We'd love to hear what you think of our site. Please let us know by filling in the form below!

 
Social Network Links
Pages

I’m happy to report that Georgie’s health is back to normal now. She acquired a limp about a month ago after laying an egg, then she laid another set of infertile eggs shortly after, which caused her to become very weak and unable to stand up for long. Our avian vet gave me medication to give her every day to tackle her limp and we upped her calcium and vitamin D supplement intake to boost her strength. It’s taken her a while to recover from the strain of laying eggs so closely after the first set, but we’re so happy to have her back to normal.

I took a photo of Georgie’s chest feathers when she has been sitting on the fake eggs. The feathers are all out of place because she pushes them out to expose the brood patch so the eggs are against her skin.

P1090447

Georgie's ruffled chest feathers

I realised I had forgotten to tell you about Elmo’s new sleeping arrangements. He used to sleep on the bedside table in our bedroom, however, when we bought a new bed we didn’t realise how much higher it was to the old one – so unfortunately Elmo hurt his foot one day when he lept down from the bed (which he recovered from). And since the bed is higher he no longer is able to jump up onto the bed like he used to do when staying home alone. So we decided that he would be better off if he stayed in the living room on the sofa. He now sleeps there and when we are out for the day, he has the run of the living room, which is bigger than the bedroom so he has more space to explore than he used to.

Yesterday I found Elmo in Georgie’s empty nest. I guess it is payback for all the times Georgie has snuck into his nest. :)

P1090463

Elmo in Georgie's nest

Georgie is fast asleep on my lap and I can hear Elmo calling to me on the sofa. They are such wonderful birds but they are often quite demanding with their attention-seeking desires. :D

With the sun shining so gloriously, I took Elmo and Georgie out into the garden to enjoy it:

P1090446

Georgie

P1090442

Georgie sunbathing

P1090438

Elmo

P1090426

Visiting pigeons

P1090441

Visiting pigeons


I discovered a useful and insightful website by Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) about the genetic welfare problems of companion animals: http://www.ufaw.org.uk/geneticwelfareproblems.php

UFAW is a charity dedicated to promoting and developing improvements in the welfare of all animals, mainly through scientific and eductional activity.

The website is an information resource for prospective breeders and pet owners, and highlights which breeds of domestic animals have genetic welfare problems. Included in their list is a selection of fancy pigeon breeds: http://www.ufaw.org.uk/PIGEONS.php

The two main issues with fancy pigeons they write about is Abnormal Feathers and Rolling and Tumbling behaviour.

The website is worth a read to understand the problems these fancy pigeon breeds have and what are the welfare implications. You will find information on the clinical and pathological effects of the condition, the intensity and duration of welfare impact, number of animals affected, diagnosis, genetics, how to determine if an animal is a carrier, as well as methods and prospects for elimination of the problem.

Abnormal Feathers

Breed examples: Bokhara Trumpeter, Dresden Trumpeter, English Fantail, English Pouter, English Trumpeter, Ghent Cropper, Hungarian Giant House, Indian Fantail, Jacobin, Lahore Pigeon, Old Dutch Capuchine, Old German Cropper, Reversewing Pouter, Saxon Fairy Swallow, Tiger Swallow, Trumpeter

Condition: Abnormal Feathers

Related terms: feathered feet, hoods, fantails

Outline: Various breeds of pigeons have been selected for a range of plumage abnormalities: abnormalities of feather size, position and number. Examples include: a hood or mane of feathers covering the head and eyes, feathered legs and feet (“muffs” or “leggings”), and fantails. These variously compromise capacities for locomotion (walking, perching and flight), for mating and rearing young, for feeding and probably also for maintaining thermal comfort. The effects these have on the birds’ quality of life is difficult to assess but it seems likely that they are negative.” (From: http://www.ufaw.org.uk/ABNORMALFEATHERS.php)

The extreme feathering on some pigeon breeds interferes with their normal behaviour. Fantails, for example, have tail feathers that are held constantly fanned out which severely affect the aerodynamics of the pigeon, compromising their ability to fly and escape predators. Breeds with hoods or manes are often unable to raise their own young, which have to be fostered by pigeons with normal plumage. Long leg and feet feathers interfere with normal walking, perching and flying (by acting as aerial brakes during flight). Abnormal feathering can also become more easily soiled and lead to disease and parasites if the pigeon is unable to keep its feathers clean.

The below photo is of a rescued Indian Fantail who has broken tail feathers from improper housing. He was rehomed but has difficulty preening and often his tail and leg feathers have to be washed by hand to keep them clean.

P1020948

Indian Fantail

The below photo is of a fancy pigeon with extra long leg feathers which restrict his movement and perching abilities, as well as being easily soiled. Another problem with such feathering is the danger of them becoming damaged or broken, which can lead to bleeding if a blood feather is broken.

P1010037

Notice the long white feathers on this pigeon's feet.

.

Rolling and Tumbling

Breed: Roller and Tumbler Pigeons – For example: Armenian Tumbler, Australian Performing Tumbler, Berlin Short-Faced Tumbler, English Long-Faced Tumbler, English Short-Faced Tumbler, Iranian Highflying Tumbler, Komorner Tumbler, Parlor Roller, Parlor Tumbler, Syrian Coop Tumbler, West of England Tumbler

Condition: Rolling and tumbling

Related terms: backward somersaulting, rolldowns

Outline: The roller and tumbler breeds of pigeon have been selected for tumbling behaviour in flight, to the extent that some tumblers can no longer fly but, instead, tumble as soon as they intend to take wing. (This abnormal behaviour is exploited in competitions in which owners of these pigeons compete to find whose bird covers the most ground by tumbling over it.) The consequences to the birds are difficult to assess but are clearly adverse when they lead to injuries due to hitting the ground or tumbling over it.” (From: http://www.ufaw.org.uk/ROLLINGTUMBLINGPIGEONS.php)

 

More videos of this behaviour and activity: Video Friday: Rollers and Tumblers

Besides the obvious welfare issues of injuries caused by tumbling and rolling behaviour (e.g. from collisions with the ground or objects), it is also disturbing their natural desire to fly normally, especially as a flight response to danger, thus possibly being a cause for fear-related stress and distress.

Below is a photo of Turk, who we believe to be a tumbler pigeon, possibly a Turkish Takla. I have witnessed him do backflips in the air when he tries to fly down from a perch to the ground in the aviary where he lives. Each time his behaviour indicates that the backflips are not voluntary and seem to inconvenience him. He always hesitates each time he wants to fly down. An indication of a lack of desire to fly because of how the backflips make him feel? This may be my subjective point of view but as pointed out on the website, it may be a source of frustration if the pigeon is unable to control the tumbling behaviour.

Turk

Turk, the Turkish Takla pigeon


One of my favourite days is finally upon us! :)

Pigeon Appreciation Day!!

Spread the word – spread the love – it’s time to celebrate Columbiformes around the world!!

Today is about showing our appreciation – worldwide – and letting other people know that we appreciate pigeons for what they are: loyal, funny, loving, and intelligent birds who, given the chance, will make a strong connection with people.

Our disabled pet pigeons, Elmo and Georgie, would like to wish everyone a very Happy Pigeon Day! They gathered all their pigeon toy friends to join in the celebration:

P1090384

P1090393

Elmo

P1090398

Georgie

It has been raining the past few days but today the sun peeped out and chased the rain away, so the visiting pigeon flock enjoyed their bountiful breakfast in our garden in the glorious weather, although the squirrel scared them away from the seed dish to scoff his face (never one to miss a free breakfast!). I knew this was most likely going to happen so I spread the seed throughout the garden to ensure that everyone got something to eat.

P1090352

P1090353

P1090381

P1090374

On Facebook 656 people have indicated they will celebrate today: Pigeon Appreciation Day 2012

To find like minded people: