locked in their nest boxes between first and second egg to ensure parentage; don't let widowers sit on 10 day eggs before removing hen, 7 days only; after old bird races - pre mate breeders if changing mates - let them lay, then separate after 7 days.
You do not have to do what I suggest - ever.
Only breed out of top racing pigeons, preferably those who have excelled at races for 3 years or for birds 2 years old that excelled as young birds and as yearlings. What you are looking for are birds that are consistent - in the points; in the money; uptown birds. If you breed out of birds that that haven't raced well, you are into experimental breeding or breeding hopefuls. Breeding a loft full of hopefuls weakens your future as a pigeon racer. Know the quality of your breeders (their racing record) and you have a pretty good idea of the quality of the young birds before they hatch. You can also help by giving the best possible feed to your birds while they are breeding. Feeding your breeders poorly can be the same as breeding from a loft full of hopefuls. The best hope you can have in your loft is that a pair of your breeders will breed you a champion bird. Keep your eyes open and senses alert - or you may miss your champion.
Sometimes you just need to laugh - go ahead and do it now.