Fancy Pigeons Care Guide | How To Take Care Of A Fancy Show Pigeon?

Birds have ruled the sky for millennia and these beautiful creatures have fascinated humans so much that we have time and again tried to domesticate birds.

One of the most successful domestications of birds we have seen is that of the pigeon. 

Rock pigeons are found across the world and people have domesticated them to form the many shapes, sizes, and colors of what we now call “fancy pigeons”.

Let’s learn some more about these surprisingly common birds in this Fancy Pigeons Care Guide. 

What is a fancy pigeon?

A fancy pigeon is a name used while talking about any pigeon of the rock dove family which has been domesticated. Rock pigeons or rock doves can be domesticated for many reasons like for their looks, size, shape, or color. 

Fancy pigeons include homing pigeons, carrier pigeons, and pigeons that are bred for beauty competitions. 

Related Read: How Much is a Homing Pigeon Worth?

How many fancy pigeon breeds are there?

There are many breeds of fancy pigeons. If we include all the regional variations, there are almost 1100 breeds. Europe alone has about 500 fancy pigeon breeds listed. 

This immense number of breeds arises due to the different breeding of pigeons in different areas. Thus, different colors, shapes, sizes, and traits are found in these breeds. 

Related Read: 5 Best Pet Pigeon Breeds | What Breed Of Pigeon Makes The Best Pet?

What are some of the varieties of fancy pigeons?

Out of the many interesting breeds of fancy pigeons, here are some of the most interesting ones- 

Barb PigeonsBarb pigeons have been around since at least the 17th century. These birds are medium-sized and have small faces. The striking feature they possess is the wattling on their face. The fleshy, red-orange wattling surrounds their eyes and beak. 
These pigeons were so unique that they even caught the eye of Shakespeare and appear in his works. 
Pouter pigeonsThese pigeons are thin and tall. What sets them apart is their crop, which can inflate like a balloon. This makes them look muscular on the top and thin and lanky on the bottom. 
Ice PigeonsIce pigeons are domesticated from wild rock pigeons but they get their name from their unique blue color. They also have extra-long fur near their feet. It kind of looks like they have feathers sticking out of their feet
Frillback PigeonsThese are beautiful birds. They have a posh look because of their meticulously curled wing feathers. These birds usually have a white body with dark grey wings. 

Some other interesting breeds are homing pigeons, Capuchin red pigeons, Saxon fairy swallow pigeons, and African owl pigeons. 

Related Read: Roller Pigeons: Care | Breeding | Feeding & Cost

Related Read: Trumpeter Pigeons | Breeds and Types, Care & Maintenance | Interesting Facts

Related Read: Jacobin Pigeon | Everything About It, Care, Breeding & Maintenance

Are fancy pigeons good pets?

Like any other animal, keeping a pigeon as a pet will require some time and effort to care for them. But, pigeons do make good pets. Here is why.

  • Pigeons are quiet birds. Other birds like parrots and budgies are very vocally expressive, They coo and squawk a lot. If you work from home, or just like a quiet atmosphere, this can be disturbing. Pigeons don’t “speak” much so they are good pets for small and quiet households. 
  • These birds are social and easy to train. It is very likely that your pigeons will not be afraid of you and will enjoy spending time with you.

Related Read: How Long To Keep Pigeons In Cage | For New Pet Pigeon Owners

How to breed fancy pigeons?

Though you’ll probably have to buy your first pair of fancy pigeons, if you really want to have your own flock of fancy pigeons, you will want to breed them yourself. 

Since pigeons are hardy birds, they do not need excessive care and maintenance. There are two methods of breeding fancy pigeons. 

The first is single cage breeding, which means that you will keep a pair of pigeons (one male and one female) only in a single cage. 

The second method is colony breeding. This involves having a larger group of pigeons living together, perhaps in a loft. One thing you’ll have to ensure is that there should be no pigeon in the loft that does not have a pair. 

Related Read: 5 Things To Know Before Buying Pigeons As Pets

Related Read: How Long Do Pigeons Live?

Also, they should all be of the same breed so that there is no cross-breeding. 

Here are some more things you’ll have to take care of while breeding fancy pigeons – 

  • Cage – The cage should be clean and should allow the pigeons to move around and socialise freely. There should also be enough warm and dry spots where the female can lay her eggs safely.
  • Sunshine – Plenty of sunshine is important for the pigeons to stay healthy. So make sure that your cage receives a good amount of sunlight each day. 
  • Nutrition – Ensure that you feed the pigeons a balanced diet containing grains and grit. Fruits and vegetables are also good for the pigeons. Also, ensure that the birds have access to clean water. You should change the water in the cage everyday. 

How to maintain a fancy pigeon loft?

A proper loft is essential to keep your fancy pigeons happy and healthy. There are a couple of boxes that every pigeon loft should check off. 

The loft should have plenty of sunlight entering into it. This is important for warmth. However, too much sunlight and other harsh weather conditions like rain and wind should not affect the loft.

It should be designed so that the birds inside are not harmed during this extreme weather. 

The loft should be cleaned about once in 2 weeks and food and water should be changed every day. 

What do fancy pigeons eat?

Fancy pigeons are tough birds but they need a proper diet to live long lives and to be able to maintain their looks and health. If you are raising a fancy pigeon, you should have a carefully planned diet for it.

Fancy pigeons should be fed plenty of grains. The grains should be mixed with grit, which contains calcium for these birds. The calcium in the grit is especially important for female pigeons because they need it to form and lay healthy eggs.

You can also feed your fancy pigeons fresh fruits and vegetables occasionally. 

Are there any supplements for fancy pigeons?

Just the food grains you feed your pigeons do not have all the vitamins and minerals that pigeons need to stay healthy. A simple solution to this is to start feeding them some supplements along with the food. 

Pigeons need vitamins all year round but a larger amount of vitamins are needed during competitions and training, during molting season, and when your pigeons are mating

Water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins

You can use water-soluble or fat-soluble vitamins, much like those available for humans. The water-soluble vitamins like B complex, C, and F should be given regularly because these are not stored in the body. Fat-soluble vitamins which are A, D, E, and K are stored in the body and hence you can give them to your pigeons once in a while. 

Dosage

It is important to use supplements made for pigeons and to feed them to your birds in the right amount. Too many or too few vitamins can be toxic for your birds and impair their health and performance. 

Specific vitamins

Racing season

Pigeons during racing season experience a lot of wear and tear and hence need specific nutrients to keep fit. 

You can use Omniform Which contains vitamins, amino acids, and inositol. Another option is Colombina Vita. This is a powdered supplement containing glucose and vitamins. 

For the growth and repair of muscles and tissues, you can use Form-Mix Plus. Carmine is a good choice to aid with lactic acid build-up and cramps.

Molting season

B-Chol has vitamins and amino acids. It can aid in shedding so it is useful during this time. 

Mating period

This is arguably the most important time and your pigeons will need a lot of care. You can use Supervit. This contains trace elements, vitamins D3, and 10 vitamins which will keep your pigeons and their babies happy and healthy. 

How long do fancy pigeons live?

In the wild, pigeons live only 3 years on average. If they have a safe home and proper food that meets their nutritional needs, fancy pigeons can live for up to 10-15 years. 

Can fancy pigeons fly?

Yes, fancy pigeons can fly. They have perfectly functional wings. Some people even use their fancy pigeons as carrier pigeons or homing pigeons. If they are trained well, these birds can fly far away and return home precisely and speedily. 

Related Read: Do pigeons fly at night?

Are fancy pigeons wild?

Fancy pigeons refer to the rock pigeons that have been domesticated. So, rock pigeons are wild but fancy pigeons are not. 

What is the price of fancy pigeons?

Fancy pigeons are usually sold at high rates. A pair of these pigeons can cost anywhere between INR 20,000 and 1,00,000. 

With this said, there are many pigeon breeders who may give the pigeons to you at a much cheaper rate. 

These are people who really enjoy their work and want to share it with as many people as they can. 

Conclusion

Fancy pigeons are domesticated rock pigeons. They are smart, hardy birds and are easy to raise and train. If you are planning to raise a flock of fancy pigeons, you should keep in mind their dietary and habitat requirements. 

These birds are seen across the world and are used for different purposes. Countries like Germany have weekly fancy pigeon competitions too.