Pedigree is all that matters! It is for that reason why great sums are paid for children of champions. It is for that reason why birds whose generation is closer to the foundation are more expensive than birds of later generation. It is also the reason why a 10th placer in an International race sold more than a higher ranked pigeon. Why? Simply because the 10th placer is a validation of its bloodline and the higher ranked pigeon may come from less known origin.
Pedigree ensures a greater chance of breeding success. It tells you how a bird is bred. It tells you the method of breeding great fanciers use. It will guide you in your breeding choices and pairing decisions. Most importantly, it will give information about the origin of the bird.
I don't know why some "famous" local fanciers will not issue pedigrees when you buy birds from them. Is it because they are lacking in confidence about the birds' pedigrees or is it that they have something to hide and that you may burst the bubble of claims, images and beliefs they projected? I cannot understand this, more so, if I consider a fancier dishonest just by omitting the name(s) of the breeders(fanciers) in the entries that are not of his breeding in the pedigree he issues.
Never will there be a poor pigeon with a super pedigree. This will always be true if the pedigree is issued by a reputable fancier. In the first place, a reputable and well respected fancier will never sell a bad pigeon. Second, one can always demand a DNA test when in doubt.
For a serious fancier, quality pigeons with great pedigree is a must. The essence of our sport is not only to have great results in the races but to further develop and improve our thoroughbreds that they become better as the years go by. As the saying goes, "breeding is gold. racing, silver"
Here are the tips on how to acquire good pigeons with great pedigrees at a less cost.
1. Buy youngsters from yearlings. In Europe, the great lofts breed from well selected breeders based on lineage and from the champions. For the youngsters from the champions, they are mostly sold out from the long cue and demand for them. From the true breeders, youngsters are expensive. These champion lofts rarely breed from the yearlings and when they do, the champion sees something special in these yearlings to merit breeding from them! The youngsters from the yearlings will cost a lot less and their parents may become champions in the future.
2. Buy the old hens. Hens fill up the eggs. Cocks only plant the seed. In Europe, the fanciers believe that to produce super pigeons, the hens should be super healthy and surely younger hens should normally be more vigorous and healthier than the old hens. For this reason, many fanciers will let go of hens past their breeding prime. Many, many years back, I was offered 10 old hens by Aime van Bunderen because of a disastrous season experienced in Belgium and many racers are lost leaving an excess of hens. I did not hesitate for one moment as the pedigrees of the hens offered were fantastic. When the birds arrived, I sold 4 of them to a friend and kept 6. These 6 hens all produced 1st place winners! One of them, a daughter of van Bunderen's "Boxer 68" was to become the mother of my "South Express" 1st OA and 1st Tacloban by 45 minutes. His clocked time of 1:45pm from a 6:30am release remains the record unbeaten to this day.
3. Buy indirectly through reputable breeding stations and collectors. The likes of Robert Venus (Ardens and other long distance families), Koen van Roy (Koopman, Soontjens, lately Ludo Claessens and de Rauw-Sablon), Roger Debusschere (Brockamp, Claessens, Florizones and many other great families).
Lastly, Given a choice between a less perfect pigeon with a super pedigree and a perfect pigeon with bad pedigree, always go with the first option because little imperfections can be corrected by compensation breeding with the good genes retained. Whereas, the perfect pigeon with bad pedigree may breed well but still retain its doubtful blood. Honestly however, I doubt if there ever will be a perfect pigeon with a bad pedigree.