This is a guest post by Ashraful Kabir, Department of Biology, Saidpur Cantonment Public College, Nilphamari, Bangladesh. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Summary: Out of 9 characteristics observed for the causes of fancy pigeons extinction in Bangladesh, natural causes account for 33.33% and artificial (man-made) causes were 66.67%. These nine characteristics and their probability of occurrence (in %) are: Unequal squab – 40%, Aggressiveness – 50%, Homosexuality – 10%, Feed – 70%, Lack of farmers’ knowledge on pigeons – 80%, Bad collection – 80%, Non-selective breeding – 10%, Overall management – 80% and Diseases – 80%.
Animal psychology is called zoo psychology. Birds as well as pigeons show lot of stereotypic characteristics during rearing. Pigeons have peculiar features.
Tumbling, a kind of morbid curiosity is found in tumblers pigeon. Lotan is another breed which rolls with slight shaking. Lotan has abnormal flying. Highflying is very ancient characteristics of pigeons. History says that when tumbler lost its flying it shows parlor rolling. This parlour roller in Asian subcontinent is called lotan (ground tumbler). In England this roller rolls automatically when it attempts to fly.
All fancy pigeons have evolved from rock pigeons. Due to its ancestral trait for living on trees sometimes indigenous pigeons live on trees with rock pigeons. Many rearers keep pigeons in unsuitable environments. They do not clean their farms regularly or properly. They do not take suggestions from the experts.
Diseases are also a cause for pigeon death. Aggressive behavior in male pigeons is very dangerous. When female lays eggs and farmers try to catch the female or touch the eggs, it inadvertently flaps its wings and that results in breakage of eggs.
Most rearers don’t know the ideal marking of their desirable breed or not try to know the exact features of fancy breeds (Kabir 2014a). Their mode of non-judicious breeding is another cause or loss of its purity (Kabir 2015).
For this observation the breeds were indigenous, tumbler, lotan, fantail, mookee, Australian red (in Bangladesh this is called parvin), capuchine, montauban (in Bangladesh this is called bombai) etc. were considered.
Homosexuality: Pigeons pair with Male-male and female-female. In cases of male-male pairing, there is no egg. Female-female pairing results in eggs. But when these eggs are laid in different times, rearer can’t understand which of them laid eggs. Due to homosexuality, its numbers are decreasing.
Unequal squab: Pigeons and doves produce unequal squab naturally. One is more/seriously week by birth. So, in many cases, one dies within a few days. This is a cause for its extinction.
Aggressive behavior: Males are very aggressive with female, other squab, even fight with other males. During the time of feeding these incidents are common. Due to its captivity for a long time also this may happen. After laying alternatively use of those pairs could get rid of such problems. Also, by providing less energetic feed this bad situation may disappear. Squabs in nest are victimized by adult males. Attacks have been observed on the head and eyes. Hand reared pigeons show lot of attachments as well as bad habits (Nice 1950).
Artificial (man-made) causes
Lack of knowledge: Most rearers of Bangladesh have no real knowledge on fancy pigeon but have been rearing pigeons for a long time. Most have outdated ideas about pigeons. Moreover, in Bangladesh, this is just a hobby. People buy a pigeon and when it dies, buy again.
Collection: In Bangladesh rearers collect pigeons by seeing external features like colour and size. They can’t match the bloodline with its parents. They don’t know the ideal markings of fancy pigeons. There is a need to maintain a grading system for fancy pigeons while buying (Kabir 2014a).
Feed: Most rearers supply low-quality feed which is not good for its health. Pigeons need different feed, depending on the time – egg laying time, hatching time, juvenile and breeding time, etc. The feed ratio/quantity should also be varied. Rearers generally supply same quality of feed.
Many breeders of Bangladesh separate their pigeons in October and join them for mating in April (Kabir 2013b). Crossbred is good as meat (Kabir 2013a). ‘Top quality’ and ‘quality’ – these two types of feed are needed to ensure better lifespan for pigeons (www.teurlings.com). Squab or parental stock selling is more profitable (Hazard 1922). There is no alternative for pigeon milk but 16% blend chicken crumble may be provided for squab in morning and night (Casey 1988). Good feed ration during pre-laying/hatching/suckling stages is corn 6 kg, wheat 4 kg, rape 2.5 kg, Japanese millet 0.5 kg, broiler feed 1 kg, mustard 250 g and green pea 0.5 kg (Kabir 2013a).
Non-selective breeding: Non-scientific breeding is very common in Bangladesh. That’s another reason why pigeon breeds are losing their purity (Kabir 2015).
Overall management: Every pigeon breed requires a different management system. Broiler pigeon, fantail pigeons, pouter pigeon, tumbler pigeons and indigenous pigeons all are different and need different management approaches. Sometimes non-mating females lay eggs at any place of the chamber (Craig 1913). Male always initiates for egg laying, nesting and incubation (Levi 1941).
Diseases: Very narrow space, lack of flying, poor ventilation, lack of cleanliness is the main source of several diseases (Echols 2010). Diseases are one of the major problems for pigeons in Bangladesh. Rearers don’t take enough help from veterinary doctors. In winter season lot of pigeons die due to diseases. In Bangladesh, twisted neck and salmonellosis are two serious diseases affecting pigeons. When pigeons are sick they are treated in common/traditional ways which are mostly wrong (Kabir 2014b).
Figure: Indian Fantail (both are male)
Diagram 1. Showing the causes (%) of pigeons’ extinction
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Kabir MA. 2013b. Productivity, management and marketing of pigeons in pet shop. J. Agric. Econ. Dev. 2(4): 147-153.
Kabir MA. 2014a. Grading system of ten common fancy pigeons of Bangladesh. Integrated J. of British 1(1): 19-26.
Kabir MA. 2014b. Symptomatic treatments of some common diseases of fancy pigeons in Bangladesh. Acme J. of Animal Science, Livestock Production and Animal Breeding 1(1): 1-4.
Kabir MA. 2015. Selective breeding of pigeons in Bangladesh. Journal of Advanced Studies in Agricultural, Biological and Environmental Sciences 2(2): 1-6.
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