Over the years, selective breeding has led to a revolution in the varieties of birds and animals present on this planet.
Not only has this proven to be economically efficient, but it has also led to the evolution of some of the most beautiful species known to humankind. One such species is called the ice pigeon.
What is an ice pigeon?
An ice pigeon is one of the breeds of fancy pigeons, evolving as a result of many years of selective breeding.
It got its name because of the unique ‘ice blue’ color of its body and wings. It has several varieties and they are differentiated based on their wing patterns.
Appearance of an ice pigeon
Ice pigeon is a fancy pigeon with an ice blue tint to its body. However, to the naked eye, the color appears to be the palest form of gray.
It is slightly smaller in size as compared to other pigeons, and unlike other pigeons, its head is smoother and more oblong or egg-shaped. They also carry a lot of feathered powder on their bodies, and have a wider chest.
Characteristics of an ice pigeon
Apart from their distinct color, ice pigeons are also known to have distinct patterns on their wings. These patterns help in further identifying the different types of ice pigeons.
Their eye color can also vary depending on their type. While the majority of ice pigeons have black eyes, some types also have yellowish orange-colored eyes.
Moreover, their feet are known to be both feathered and non-feathered.
Nature of an ice pigeon
Ice pigeons are considered to be good pets, owing to their docile and gentle behavior. However, while they are not aggressive by nature, they do take their time before getting adjusted to newer homes. They are also known to be quite intelligent by nature.
Types of ice pigeons:
A good look at their wings and tails can easily determine the type of ice pigeon. Here are the 6 most common patterns found on their wings:
In this type, there is no pattern on the wings. These wings are decorated with just icy gray (or ice blue) color.
Here, the wings have two narrow white bandages which are parallel to each other. These wings are also blackened toward the end.
Similar to the white-binding ones, these wings have two narrow black bands which are also parallel to each other.
These wings have a hammered pattern that is triangular and dark-gray (or black) in color. It also alternates with the triangles of the base color of the pigeon.
White-scooped wings have a triangular-shaped white and dark-gray (or black) scale line which alternates with the triangles of the base color of the pigeon. It is quite similar to the hammered pattern.
These wings are quite unique as they display a slight pink tone in color.
What are ice pigeons used for?
Being one of the most gorgeous varieties of birds, ice pigeons are majorly used for ornamental purposes.
Given their gentle nature, they are also used as pets by a lot of people. Their beauty is the main reason why these fancy pigeons are well-favored to be used at important events to further enhance the display of elegance.
Furthermore, it is fairly easy to train them and to build a connection with them. This is another reason why it is such a preferred option among birds.
Are ice pigeons good pets?
As discussed earlier, ice pigeons are preferred as pets by several bird lovers. Their submissive nature makes it easier to train them, and their intelligence plays a huge role in their training as well.
While they take some time to get adjusted to a new environment, they are still some of the calmest birds to pet.
Related Read: How To Cope With The Loss Of My Pet Bird
Where do ice pigeons come from?
The breed of ice pigeons is said to have originated in South Germany in the 19th century. These pigeons are said to have descended from wild or feral rock pigeons.
The earliest breeding of ice pigeons was done in Saxony and Silesia. It is known that in 1856, Charles Darwin was the first to crossbreed ice pigeons. His breeding experiments were done to observe the effect breeding can have on the color of feathers.
The Polish breed of this pigeon is known as Lazurek, and the German breed is known as Eistaube.
Breeding tips for ice pigeons
One of the most important things to take care of while breeding ice pigeons (or any type of pigeon) is room temperature. These birds cannot tolerate extremely cold temperatures, so it would be better to keep the temperature neither too cold nor too hot.
The bedding needs to be comfortable as well so that it is easier for the baby birds to live on them. The nest needs to be at least a foot long, with a nest bowl that is big enough to be around 10 centimeters in diameter.
The nesting material needs to be soft and comfortable, so consider using things like grass and hay. It is fairly simple to breed ice pigeons, and they are known to breed quite frequently as well.
The lifespan of an ice pigeon
On average, an ice pigeon is expected to live for at least 10 years. Some ice pigeons can also live up to 15 years or more.
As these fancy birds are mainly bred for their aesthetic value, ice pigeons are usually well taken care of, and predation is not very common. Because of these reasons, it is possible for ice pigeons to be able to live even longer.
Can you eat ice pigeons?
Ice pigeons are rarely ever bred for the purpose of consumption. It is also not common to find someone with an appetite for ice pigeons.
Considering their slightly smaller frame, they are not ideal for consumption either, as they would produce much less meat as compared to some other types of pigeons.
While they do lay eggs frequently, those eggs are seldom used for the purpose of eating. Because ice pigeons are really well known for their beauty and aesthetics, they are usually bred for the purpose of selling to potential customers for ornamental purposes.
Are ice pigeons rare?
Ice pigeons are some of those birds that are bred frequently, hence they aren’t rare birds. However, depending on where one lives, it might not be common to see them on a regular basis.
They are most commonly seen in western countries like Germany, England, and Poland. While they have found a place for themselves in almost every country over the centuries, they are known to not be able to endure extremely cold temperatures and extremely dry climates.
How expensive is an ice pigeon?
Depending on where one lives, the price of an ice pigeon can vary. That is because the cost of importing them would add to the cost of breeding them.
On average, they are usually sold for a couple of hundred US Dollars. However, a lot of times, breeders don’t just sell one bird to a customer, as they are usually sold in bulk.
This can further change the cost of purchasing them.
Interesting facts about ice pigeons
- Ice pigeons can start breeding at only 6 months of age.
- Their wings are strong enough to let them fly for around 10 hours without a pause in between!
- Their diet is fairly simple. They are known to not be fussy about food and generally eat whatever is given to them. It can be seeds, small insects, worms, berries, fruits, and more.
- Ice pigeons are capable of being really loyal to their owners if raised in a careful way. This is yet another reason why they are such a common choice for a pet among bird lovers. They are also known to show affection toward their owners once they get really comfortable with them.
- If you hear an ice pigeon cooing or whistling, it’s a good sign that it is in a good mood!
- Similarly, if you hear an ice pigeon making a grunting sound, it can mean that it is in a sad mood.
- They have excellent hearing abilities. Ice pigeons can hear sounds at lower frequencies as compared to humans.
- Ice pigeons have excellent eyesight. They can see clearly up to several miles!
- Ice pigeons have a great memory. If let out, they can find their way back to their nests quite easily. However, as pets, they need to be trained first in order for them to feel comfortable enough to return.
- An ice pigeon can start flying when it is just 6 weeks old!
Not only are ice pigeons some of the most breathtakingly beautiful birds on our planet, but they are also some of the most interesting ones.
While they are widely known for their beauty, their gentleness and intelligence are just as noteworthy.
One must always take proper care in handling these birds, and raise them with kindness and gentleness – this is how the bird will learn to trust its owner and call its birdhouse a ‘home’.