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    How to Breed Champion Pigeons

    ArticlePigeon AdviceMonday 11 April 2011
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    Raising champion pigeons is a rewarding and competitive hobby. Whether raising racing pigeons for competitive pigeon racing, or breeding fancy pigeons for show, pigeons provide hours of entertainment in exchange for proper care. These tips are useful for acquiring champion breeding stock, caring for pigeons, and selective breeding for champion racing pigeons or show birds.

    Research pigeon breeds and competitive activities such as pigeon racing and showing. Read about pigeon breeds and visit local pigeon clubs and shows. Check with your local zoning authority, homeowners association or building code inspector before building a pigeon loft or coop. Regulations may limit or prohibit keeping pigeons.

    Build a pigeon loft for racing pigeons or a coop for keeping show pigeons. Pigeon clubs and breeders can assist with providing loft and coop designs appropriate for your birds. Outfit your pigeon loft or coop with perches and nest boxes. Place a nest bowl in each nest box. Ceramic plant saucers and plastic petfood bowls work well.

    Buy pigeon feed, grit, and food and water containers. Ask for food recommendations from breeders and feed stores. Supply your pigeons with nesting material such as straw or dried grass. Obtain pigeon bands from your pigeon club. These are fitted around a baby pigeon's leg within a few days after hatching and provide permanent identification for individual birds.

    Choose your breeding stock with care; champion pigeons come from champion breeding stock. Contact a breed clubs for the breeds of pigeons you want to keep. Study the show standard for each breed. Attend pigeon shows and watch the judging. Study pigeon show results and contact pigeon breeders owning champion birds. Pay as much as you can afford for premium show-quality breeding stock.

    Consult pigeon racing clubs for membership information and learning how to select pedigreed breeding birds from champion racing lines.

    Examine each pigeon for signs of illness or injury. Look for discharge from eyes or nostrils. Look in each pigeon's mouth to verify that its mouth is clear of canker or other growths or sores. Spread each wing and look for feather lice, which appear as elongated dots along the long primary wing feathers. Check each bird's vent area for stains or missing feathers. Look for birds with ruffled or dirty feathers; healthy pigeons bathe and preen their feathers to keep clean. Assemble a kit containing first-aid items and medications for common pigeon ailments.

    Control your flock's breeding. Constant breeding depletes breeding stock and leads to breeding inferior stock. Limit your flock size, as crowding promotes disease transmission. Allow each pair of birds to raise no more than two clutches of squabs per year. Monitor each pair of birds and its nest box. Pigeon eggs hatch in 18 days, and squabs must be banded within a few days of hatching. Inspect nests frequently and keep records of hatch dates and growing squabs. Clean out your pigeon loft or coop weekly, and clean food and water containers daily. Spend time with your birds; you'll gain knowledge of individual traits and behaviour that can be helpful for setting up pairs or choosing birds for competition.

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