Homing pigeons have been bred for several thousand years. The ability to navigate in space in this species of birds was noticed a very long time ago. The first postal breeds began to be bred immediately after meat breeds. Pigeon mail was used in ancient times, both in Europe and in Asia. She did not lose her relevance until the middle of the twentieth century. Now these pigeons are considered to be sports and participate in competitions.
- General characteristics of the rocks
- Historical background
- Orientation in space
- Characteristics of abilities
- Breeding pigeons
- Care and feeding
- Training <
- Breeds of carrier pigeons
- German postmen
- Russian carrier pigeons
- English careers
- Belgian postmen
- English dragons
- Doves of the Czech Republic
General characteristics of the breeds
Postal thoroughbred pigeons are very highly valued, but this does not mean that you can immediately send such a bird to compete in. Raising and training a real postman takes a lot of time. Not all individuals, even from purebred lines, are able to perform their duties well. What are the features of carrier pigeons?
The history of the breeds dates back more than one hundred years. In the 19th century, information on stock exchanges was transmitted using pigeons. The financial success and collapse of many financial companies depended on their speed. Birds were an integral attribute of troops in the First and Second World War.They even carried out aerial photography, becoming the forerunners of modern drones.
Orientation in space
How does a pigeon with a letter know where and where to fly, how does it determine the way to its native dovecote? Instinct leads the birds home, because there they are waiting for a female or male, warmth, protection and delicious food. They are strongly attached to the place. Until today, it is not known how doves of postmen orient themselves in space, and can deliver mail to the addressee.
They tried to transport the birds in closed boxes, temporarily put them to sleep, turned them on the carousel on the road, but they still found their way home. Some researchers believe that the postmen are guided by infrasound, which is transmitted over long distances and is not heard by the human ear. Others argue that the bird flies, sensing the magnetic field of the earth. An internal compass helps to determine the direction of flight.
Characteristics of abilities
Here are the main characteristics and features of carrier pigeons:
- Large beak, sometimes with a pronounced hump
- Well-developed waxwort
- Many have a pronounced peri-ocular ring
- The body is large, massive, with well-muscled muscles
- The chest is expanded
- The wings are long and powerful
- Flight altitude 100-150 meters
- Average flight speed 60-70 km / h
- Maximum speed 100-120 km / h
- The maximum flight range is 1100 km, in rare cases more
- You can send a dove with a letter, weighing 80-90 grams (1/3 of the mass of the bird).
The best flying characteristics of poultry pigeons develop by 3-4 years. Postmen serve up to 15 years. The average life expectancy of these breeds of pigeons is 20-25 years. How much is a feathered postman? Birds are sold at prices ranging from 1,500 to 10,000 rubles. A purebred, well-trained pigeon participating in prestigious competitions can cost several thousand dollars.
Pigeon houses should be populated by chicks aged 30-45 days. At this age, young growth defines for itself the concept of home and becomes attached to the place. The flock should have the same number of males and females. Pigeons begin to breed from 5 months. It is advisable to choose pairs that are fully consistent with breed standards. A pigeon with a pigeon is placed in a spacious closed box for several days.If they stick together after they exit, then the pair has formed.
The female begins to lay her testicles about 14 days after mating. In one clutch there are 1-3 pieces. Both parents hatch eggs in turn. It is important to identify fertilized eggs. At first, everyone has a translucent shell, then it becomes milky white and gradually darkens. Unfertilized eggs remain translucent, the surface becomes rough.
Chicks hatch for 16-19 days after laying. They are blind, covered with a thin fluff. Parents feed them with milk, which is formed in the goiter, for two weeks. Then a porridge made of secret and semi-digested seeds is used. At the age of about a month, the chicks begin to give swollen grains, from 45 days they switch to adult food. It is best if the couple will feed one chick. For this, the second is either put on a “childless” pair, or the weaker one is removed.
Care and feeding
Care and feeding for carrier pigeons is the same as for other breeds . A dovecote is arranged in the attic or in the courtyard of the house. It should have places for nesting and perches. The flying windows are made with an area of 20-30 cm². It is important to ensure that the house is clean, light, there are no drafts.
In winter it is not necessary to warm it, the birds tolerate the cold well. On the other hand, at low temperatures, their sexual instinct decreases. If you keep pigeons warm, you can get offspring all year round.Some breeders use this principle. Others say that pigeons are depleted and chicks are born weaker and worse trained.
Feeding sports pigeons should be rational. Underfed birds cannot travel long distances, and overfed birds are less oriented in space and become lazy. The optimal amount of feed per individual is 410 grams per week. During the period of reproduction and hatching, the portions are doubled.
Feed the birds three times a day. The first time immediately after sunrise, the second time – about an hour before lunch, the third – before sunset. Food should include:
- Yellow peas (green is contraindicated)
- Boiled potatoes.
Add calcium preparations, chalk, table salt to the diet. There should always be clear water in the pigeon, the postmen drink a lot.
Proper training is an important point in growing carrier pigeons. Without this, they won’t get into sports competitions, their price in the market will decrease, and breeding will become unprofitable. Start training pigeons at the age of 6 weeks. At first, they can only be allowed to circle over the dovecote. When they learn this lesson, after 1.5 months, they begin to take them some distance from home.In addition, training can only begin with birds that have lived for at least 3 days in the new pigeon.
First, pigeons are trained on sunny warm days. The ideal period is from the second half of April to the first decade of October. First, they are trained at a distance of 20-30 km from the house, they constantly increase it. Birds should be released no later than noon (12 noon), and best of all in the early morning. In the first year they work at a distance of up to 320 km.
Before the pigeons are transported, it is good to tame them so that they themselves can be handled and not be afraid of moving into cages. At night, the birds are more malleable, therefore it is better to pick them up from the house before dawn. Postmen need to be transported quickly so that cage stays are minimal. Birds are released in the open. In a forest or valley, they can lose their orientation, especially at the beginning of training.
You can fully train a bird by 3-4 years. At this time, they learn to develop their maximum speed, can return home from a distance of about 1000 km. It is from this age that birds are allowed to compete. For the life of the postman flies hundreds of thousands of kilometers.
Species carrier pigeons
Ancestor of all modern mail The first breed was divided into three:
Now all Belgian pigeons are united. In Asia, Syrian, Damask, Baghdad pigeons are conditionally classified as postmen.
The carrier pigeons in the photo do not look very attractive, because they were not raised for beauty. The colors they have are very different, this does not affect athletic qualities. The opinion that carrier pigeons are always white is fundamentally wrong. Since the pigeon mail was a thing of the past, some old breeds fell into the category of decorative or meat.To date, the following are considered to be postal:
- German postmen
- Russian carrier pigeons
- English careers
- English dragons
- Belgian carrier pigeons
- Czech postmen.
German carrier pigeons were obtained by crossing Antwerp and English . The main goal was to obtain small birds at high speed. In appearance, German postmen are more like decorative birds. They have a small, beautifully defined and compact body, an elongated neck and a small head with big eyes. The beak is short, but thick, with a pronounced bend, the plumage is of any shade. Sometimes this breed is also called the German show. It is often presented as decorative rather than sporting.
Russian carrier pigeons
Russian postmen came from the German, but now these birds are significantly different from each other. The beak of pigeons is quite long, pointed and slightly bent at the tip. The neck is long, the head is beautifully outlined, the eyes are orange, the legs are tall, without feathers, the body is compact. The wings of the Russian postmen are powerful and elongated, with the tips bent upward, tightly pressed against the body. Russian postmen are more often white, although motley individuals come across.
English carrier pigeons are an old breed that carries the blood of birds from the east and west .These are quite large birds, with a well-developed muscular body. Their head is small, their eyes are mediocre, they hide behind the third century. The beak is straight, with specific growths resembling warts. Feathers can be any shade. English careers are capable of high speeds.
The Belgian postman is the standard of modern sports breeds. It was bred long ago, but improved in the century before last. The body shapes of Belgian pigeons are rounded. The breast is very well developed, it is wide and muscular. The neck is elongated, legs are short, the head is round, with brown eyes covered with a bright eyelid. The feathers on the wings and tail are shortened. The wings are pressed tightly to the body. The suit of pigeons can be any color.
Another old breed with excellent speed and orientation in space. The body of the birds is compact and dense. The head is large, expands at the base of the short neck. The eyes are very large, reddish-orange. The beak is densely closed, elongated, with growths at the base. The breast is rounded and slightly raised, the wings are long, the tips reach the edge of the tail. The colors are diverse, white, black, variegated, gray. The breed is very unpretentious in content, birds at any age remain highly active.
Doves of the Czech Republic
Dove of the Czech Republic – a representative of the breed of modern carrier pigeons, lends itself very well to training. Czechs have a well-built body, an elongated neck, a small head. The eyes of the birds are huge and very beautiful. The beak is long, with pronounced growths at the base. Wings with a large scale, the tail is shortened, the plumage is smooth and snugly fits to the body. The colors are different, but more often the pigeons are white. The disadvantage of the Czech breed is its low endurance, they are often used for short-distance flights.