It's stunning how many approaches there are to recognizing a top pigeon. Whether it is a proven method or not, it's always interesting to find out how different some approaches may be. I'm not saying they're all wrong, quite the opposite. The most eccentric method might very well be a good one.
During all the years that I have been practicing pigeon sports, I have come in touch with many national and international pigeon fanciers. For my work at Travipharma veterinary pharmaceuticals, I often travel abroad. I visit prominent top lofts for my inspections and I also accentuate my knowledge. I am always surprised by the many differences in the examination of racing pigeons. South European pigeon fans consider it important that the pigeons’ tail is spread as much as possible when the owner lets it “fall” down when kept in the hands. Asian fans like to see the tail remain small during a “fall”. A down pointing tail indicates a strong back. East European fanciers pull the beak for a few seconds. They like to see if the beak shakes hard with the head when you release. In the Dutch Antilles, I discovered that some recognise the sex of a young bird in the nest of at least 10 days old by their backside. If the backside comes further out in one point, it is a cock. If the backside is more stumped, it is a female.
An older Dutchman indicated to me that you can recognise the pigeons’ sex from the length of the small toes. If you look at the three front toes, it is almost certain that it is a cock-pigeon if the toes have an uneven length.
I am happy with my father who was a great teacher and also the first graduate pigeon judge in IJsselstein. I also have the luck with the Dutch Martin van Zon and the Belgian Frans Bungeneers who have taught me quite a lot with their great knowledge and experience in recognising top pigeons. In the pigeon sport it is, like in other things of life, not easy to make the right decision. If you want to know more about selecting the best pigeon, read my article: Identifying a Top Pigeon.