why does this breed even exist?


9 Years
May 23, 2010
SE Minnesota
I like the look of most of the pigeons I've seen, but can anyone tell me the purpose of breeding the kind of cropper that has its head on its back? I find them ugly and pity the bird who cannot even see where it is going or see where the food is at!
Who on earth decided this was a good idea to breed a bird like this and why are there any followers of what appears to me to be cruelty?
Ornamental, fine. add impractical to that, well it's not for me.


11 Years
Jan 19, 2009
new zealand
a lot of breeds are impractical...

Jacobin's mane, silkie fantails, head tremors, owl beak, trumpeter's beak crest, swallows foot feathering, etc...

different strokes for different folks....

Mary Of Exeter

10 Years
Apr 10, 2009
Rowan County, NC
I'm assuming you're talking about Holle Croppers.
Like nzpouter said, a lot of them are impractical and just plain funky. People do not always breed for production purposes, but rather "beauty" (which remember, is in the eye of the beholder). Pigeons have such a large variety of genes and mutations, that I really don't blame people for wanting to see what extremes they can get out of them. They can be quite fun to play with, getting some interesting looking birds from mixes.

Fantails, Mookees, and the birds you are referring to, are often 'zitterhals', having shakey necks. They do it under stress mostly, but sometimes just randomly for what seems like no reason. There is a defect in showing fantails especially, so people do try to breed away from it.
Speaking of mookees and fantails, they also sit with their head held back most of the time. American Fantails are probably the most extreme when it comes to that.
Then there's the pouters and croppers in general. They have the ability to puff up their neck into large round 'globes'. A lot of them are also quite long, skiny, tall, and very upright when they stand like this. Some of the breeds have such large globes that when not inflated, they sag down, which to me is kind of unattractive
There are the Naked Neck pigeons. Just like our Turken/Naked Necks in the chicken world, they also look like vultures
For the same reason.
The Jacobins, Capuchines, and Saints with their large hoods and manes, where the feathers on the neck stick out in front of them, cupping their face in a hood of feathers. Capuchines aren't as extreme, but still have small hoods. Obviously Jacobins cannot see what's coming at them from the side, unless they turn their head.
Some Trumpeters have very large nasal crests. So much to where when you look at them head-on, all you see is a beak and feathers, no eyes.
There's the silky gene, which in pigeons is the equivalent to frizzled chickens. In its pure form, the can turn into ugly, bald porcupines. Even in a heterozygous form, the birds still can barely get off the floor in most cases.
Owls have teeny, tiny beaks...which most exhibition owls need foster parents to feed their babies....as their own beaks are too small to efficiently do it themselves. Their beak is so short, sometimes it almost looks nonexistant.
Scandaroons have long, curved beaks that resemble upside-down bananas.
Dragoons, English Carriers, and Barbs can have very developed ceres and/or eye ceres. Sometimes Carriers and Dragoons have such large 'noses' and wattles that their beak seems to be engulfed by it. And Barbs (as well as the Carriers) may have such large eye ceres that it impairs their vision. Some people even sand down the ceres of the birds to keep them from getting too developed, which could potentially harm the ability to use their nostrils for breathing.
And finally, some breeds have very small heads, with very LARGE eyes. Their eyes take up the majority of what little heads they have. Very ugly in my opinion.

So yes, lots and lots of strange things going on in pigeons. But every single breed has a devoted breeder; SOMEONE who loves them for their traits. Although a lot of the ones I mentioned are ugly to me, they aren't to everyone. They may not be practical, or even fair to the bird in some cases, people will still continue breeding new combinations of traits.

There is one main thing I always ask of people who keep these 'extremist' birds - keep them safe. Obviously a bird who can not have a full range of sight, or one who is too big or bulky with fancy feathers to fly very far, is not safe outside. Birds need their exercise and freedom, but the least you can do for them is keep an eye on them while they're out. Band their babies so that if they do get lost, they can hopefully be saved in time. I've seen a lot of cases where fancy breeds end up in animal shelters, rehabs, and rescues emaciated because people dumped them out, or they left them outside all day, where they probably got chased off by a hawk. Fancy breeds don't have any homing ability, so if they get too far, they'll be lost. And if they have traits like I mentioned above, they definitely aren't equipped for living the wild life. Most pigeon breeds in general don't fend themselves very well in the wild because they're so used to being domestic. And yet people still let out pretty fantails at weddings, not knowing any better.

BUT that's another rant for another day.

The point is, a lot of these breeds were developed forever ago, and they might have very well been crazy... But it's whatever floats your boat!


11 Years
Sep 3, 2008
green co. KY
Holle Croppers originated as a purely flying breed in Holland. They get around quite well. Keep in mind show photos show a pigeon in his show pose. I am sure we dont think German shepards always stand with their back legs like they do in the show picks? A pouter inflates his/her globe to show off to the opposite sex. Yes as they are maturing some go through awkward stages where they learn to gain control of their crop, but we humans never have to adjust to "changes" in our body during maturation....


9 Years
May 25, 2010
Portland Metro Area, OR
Don't worry, they can lift their heads whenever they want and look around. They're just showing off when they look like that.
And believe me, doves and pigeons loooove to show off.

Most of the traits we breed for in domestic animals would be detrimental to their survival in the wild. Crazy feathers that might impede flight. Tumbler pigeons are easily picked off by predators. Colors that make them stand out for miles to a hungry animal. Feathered feet may kick eggs out of the nest. In chickens, many breeds are too big to fly away from predators, have lost the instinct to raise their own babies, and waste energy, nutrients, and calcium on laying infertile eggs daily (of course it's not a "waste" to the people raising them for eggs!). And so on and so forth. Sometimes we breed them for practical (for us!) traits, other times for purely aesthetic reasons. And people's aesthetics differ. What I find beautiful another person may find ugly. I think Old German Owl pigeons are to-die-for adorable. XD

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