The Future of Our Fancy

by Clint Robertson


Getting new fanciers started and keeping them interested is always a challenge and to me it is far more difficult and important than the challenge of breeding superior stock. I suppose we all have our own ideas about how to attract new fanciers but just as important is to keep our existing fanciers. It has been a goal of mine for many years now to do both. I have said many times that without fellow fanciers to share our accomplishments with, our defeats with, our hobby with, the birds alone would mean very little to me. Friends and fellowship are what makes our hobby fun and exciting. A show without competition is pointless. Without other fanciers to share ideas and birds with, the quality of our stock would improve at a much slower rate and our organizations and clubs would become stale and boring. As a fancier what do you do to guarantee the future of our hobby? There are things I have done that have had a positive effect and I would like to share some of these practices with you and I would hope that if you have any ideas that might help in our quest you would share them with us also.

                Answer all of your correspondence and return phone calls. It sometimes takes me longer than it should but I try to get back to everyone who contacts me. Before I sell anyone birds I like to talk with them at length to see just how interested they are and to see just what they are looking for. I often will give names of other fanciers who may be able to supply birds or advice better than what I can offer.

                Encourage new fanciers to join a club so they can be informed about the hobby. If you sell birds for decent money to a novice you may want to give a complimentary one year membership to your breed club to that fancier.

                I never give birds to a novice free of charge the first time they come to me for birds. I have done this in the past and found it to be a big mistake. The birds we raise represent a great deal of time and love for our hobby and the novice must appreciate this. I do not suggest large prices at all but rather a reasonable dollar figure at first to make sure the individual is really interested and to make them appreciate the birds. To me giving a bird to a fancier free of charge may only come after that fancier has proven he is giving it his best shot. Once he has proven this then I will make available key birds which can truly help that fancier.

                Only sell good quality stock, and stand behind your stock. If a bird will not breed, replace it. If you will not sell good birds for fear of getting beat and you are a top breeder then I will wager that the number of fanciers in your breed is getting less and the show entries are getting smaller. You will find yourself having to travel further for good competition and it is all your own fault.

                If another fancier requests a certain bird I have, I will try to make sure that breeder gets that bird or one like it that will help that breeder when I am done breeding from it.

                Take the time to talk to interested fanciers at the shows. Ask to look at their birds and help them out whenever possible. Do not be pushy. Offer advice openly and honestly.  Something else I will often do at our large shows, when novice fanciers have gone to great expense and effort to get there, is to give them a good bird that will help their breeding program free of charge as a good will gesture. As an established breeder I feel it is my duty to support these fanciers and this is how I will sometimes show my appreciation. Remember these people have already shown their devotion to the fancy.

                Selling someone a pair of birds is the easy part. Making sure they stay with it and do not get discouraged takes more time and is the key to getting a new fancier to stay with a breed, a club or even in the fancy. This is were you must pick up the phone. I try to phone at least one different fancier each week just to ask how they are doing and to offer encouragement if I can. With the reasonable phone rates now it hardly costs me anything to do this. I will ask about their birds, I will invite them to the shows, I will offer advice if it is appropriate and I will ask advice if needed. I have made lots of great friends this way and I think I have helped to encourage some fanciers to stay in my breed and in the fancy and I know it has increased participation in our shows and in our Jacobin club.

                Be a good sport at the shows. Win or lose always be grateful for the show and the competition. We must never take our shows and those who support them for granted. Hand shakes and thankyous are always in order and will go a long way to creating a positive atmosphere.

                I would like to commend the Canadian Pigeon Fanciers Association for the wonderful work they are doing to promote and enhance our great hobby. They have available some great literature for young and old telling of the great fun the pigeon hobby has to offer. There are also many exciting programs geared towards enhancing our shows and recognizing individual pigeon breeders across Canada. This has been a great shot in the arm for the pigeon hobby in Canada and I would encourage everyone to join and be a part of it.

See You at the shows.

 Clint Robertson Email: