We currently have a dozen or so bohemian pouters in yellow, red, black, and almond. We just got out of the swing pouters last year and had them in red, yellow, and black. I also used to raise pomeranian pouters and had close to 60 of them in all colors. There are people in my poultry club that also raise Brunners, Pygmies, Pomeranian, Swing, Czech Ice Pouters. I've also seen a couple of them with Norwich, Vorberg and Dutch croppers too. We have a couple guys trying to recreate the Starwitzer pouter. I'm also lucky that the secretary for the national American Pouter Association only lives 14 miles away and practically is a godfather to my kid.
Edited by destiny_56085 - 5/5/11 at 11:12am
Showing pigeons isn't much different than poultry. Most of it is about conditioning. You have to have them NPA seamless banded within a couple weeks of being hatched with proper size for their breed. Pigeons only raise 2 young at a time too and maybe only have 3 clutches a year at the most usually. They are also pairs only.... Its not like chickens where you have 1 cock with multiple hens. You don't have alot to choose from like you do with a whole batch of chickens. You plan your pairings very carefully and keep in mind conformation and color.
Showing pigeons also has 3 branches.... flying, fancy, or utility. Flying birds are your rollers, tumblers, show homers, etc. They are based on performance. Fancy breeds are your pouters, modenas, swallows, owls, etc. Pretty, but the kind of birds that are usually never flown. Utility are your meat birds (or the kind bred for it at least)... show kings, carneaus, giant runts, etc.
What I've also found with showing pigeons is the judges allow ALOT more time for judging than they do in poultry. Breed clubs usually hire their own judges for shows and have huge displays set up at shows. Birds are brought up to a bank of cages under lights. Chairs are set up around the judging area and after every class of birds, the judge explains why he placed them as such and opens it up to questions. A big portion of the judging is how the bird stations or presents themselves. You can have an absolutely spectacular bird, but if they refuse to blow you are s.o.l. Case in point...my brother had a black swing that won alot of good sized shows up here in MN. We drove down to nationals in Des Moines IA. 10+ hours on the road, 7,000+ birds there to distract him, and he just sat there with stage fright. You also do alot more cage training with pigeons than most chickens. You can't just throw them in a show coop and expect them to be totally charming. If they aren't used to it they will be breaking wing flights, tail feathers and crawling the walls trying to get out.
On the sour crop issue.... its usually your big blowers that are affected: the norwich, pom's, etc. Their crop is literally so big and stretched out that food just sits in there and ferments. This was one of the main reason I got rid of my pom's. I had to hang them upside down in socks, squirt baking soda & water down their crops with a turkey baster, manually empty their crop, etc. Anytime they gorge themselves on feed or water they are prone to it. Nice warm days in the summer and you are refilling water pans.... They drink too much and they get it. In winter if your pans freeze over and they go without water over night... When you break the ice and fill them, they drink too much too. You can let food in their cages 24-7, but make sure they aren't super hungry before you do so. Alot of people lose birds after shipping because they just turn them loose in their lofts without limiting rations that first couple days. They will gorge themself to the point that food gets stuck in there. Certain seed diets with whole corn and the bigger trapper peas get stuck in there too. Sometimes when parents are feeding their young or setting eggs, they wouldn't get off the nest for a lengthy period and then go chow down. That would be enough to cause it too. After a few years of having the pom's what worked for me was a pelleted diet available 24-7, heated automatic waterers, and watching them very carefully. If you catch them soon enough, you can pull them out of it.