What is your favorite breed of Pigeon (or dove) and WHY?

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by Count Von Chickula, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. First, a little misc. background for my survey:[​IMG]

    Okay, I know this seems a little silly to some, but there are SO many breeds of pigeons these days I find it hard to be very selective in a favorite. I have raised pigeons on and off since I was a kid on the farm (literally), but most of them were the typical rock dove variety. Good hardy birds mind you (I confess as a kid I used the ones I could not catch in the silos for target practice; they were aero masters and VERY hard to bring down) and I still think the “barnyard” variety are very beautiful birds. I even showed them in 4-H along with some white tumblers at the Co. fairs.

    [​IMG] Several years ago my kids had as many as 20 pigeons (again, except for few rollers, most came from a barn silo) but we got out of raising them for a while. Then a month or so ago I took my youngest three kids out to a friend's farm and caught a typical "barnyard" pigeon that has turned out to be a great pet. We're pretty sure she is in fact female and is pretty much a house bird now, though she does not like the dog one bit (since the dog bit her when they first met). The kids will sit and watch TV with her perched on their shoulder and she'll sit on top of her cage most of the day cooing and keeping an eye on the rest of us (especially the dog).

    [​IMG] Our new addition has reawakened an interest in raising a few more and enjoy their uniqueness, but we'd like to try some different breeds. A quick survey of some websites shows such a selection it's just bewildering! (not to mention the prices for some of those birds!!)

    [​IMG] Anyway, whether you are a professional breeder or just keep them like me as a hobby, please share what is your favorite bird (one's you have had as well as wished for) and WHY you like them – what is it about a particular breed that you think makes it stand out and are its strong points (all doves included in this survey too!).

    So let's hear from you and others reading this will be interested in hearing from you as well. Thanks. It will influence our decision on what to get.

    (p.s. include a pic if you have one.)[​IMG]
  2. abluechipstock

    abluechipstock Songster

    Jan 13, 2009
    fort ashby, wv
    I have a few different breeds but I seem to be drawn to the old Dutch capuchine, they come on a ton of colors, the hoods make them good conversation pieces, they aren't a flighty pigeon which that's important to me too plus they are easy to breed. And not to expensive.
  3. Rollerman

    Rollerman Chirping

    May 18, 2011
    My favorite for years has been Birmingham Rollers. Not a real fancy bird to look at but they are really neat when they do their performing while flying. They are very hardy and prolific producers. Years ago roller enthusiast thought the only good rollers were black,red or checks of those two colors. Now days they come in mutitude of colors and combinations. I love color and actually cull out the old colors of birds! They are a great bird for beginners and usually end up being favored for years afterward. They are usually easy to locate and won't cost an arm and a leg.
  4. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Songster

    Apr 15, 2011
    I just had an Oriental Frill squeaker shipped. Did a lot of research on what breed would make a good house pet, and those came out at the top of the list pretty consistently. I am absolutely in love! It's funny, because both my husband and I thought they were too messed up looking to ever own when we were researching breeds at a National pigeon show. That's because the show lines had beaks so small they usually can't raise their own young. The classic frills look much more appealing and less...disturbing to me personally. Love the personality of our pidge. Pluses for house pigeon include small size, tame nature, lean more towards cuddling and petting than most birds, curious attitude, and poor flight ability. They also don't have large feather adornments (their legs are feathered, but not heavily at all) that tend to mean higher maintenance. I've had several people guess the breed was some type of parrot, so they apparently don't look very pigeony either, so they can be a great way to help introduce people to the idea that pigeons aren't gross.

    I really want to find parlor rollers. Tame, can't fly as adults at all, interesting history. Hard to find anyone who will sell them unless you will be performing with them, which I can understand.

    Lahores are big, awesome birds. Love everything about them from their mammalian looking eyes to their calming coos. I believe they are one of the breeds missing an oil gland by the tail, which is kind of interesting. They also rest laying flat, rather than standing on one leg like most breeds.

    Modenas, the chickens of the pigeon world. Want some when I have land so very badly!

    Shaksharlis: Really just gorgeous. One of my top picks when I start getting performance breeds.

    Really want some roller and tumblers in a kit to train someday. ...Ah, someday. Not sure yet on the specific breeds...so many to choose from.

    Racing homers are just awesome. Their personality as a performing bird or a pet seems to be intelligent and active. I've heard that with a lot of work and certain techniques, you can train them to carry messages back and forth between two locations, rather than just having them go to the home loft. That would be...really neat. I also really like the more docile show homers like the American Show Homer.

    Old German Croppers...are so lovely looking! I hear croppers and pouters are supposed to make good pets, but I haven't been able to find much on this particular breed, so I mainly have to go by their stunning looks.

    Mookies seem comical and cute, and I hear they are common children's pets because of their plucky but tame attitudes.

    I've heard a few people say that the Damascenes are the most intelligent and aware pigeon that they've ever seen, that they look around as they fly like crows and gulls do. I'd love to try them out!

    My husband loves the Giant Homers and American Show Homers (for their temperament and looks), Taganrog tumblers (gentle ways and look, very graceful), Old German Owls (good pets, plucky nature, curious), and the somewhat similar looking pheasant pigeons, Danish suabians, and starlings. He loves the look of them, the suabians probably being his top pick. The starlings are the only ones we've seen in real life, and they were all very flighty. His top pick for this time's pet was the Oriental Frill as well. Let me know if you want a link to the breeder. He shipped us (overnight, arrived within 24 hours) a two week bird to tame down, and the little guy arrived safe and sound. MaryofExeter on these boards has beautiful frills (satinettes with ash red wings) and racing homers, and she is such a sweetheart! She is very responsive too, and ships young birds if you want to tame them more so than an outside bird might be.

    This is what our Frill looks like now (I love his stupid little beak!):
    These are the adult birds he came from that he'll eventually look like (Not my photo!!! Photo from the breeder's website):

    Yep, those are my top picks at the moment that stem from the rock dove. I always find new ones to add, or start looking at breeds I kind of poo pooed before in a new light. I've met some sweet ferals, but then some that never tame down so I don't keep them in situations where they are close to scary human types, like this guy:
    Who had gotten stuck in a nasty glue trap and looked like this until he fully moulted:
    Oh, and my husband has a ringneck.
    Even though she was aviary raised, she tamed down immediately. If you got a hand-raised baby (pretty easy to find in ringnecks)...wow, I can't imagine how even more tame a bird that would be. Can't usually let them free though...too tame for their own good. Easily eaten. Love their 'laugh'. I also will be working towards a license to get an Inca dove someday. They apparently are very sweet birds. There's a lot of exotic doves/pigeons out there that people raise for various reasons. I hear the Cape Doves are gaining popularity. Very neat looking birds too.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  5. Mary Of Exeter

    Mary Of Exeter Songster

    Apr 10, 2009
    Rowan County, NC
    My favorite pigeon breed is the homing pigeon. Out of all the breeds I've had, my homers have stuck with me the whole time. They are pretty and are dependable fliers without having to worry as much about hawks getting them or flying off and getting lost. Racing them is fun too!
    My favorite dove species is the ringneck dove. They can be very tame little guys [​IMG] And they come in a lot of beautiful colors. Diamond doves are super cute but I've only had one pair, and they were quite flighty.
  6. Great input so far. I'll have to look up a few of the breeds mentioned.

    One other question I'd like to add, of the birds anyone knows well, which ones are better at staying away from hawks and such? About ten years ago we had a great pigeon just literally show up at our window one day and adopt us. It was the strangest thing. No ban or anything but I opened the patio door and he just strolled in and took up residence on my wife's china hutch (she was not thrilled about that!). We quickly fell in love with "Bernice" as the kids named him and he acted like he was human. Sadly, one day a red tail hawk picked him off (its third try in about 4 months), decapitated him and left the rest of him in the sand box. [​IMG] I was ready to commit a felony with my shotgun and that hawk [​IMG] but wisdom prevailed (kids need a dad around).[​IMG]

    Where we live now a red tail hawk (still a juvenile) has taken up residence near by and I hesitate to get birds that are easy prey if I let them fly.

    Also, which breeds tend to be less expensive? Keep the input coming… thanks!
  7. Mary Of Exeter

    Mary Of Exeter Songster

    Apr 10, 2009
    Rowan County, NC
    Flying breeds are better at evading hawks. Homers are one of the best because of their speed and if they get chased too far, they will come back.
    As far as cost, they can all be as expensive or cheap as you want them to be. The better the quality, the more expensive. Homers can get very expensive based on their racing ability, speed, and distance. If you don't want to race them, they can be pretty cheap. Rollers can be cheap too, unless you go for the champion spinners that do well in competitions. Fancy breeds can be cheap as well, but once again, if they are great show quality, they can get up there in price. Just like any other animal - the better the pedigree, the higher the price.

    If you want some homers/racers, I will have some late hatches for sale soon. $15 each [​IMG] Plus shipping, of course.
  8. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Songster

    Apr 15, 2011
    The racing homers are easy to find (prices range for most any breed, and you can get homers starting for free), and strong fliers that can stay away from hawks more so than other breeds.

    People debate whether these breeds are any better at avoiding hawks, but:
    Flying Oriental Rollers were bred to out maneuver falcons.
    Catalonian tumblers are also good for this purpose.

    Some use dewlaps, wutas, or escampadissa. The last of those breeds is actually used to trap falcons using a loft type set up.

    Any flying breed can be fitted with a pigeon whistle:
    Any neighbors would kill you though. XD But, the whistling supposedly keeps hawks at bay. Some say they work, some say they don't.
  9. ThiefPouter06

    ThiefPouter06 Songster

    Sep 3, 2008
    green co. KY
    My favorite breed is the horseman pouter. I give mine free flight until the hawk pressure kicks in. They forage in the yard like chickens, fly often and love to court. As far as hawk evading goes, I have been flying pigeons for many years. There is no breed...no breed... that can really evade hawks. Only individual pigeons can evade hawks and the one day it doesnt its gone. We must remember that these breeds bred overseas to catch ,not evade, hawks were flying against european species of hawks. If they lost a pigeon in their flock of several hundred no big deal. We in America fly pigeons in tiny kits of maybe a dozen. If we lose a bird a week we will have none to fly in a few monthes. I flew nothing but catalonians for a while. I was flying 25 in Jan of last year and I had 6 by summer. The hawk learned to follow them into the loft and pick them off the roof. You cant evade that. My avatar was 4 years old. I free flew him everyday year round. I watched hawks try to catch him. I found him twice cut by hawks. He was not in the loft last night. RIP El Gran Blanco. Pigeons are birds. Birds that love to fly. Coopers Hawks eat birds that love to fly. Its part of being a bird. I want my pigeons to enjoy freedom, it comes with a price. I am not saying this to discourage anyone. Just to let you know not to waste your time spending money on promises of evasion. Get what you like, learn your hawks schedules and protect your birds by keeping them safe during the dangerous times. In the mid west/south summer is the best time to fly. When the weather here starts to get chilly I will pen up my birds and only fly them after work in the evening when I can watch the skies. During winter they hardly fly anyway so no reason to let them out. They love to fly in the spring but this is the worst time for losses. Once they big females nest in the summer you are mostly safe.

  10. Okie Amazon

    Okie Amazon Songster

    Mar 22, 2011
    Midwest City
    You have some nice birds. My favs are Turbots and Owls. Giant Runts are pretty cool, too.

    I once got a call at the animal ER I worked at that someone had found a "partridge" on their porch. It was banded, so I told them to bring it in. It was a little Turbot. I was able to track down the owner and found that a dog had broken into his coop a couple blocks away. The little girl had a mate who was missing her badly. I knew she couldn't have come far. They don't fly unless it's a dire emergency.

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