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AND AIL ABOUT
! Popular Pigeon Books* !
^ Pigeons and All About Them, ^
By FRANK fl. GILBERT.
Ihe most complete Pigeon Hook evw published at the
price. Handiiomely illustrated and contains a lull description
of all known varieties; also tells how to lueed and manage
pigeons under all conditions. Contains U(4 closely printed
and should be read by evoiv pigeon fancier.
Price $1.00 by mail.
The Pigeon Standard,
}"! (Hvos the latest Standard nf Perfection for all varieties of
. piteous Nearly every breed is illustrated with an up to date
I rawing of the ideul specimen Any fancier with this book at
hand cuu tell wherein his bads lack the retirements of the
Price 50c. by mall.
Fanciers' Loft Register
AND PEDIGREE BOOK.
Registers the yonngfroia 100 pairs and keeps the correct
pcditft e of every bird in the loft. The most practical book of
the kind ever published. Something to keep a lifetime.
Hundi eds of ianoiors now using this book would not be with-
Price 50c. by mall.
Diseases of Pigeons,
By J. A. SUMMERS.
Lhis work treats on every disease that Pigeons are heir to,
giving an exihauutive description of symptoms and treatment
for each. !No other book contains so much valuable informa-
tion ou this subject.
Price 50c. by mail.
Squabs for Profit,
By J. A. SUMMERS.
A practical work on successful Squab Raisins by a practi-
cal Hquab Raiser,
Price 50c. by mall.
THE WORKING HOMER,
By J. A. WEBBER.
Tills is the best Homer hook yet published. It is illustrat-
ed with many flne half-tones from noted flym-B and tells io
the plainest language, how to breed and train these wonderful
Price 50c. by mail.
PIGEON QUERIES. (Latest Edition.)
rhls little book, in the form of questions and answers, it in-
valuable to any pigeon breeder. Jn it you can nnd the anrwer
to every question you can think of. Price 2Sc. by mail.
C. E TWOMBLY, Publisher,
-32 HAWLEY STREET, BOSTON, AIA5S.
MAJOR FRANK M. GILBERT.
. . . AND . . .
ALL ABOUT THEM
1 ) I
MAJOR F. M. GILBERT.
C. E. TWOMBLY,
U. S. A.
C K. TWOMBLY, J5OSTOX.
U. S. A.
VERY BOOK should be dedicated to somebody,
J( therefore, why not a book on pigeons ?
Yet, as I ponder over my list of friends, I
find so many endeared to me by that " o*ood
comradeship' which is so universal among fanciers,
that I hesitate to select any particular one, for fear
the others might feel hurt. Therefore after much
deliberation I have decided to select a man who is
not only a blood relation to every fancier in the
world, but was in fact the first fancier, and the first
man to test a Homer pigeon.
So with every fear of giving offense thrown to
the winds, I hereby dedicate this work to that good
(last name unknown) who (Genesis VII. chapter) sent
forth a dove from the ark. It returned to him, and
he sent it forth again, and yet a third time And
right here I want to call down Xoah, if he had any
idea that his birds were "a crack lot,' for when
he sent it out the third time, it refused to " home '
but located itself somewhere else.
However, I fail to find that Xoah had done any
blowing about the quality of his stock, and so am
willing to let the matter drop.
The reader will therefore simply accept the fact
that this work is dedicated to his own blood relative
Noah, and let it go at that,
IV launching tliis. my second work on Pigeons, on the
troubled >ea ..I" liicratuns I should perhaps tell why
tin- spirit has moved mi- to do so. First, my first
\\ork was i-rude in the extreme, and I left untold many
Illinois thai .should have been handled. Again I feel that I
ha\e learned many t h ing.s si nee ls ( ,l, the year of publication
t' tin- tiist \\ork, and why should I not give my fellow
fancier* tin- benelit of m\ ex perience. While there maybe
.some of them who " knew it, all" many years ago, and have
not adsorbed an idea since, I am frank to admit that I leara
something about pigeons every day. I expect to up to the
day of my death. There is no teacher like experience, a,nd
all 1 ma\ say in this work will be based on what I know my-
srlf from experience, The love of pigeons was born in mo.
For forty-live long years I have had pigeons of some fcind.
and what I may have to say will be the result of countless
hours spent in watching the beautiful pets in my own lofts,
the lofts of other fanciers, and in the show rooms. The
pigeon has always interested me ever since my childhood,
and even now in my old age as I often whirl along on trains,
and ]> ass some modest house, against the stable of which is
nailed a crude little pigeon box, the very appearance of
\\hich stamps it as the work of boyish hands, my heart goes
out to the little fellow, who perhaps owns his first pair of
'ommon pigeons, and who loves them with that absorbing
love that we old fanciers only, can uudei stand, and I find
m\self wishing that the train would stop, so that I could
see him. take him by the hand, admire his poor little birds,
and hid him God-speed.
'The lo\e of pets begets love of ones fellow men. A general
love draws all mankind together, and that is one reason why
I do not hesitate to attempt this book, for the good hearts
of my fellow fanciers, will cause them to overlook all mis-
takes and excuse the errors to which we are all prone, and
lay them to the head, and not to the heart.
FRANK M. GIIYBERT.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
THERE are few who view the wonderful pigeons of to-day
so varied in color, size, type, feather and general appear-
ance, who can brin*.;; themselves to realize that they all
descended from one original stock or strain, yet the very best
authorities pronounce this to be a fact. Darwin states that
the Rock-Dove is the parent-stem of all pigeons. The Rock-
Dove is certainly a descendant of the original dove sent out by
Xoah, and yet it is hard to realize that out of that one
oiiginal strain, there are about one hundred and fifty va-
rieties that "breed true." Very naturally this result shows
what care and a knowledge of the primary points in a pigeon
will do, for if we admit that the mighty Pouter and the dimi-
nutive Owl are one and the same, as to original stock, we
pay a tribute to the earlier fanciers who made them. One
thing certain, there is hardly a land without its pigeons and
its pigeon fanciers. The old Romans had them in swarms.
We see the Pigeon in bas-relief on many of the old ruins
that have been brought to light in recent years. However I
see little use in delving into ancient history, for what we
want is the pigeon of the present. The bird of no matter
what variety, that will .best represent perfection in that
variety, and it is a blessing for the fancy, that we do not all
feel alike. I have seen Fantail cranks who would not accept
a pair of pigeons of any other kind as a gift, and Oriental
Frill men who wouldn't have a Faiitail on the place. After
all, it is 1he men who incline to one variety, and ''keep ever-
lastingly at them" who make the successful breeders.
10 PIGEONS \\l> \U. AIJnrT Til KM.
When a man believes lliai he c;ui successfully breed a
do/.en varieties i.t' pigeons, it is generally a case of loo
rnan\ irons in the lire: he Miceee<l> \vith none. I believe
thai an\ 1>"\ or man \vln makes up his mind to breed pigeons
.'hould take plenty <>t" time to decide just what breed he
fancies. The iint ignorant man. and by this I mean the
IM:;M mo>,t ignorant as to pigeons, can sit down in a loft
lull of \ai ions brei^N, and can soon make up his mind as to
\\hifh he liko best. I will not admit however that he always
knows \\hirh i.^ be>t I'oi him to undertake to breed, and that
is one it a.-i>n why I shall go into detail in this book. I will
try and show him the breeds that can bring him the most
.-peedy success. The birds 011 which he can hardly make a
mistake, for they breed fast and easily, and " throw true."
Then if lie wants to take up the more difficult breeds, he
will have the very great advantage of having an intimate
knowledge of the fundamental principles of breeding.
There are few men who take up pigeons from having read
about them. The average man who picks up a paper con-
taining anything about birds, no matter how interesting the
account might be, passes it over. He pays no more attention
to it than to an account of some chemical experiment or
something of which he knows nothing. But let him once
be shown the birds of some fancier; let him listen to some
fancier who knows how to talk about them, and the first
t hing we know he buys a few pair. Generally he claims that
he is simply buying them for his boy, but we old fanciers
know better. As his birds begin to breed, his interest begins
to grow, and if his heart is in his work, he picks up know-
ledge with astonishing rapidity, till soon he can stand in a
!-how room in any of the " alleys " and discuss the birds with
the best of them. But everything must have a start, so let
us start with that first necessity, the loft.
PKrEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 11
THE loft should be built before a single bird is purchased,
and the owner should be governed, first, by the extent of
his means, and then by the number and kind of birds
he intends keeping. The same rule of loft position does not
hold good all over this country. In the Xorthem and middle
states the loft should always face the South if possible, but
in the Southern states where shade is more of an object than
sunshine, the reverse should be the rule. To breed pigeons
right, no gable roof will do. It cannot be ventilated, is hot in
summer, humid in wet weather, and is necessarily contracted.
Again it is hard of access, and one loses the pleasure of
entertaining his friends in it. Still a gable roof will do if
nothing better can be found, for it needs only a floor and a
back wall to transform it into a loft. It is far better than
boxes nailed to the outside of a building, or what is known
as the old dove-cote, which is simply a lot of cramped boxes
put up on a pole. A pretty dove-cote looks very nice as a
yard ornament, but is impractical as a pigeon house. There
is no chance to mate for results; no chance to handle the
birds and no chance to keep out "strays' save to shoot
THE GABLE LOFT.
If one can do no better, he can utilize the gable of his
barn as follows. First, build a tight floor reaching clear
across from the eaves, taking care that there is not a crack
in it. Cut the number of holes necessary in the end of the
barn; if possible cut a small ventilating window in the upper
part. It is best to have about three entrance holes as an
aggressive cock bird is apt to stand at a single hole and keep
other birds out or in. Do not be satisfied to simply put the
birds in, and let them nest as best they may under the eaves,
but make regular tiers of open boxes on either side and
PIGEONS AND ALT, ABOUT THEM.
against the front wall, over the holes, and under the venti-
lating window. By using smooth and close fitting lumber a
very pretty little dovice may be made, though about the
only way the owner can enjoy it is by standing on a ladder
and peering in at the door. I merely suggest a gable dovice
to those whose space or means will not allow anything better,
but it is not the kind of aloft suited for a real fancier.
Again it is only suited fcr flying birds i. e. birds given their
liberty at all times, as there is no room for mating boxes
bath, gravel box, and all those things, in a loft of this kind.
If however, the budding fancier can obtain a little more
room than the gable, he can drop down his floor, say, two or
three feet below the eaves, and he will have the next thing to
a real standard loff; and something far ahead of what I had
in my very young days. It can be made perfectly tight,
rather convenient, and it does away with the cramped little
places under the eaves, so ruinous to a bird's plumage.
Such a loft would look like Figure l,the dotted lines show-
ing where to build the loft proper. This takes up very little
room in a bam or stable, and if the floor and wall are only
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 15
made absolutely tight, (and I cannot lay too much stress on
this point) the balance of the loft proper can be stored with
hay or anything else, leaving only a little passage by which
to reach the door.
The nests in such a loft should occupy both sides and the
entire end wall, leaving only a space at one end for the door
which should be at the end, in order not to make a break in
the back tier of nests.
Tn a small loft like this, it is best to utilize space and not
try to make such nests as I shall describe later on,
Nests of this type would look like Figure 2. "A" is apiece
four inches wide, fastened with small hooks. It is simply to
keep the young in the nests and can be taken off when any
nest in the tier needs cleaning out, which can be done with a
small short handled hoe. l 'B' is the alighting board and
can be made of any width. The roof should be so steep thai
the birds cannot stand on it.
For the smaller varieties of pigeons, nest boxes one foot
square are all right, but for Pouters, Fans and such birds,
eighteen inch nests are none too large.
The size of the air coop for a' gable loft will be governed of
course by the room one can spare.
THE YARD LOFT.
Another good loft is what I call the yard loft, (see Figure 3,).
It can be put up anywhere. I use one for my Swallows and find
it very convenient. It is made of pine, closely fitted, has an
almost flat roof and has my patent ''cat-guard" which is a
"sure thing." It has two front windows, which are taken
out in summer, leaving only wire screens and a small venti-
lating window in the south end.
The lower part I use for hunting and fishing outfit, camp
tools, bicycles, etc., and I find the room very handy. It is
also nice to store garden tools, hose, etc. I \vi*h io call es-
pecial attention to that cat guard. It is an absolute impossi-
1C, PIGEONS \M> ALL ABOl'T THKM.
hility for a cat !< -ft in and tin- same may IK- said of rats.
\\hich arc net above climbing on a roof to get at birds. Of
course tin- Hour <f this loft is almost air tight and no dirt can
tret 1 h nil i-l i .
The hrauty aliout a yard loft is that it can be made of any
>\/.r and put in almost any place The nests are bililt in tiers
(.11 t he back \\ all and t he cut ranee is up a short flight of stairs
at the north end, I use a bob \vire over the entrance hole.
when I \\ant to keep the birds in. **
THE IDEAL LOFT.
< >!' course the ideal loft is a whole building, with large air
coop, fountain, etc. but most fanciers use only the upper
room for In-ceding. In a case of this kind there should be
several lo\\er rooms, one for mating, one for the training pens
and one in which the hens can be kept in winter. Isayheiis,
because the lower rooms are generally warmer, and the hens
are the more delicate.
\o\\ in the upper loft, the family room as we may well call
it, one of the lirst things is to get proper ventilation, and the
higher up the windows, the better, as this does away with all
draughts on the birds. A good loft should have a ventilator
at each end, and also windows in the front, all on hinges and
protected by wire netting. There are times when every win-
dow should l>e open, for the average loft is a very hot place
on a hot day, though it is surprising what heat pigeons can
-land. The rloor should be of pine if possible, tongued
and grooved so tight that no sand can fall through or no
wandering mouse get in. The nest boxes should be of pine
also it possible, and should not ha.v a crack in them.
They can be ranged about the wall either singly or in tiers,
and t he roof of the nest s must be so steep that the birds can-
not .stand on it. There is not h ing worse than a filthy nest top.
rr many varieties of birds and for Fantails in particular, no
perches should be used, Let them use U*<a Jiogr auci tho
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 17
Again, the absence of perches keeps the birds moving on the
floor, where the owner or visitor can enjoy their pretty ways,
Birds sitting stolidly on perches do not show to much.more
advantage than stuffed birds.
There are all sorts of ideas about loft walls and I have tried
all kinds and am firm in the belief that a well plastered loft
is warmest in winter, coolest in summer, safer from rats, mice
and insects, and certainly cleaner and better looking at all
rimes than any other. There arc no unsightly breaks in it.
and a simple coat of whitewash at times keeps it always clean
Before leaving the subject of nest boxes I would say that
they should be as large as space will permit. Nests cannot be
too large, provided one has the room. As stated, nests a foot
square will do for small birds and eighteen inches for large,
but still larger nests are all right, and answer not only for
nests but for coops and mating boxes.
I'KiKoNs AM) ALL ABOUT THEM.
In ,i largr loft, such us I am describing, I like to see all the
ueste in -MIC tin- along the wall, hut if more nests are needed,
tin- clean tin- nest is tin- only thing-. They are made like
Figure 4. That is. each partition would appear like the cut,
Ii will l.e noticed that birds using the upper tier, cannot
possibly soil those underneath.
"A" is a small smooth flange which is tacked on the front
of each nest. It acts as a board of separation. A pigeon
>tanding on the false front piece B cannot, see the bird in the
next nest. If a pair have young in one box and eggs in the
next, the young cannot peer into the next nest and see their
parents and struggle in to them. The upper flange slopes
down and the lower one up, so that one can go along the front
of the lower nests with a rake and not touch the flanges and
The false fronts "B" come off for cleaning and the flange
lieing simply tacked on, can be taken off at will, especially
\\ hen giving the loft a, thorough whitewashing,
Many are in favor of large nests, containing a division and
an earthen crock on each side. I don't like them at all. The
young fall out and chill, and are continuously scrambling in
on their parents, where if they don't succeed in climbing into
the other crock they annoy them and harm the eggs. I will
defy any youngsters to get out of one nest and past one of my
Manges into the other nest.
L will admit that crocks are clean and can be scoured and
;ill that, but. the nest floor is just as clean as far as insects are
concerned. I keep a good coating of lime in the bottom of my
nests (in fact there is a coating of lime dust all over the loft,
and one cannot touch the wall, even, without getting it on his
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 19
HE very best material for nests is tobacco stems, not the
great coarse stems, but the smaller ones, that can bo
gotten at any cigar factory. With a basis of lime, a
nest of stems, and a little dusting of the nest with Dalmatiou
insect powder one need pay little heed to insects.
Of course the bath is a great adjunct, and in a city where
there are water works, it is astonishing to see how cheaply a
few gas pipes and a common galvanized iron pan can be turned
into a good fountain.
This fountain should always be put in the air coop if pos-
sible. A bath on the loft floor is all right if one can do no
better, but a bath in the air coop, after whicli the birds can
sun and stretch out on the sand and gravel, is far better.
But to reveit to nests, if the fancier cannot get tobacco steins,
there is nothing better than pine shavings, of which all in-
sects have a horror. Given a basis of pine shavings, the birds
may be allowed to use any kind of twigs, broom straw or any-
thing that has no hole in it. Hay is about the worst thing
that can be used, as the little red mites ask nothing better in
which to breed. Straw is even worse than hay. But if the
fancier can do no better, he can allow the birds to use any-
thing that is handy and trust to lime and insect powder for
I said that I suggested a single tier of nest boxes around
the wall of the loft, and one reason is that it makes mating
so much more easy. And not only that but it '* locates" the
birds wheie the owner wants them. If 18 inch nests are used
the three foot portable mating coop comes in handy.
To make it, take any kind of a wire front (and they can be
had in any city where there have been shows) and put a top
on it of the same length. Then use a partition wire for each
end and you have a coop, with no back or bottom, that can
be slipped along the floor in front of any t\\o nests.
L'O 1'KiKoXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM.
Tlu- portable coop is such a necessity that it is perhaps best
to make it so plain, that "he who runs, may read." It is
exact 1\ like i\vo exhibition coops with no back or bottom.
The floor of the loft makes the bottom and the front of the
nest boxes makes the back.
Simply decide where you want the birds to nest and put
the r.>op in front and there you are. They can see the whole
loti, will feel at home and will soon adopt one or the other of
tin- ne.sts ;i> a home. Again, it virtually gives them a chance
to be out on the floor where the cock can tread, which is a
point to le remembered.
When through locating one pair, it can be slipped in front
of two oilier nests. The one grand point in uniformity in the
ne.sts is that what will lit one will lit any other, and the port-
aide coop will lit nicely in front of any two nests in the loft.
If needed, for the upper tier, in case there is one, a light false
bottom may be put in.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 2:
OTHER LOFT POINTS.
nests being completed, the next thing to be considered
is the floor covering. This should always be of whatis
called ''sharp" sand, i.e. the coarse gritty sand that
is so often found along the beds of small streams. The s;md
that comes out of cellars in many parts of the country is not
suitable, being a yellow sticky stuff that contains nothing or
the grit so needed by pigeons. The more coarse the sand the
better, but I do not like to see gravel on a loft floor. This
sand not only keeps the loft clean, but it gives constant work
to the birds.
It should be raked about once a week with a loft rake, a
light affair with fine teeth, which can be bought in many
If not purchasable, any carpenter can make it with a piece
of oak and wire nails. The floor being smooth, the rake will
go over it nicely and remove all the droppings, the sand sift-
ing easily through between the teeth. When the sexes are
separated in September or October all of the old sand should
be carefully scraped up and thiown away, unless one has
flpwers. Roses especially thrive wonderfully in the richly
impregnated sand that comes from a loft.
Next come the water cans, and though there are all sorts
of cans and fountains advertised, I know of none any batter
and absolutely none _so convenient as the common sense can
that any tinnei can make.
Let him take a common two-gallon galvanized iron bucket
and set in a top piece, two inches below the rim, leaving out
a small edge. Directly opposite the opening let him solder a
piece a little larger in size across the rim. You can then fill
it under a pump, carry it to the loft as you would a common
bucket, set it down on the side and leave it. It will nev v
spill a drop. It is the most convenient can ever used. Of
I'H.KONS ANT) ALL ABOUT Til KM.
course he must solder on some short legs on which it can
stand. It is far uetter than the earthenware jug, for when
this bucket freezes solid, you can set it right on the stove
and let it thaw out. I like it because it is so convenient and
above all it can be made in any small town.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 23
BEFORE taking up the question of feed, on-e must arrange
for either a " salt-cat" or a mortar bed in the loft, for
there is an absolute necessity for something of this
kind. If one will wateh common pigeons that have never
been confined, he will note that they never miss the chance
to peck at an old wall where there is mortar. How much
more needful then to furnish something of the kind for birds
kept in constant confinement.
A small salt-cat can be made as follows: a shovel full of
mortar, not new, but from some old building; the older the
better. Put in a box and pound it up, add about a quart of
Portland cement, a quart of ground shells and about the same
of grit. Then throw in a handful of caraway seeds, wet the
whole and stir it up till it is like putty, sprinkle in salt, work
it up well and it can then be turned out of the box and will
stay in sbape. Let it dry well and then leave it in the loft
where the birds can get at it at all times.
My loft being large, I have a large square place near the
front windows so that I can get lots of sun. It was first filled
with mortar and after pounding it partially I put in oyster
shells, Foust's Health Grit, Mica Grit and in fact every kind
of grit, including samples of ground brick, etc. that was ever
This was all mixed. I also throw every egg shell on the
heap and about once a month go over it with a rake, mixing
the whole. A box of salt stands in the centre. I keep salt
the year around in every loft and every room. My birds are
never without it and I attribute their constant good health to
it. As for regular feed I will simply state what I have often
I use Canada peas, with a little rape and millet, as two parts
of the feed, and good sound wheat as the other part. This
1M PH1KONS AM) ALL AIJOI'T Til KM.
should he fed twice a day in winter and three times a day
during the long summer days, taking care never to feed the
birds more than they will eat. It is far better to keep them
a little hungry. Keep them picking in the sand for food that
is not there, and the exercise will do them good. Remember
that the finer breeds lead a fictitious kind of a life. Confined
at all times, they have no chance fur the exercise that is a
natural part of their being, and man, who confines them,
must study their wants and keep conditions as nearly natural
But as " variety is the spice of life ' I give it to my birds
I often have the cook make good corn bread liberally dosed
with red pepper, and have her cook it far more brown than
for the table.
This is one of the best winter dishes that can possibly be
for birds. Again, when leaving the table I take scraps of
light bread and biscuit, cracker, parts of boiled eggs, cabbage
lettuce, potato, celery, in fact almost any kind of table sciaps
and the birds will fight for them.
I am firmly opposed to any sort of a feed hopper that will
continually keep feed before birds. It is all very well to say that
when they w r ant it, you want them to have it, but I ask how
long could a man keep his appetite, confined in a room with
a constantly spread table ? He would soon loathe the sight
of it. As long as my birds fall all over each other to get to
the feed 1 know they are healthy.
Throwing down feed "to last all day" is another bad idea.
The first birds get the best part, and the rest is trampled on
till by noon it is not fit to eat. Clean, wholesome food, with
plenty of nutritious qualities and pure frexk water are two
Do not made the mistake of buying "cheap" food, for it is
by tar the dearest in the end. A man would not buy refuse
food for his family and that is exactly what cheap chicken
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
and pigeon feed amounts to. In these days of machinery
that utilizes everything, it is safe to say that any feed not
taken care of by the machinery is of very little value.
Again, be sure and never use green food and by this I mean
wheat and corn that is not thoroughly seasoned by time.
Xew wheat will start bowel trouble in short order and so will
If your food is kept in a close bin, i. e. a bin with a partition
in the centre, about once each two weeks, change the feed
from one side to the other. This gives it air and at the same
time mixes it thoroughly and keeps the small seeds from
going to the bottom.
It saves time and trouble to mix all the feed together, as
soon as it is received.
The loft now being about ready, we must not forgot our
own comfort and therefore must make a 'visitors' seat."
Who does not know how annoying it is to visit a loft and have
to stand all humped up under a low ceiling, or sit on a filthy
box, that the owner has dragged from some corner : J
We sit on it with fear and trembling and don't feel at all at
ease. And so we need the ' visitors' seat" one of the most
simple things in the loft, and one that gives untold comfort.
It can be made after the style of Figure 6.
i'(J I'K.KON^ AM) ALL AliOTT THEM.
It is simply a skeleton bench with a top that works on
hinges instead of being nailed do\\ n.
The lid goes back against the wall when not in use, and
consequently is always clean when lowered down and as the
lid is larger than the frame work, the birds can fly and perch
on the latter all they choose and the lid holds one's clothing
away from any danger of being soiled, as it projects in every
direction. It is a handy thing for every loft.
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 27
HEATING the loft is a point on which there is a great
diversity of opinion. I do not believe in it at all, that
is as far as any section save the extreme north is con-
In the first place, it is almost an impossibility to obtain an
even heat and changes from warm to cold are far worse than
The experience found in almost every show room ought to
be warning enough. In any region south of Chicago, I fail
to see that heat is needed. It is simply wonderful to see the
amount of cold that a pigeon can stand. It may huddle up
and shiver and seem to be miserable, and yet one rarely hears
of a pigeon freezing to death, and how many of us have seen
pigeons with toes frozen off ? And yet we see untold thous-
ands of chickens in that condition.
There are many fanciers who heat their lofts and princi-
pally out of pure sympathy for their birds, yet I believe that
I can safely suggest to such to try an unheated loft next win-
ter or any other winter, and see if they lose a single bird. On
the contrary, I believe I can promise better results for the
breeding season following.
Of course the loft must be absolutely without any draught.
Every little crack should be stopped up and good invigorating
food given and my word for it the birds will come through
into the spring in a more vigorous condition than ever.
I speak from experience. I have tried all sorts of heat and
I could never get an even heat that would hold out through
the night. My last experience settled me forever. I hit on
a small coal oil stove that worked like a charm (in the store).
It gave a nice quick warmth, not one particle of smoke or
soot, and the dealer showed me how it was absolutely impos-
sible for it to go out, or smoke, or "get cranky" in any way.
l'I(.K<)\N AND A LI, ABOUT THEM.
When lu- t<>!< I me of the many nice families who used them
entirely in their bath rooms I felt that I had found the correct
Well, it worked beautifully for two nights. I had about
twenty liens in the lower loft and as many cocks above, and
it was lovely to go out just before bed time and see that nice
bright little stov<? working on full time and diffusing a good
warmth. Of course the extra heat rose and warmed the up-
But on the morning after the third night, I found the stove
out and both lofts full of the most nasty black smoke I ever
Miu'Hed. The plumage of every hen was ruined, and the
cocks were not much better and the lofts felt like ice boxes.
I never got those birds clean till after moult next fall. I gave
the stove away and since that day have never tried artificial
heat and I never will. I can say truly that in forty-five years
I have never lost a bird by freezing.
Pigeons are very waim blooded and while their plumage is
not like that of the duck or goose, it is still what Nature gave
them and Nature is a good mother. Who has not seen common
pigeons roosting in cracked boxes (on North walls) covered
with snow and ice. and yet living for years hardy and con-
We all know that our finely bred birds are not as strong as
the common breed, yet there is also a big difference between
a little old rickety box covered with snow, with hardly a ray
of sunshine in the winter, and a nice tight loft. There is
also a difference between the scanty forage of the street
picked up by the common bird, and the splendid and health-
ful food ^iven regularly to his finer brother.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 29
CLEANING THE LOFT.
1HAVE spoken of cleaning the sand in a loft etc., but find
that I have not take.i up the li general house cleaning'
that is so necessary every spring and fall.
If the fancier has made his loft as I have suggested, let
him go to work with some system, and when he is done he
will have a clean sweet smelling loft, and one in which
vermin can hardly stay. First, take off every flange from the
nests, and unhook and take off the false front of the nests.
Then with the short handled hoe, scrape thoroughly all the
tobacco stems and filth out of the nests. This will all fall on
the floor and should be raked up carelessly and taken to the
manure pile. It is needless to pay any close attention to the
floor as yet. Now get a common watering pot and into a
gallon of water put a pint of crude carbolic acid, which is
the best disinfectant ever used in a loft. (I have used it for
years, and can recommend it, for I use it and lots of it, at all
times in the year.) Don't be afraid that it will stain enough
to hurt, for it will not, and also remember that it goes inside
of the boxes. Now sprinkle this in plenty in all the nests.
Let the spray strike the sides and trickle down them. Let
it seep through from the upper tier to the lower, and so
on down to the floor; for remember this is all on the inside
and won't affect the external appearance.
Give it plenty of time to dry, and then prepare your white-
wash. Take unslacked lime and add boiling water till it
slacks. Then add more water till thin enough to use, put-
iug in a few handfuls of salt and a little blueing. One does
not need carbolic acid in the whitewash, as it is already in
place. The nests being thoroughly dry, take a very short
handled brush and whitewash inside each nest and along
the fronts till every crevice, if tkere be any, is filled complete-
30 PKiKoN's AVD ALL ABOUT THEM.
Then after giving it a little more time to dry, take the
long handled brush and whitewash the fronts and tops, the
ceiling and walls, and don't be afraid to get on plenty. As a
rule I whitewash my own boxes and then get a professional
to go over the walls, as he can put on his wash with more
regularity. Next get a bucket of slacked lime and throw a
little into each nest, and then go to work and clean up the
floor, rake and scrape it well and put on clean sand, and you
will have a loft clean, sweet and healthful.
PIGEOXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 31
WE have now arranged to keep out insects, that is as far
as it can be done. There is one pest, the long
feather louse, to which I never pay attention. The
fact that it preys on the feather, and not on the bird has
often made me think that they may be a wise provision of
nature, in that they eat parts of the feather and thus give
the bird more air, so to speak.
Of course I don't like to see a bird all covered with them,
but I do not consider that they do a bird much harm.
If in spite of cleanliness, the little red mites and fleas get
in the loft, a little Dalmation powder will settle them.
What I most detest are cats, rats and mice. As to cats I
shall not make any suggestions but only remark that I would
not trust one anywhere near my biids. Mice are a nuisance
but are never very bad save in a loft where feed lies continu-
ally on the floor. Into such a loft, they always manage to
make their way. I never waste time on patent traps, but
use the old fashioned hole trap that catches them around the
neck. They may be shy, but keep the trap well baited, and
sooner or later they will fall victims.
As for rats, I use the old fashioned mink trap, and have
never yet seen a rat smart enough to live around my place.
At the least sign of the advent of a rat on the place I prepare
for him. I don't wait till he has made a series of runways,
but sink the trap (unbaited) just where he has left his sign.
If he has dug a hole trying to get under a foundation, I sink
the trap at the hole, covering it loosely with sand, and he
gets a foot or his head in it, when he comes back the next
night to finish his job. With a good foundation there is no
excuse for letting a rat get into any building.
Some rats are so smart however, that they will crawl up a
wire cage, get iu at a loft entrance if it is left open at night,
I'KJKONS AM) ALL ABOUT THEM.
and kill a man's best birds before he knows how it is done.
Tin- fancier whose loft is near stables in a closely settled
neighborhood is in constant danger, and the more so because
In- usually persists in putting an alighting board in front of
the loft entrance. There is no need of one. Let the birds
fly into the loft through the aperture. They do not need
to light till they strike the loft floor.
If a man has ever lost birds in this way and has not killed
the rats that got in he is in nightly danger. A rat is very
cunning and will generally find a way to enter. They can
almost climb a blank wall till they get to the aperture. Or
they will get on the roof and slide from the eaves close to
the aperture, trusting to luck to find something to which to
cling till they reach it.
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 33
A simple rat guard can be made by any tinner and if there
is only one entrance from the air coop or the outer world, to
the loft, it is absolute protection.
Take galvanized iron six inches wide and make a square
that goes entirely around the window or opening that is used.
The top should slope down and the sides out and the bottom
down. It will be seen that a rat cannot hold his feet if he
jumps or climbs down from the eaves. He cannot crawl up,
nor can he get around the sides. To make this so plain that
any one can make a rat guard, a ide view of a loft with a
rat guard would look like figure 7.
The loft is now protected from enemies without and it rests
with the fancier to keep it in that condition.
Sometimes the fancier who has taken especial pains to keep
insects out of his loft, fondly imagines there are none there
because he does not see them.
But there is a dark red or brown insect that moves so rapid-
ly through the feathers as to keep well out of sight even
when a bird is looked over.
To find if they are in the loft, go into it just about dark
any evening and watch the actions of the birds that are stand-
ing. If they shift rapidly from one foot to the other and
seem to " stamp '' you may be sure that these pests are there
and if there at all they will soon be there in countless numbers
for they breed with alarming rapidity.
For two years I have used a simple and most convenient
remedy, the ordinary moth ball. These can be had at any
drugstore and cost only about ten cents per pound and no
insect or parasite can stand them.
Put two or three under each nest and their fumes will soon
permeate the stems and enter into the feathers of the nesting
birds. As the cocks and hens change nesting hours they will
both soon be entirely free from insects. Put a couple right
into the nest with birds just fledged and they will work equally
well and protect them as they grow.
1 PIGEONS AM) ALL ABOUT THEM.
Do no t put thrin in the nest however, till the youngsters
are a 1V\\ <la\ 3 old.
of course these i:ioih balls are of no use as regards perches
or tin- tloor. l. ut as the greatest trouble always begins in the
neM, tln-y are a great protection for both the old breeders and
the \ oung l>irds.
These bulls hold their scent for about four months and
there!'.. re will last well through the warm weather. I like
tin-in because they are so clean and so easily placed. It is
\\cll to put two or three on the floor of the nest as soon as the
birds begin building and let them build the nest right over
It is surprising to see how soon these balls will rid a bird
of all kinds of pests. In a close loft their fumes will soon
impregnate the entire place and far from being unhealthy,
they are good things to have around.
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 35
CHOICE OF BIRDS.
HAVING now arranged the loft ready for occupancy, it
remains for the embroyo fancier to select his variety
of bird. I say ''embryo " because the old fancier who
is returning to his first love, knew long ago, in fact long be-
fore the selection of a place for his birds, just what kind he
was going to take up.
It is hard for me to say what is best for any other man. It
would be quite an assumption for me to say just what is the
best breed, for all good birds are good.
However I can give my views on the matter after a fashion.
Unquestionably the most showy birds are the Fantails and
Pouters, for the Fan is in constant action, while the Pouter
is a gieat bird to show off when noticed. There are some who
fancy the Jacobin with his great ruff, the demure little Tur-
bit, the tiny Owl. while others claim that the master breeder
is he who can produce the Oriental Frill with its quaint mark-
ing. Again we find good fanciers who will have no bird but
the Tumbler, others the Swallow. Magpie, Archangel, Xun
the Priest and Barb. The great li>t of breeders of that
wonderful bird, the Homer, shows how many admire him, so
that it will be seen that I have quite a task.
In general terms all long-faced birds are good breeders, yet
when we compare the breeding of our high bred '"artificial"
birds to that of their humble brother the common pigeon, none
cn be called first-class breeders.
What are known as short-faced birds are not good breeders,
from their inability to feed their young. Most breeders of
high class short-face specimens keep feeders or ''nurses" a ...
they are called, but it is a fctct that these latter are not always
successful, for they are so large that in feeding, they twi.-i
the .beaks of the little fellows and make them practically
30 PK1KOXS \VD ALL ABOUT THEM.
llenee the man with only one loft and who intends to breed
only our kind, had bet t er try long-faced birds. Very naturally
tlif ((lu'stion miglit, be asked as to why I do not follow the
preeepts I preach, because while 1 am a white Fan specialist,
1 also breed lied German Swallows. Well, I breed the Fans
and 1 " MM-'' the Swallows and they are very handy.
In the HIM place I like to have a lot of flying pigeons down
in the yard, they- look so homelike, and in the second, they
are my 'helpers." To explain this term I must go into
detail. If I have a cranky pair of Fans, the eggs of which
are not fertile I simply slip a pair of Swallow eggs under them,
and let them hatch and feed the young, Again, if by accident
1 happen to lose eggs of Fans just prior to hatching, or young
\\ hile a day or two old, I go over to the Swallow loft and get
some young of the right age and put them under the Fans to
draw off the "pigeon milk" which forms in the crop during
the laM three days of setting and ought not to be allowed to
remain. Again, if I sell a pair of Fans that have eggs I simply
transfer the eggs to the Swallow loft. So, it will be seen that
the Swallows come in very handily.
I would advise any breeder, who can do so and who is
I/reeding one strain of high bred birds to always have a yard
loft, of flying birds.
I have had many visitors who admired the Swallows as
much as the Fans, and we sell the surplus of the former,
sometimes in lots of twenty at a time for they breed like rats.
Any man who wishes to experiment with a trusty breed of
birds that \\illalwaystake care of themselves will not miss
it it he tries Swallows.
So it will be seen that I am really practising what I preach
:ind am a one variety breeder pure and simple.
All the best fanciers will join me in the statement that the
MK-ee^ful breeder of the day is the man who breeds
variety only. Kaeh breed is a study in itself. It has
PIGEONS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 37
points that exist in no other variety and Low to best bring out
these points takes study and it takes perseverance.
For this very reason the ambitious fancier who soars high,
spends lots of money for high-priced birds and expects (and
without any prior knowledge) to breed nothing but show
birds, "goes up like a locket and comes down like a stick, 11
while his plodding fancier brother, with no wealth to aid him
but endowed with a rugged perseverance, goes slowly along,
I nit always up, breeds better and better birds each year and
finally winds up at the top of the ladder.
I often think that fanciers are born and not made, for I
have seen so many who seemed to be endowed with all the
instincts of the true fancier and yet there was a something-
lacking and they soon dropped out of the ranks.
And all this bears me out in my original argument as to
breeding one variety. If it is so hard to succeed with only
one variety what must be the task of the man who tries to
breed a dozen,
But to go back to the selection of a variety. This is the
time to go slow and even if a man had his loft all ready and
his feed bought I think it would still be good policy and
money made (to say nothing of time saved) for him to take a
trip around to several lofts. My word for it, he might fluctuate
between a dozen or twenty varieties, but sooner or later he
would settle on one and he would rind that it was the type
that first struck him.
Til venture that if you put a strange breeder whom I never
saw and of whom I know nothing, in a big show room and let
me watch him half an hour I can tell what he breeds. He
may wander up and down the alleys in a general way, but
will always wind up in front of the cages containing his
I believe that if he breeds half a dozen varieties I can tell
the one in which he is most interested.
|'l(ii:)N> AND ALL AIJOUT THEM.
\..\\ a man should not start with one variety and become
dtsu;i>ted and try others one after the other. He will find it
a losing nnr.ip. No man can sell a whole loft of one type for
what it is worth, neither can a man buy other birds, such as
he \\ants and needs, just at the time he would like to get
them. The best lofts are made up of a bird or a pair bought
here and another there, just as the opportunity occurs. It is
a matter f record that I once bought a whole loft of about
tift\ birds to get ( ne cock that I wanted, and I am free to
admit that lie didn't throw birds nearly as good as himself
and 1 was glad to sell him. So it will be seen that the best
of us <^ei picked up.
<;r:intinu that the reader has finally decided on the variety
<>f pigeon he feels would suit him, a still harder part of the
work (iimes. for he must exercise judgment in the selection
of his breeding stock.
Abnit the worst thing a man can do, is to get reckless and
try to buy up all the prize winners he can obtain.
hi this book I want to be truthful. I don't want any man
or boy to say l l read your book and believed you and you
misled me." Therefore I want to make the plain statement
that if I were buying for myself I would noibuy prize winners
from anybody, with which to stock my loft, for the reason that
as a rule prize winners do not breed birds as good as them-
>elves. The average prize winner is generally bred from
parents one or both of which are by no means typical speci-
mens of their breed.
The parents have the blood, but they are often defective
in the main points for which their standard calls.
The prize winner is simply a tribute to the good judgment
of i he breeder who has the skill to mate two birds for "points"
in their offspring. Let the average fancier buy two winners
and mate them and the chances are that theywillprodu.ee
specimens in no wise equal to themselves. This is why so
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 39
many men who have the means to make great fanciers, but do
not Lave the skill and judgment, become discouraged and
drop out of the ranks.
This carries us back to my original proposition, that a man
must study a breed and have a thorough knowledge of all its
peculiarities before he can hope to succeed with it.
to 1'HiKoN.s AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
DANGER IN IMPORTING.
OFTKN" an ambitious fancier takes it for granted that
t In- birds of this country are not good enough for him
and he must therefore import. He thinks he must go
to the fountain head, i.e. to England or Scotland. Often he is
ltd to do this by the fictitious idea that all imported birds are
There never was a greater mistake. Things are better now,
but I can remember when America (or " the States" as the
Knulish and Scotch called our country) was considered a
dumping place for "rubbish." Not only do I know this by
actual experience, but I have read articles in the leading
pigeon papers of the other side, in which the editors called on
the fanciers to give their American patrons the worth of their
money and stop unloading on them birds that were only " fit
for the pot." It is only a few years since importing began.
1 can remember when the English band was such ararity here
that a bird wearing one was looked on with awe and supposed
to be something far above the ordinary. If a judge heard
that so and so had imported a pair of birds, or if, in his
judging, he ran across a bird with an English band, he was
disposed to give it the full benefit of every doubt for fear that
placing it down where it justly belonged, would reflect on his
ability as a judge.
The English and Scotch knew just as little about us as we
did about them. I ordered four pairs of Fans from Scotland
-.oinc years ago and the sender shipped them in a box that
would do to hold a raying tiger. It was of heavy oak and
naiU-d and bolted all over. I could ship two hundred birds to
any part of this country for what it cost me to get that box
<-.\ preyed from New York alone.
Thm I had to pay for watching, or tending, or something,
e they cairn- over, and it cost me a nice s-um to get them
PIGEOXS A XI) ALL AlioTT THEM. 41
to my loft. There was one good bird in the l.t, ly the wuy.
The rest I could beat to death in my own lot't. But I had the
experience, and paid for it as usual.
I do not mean to suggest that all the English and Scotch
fanciers are not houorabl". in fact I know of several that are
absolutely fair and squaie, but the great majority arc tricks
ters who have the happy faculty of 4> weeding out" every
bird they don't want, when they get an order from America,
No fanciers on earth can get their birds in better condition,
and none can '"fake" birds so skilfully as our cousins across
the water, and it is a well known fact that birds that have
even reached this side in good condition, have soon ' gone to
pieces " or have, after their first moult, or after new feathers
have had a chance to grow, shown the effects of the most
palpable trickery in " pi licking." It is also a fact that in
England and Scotland, especially at the small shows, where
breeders of no standing are apt to show, the hardest work of
the judge is, notto find the best bird, but to find the best bird
that is shown fairly.
The best fanciers on the other side have taken vigorous
steps to stop all this fraud, but they are far in the minority,
for the great masses of the small breeders are tricky and cjn-
sider it not only not dishonest, but an evidence of superior
smartness, to be able to get a faked bird past a judge.
Remember I am not speaking of those honorable English
and Scotch fanciers whose good names are a household word
among our fanciers, but of the dirty little pettifoggers who
swarm in the fancy in Great Biitain. and they unfortunately,
are liable to be the very ones to entrap the unsophisticated
American fancier who decides to import.
I-J ['IGEONS AN!) ALL AJiorT TIIK.M.
AS TO CONSTITUTION.
NOW in selecting the variety to breed, one must remem-
ber that many of our finest birds cannot by any means
have good constitutions. It is an impossibility from
Ibe that ino.xt tact of them are "made" varieties and it
has taken years of " inbreeding" to produce them.
It is only within the last fifty years that the varieties of
to-day have sprung up. Prior t that time I doubt if many of
them were in existence. Pigeons have been kept for centuries
and by all kinds of people, but I am referring to what are
known as the "fancy" pigeons of to-day. Thousands of men
have been interested in this changing of the dull colored,
uncouth common pigeon into the dashing, high colored and
beautifully variegated bird of the present. Where one fa qier
has left off, another has taken up the work, each with the
idea oi improving on his predecessor.
Take for example, the short-faced Tumbler, a bird known
to everyor.e and tnere is no question but that fifty years ago
its 1) ak was long, but birds of smaller and smaller beaks
were selected and mated, and this mated parent and offspring
closer and closer, and naturally reduced vitality and con-
Breeding for 'feather" was done in the same way, of
course. This was done by our early brethren not with the
hope of raising more birds, but better birds. The early shows
and the consequent rivalry that existed, made each old fancier
outline his ideal and work up to it. In the old days, a couple
of dollars was considered an enormous price for a pair of
birds, while now there are scores of birds for which one hun-
dred dollars each would be refused.
But this constant striving for perfection; this constant
inbreeding for results, is what has made many of our best
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 43
birds so tender that a single draught or a close shipping box
will kill them.
There are some fanciers, and they are men of brains, who
predict that many of these breeds will "run out," that is,
they will be continuously bred up, till their young will be too
weak to live.
I 3o not think however that such a misfortune can come to
the fancy for many, many years, or perhaps ever. While we
produce 'artificial'' birds, we also each year, learn better
how to care for them and we unconsciously change conditions
and thereby meet the changed conditions of our pets.
,1 I'KiKONS AND ALL AliOUT TliKM.
AS TO COLOR.
TliK I'Mn-ier who is deciding on what particular variety
to breed, should study his surroundings ;ind then let
"color" be an important factor.
It he lives in the country or in a small village, where the
air is pure and there is no soot and coal smoke, he can thank
his stars, for he will be able to handle any color he likes.
But if he lives in a city, he had best not dabble in whites
or in any breed the beauty of which consists in a sharp con-
trast of colors, with white predominating. I will modify this
by stating that I have seen grand white birds keep their color
the entire year, in cities that use natural gas.
But in the great majority of cities and especially in the
north, I defy any fancier to find a loft so close that his white
birds can keep clean in the winter. He may dispense entire-
ly with an air coop and keep his birds in a plastered room and
yet they somehow manage to soil.
In such birds as the Magpie, Nun, Swallow, Priest, Tur-
bit, Jacobin and all others of that class the basis of the color-
is white. In most of them the beauty of the birds lies in
their sharp marking, and once soiled they lose their beauty.
The same is greatly true of Fan tails, (whites and saddles,)
I 1 . niters and many other 1 ree.ls.
Therefore if the fancier proposes to have a loft of flying
birds, he should choose ".-elf" or solid color, dark colored
birds. While a loft of blacks, reds or blues may have become
nearly as badly soiled as whites, still it is natural that the
dirt will not show as much as in whites. The Archangel is a
bird that docs not show dirt readily, yet when its beautiful
meta lie lu^hv is gone, half of its beauty is lost. But if we
cannot have perfection, we can strive to get as near it as pos-
sible, and so 1 would say, select biids that will look as well
PIGEOXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 4o
WHERE TO BUY.
NOW that we have considered what kind to buy, let us
take up the question as to where to buy; and this
opens up another wide field. Not every man who
advertises the best birds, at the lowest price, is able to deliv-
er the goods. Xot every man who is willing to sell you a great
lot of grand birds for a song, because he is going to move or
something, is the man with whom you should treat.
When you read the advertisement of a man who breeds fifty
kinds of birds, and breeds them all up to the standard, don't
waste time with him. He can't do it.
It takes a very smart man to breed one kind up to what
it should be.
I mean this advice for those who want good birds. If a man
simply wants a few pigeons, and don't care what they are,
then by all means let him go to the first bird store and get
They will be cheap in price, and, if he don't care much
svhat he gets, " he will get it. '
But the fancier who has decided to breed one variety, and
\vlio intends to breed up, and not down, should turn to the
pigeon papers, and read carefully the cards of the various
breeders who breed the particular variety he fancies'. Then
let him write to each one, and take his time to go carefully
over their replies.
Don't, for Heavens sake don't, get a Standard, and carefully
describe the standard bird, and then write u I want ( so many)
pairs of bkds just like the above. They must be just like it
or I don't want them. If they are as above I will give you five
(eight or ten, as the case may be ) dollars per pair for them."
The chances are that the fancier to whom you write
would willingly give fifty dollars ]?er pair for such birds him-
10 I'K-KOXS AND ALL ABOTT THEM.
self. A-ain he will know that you ;ire green, and will not
give vein- letterthe same attention that he would to a "man-
ly" 1ft t IT. Perhaps the term "manly" should not be used in
this connection, but it expresses the matter, und knowing
fanciers as I do, I would say that the following is the kind of
letter that, would bring an honest answer, and honest prices
from any reputable fancier. It would also bring- good birds
worth every cent you pay for them.
JOHN SMITH, Esq.
I am desirous of taking up Jacobins, as I
admire them more than any pigeon, and write to ask your
prices. I would like a pair each of Reds and Blacks, and
also a pair of Splashed if you have them. 1 want birds old
enough to breed at once.
I do not ask for prize winners for I cannot afford them,
and I would like to leave the selection of my stock birds to
your own judgment, only begging you to send me biids of a
good reliable strain, that will be likely to throw good young.
If you have good stock birds in other colors, that you think
would bring me good results, I would be pleased to have you
I know of your high standing in the fancy and am willing
to trust entirely to your good judgment. An early answer
Yours very truly.
Now, a reliable, honorable fancier would no more think of
deceiving a man like this than he would of robbing his loft.
On the contrary he would take extra pains to suit him,
knowing that he would make a friend and a future patron.
It a i.uiciei has a start however, and wants to improve his
stock, he should write a letter something like this.
1'IGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 47
JOHN SMITH Esq.
I want a red Jacobin cock, and two blue Jac-
obin liens. I want the cock to show, and breed also ; but
want the hens simply for breeding, and therefore care more
for blood than show points. If you can supply these birds
please send price, and description of the cock.
Such a letter as. the above, to an honest fancier, will bring
what one wants.
Don't ever write for a bird that will be " sure to win " at
any show. Xo fancier can fill such an order, for his ideas
and those of the judge of the show may be widely at vari-
What I have tried to show in the above is this. If you
trust to the honor or integrity of a reputable fancier, you
will lose nothing by it. Remember I use the word ; ' fancier 1 '
not " dealer. ' A fancier is a man who breeds his own birds,
and who sells whatever surplus he may have. He knows
the breeding of every bird he sends out.
A dealer is one who buys any and all kinds of birds, just so
they are cheap enough. As to their breeding he knows ab-
solutely nothing. In behalf of the dealers many of whom
are honorable men, I want to say that they do not fly under
false colors. They do not assume to know anything about
what they sell. Their motto is, "there are the birds; if the
price suits you, take them." There is always a demand for
birds of the class they handle, and they are therefore a busi-
ness necessity ; but I close this part as I began by suggesting
that if you want birds to breed for your own pleasure, and
with the hope of producing something which will be a credit
to you, don't go to a dealer.
4S I'K.KOXS AM) ALL ABOUT THEM.
It i> obvious that no fancier sends good birds to dealers.
Ifi'or example he lias a sterile cock, from which he can
never hope for progeny: a barren hen that never laid, and
never could lay an egg, a wry tailed or a hook beaked bird,
or one \\ilh bad eyes or malformation of the feet; does any
one suppose he sends it to a customer ? Not much. He has
too much sense to raise the storm of indignation that would
follow. Too much sense to lose not only one patron, but all
the friends of the same; and so, w r heii he finds his loft stock-
ed with freaks of this kind he simply bundles them up and
sends them to a dealer, hoping never to hear from them
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 49
PRICES OF BIRDS.
FOR -me to attempt to give quotations on pigeons in this
country at present, would be impossible-.
There is not nor can there be any uniform rate ; no
market quotations, so to speak. A good pigeon is worth what-
ever it will bring.
To show how views vary, it is only necessary to look over
a catalogue of ono of our big shows Looking down the list
and noting the selling price affixed to each bird, one may
note half a dozen valued at $100 each, and from that on
down tv> $25. and some to a modest $10. Yet often when
the official list of awards comes out, it \\ill show that the $10
bird got first prize, the $25. birds second, third and fourth,
while the $100. birds did not get a place. Sometimes, and
very often, a breeder becomes overstocked, and finds that he
must either sell a lot, or give them away, as he cannot use a
crowded breeding loft, and has no other place in which to
put them in such cases. I have seen Tumblers easily worth
$10. each, go for a dollar each, and pairs of Jacobins, Pouters
Fans. etc. go for $5. per pair, that are well worth $10. to $15.
Hight here is the benefit of a good reputation. When the
old breeders see by an ad. that Mr. So and So is selling off a
lot of surplus birds, they do not hesitate to buy, for they
know that with such stock as he keeps he could not breed
a really bad bird. Sometimes, he becomes desperate, and
sends off a lot to a dealer' and it is then and then only that
the latter has good birds. But the trouble is that he does
not know the best ones, as the breeder rarely takes the
trouble to send a list of leg-band numbers.
Reverting to prices however, as connected with birds order-
ed especially for good lofts, I would say, don't buy cheap
birds. If a fancier writes you " I can sell you such and such
.ii IM<;KONS AM> u,i, AI'.OTT THEM.
ini-ds at $10. per pair; 1ml 1 can send you such and such at
$20., " don't hang on to that extra $10., but send it along,
ami y<m won't regret it. The average breeder who writes in
Mich a strain, is not trying to make $10. extra out of you
( though you may think so) but knows just what he is writ-
Taking the average value of lofts in America, $75. is a
high price for the best birds turned out ; but in England birds
have brought as high as $500. per pair and even more.
A.S slated, the best way is to write to reputable fanciers,
and then use your own judgment, though of course one
should give due heed to any suggestions from them. Person-
ally I would rather at any time pay $100. for one pair of really
birds, than $100. for ten pair of ordinary ones. In other
s I would expect better results out of the two first class,
lip top birds, than out of the twenty, many of which would
probably not suit my ideas at all.
< >ne advantage to the modern buyer, lies in the fact, that of
late, many of our American fanciers are adopting the English
style of sale circulars. These circulars give a description
and price of each bird, and are very convenient for both buyer
and seller. A good circular saves the writing of a vast lot of
letters, and covers the case thoroughly. As fast as birds are
sold, they can be checked off and so marked. If more of our
breeders would adopt this style, they would be surprised at
the saving of time.
A spring sale circular of fantails would be something like
the following page, and it can be seen that the buyer can
look it over and order at once just what he wants, and thus
\e the delay of correspondence. And further, the novice
luus the same chance, as the description means exactly what
it says, and the birds are open to all.
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 51
CHARLES J. JOHNSON, Proprietor,
1. Blue Cock. '96. Xo. 61. good sound color, a little coarse in
head and neck ; good flat tail. A good breeder, and of
excellent blood. Price $15.
2. White hen. '97. Xo. 108. Good all over save slight tendency
to wry tail. Excellent head, neck and body, superb
style. Fine stock bird. Price 810.
3. Black hen. '96. Xo. 7. Very rich sound color. A little over
sized. Tail very large but not regular Good cross
for a small high styled cock. Best of stock. Price $8.
4. White cock. '91. Imp. from Brown. England. Rather large
English type. Good record in the show pen. A very
handsome bird all over. Re isou for selling, have bred
him four seasons and am through with the cross. A
very valuable bird for any breeder. Cost $45. Price $25.
These birds are just as represented, or no sale. An early
reply will oblige as the mating season is now on.
Very truly yours,
CHAS. J. JOHNSOX.
Five hundred circulars like the above would cost Mr. John-
son only a small sum, and they do away with the necessity
for all kinds of answers to all kinds of letters.
I notice that many of our fanciers are adopting this meth-
od in their advertisements, and they certainly show wisdo.n
by so doing.
PIGEONS AM) ALL ABOUT Til KM.
Before le;i \iiii; the subject of buying and selling, I want to
say that the last tiling of which the true fancier thinks is the
actual money lu- makes out of his hobby. If he can only get
enough out of his surplus birds to pay for his feed and ex-
penses and have enough over to be able to buy an occasional
' good one" that strikes his fancy, he is happy.
No. the breeding of pigeons, by the man who is a true fan-
cier, ( and I ought to write the word " fancier,'' in capital let-
ters ) is no sordid, money-making affair.
When \ve think of the good sensible business men who
\\oi-k ahead getting their birds ready for a show; who pay
for shipping boxes and expressage, then entry fees, then
railroad fare, hotel bills, etc aside from the time lost from
business, and go a thousand miles to a show, when all they
could possibly win if they should be fortunate enough to
win first, second and third- would be the magnificent
sum of four dollars, we can begin to -realize that it is not
the money they make or can expect to make out of their
birds, that keeps these royal good fellows in the fancy.
PIGEOXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. :>:}
IN THE LOFT.
WE will now suppose that the fancier has purchased his
birds and is rJl ready to try the mysteries of breeding.
His heart is full of hope, and he will find himself
sitting for hours in his loft, watching his birds.
If he has a large air coop, he will open his window and let
his birds bathe, if it is a pretty day, or if he has Hying birds.
he will let them out. If he is starting a yard loft, ho will
find it a good idea to have his bob-wire in position, so that
he can keep the run of his flock. It is all right to clap a
board in front of an entrance hole or jam ones hat in it, if no
board is handy after the birds are in, but an easily shifted
bob-wire is almost a necessity in every loft of riving birds,
and is so handy that no loft is complete without it. The
idea in a shifting one is that it can be hung on the. wall or
slid to one side when not in use, and then only a slight push
puts it in place and the fancier can go away with the know-
ledge that as fast as each bird goes in it is there to stay till
he lets it out.
To make it, make a frame like a slate frame, and fasten by
hinges to the upper part, a small slrip into which thr.ee stiff
and heavy wires have been drilled. Have thtm just long
enough to fall past the lower part of the frame and have the
strip work so easily that the slightest push of a bird will
cause it to swing inward. Pieces of thin leather will do as
well as the hinges and being protected from the weather,
will last a long time. One can work one of the sliding bob-
wires by a cord, so as to open or shut it without going into
:.l PKiKoNS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
A NOT I IK 11 very necessary tiling just now, is a lot of
training coops. It is hard to get along without them,
for not only is it necessary to train birds for the show
pen nowadays, but in the almost constant handling of ones
birds in some shape or form, one needs a convenient place into
which to slip them for the time being. They can also be
used for mating pens, for hospital use, if one has sick birds,
and for solitary confinement. For these two latter reasons,
if for no other, I keep my training coops in one of the lower
lofts away from even the sight of the birds in the loft proper.
(ict any tinner or wire worker (if you are not in a city
where exhibition coops can be bought) to make you a wire
front six feet long and eighteen inches high, with top of
In this he should put three wire partitions eighteen inches
square. Make a sliding door, vertical, in each of the four
coops, that will drop of its own weight. You will then have
the front and top of four coops.
Next, take light poplar or pine nicely smoothed, and make
the base and back. Take boards twenty inches wide and
nail them at right angles, with a small cross strip to hold
them firm. The boards should be six feet long and the ex-
tra width, especially the bottom board, is to give a ledge on
which feed and water cups can be placed.
Ky watching the measurement, the tier of four coops will
tit in exactly. They weigh little and handle very easily
Their utility does not stop in the loft, for they make good
show pens. The backs, and in fact the entire wood work,
should be nicely painted a dark blue. It is astonishing how
much travel they will stand if made properly. All that is
needed is to fasten the coops down with double pointed tacks.
\Vitli these coops in place, the fancier is all ready for the
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 55
NATURALLY, under the above head, the first thing is,
the time to mate. This is goVerned, as are many
other things, by the latitude in which the breeder
lives. In the old days, the people all over the world, seemed
to mate up everything on the 14th. of February.
In the latitude in which I live, I do not think that date is
too early, provided we have had a severe winter. But if the
winter has been mild, I- am always inclined to wait, for fear
a delayed cold snap will catch my young birds at the most
In the latitude in which Chicago lies, I think the 1st. of
March about right, but this also is governed by the weather
and also by the kind of loft a man has.
1 like to get an early start, in order to judge as nearly as
possible by the first pair of young, as to whether or not I
have made mistakes in mating.
If one mates late in the season, he has little chance to undo
any mistake that he has made. Again, if the birds have
been separated during the time intervening between Sept.
and the middle of February, they are vigorous and hearty
and in a condition to not only throw strong young, but to
feed and care for them well afterwards. Therefore I would
suggest that time spent on the theory that a certain date is
the time to mate, is time wasted. One should use his judg-
ment and when he believes that the worst of the weather is
over, he should mate. It is also well to remember that dur-
ing the eighteen days of hatching, it makes little difference
what the weather is.
It will seem foolish to my readers, who are old fanciers, to
go into detail over mating, yet there are untold thousands of
men and boys in America, who cannot tell a cock from a hen
even when both are "playing," and would have no idea what
PIGEONS AM) ALL ABOUT THEM.
Btepp t par>ue it' ih.-y were presented w'th an unmated pair.
Yer\ nai urally, if they had the two odd birds, they would
simply put them in the loft together and that would be the
i.,i,l of it, for thej \\-rnild mate themselves. But, say they
hal a Magpie c<>ck and a Turbit hen, and a Turbit cock and
a Magpie hen that had persisted in mating- the wrong way,
lhe\ \\<>uld be a< their wits ends. AVe think, in our love of
pigeons, that everybody feels as we do, knows what we do,
etc.; yet the great masses of the people are as ignorant of
\\ hat is almost a part of our Bible to us, as we are of occult
sciences. Take one hundred men as we meet them along the
crowded streets of a great city, and ninety-nine would not
know a Barb from a Pouter, and the last man would probably
ask you what made the Barb's eyes so red and sore. He
would add that the pigeons (or doves, as he would call them)
that he had "when he was a boy," never had sore eyes like
This book was written for the masses, not for the favored
few, who know as much about pigeons as I do, (and some of
them more,) and therefore I go into detail over little things,
in the hope that I may make them so plain that any man
who has a kindly feeling for our hobby, may take the book,
follow its instructions and soon become one of the "anoint-
ed." as it were.
The question is often asked, how to tell a cock from a hen.
As a rule, the cock is the larger and coarser bird, uses a
longer note, "plays 1 " more, and in short acts more the devot-
ed lover. For instance, a cock is apt to circle around the
bird to which he is playing, whether it be a cock or hen;
\\ bile about the only motion of the hen is to raise and lower
the head quickly and take a few steps forward, spreading
both wings and tail. Her note is very short and sharp and
lacks tin- resonant "roll" of the cock.
PIGEOXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 57
An old rule which is generally correct, is to hold the bird,
the sex of which is to be tested, loosely in the hand. Then
suddenly tilt it forward. If it throws down its tail to balance
it is a cock. If it throws it up, it is a hen. Where I am at
all uncertain, I generally use the solitary plan, that is, I shut
the bird in a training coop, where it can neither see nor hear
another bird. After a day or two, I put a bird of the sup-
posed opposite sex, in the next pen and the first bird will
generally show its sex at once.
Often two cocks will mate, aud they often do this in spring
when they have been kept away from the hens all winter. In
such cases, I at once take away the cock that has gone to the
other ones nest, for I have found that they often become so
attached to each other, as to intefere with taking up with
their own hens when the latter are turned into the loft. On
the same principal, two hens will mate in the winter loft, aud
it is not an unusual thing for them to make a nest, lay two
eggs each and try to hatch them.
When a fancier selects two birds, and builds his hopes on
a speedy mating and subsequent nesting, he often runs
against two very perverse pigeon natures. Sometimes they
fight at first, through the bars that separate them. Some-
times neither will pay any attention to the other and some-
times one will resist each and every advance of the other. In
such cases, solitary confinement is the great method. Take
the birds as far away from the breeding loft as possible ; shut
them up. say one in an out house, and the other in a box in
the cellar, if the latter is dry. The point is to get them
where they cannot see or hear a pigeon of any kind. As I
once said, I have taken two perverse birds of this kind and
have given them such a dose, that either one would try to
mate with its own reflection in a looking glass.
The old style mating coop is a double coop with a slide in
the centre. The birds are separated till the supposed proper
IM<;KONS AND ALL Anorr THEM.
time, and thru tin- slide is withdrawn, throwing the coop in
Hut tliis is really not so speedy a way as the other. The
birds can hoar each other move and coo in a double coop and
thus a stubborn bird does not get that lonesome feeling that
comes over it, when put off by itself. I have never yet failed
to make a mating I desired, but I once spent three weeks 011
two particularly stubborn birds.
Unmated birds should never, under any circumstances, be
allowed in the breeding loft. If an odd cock, he is liable to
crowd on a nesting hen, while her mate may be away, and
break the eggs or cause her to trample on her young while
I have seen an odd cock visit several nsets, one right after
the other and cause trouble in each. Sometimes they attack
defenceless young in a neighboring nest and pick them
An odd hen, while not so bad, is also a nuisance, for when
the mating fever is on her, she will often crowd in on a pair,
that are just nicely mated and break them up, as the cock
will become undecided as to which is his mate.
I use a lower room, the same in which the hens are confin-
ed in winter, and into it I put every odd bird and all young
birds as soon as they are done feeding from their parents.
< .ood breeding birds often breed so fast that they will have
a nearly matured pair on the loft floor -and another, just
hatched, in the nest.
I 1 will therefore be seen how necessary it is to get the older
voimg out of the way, so that the " pigeons' milk" may go
to the tiny ones in the nest. /
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
WHAT TO MATE.
IF the fancier has bought his birds from a reliable man,
I would advise him to follow the directions of the latter
as to mating, for the first season. The breeder knows,
or should know the points in his strain and his advice is
nearly always correct.
But in mating the next season, the fancier should use his
judgment. He has by this time acquired a knowledge cf
each bird among his breeders, and he should have carefully
studied his young, so as to know all the best points in each.
Reduced to a science, mating correctly consists in so select-
ing two birds that their progeny will combine the best
points of both. For example ; say I have a Fantail cock, the
tail of which I do not consider good. It may have plenty of
feather, yet it is not even. The feathers are broad and stiff,
with no tendency to fray on the edges; but he may have a
tendency to open centre or bunches, or splits in the side.
Now, if I find that his tendency is always to throw young
with the same broad, stiff feather, and without the bunches
and splits, I select a hen much smaller in size and with the
most "regular" tail lean get. I want every feather in its
exact place. By a mating of this kind, I am liable to get
small compact young with splendid, even tails, for the reg-
ularity of tail in the cock's blood is added to the regularity
that is apparent ;it a glance in the hen.
A coarse cock of any breed, or a coarse hen will often be
found to throw beautiful young of the requisite ''fine '' ap-
pearance. Such birds as I have described are invaluable in
a loft. The successful breeder is not the o/.e who has a loft
of breeders that are all prize winning show birds, but who
has a loft of birds, not all typical specimens but which have
the power to transmit the proper points to their offspring.
PIGEONS AM) ALL ABOUT THEM.
II, -nee the necessity for constant study. No old breeder,
no mallei- how expert lie may be, can go into a strange loft
.ind tell the owner just \vli;it to mate. He must know what
the hirds have thrown the reason or two before. -Yet it is a
fun. that if he could he .-.how., the young, he could get a
very fair idea.
V.\v that ih" hirds are mated, don't try to make their nest
f,n- i in-ill. Let them alone, for they will attend to the house
keeping. I have known men so green that they insisted on
making great nests of hay etc. for their birds.
(iet the small tobacco stems of which I have treated before,
and scatter them on the floor. But remember that the eggs
must he watched for the first few days. I have seen birds so
active in building, that they would rear great piles, and com-
pletely cover their cogs. Sometimes an egg slips down end-
ways het \\een two stems that are particularly coarse, and a
\ oung hen will never be able to work it back. Old ones seem
to have little trouble, but a young hen will go placidly along
with a cold egg some inches below her.
Every time fresh stems are carried in, the nest rises still
higher above the neglected egg. The danger in very high
nests is. that the young birds in their struggles for food,
sometimes slip over the side of the nest and can never
-.'Tiimhle hack, if both fall out, the hen will often move to
them: hut sometimes she sits on the original nest and lets
t he \ on im ones chill.
\- soon as a:i egg is laid, put the date on it with an idel-
ihle pencil, which latter should be in every loft. I don't
helieve in handling eggs very much, but they can stand a
i;icat deal of handling and not be affected at all.
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 6i
THE period of incubation is eighteen days in nice warm
weather, and one or two days longer in cold weather.
The second egg is laid 011 the second day after the first.
It is always well to have dummy eggs in the loft. Sometime .i
a pair may be ' ; located " with or.e. For instance, if they are
undecided as between several nests and you desire them to
use a certain one, it is often the case that when they see an
egg in one certain box they, will at once adopt that box.
But the great point in the dummy egg is that it produces
an equal time of hatching of both eggs. Some hens do not
stay regularly on the nest till the second egg is laid, while
others set closely from the laying of the first. The latter is
often the case with young hens with their first eggs.
In this way the first egg starts on its incubation two days
prior to the other, ami the young bird is therefore out and
wanting to be fed two dajs before its nest mate.
It thus gets a good start, and is striving for food, before the
other has strength enough to lift its head. It gets the ma-
jority of the food, for the old ones are prone to feed what-
ever beak is raised first and it waxes strong and grows, while
the other is neglected, for as it grows weaker day by day, its
chances for food grow less.
The dummy egg does away with all this, gives the eggs an
even start and thus produces even incubation. It is made by
hard-boiling an infertile egg, or in fact any egg for which the
owner may have no use.
Sometimes young birds, especially the high bred ones, are
very weak in spite of an equal time of incubation. Some-
times by some chance, one youngster thrives and the other
does not, and in this case I always shift the stronger young
bird under another pair. The reason for this is obvious.
r.ij I'H.KON'S AM) ALL AI'.OTT Til KM.
The \\hole rare of the real parents is centered on the weak
\omi.u.stei, while if the foster parents are neglectful of the
oilier, it ean get along very well for a clay or two while the
weak one is "catching np. '
should this happen before the youngster is large enough
to hand, tie a little thread around its leg, and mark on your
loft register a pencil memorandum. "Shifted young bird,
thread on right leg, from pair 10 to pair 4. ' Then when the
conditions of the two young seem equalized, put the orphan
hark, lake off the thread and put on your band. Enter it in
your loft register and erase the pencil memorandum. This
prevents all mistakes.
PKiEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 63
SHIFTING EGGS AND YOUNG.
AITER marking the date of the laying of a pair of eggs,
look at them carefully the sixth day afterwards. Hold
them in front of your lamp, or take them to the suu
arid note their appearance. If they look clear and yellow,
they are infertile and will not hatch, but if they are inclined
to be opaque or if you can see little veins, they are all right.
Right here I want to give some advice that it will be well
to heed. 1 have spent years " helping" birds and I find the
following the best plan, especially with young birds. I want
to preface this by the statement, that a young pair of mated
birds are much like a young pair of house keepers; they
have lots to learn.
If I find that a young pair have one fertile egg, I put away
the other and let them go on with one. If both are infertile
I get one egg from another pair, mark it plainly with the
pencil, make a pencil mem. in the loft register, and let them
hatch it. It is a wonderful helper in " steadying" a young
pair, for the care of feeding after the long rest of hatching,
takes a great deal of the crankiness from them, and they
On the other hand, if you take the eggs away, it unsettles
them, aud they are apt to rush to laying again, and the sec-
ond pair of eggs, (from the fact that the parents have had no
real rest,) are apt to be bad. When this youngster so hatch-
ed is banded, I credit it to the pair that laid the egg, so it
will be seen that there is no chance for any mistake.
Here comes the beauty of mating all the birds on the same
day, for, if a pair has both young die in coming out of the
shell, or just after, there are always other nests out of which
young can be borrowed,
M 1'KiKoNs AM) ALL ABOUT THEM.
\> ;i mailer of i'ae.t, ;i pair of young fans lost their young-
ster a .short lime a.uo. just alt er i t got through the shell.
I'nt'oi -timateh . I did not have another of just the right age,
so I threw the <lc;id one away, thinking that would end it.
lint tin- parents stayed right on the vacant nest and I found
ilic hen still thrre, on the third morning after her young-
died. 1 knew this would never do, so in despair I went to the
swallow lot't and brought over a young bird at least a week
old. and slipped it under her. To my surprise, she cuddled
over it and began feeding at once, and it is strong and hearty
to-day, while the old birds are contented and building again c
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 65
NEVER give up an egg, or the young one in it, till it is
dead. I have seen eggs completely chilled, cracked
eggs, eggs with pieces absolutely broken out, that
hatched, and youngsters that were picked up stiff on a loft
floor, that soon came to life and flourished.
After an egg has gotten well along in the process of incu-
bation, it will stand a great deal. If not cracked so badly as
to let the white run out, paste a little court plaster over it,
or a piece of postage stamp. If a little piece is broken out,
do the same.
If you find a youngster out of the nest and chilled, hold it
in your warm hands and gently breathe on it, and then as
soon as it moves, slip it under a close setting hen. It is rare-
ly necessary to bring it in to the fire, for the warmth of the
bird is more natural, and again, when it begins moving, the
hen is liable to give it warm food.
Along about the eighteenth day, it is well to look at all
eggs. It' the little dotted break in the shell looks all right,
and you can hear the young bird working merrily away, it is
no doubt strong and active and will get through without any
help. Look at it again the next day, say 24 hours after,
and if the broken line is no further along, it is a good idea to
help a little, but be very careful and do not over do the mat-
ter. I take my thumb nail and gently, very gently, indent a
continuation of the* line, or make a very small hole.
Now, don't hurry the bird. Give it plenty of time, for if
you do too much and puncture one of the little veins, the bird
is lof-t. Hundreds of thousands of young birds are killed,
through the impatience of the fancier. I have known many
cases where it took three days for a bird to emerge from the
shell even after it had made a good break. Remember the
.,.-, PKiKnXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
hird is growing all the time, and the shell is becoming
more brittle. I'sually the old birds bring out the empty
>lu -11s. and often with a great deal of pride. If they do not^
take tin-in out gently as soon as possible for they are in the
way. Again; I have seen the bloody half of the first egg,
fJiji over I he second egg and stick, and retard the progress of
the second bird. All these little matters go to show how
careful, how watchful the conscientious fancier must be.
Jiut for all this patience and perseverance, he gains his re-
ward when the young birds beautiful in their style, their
mark ing, their lovely contour of body, and all the little
points so necessary to the really fine pigeon, step out on the
floor to delight his eye. He knows that while they are direct-
ly descended from their parents, it is his skill and care,
aided by his instinctive love for the beautiful, that has made
them what they are. If among them there are a few thatcau
be decked with the coveted blue ribbons, in keen competi-
lion, then his cup of happiness is indeed full to overflowing.
The young being now out of the eggs, all we have to do is,
as stated before, to watch and see that they are fed evenly,
that is, that both are fed about the same amount and neither
neglected. It is a good idea to feed rather early in the
morning, and then the hens will leave the nests with their
young in them, eat a little, and hurry back, leaving the cocks
to get good full crops of feed prior to relieving the hen, at
which time she will eat enough for the afternoon and night.
I mention this from the fact, that if a morning feed is de-
layed till late in the day, the hens are apt to stay off too long.
More young die through being chilled in the morning, than
at any other time. It is well to watch, and if you notice a
young bird quivering its little wings, shaking with cold and
gaping at intervals, hurry and slip it under another hen for
the time being, till it gets thoroughly warm.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 67
ALONG about the fourth or sixth day, the young are
about ready to band, but there is no hurry about it.
Use your o\vn judgment and when you think the foot
is large enough to keep the band in place, put it on.
I do not believe in early banding, as the bands keep slip-
ping off and getting lost in the nests and the operation must
be done over and over. This is needless, \vheu we remember
that a quite goodly sized bird can be banded if the foot is
Draw the three front toes together and slip the band up on
the foot. Then gently squeeze the back toe up and parallel
with the leg, and the band will slip over. Then gently pull
out the back toe with thumb and forefinger.
A young bird's foot is very flexible, and will adapt itself to
almost any position, and though bands may seem to slip on
with a great deal of squeezing, there is absolutely no danger
of harming the young bird.
The size of band to be used is governed very much by the
kind of bird bred. All good baud makers make four sizes,
ranging from a Turbit or Owl size, to a Pouter or Runt size.
If a man belongs to a Swallow, Fan, Turbit, Owl, Magpie,
or any other Club, he should of course use the particular
band adopted by that club, giving a preference always to the
Many breeders, who have achieved a reputation for turn-
ing out first class stock, use on one of the legs, a private al-
uminum band bearing their own initials. This is a sort of
o-uarantee that the bird came from a noted loft, and is a cor-
rective against tricky fellows who sell birds that they claim
were bred in certain well known lofts,
I'K.l.oNs AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
THE LOFT REGISTER.
T II is is one oi' the most important adjuncts to the loft. I
knou >f a do/,eu styles, each of which is claimed to be
1'i-st ly the author but know of none better than
Tuomlily's, which is made by a regular publishing house.
A rrgistrr siu-h as the above, is suited for a loft where
several varieties are kept ; but a very concise register can be
m:ide for a loft where only one kind of birds are ever bred
something like this.
Pair No. 12.
Young birds hatched 1898.
18. 42. 48. 55.
si 5 COCK.
1 1 KN.
Pair Xo. 13.
Young birds hatched ISOS.
* *-' 88. 97. 98.
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM.
Now see how easy the next year shows for itself. Say the
breeder wishes in 1899 to mate two of the birds he raised the
season before. The record would be something like this.
Pair Xo. 14.
Young birds hatched I8i>9.
32. 33. 4:.. 46. 67. 68.
13y turning a few pages one can go back four generations.
70 IM<;KO\S AVD ALL ABOUT THEM.
IT is now tiiiu' for the fancier who has had average success,
to begin thinking of selling his surplus birds, and he
will tiinl that a modest card in a good pigeon paper will
he .1 -<MH| in\ estmeut.
li he is unknown, he will make no mistake if he states
frankly that his stock, is from the lofts of the old breeder
from \\ limn he bought it. There are many whose names are
household words in the fancy. Some of them have spent a
liiV time in breeding one particular variety and have bred it
to ;i point about as near perfection as can well be attained.
It is especially in the beginning of his career as a seller,
that the fancier must be particularly honest and square in
all his statements, regarding birds he is offering for sale. It
is tar better to sell good birds at a low price than to sell ordi-
nary (Mies at a high price. A satisfied customer makes others,
l'iit a dissatisfied patron can cause a world of trouble.
And the very fact that customers must be suited, again
shows how necessary it isfor one to attend to his own birds.
v 'ivants and helpers are all right as far as they go. They
an feed, and clean the loft, but when it comes to banding,
or selecting fora customer, they don't know how to do it.
I have a colored man who for eight long years has helped
with my loft; but if he knows a single bird in it, or any cock
from any hen, I don't know it.
servants do their work in a perfunctory sort of way. They
are often willing and anxious and will do carefully anything
they are told to do ; bnt they simply follow directions with-
takirig any real interest in the work, and should not
therefore be trusted with anything important.
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 71
SHIPPING ON APPROVAL.
OFTEX an order cornes in asking that birds be sent on
approval. I do not believe in this at all, for no two
men always agree on types of birds.
I might have a pair of fans, that I might consider first class
in every respect, but they might not suit some other man.
The customer may be absolutely fair and honest, and may
write "if the birds don't suit me I will pay expenses of tran-
sit both ways, so that you may be out nothing. If they suit
I will willingly send you the price asked".
Now let us take a case. I get an order from John Smith of
Denver, Col., for a pair of birds of a certain type. In other
words the cock must have certain points, and the hen certain
It happens that I do not have a pair already mated, just as
Mr. Smith likes them ; but I want to suit him so I break two
pairs that are on eggs, taking the cock of one and the hen of
the other. (In my own case I could save the eggs by trans-
ferring them under two pairs of Swallows; but some other
breeder might not be so well prepared.)
Well, say I lose two pairs of eggs, naturally equivalent to
two pairs of young birds. I ship this pair to Mr. Smith, and
he does not like them, and he returns them. So far so good ;
but suppose they never reach him through vsome accident on
the railroads. Suppose one bird smothers before reaching
him. Suppose they reach him all right, and are started
home too soon, and one of them dies after reaching home
or both are sick and useless, or, suppose the train is wrecked
and they never get home at all, where do I stand? Would Mr-
Smith be willing to pay for his experiment? It is either
trouble with Mr. Smith or with the express company or both.
PIGEONS \\: = A.LL ABOUT Til KM.
An e\pr. - 'iipany let a bird escape for me once, and it
took me t\\o years 1 -et the money for it. I had to c,
through thive courts before I uot it. and how much does the
idi-r Mippo>e I had left after paying my attorney :'
1 \\ ill admit that the danger of losing the birds is not near-
ly hat of not suiting the enstomev.
Whm a regular sale is made, the birds belong to the huyi-r
ae BO D a> they are in the Kxpit-- .-thee.and that i> the end
It' a . 'ireet ceseription of the hirds has been made, the
faiieii-i need not trouble himself further. He has described
them as they are, and, if they do not suit the particular taste
of the buyer, it cannot be helped.
Little errors are always liable to occur, and then the real
ncier" is always ready to meet his customer more than
half \\a\ .
There are plenty of men who attempt to pose as fanciers,
\\ho ha\e not the tirst instinct of a gentleman fancier. They
are in the fancy as a business proposition, and for what they
can make. The u'reat beautv is that thev don't last lontr,
*' ^ 7
and soon drift out of what they have only served to disgrace.
PIGEONS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 73
THE birds being ordered, the next point is to get them to
the buyer in good shape, and much depends on this.
A rough uncouth box, filthy inside, and containing
rumpled and half famished pigeons is not a good card of in-
Yet there are two extremes, a fancier may ship birds in too
large a box, thus entailing an expense for transporting a lot
of surplus wood, when the expressage on the pigeons them-
selves is plenty.
A man's own judgment should guide him as to the size of
a shipping box. AVhat is needed is just enough room to keep
the birds from bring squeezed. For one pair I usually take
a box about 18 to 20 inches square, and for two pairs a box
half as much larger. Three pairs of Fantails can go nicely
in a box 24 inches long by 18 wide. It should be at least
12 inches and lo high if possible, as height is a great thing
to stop all danger from either draughts or suffocation. I
have seen many a fine bird come to a show dead in the box,
because its owner was too saving of space.
I have never yet lost a bird from suffocation in shipping,
in all these years; and I attribute it to the fact that I never
use a low box. Formerly I used a combination box of wood
and canvas ; but of late years use only wood. It is useless to
go to the expense of having fine boxes made, when they can
be picked up for a song at any grocery store. Again, the
wood box is far safer than any combination wood and canvas
box, and the Express companies do not charge any fancy
rates on it.
All through the West and South there is a cracker box in
general use, that makes the very best kind of a shipping
box. The wood is light yet strong, and a few extra nails will
AM) ALL ABOUT THEM.
makr it jsalV lor a trip uf any distance. If the inside of the
box is rou-li ;i little paper pasted around the inside, as far
up as the l.inl> H-ach, and can be put on in a few moments.
M \ rt- ^ular box when ready for the trip looks like this.
for Transportation of Birds Sold.
It will be noticed that there is only one hole in the top,
Hi. hand-hole, for which every messenger will thank you.
It offers" him an easy way in which to handle the box, and
you don't need to tell him for he will take in the situation
at a glance and use it. There are no other holes in the top
to let in dirt, and the ventilating holes are far above the
birds so that no draughts can strike them. Atone corner
and about two inches from the bottom, cut a square hole just
large enough to hold an ordinary tin cup. Pry off the lower
part of the handle, bend it up, and tack it to the end of the
handle, bend it up, and tack it to the end of the box till
about one third shows on the outside of the box.
Then get a common sponge that will till the cup when sat-
urated, and put It in place.. If the the trip :s a long one, it
1 to fasten the sponge in. Birds can be sent on a six
days trip, with a water cup of this kind.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
I always tack on the side near the cup, a card with the re-
quest in plain letters, " PLEASE WATER HERE. "
In the bottom of the box, put clean sawdust. It is useless
to put a feed box inside, for the birds are prone to climb up
on it and soil the contents. Again ; pigeons do not eat much
on a trip of this kind, and a handful of feed in one corner is
For a short trip, say of twenty-four hours, I never put in
water at all. A bird can easily go so long as that except in
very hot weather, and never feel it, and this does away with
any danger of soiling.
Pigeons do very little fighting while on a railroad trip. The
noise and bustle and the constant shaking keeps each one
busy with its own troubles. When possible, always send a
postal card a day ahead, stating on what train you will ship.
Also notify the purchaser to give the birds a bath as soon as
possible, for a bath after a trip is as much of a luxury, as it
is to one of us.
Always mark the number of birds in the box plainly on the
outside. This saves tilting up and peering into the box at
the express office.
Write the directions plainly, and also your own address.
There is then no chance for mistakes and everybody who sees
the birds in transit, will know who they are from.
Vf, PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
AS sometimes a man sells birds that have been exposed to
smoke and soot, it is necessary to clean them, for the
man who lives in the country, or in a small town, can't
ivali/e how easily birds soil in a city, and is often disposed
to ro i. < Irmii the bird or the breeder without stopping to think.
^omrtimt's, really clean birds will have nesting or feeding
marks, especially when well along in the breeding season.
The only way to clean birds is to wash them. Formerly I
not believe in this, but I find by sad experience that it is
t lie only thing.
To wash birds, first prepare about three vessels of water?
(-"it if possible.) Let the first be warm, the second luke-
warm and the third with the chill just taken off. Into each
1'iit a little blueing. Take castile soap and make a good lath-
er in the first vessel. Take the bird in the left hand and first
wet his wings and tail; spread them on the table, one at a
time, and gently sponge outward from the body. Don't be
afraid of hurting the feather for it will stand plenty of scrub-
bing. Xow get the sponge full of good strong suds, or lath-
er, and rub down from the head. Rub along the back, down
the breast, and also wash the legs and feet.
Get a good lather all over the bird, for a bird half washed
is a sight.
Now ri.'.se the sponge and put him into the next vessel ;
going quickly over him to get all traces of soap off; and then
into the third, into which you can put his entire body, and
let him struggle and splash. Have a good coarse towel ready,
vann if possible, and wrap him in it quickly, then as the
c-1 absorbs the moisture take him out and let him flutter.
i put in a wire cage close to a good warmth. I usually
take a wire mating coop, put clean saw-dust in the bottom,
PIGEONS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 77
and place it on a chair in front of the open stove oven. A
washed bird looks terribly at first; but soon begins to change.
The average amateur will be disappointed at first, and
think he has made a mistake ; but "it all comes out in the
wash" as -he will find.
One cannot take the bird out and let it flutter too often,
that is, as long as it don't chill for this soon gets the fibre
into condition. After the bird is thoroughly dry, a little
rubbing with a silk handkerchief, the right way of the feath-
er is quite a help. Unless the weather is very warm it is
better to keep the bird in a warm room for at least two hours
and longer if possible. When every feather is in place, and
the bird has recovered its natural body heat, the change in
appearance is wonderful.
Sponge the head carefully. In making the lather dissolve
about an ounce of castile soap to two pints of water. Don't
use too much blueing. A few drops is enough. Some use
glycerine in the third wash ; but I would not advise the
amateur to try it.
7S i'KiLoVs AND ALL AIJOFT THEM.
SICKNESS IN THE LOFT.
IF all the rules that I have given as to wholesome food,
pure water, plenty of grit, no draughts, and cleanliness
of the loft, are observed there will be little sickness if
iiiiv. 1 do not, believe that I have had a really sick bird for
years. There are times when all the birds seem to get droopy
and out of condition, and this is always caused by the weath-
er, or something that has affected their digestive organs.
The most simple remedies are always the best, and the
best simple thing to "brace up" a lot of birds is an iron tonic
which can be made by putting a lot of iron filings into their
drinking water. These can be had at almost any blacksmith
shop; but if not at hand, a handful of rusty nails will do.
Let them impregnate the water thoroughly. I usually keep
a nail or two in the water at all times.
I do not believe in this eternal "doctoring" that some fan-
ciers keep up.
The man who is always doctoring is never well, and the
.same rule holds with a bird.
Sometimes the birds in a whole loft get too fat, and then a
simple cutting down of the feed will make a decided change.
It can be put down as a fact that a lean bird is generally a
healthy bird, and a very fat one is subject to all kinds of
disease, is drowsy, short-winded, and a poor breeder.
Still there are diseases that sometimes creep in, and as it
is well to be prepared for them, I will give their symptoms
This is almost invariably caused by new feed. It will be
noticed that the evacuations are very thin and watery, and
ometimes grow into dysentery, when the passages will be
found streaked with blood.
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 79
Change diet at once, giving sound hard food, and as it is
generally the case that the whole loft is affected if the
disease gets a good hold, put in ten drops of laudanum to
the quart of drinking water, and let the whole flock drink it.
For a mild case, in one or two birds, pen them in a warm
place, and give a few drops of castor oil.
In this connection I would say that the great remedy in
many lofts, and in fact about the only one used by many fan-
ciers is Epsom salts. A pinch of this crammed down the
bird's throat, reduces fever, cleans out the bowels, and
This is a disease that attacks many high bred birds, and
seems to be like consumption in mankind. At first a bird
goes slowly, but it soon shows in the dull eye, the ruffled
plumage, and the general apathy of the bird. I think that
the primary cause is constitutional weakness caused by close
inbreeding. Cod liver oil is a good thing, say 5 drops
morning and night; but it does not seem to be a permanent
cure, and I rely absolutely on Long's Lozenges, which are
prepared specially for this disease.
I had not intended to advertise anybody in this work, yet
I find that it is an impossibility to refrain from it to a certain
I use Long's Lozenges, the moment I notice a bird (either
young or old) begin to show that it is "out of sorts." Half
a lozenge given to a nestling that is in bad shape will usually
revive it at once. Often, with a full grown bird, one lozenge
is all that is necessary. In regard to "going light' 1 I have
found them a certain cure, if taken in time.
This is a disease that I detest, and fear. Fortunately I
have i.ot had a case of it in a long time, and never expect
HI PIGEONS AM) ALL ABOUT THEM.
another, for I know by experience that it runs in some
>i rains, mid is inherited in the eyy.
I look on canker in pigeons as I do on scrofula in children,
the innocent ones are Hie sufferers. Canker may be dormant
in ilie system of many a bird, and it takes only rich and
in judicious feeding, impure water, lack of exercise, and such
causo, to develop it. It usually shows in the mouth, and
sometimes in the ear. In old birds, when I had it in my
loft, I paid little attention to it. (I will say frankly that I
consider a breeding bird, with canker in its system absolute-
ly valueless.) It is no good for a breeder. Watch conditions
ever so carefully, and the disease will show in the young,
and I do not consider a cankered young bird worth saving.
A fancier may dislike to kill a finely bred young bird that
shows canker; but if he will take my advice he will kill it at
once, and try and forget about it as soon as possible.
If a fancier wishes to cure canker for the time being,
let him take a common w r ood tooth-pick and pry out the
cheesy matter. lie very careful and not draw blood: if he
does, let him soak it up with cotton, for it is poison, pure
Thru use any ordinary cathartic, and give the bird actions
of the bowels. Then build up the bird with any tonic stimu-
A good lotion is made up of glycerine and carbolic acid,
ten drops of the first to one of the last. Often, by following
the above directions, a bird may be gotten into shape, but I
am willing to stake my reputation as a fancier, that the
disease will again show, either in the bird itself or its young.
Again let me go on record as stating that a bird with canker
system is not worth a penny, and time spent on it is
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 81
This is hardly a disease, and happens to all sorts of hens,
but usually to small, high-bred, and therefore weak ones.
Pull a few of the feathers from around the vent, and hold the
bird over steam as hot as it can bear. This will cause her to
relax. Then with the little ringer, apply sweet oil to the
vent, rubbing up as far as possible, put her back on the nest,
and she will generally come through all right.
Do not be in a hurry to condemn a hen that seems barren.
I have known them to be barren for their first year, and be
all right forever after. Again I have known an old hen to
be barren for one season, and then come right. This is some-
thing that man's skill cannot assist. The only thing to do,
is to let her go, trusting for a change for the better. Some-
times the hen will readily adopt a pair of eggs put under her
and the rest of hatching, and the work of feeding young,
seem to change the conditions of her system, and she goes
to laying at the proper time. If she goes two seasons with-
out laying, she is of no use.
This is due to many causes. Sometimes a blow may do it.
Sometimes it is caused by overfeeding and lack of exercise,
and sometimes it is due to scrofula, which shows in a deposit
around the joints.
To cure it, look over the bird carefully, and find where the
sore place is located. Then pluck the feathers all around
it, and paint it with tincture of iodine. Xow, the strain
must be taken entirely from the wing, so one must either
put the bird by itself in a low coop, where it cannot possibly
fly, or else pluck the wing feathers. I like this latter plan
best, by far. for often it has the same effect as plucking the
IMGKOXS AXD ALL ABOT T T THEM.
tail <>l a sik bird. A sling can be made to hold up the
\\in.u.butl would not advise it. It sounds all right, but is
1 have had many letters about this disease, and my invari-
able reply is "kill the bird." It is a disease of the brain,
and is nearly always fatal. I suppose that birds sometimes
gel "\ er it, but I have yet to see a recovery from a well de-
lined case. The best thing to do when you see the bird fall
ing and staggering is to make a cut in the roof of its
mouth enough to bleed it quite freely; if this fails, kill
it, and put it out of misery.
When you see a bird fluttering on the floor, pushing itself
along instead of walking, it has worms. I am glad to say
that it is not a common disease, and also that it is very easy to
cure. Get the common worm seed from any drug store, and
give a pinch of them morning and night for two days. Open
the beak, and get them thoroughly down If you cannot
get worm seed, get any kind of worm lozenges, and give one
a day for three days.
This disease is the same as roup in chickens, and shows
by a running at the nostrils and eyes. It can be cured easily
by taking it in time, and, as it is very infectious, all cases
.' hi.uld be removed at once. As roup is usually produced by
di aughts, or continued dampness in the loft, a complete
change of surroundings is the first requisite. Put the bird
varm sunny room or coop with a board floor, dry saw-
dust, and no draughts. Then give Epsom salts, a pinch per
1 the discharge is stopped, and the bird seems lively,
mid impres ; on the fancier, however, the folly of tak-
little cold for roup. When a man has a slight cold
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 83
we do not fill him up with medicine for consumption. As I
have hinted I am not much of a believer in medicine for
pigeons. The great point is to keep the loft clean, and the
birds hungry, and the bugbear of "Sickness in the Loft"
will be unknown.
OTHER MINOR TROUBLES.
There are many little mishaps that occur in the loft that
are hardly worthy of being given a heading. If for instance
a bird is crop-bound, give castor oil, to affect the lower
bowels, and then gently knead the crop till the food is in
better condition to assimilate.
If the fancier will carefully examine the droppings of any
affected bird, he will find that a disordered liver is the basis
of nine-tenths of all pigeon troubles. Shutting off feed is one
of the best general remedies known, and it is a very good
idea to practice this in conjunction with the giving of med-
Sometimes a fancier will imagine that his squabs are sick,
when the fact is they are nearly eaten up by lice every night.
They drain every particle of vitality, and, from the fact that
they come out only at night, and cannot be seen by day,
the fancier imagines that his birds are wasting away, and
proceeds to dose them with medicine.
There is quite a lot of pigeon talk about diptheria. and I
have read long treatises full of scientific terms regarding it,
but caie nothing for them. It is claimed that the little white
swellings on the side of the neck can be cut open, the con-
tents taken out etc. In my opinion, when a youngster
starts in life with his neck in such a condition, when you be-
gin cutting his neck, you may as well keep on, and cut off
his head. I do not wish to be considered cruel, but it is a
mercy to them, and a mercy to the offspring that may come
in after years. I would rather have ten good sound birds,
I'K.I.ONTS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
th:in our hundred just as good looking-, but impregnated
\\ith inliniird diseases, and it is by following what I have
-aid. thai to-day, if I miss hatching and raising a good
-oiind \ Minister from each and every egg. It is because the
| hicks fertility.
It i> a good thing to watch young pigeons at two times in
tlu-ir career. First, when the mother lays the second time,
and the old ones are disposed to feed them hurriedly, with-
out giving the food time to digest in their own crops. Again
\\ lu-n the parents stop feeding them, and the young have to
hustle for themselves. At this latter time they are apt to eat
anything and everything that they can swallow, and take
grain that is too coarse. Care should be taken to have fine
feed where they can get it.
The beginner should beware of the danger of over-crowd-
ing his loft. The proper thing is to decide, (by experience,
if possible,) just how many pairs the loft can comfortably
accommodate, and then never begin the season with more
than that number.
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 85
THIS is a point 011 which a whole book might well be
written. Disguise it as we may, deny it as we may,
the fact still remains that the show room is the Mecca
of all our efforts in the fancy.
Even the sedate fancier, who loves birds for themselves
alone, who rarely sells one and can therefore never expect to
make his hobby self-supporting, will find himself ever and
anon sending a few of his birds to some nearby show " just
to show the boys what he can turn out. '
No matter what the result of his first attempt, we are cer-
tain to see him again at further shows; for, if he is beaten
the first time, he comes bravely to the front next time to
" show the boys that they can't do it again." Or if he wins,
he tries it again to "show the boys that he still has winners
and can breed them. "
A desire to excel is inherent in us all, and that is what
makes the show of the present a matter that is thought of
and talked about from one year's end to the other, by en-
Showing successfully is based on just three things. First,
good birds. Second, good condition, and third but not
least in having birds trained. There are some birds that
need little training, but any bird, and I care not what its va-
riety, will gain several points in the estimation of the judge,
if it is at home in the pen and is not afraid of him. Now let
us take an example, and, as the pigeon is a pet, we will take
by way of comparison, that greatest of pets, the dog.
Suppose a friend shows you two dogs exactly alike in
weight, shape and color, and everything else ; in fact so much
alike that you cannot tell them apart. He asks you which
PIGEONS AND ALL AIJOl'T TIIK.M.
U thr !x IUT Ido king dog, and you speak to them. One wags
his tail, I.M,U> up at you with a great beaming eye full of
atlVrtioii. lirks your hand, and capers around to show oft'.
'I 'In- dlicr, when you raise your hand to pat him. shies off
;u il stands there with bis tail between his legs, watching
\oii\\ith fear and trembling, and with evident indications
that he Mi>)>ects you of being a dog thief.
Now what would you say? You would pat the loving dog-
on the head and say, "this is a beauty; one of the finest dogs
I ever saw ; but as for that cur, I wouldn't take him as a
gifi. A good judge feels drawn to a good pigeon in the
same way, and he detests a bird that nutters and struggles
wildly around, every time he comes near it. I am pretty
ud natured, but a lot of wild birds will get me terribly out
of humor when I am judging. It is impossible forme, or
any other judge to take in the good points of a wild bird
that is scrambling up on the side of the pen, and throwing
sawdust, feed and water all over me and my book, just at the
time I want it to stand still.
To return to the three points ; the good birds can be bred,
and the good condition can be produced if one has patience.
First, the bird must be clean. Not alone the feathers, but
the legs and feet, and the beak. I have already shown that
washing, if practised carefully, will remove all dirt from the
plumage, but to show the said plumage in the best condition,
one must not delay the washing till just before the show. If
a bird is washed a month before the show, and then kept in.
a warm, dry cellar, where not a ray of sunlight can touch it,
the change in its appearance w^ill be wonderful. The sun is
a great thing for health, but it destroys that beautiful lustre
that Nature has put on most pigeons. A little rubbing with
: handkerchief just before a show, is a great help, and
and feet should be rubbed with vinegar. A drop or
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 87
two of oil rubbed on the beak and not allowed to touch the
feathers, makes it fresh and bright.
Now is the time that the long tier of training pens comes
in. Put each bird in a pen by itself, and run pasteboards be-
tween the coops, so that not one bird in the line can see any
other. Don't let any pens face other ones. The point is to
keep each and every bird from laying eyes on another pigeon
until it is in its proper pen in the show room. Give a little
hemp each day in addition to the other feed. Keep the bird
on fresh pine sawdust if possible.
Now to train. Teach the bird not to fear either you or any
thing else. Rap the pen smartly with the training stick.
Shake cloths in front of the birds; in fact break them just as
you would a timid horse. The more noise you make, the
more ridiculous gyrations you go through, the better. When
you are done, that string of birds will know that nothing is
going to hurt them. Now gain their friendship and confi-
dence. Keep them hungry enough to be glad to see you, as
you go down the line. Have them pine after your company.
Open the slides often and put your hand in gently, and have
some excuse for touching them with the training stick, as
often as possible. Stroke them with it, and have them under-,
stand that it can't possibly hurt them. Use a white stick,
for that is the color the average judge uses, and the birds
will be used to it.
All this may sound foolish, but there is method in it. I
know of no place where there is more noise and confusion
than in a show room, especially for the first few days of the
show. It has never yet been my good fortune to begin judg-
ing in a show room where everything was ready, and when
the hammering and sawing etc. was enough to have its effect
on an old timer like myself, think of what effect it must
have had on nervous birds.
1'KiKoNS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
i In- great necessity of training young birds so that
when human beings of either sex come past the front of the
l-ens. they will be glad to see them. Of all the different va-
ietio of birds, none will stand training better than Pouters.
Funtail> come next, but I have seen birds of almost every
known kind, come to the front of the pens, and "play" to
I remember at one of the first shows I ever judged, years
ago, I was taking my first look along the string of short
lace Tumblers, and came across a little Almond hen. She
looked so small, and so pitiful, and lonesome, that I spoke
kindly to her, and, much to my surprise she brightened up,
and came to the front of the pen, and curteysied to me in the
most charming manner. We had quite a flirtation, and I
soon had her so that when I cooed to her, she would strut in
the most self-satisfied way I ever saw.
We became great friends, and it is needless to say that
when I was through with that class, a nice blue ribbon
adorned her coop. I would not have hurt her feelings by
giving her anything less.
1 merely quote this little incident to show how the average
judge is drawn towards a bird that is thoroughly trained to
the pen. A bird that shows confidence in, and affection for
h i in .
If ooe wants to get station on his birds, and if they are in-
( lined to crouch, a good idea is to run canvas around the
training pens, half or two thirds of the way up, so that the
bird is compelled to stand erect to see out.
Very naturally the man who shows Carriers, Barbs, etc.,
must see that their wattles are perfectly clean. Too much
care cannot be spent on them, and the washing of Carrier's
should be done some two weeks before the show, so
will have time to appear.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 80
With Barbs the washing should be done the day of the
show. A little oil on the eye wattles is a great help, and I
see no wrong in putting it on. If a show is not to show how
a bird looks when in the very pink of condition, what is it
for? I do not think that anything of this kind comes under
the head of "artificial alteration."
Perhaps it is a good idea to warn the fancier that he must
not be too sanguine. I firmly believe that the great majority
of judges are honest, but some of them have some very queer
There is no question but that some judges attempt too
much. They may be thoroughly conversant with say half a
dozen breeds, but entirely at sea on others. Again, some
are misled by the fact that certain big breeders are showing-
certain birds. They give too much weight to the name of
the exhibitor, and sometimes pass by a most meritorious
bird, that some struggling and almost unknown fancier has
turned out. Sometimes it is turned out, I will admit, by the
veriest chance, but, no "matter how it was bred, if the bird
has real meiit, that merit should be rewarded. I have come
across many a bird so good that its breeder had no conception
of its actual value, but he generally found it out, by the sud-
den interest that the old timers began to take in it.
KiKnNS AM ALL ABOUT THEM.
SHIPPING TO SHOWS.
TJKKSK of us who have visited shows year after year,
know what mistakes are made by fanciers who are
rii her thoughtless or- though I dislike to say it
parsimonious at the very time they should be most liberal.
What is thii use of breeding a line bird, training it, and get-
ting ii in perfect condition for a show, and then sending it
in ;i miserable little box, to save a few cents express charges?
I have seen valuable birds come in dirty little boxes, all
jammed together, with absolutely nothing by which the show
attendants could judge where they belonged. With no way
by which the birds could be watered or fed, save by break-
ing locks, or breaking the boxes. With absolutely nothing
l>y which the secretary could judge where they came from
or who owned the birds.
In boxes so insignificant and so "cheap" looking, that
they would be pushed in under the tables or in some corner,
and stay there till, perhaps a day later, the secretary told
the attendants to hunt around the hall, and among the
i-mpty boxes and see if they could find the birds of so and so.
Sometimes they are locked, and the attendants not having
keys, set the boxes aside till the secretary can hunt among
a lot in his pocket. Naturally, he is very busy, and the mat-
ter is put off.
Sometimes the box is large enough, but it is in two com-
partments, with the entry tags tacked in a bunch over each.
There may be just two kinds of birds, but the sexes and the
young classes are put in all together, so that the attendants
must take out each bird, guess at what it is, guess at its sex,
and guess at its age, and those who have seen the average
attendant at a show, know how fitted he is for this. Often
he may be a well posted man, and may use his best judg-
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM.
ment, but the bird will be "entered in wrong class " and so
lie is disqualified. I have seen several boxes opened in my
time, in which every bird was dead; smothered to death.
Again, the attendant, the world over, is just the same.
If he opens a box, in which every bird is properly tagged,
with its class, sex, etc., so plainly shown that anybody can
tell where it goes, he does not waste any time, but puts every
bird in its nice airy show pen, where it is quickly watered,
and fed, and made to feel at home.
Shipping Box for Shows.
But, let him open a box in which is one of the "jumbles"
to which I have referred, and he will pick up a bird or two,
call two or three helpers, to assist him, and between them
they will say, "Oh ! let this go till we have more time; we
don't know where they go." So the birds, crowded, hungiy
and thirsty, are set to one side, to wait until the last thing.
92 I'KIKOXS AXD ALL AT.OT'T Til KM.
Lgain, there are some fanciers who have nearly the right
kind (!' shipping coop, but not quite, because they have one
lower lid that covers the whole lot. If you open the lid over
one compartment, it opens overall the others, and wild birds
will continually escape.
There is just exactly one kind of box to ship to a show.
One and no other; and that is a box with a double lid and a
compartment for each bird, with the lid for that compart-
ment Kfparate from the others.
A box of this kind will last a life time. I am going to de-
scribe it carefully so that no fancier can say he didn't know
how to make it. First decide on the number of birds you
want it to hold, and as to compartments be governed by the
si/.e of the birds. I used to believe in a Y shaped compart-
ment for small birds, but have seen so many birds smothered
of late years, that I am now in favor of a square for each.
The V shaped saved room, that's all. A bird's head would
go towards the front in one, and vice versa in the next, and
it was very complete and nice, but just exactly the size for
an express messenger to " pitch ' into the wagon, or out on
the walk. I don't like these nice little "handy" boxes.
They are too handy.
But to return to the proper box. Make it a little higher
han you need, so that the false lid will be just high enough
or ventilation. The lid proper is simply for protection.
In the false lid, bore plenty of holes. In fact if it is more
s than lid, so much the better. Then make holes all
t.ui.tl the box above the false lid, but not in the lid proper.
;i the lid with four large screws. One need not fear
i.r the thief who has made up his mind to steal birds
..r more easily break a padlock or force a staple, than
he can unscrew four large screws. Again ; the lock could be
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 93
broken in about one twentieth of the time that it would take
to unscrew the lid. Few boxes are broken into in transit.
When birds are stolen, they are generally taken out of the
exhibition pens, in the show room.
No matter in what position this box is placed, there are
always air holes by which all foul air can pass out. If it is
put closely in one corner of a car, there are two sides, the ven-
tilating holes of which can work.
On the lid of each compartment it is easy to put a small
card with directions so plain that an idiot would almost
know what to do with the bird beneath.
VARIETIES OF PIGEONS.
1 BELIEVE that I have now taken the reader through
all the little details of pigeondom. I have tried to show
him just how to go to work to breed sucessfully either
for pleasure or profit, or both.
In closing this portion of the work I can say that I have
laid down no rules, have offered no suggestions, that are not
based on actual experience. If the reader will follow closely
my advice, I believe that he will succeed.
It now remains for me/to take up the different varieties, one
after the other, and show to the best of my ability, what
constitutes "the typical bird*' in each variety. I will try and
not show any partiality, but treat the birds which are not
known as "popular" with the same care that I bestow on
1'KlKONS AND ALL AUOTT THEM.
THIS bird has been known for many years, as the "King
<>' the Doos," a name given him in Scotland, where he
is bred to as near perfection as in any country on earth,
lit- ili-si-rvrd to be called the "King" of the doves, for no other
pigeon has his royal presence, his stately appearance, and
his consequential manner.
The best authorities all agree that the Pouter was pro-
duced by a cross between the Dutch Cropper, and the Horse-
man. One of the oldest authorities (Willoughby) says that
the Cropper was so called "because by attracting in the air
they can and do blow up their crop to that strange bigness
that they exceed the bulk of the whole body besides." I
imagine that in those days the globe was about, 99 points,
and length 1.
We may as well understand in the start that the crop, or
globe is not by any means the whole Pouter. In a walking-
pen, the judge has little time to determine which bird does
or does not blow the largest globe.
If one watches him, (provided a looker-on is allowed) he
will notice that almost the first thing the judge does is to
begin looking over the tall birds. Given all other points
equally, the tallest bird will get first place, that is if his legs
are put on right.
. It was not so long ago, that length of feather was the one
great cry, and the bird that could reach the furthest along a
tape line was considered a "pouter all over" but in this day
10 inches in males, and 18 to 18 1-2 in females suits the
What all are now striving for is the hollow back, the up-
( Feathered World.)
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 97
right carriage, a long slender vaist, with wings tightly fit-
ting, and clean and tapering at the points, and not loose and
cocked out. If I could put the desideratum in Pouters, into
one word, I would use the word "symmetry" for that covers
I would point to all breeders that the proper bird consists
of tapering lines, with no unsightly breaks, from skull to end
of tail feather.
As to legs. Xo longer do we have the insane idea that
great boots are a necessity. I think they detract from the
looks of the bird, and interfere with the lines of harmony.
Mere length of 1 nib does not count. A long leg may be
et on badly, or it may lack the graceful bend. A shorter
leg set on right, knees close, with stocking boots, is far
nearer the ideal.
The globes of the present day, are nearing perfection with
each generation. The great, coarse, rough, loosely hanging
globe has been relegated to the past, and it is now shapely
and conforms to the appearance of the rest of the bird. What
is far more important, the bird carries his globe in front,
and not partially on the back of his neck, thus spoiling his
As to color, the day when a badly built bird, the markings
of which were perfect, could win, is past. The best fanciers
only care for a color distinctive enough to show in which
class the bird should be entered, and that done, they trust to
his contour and his training. It is hard to say which color
is the most popular. As stated, color is the last thing now.
In impressing the beauty of the hollow back I quote
George Ure, who is surely a standard authority. He says
"the hollow back is a sure sign of good breeding, and a bird
possessing this is sure to have other good points. It is a
PAIR RED POUTERS.
A Little Overdrawn.
ion I'K.KONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
natural sequence that this should be so, a hollow back caus-
ing a bird to be well knit together. Such a Pouter as need.,
must, carry himself well and strip his limbs when showing to
Alter all, there is not so much change in what have al-
ways been considered the great "points" in the pouter. For
we find in the first American standard ever published, that
the committee gave the greatest points ( 12 each ) to "slen-
derness of girth" and "length and shape of legs" and then
came "size and .s7m/ie of crop" 10 points. This was in pied
birds. In off colors and whites 14 points each were given
to the two first mentioned properties.
I think that the following description of a young pouter
cock, imported last year, gives briefly what constitute* a
typical Pouter. The enthusiast who saw him says, "He is
extra long, well marked, splendid, clean, well-feathered
limbs, and stands when in position like a picture. For
roundness of globe and slimness of girth we have never seen
Urieily, the above is the Pouter 'for which all are striving.
It tells the whole story.
There is much variance of opinion as to the breeding
qualities of Pouters. Some claim that they are no good, ana
their young must be hatched by other pigeon: , but imn.y
good bleeders take * nly one egg, and allow the old pair to
raise the other. It is claimed that the percentage of loss is
i.o greater than in any well bred pigeon. Sone good author-
ities claim that it interferes with the shape of a Pouter, to
allow it to feed its own young. Yet we should remember
that nature expects something of die kind from eveiy pig-
eon whether it be artificial or not, and the Pouu r is no ex-
I do not think that too much feeding of young is a good
PIGEON'S AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 101
tiling, and would therefore suggest a shorter breeding .sea-
son for the Pouter than for perhaps any other variety. Be-
gin in April, and separate about the first ot' September, and
little harm can come to any Pouter. There are many who
pay a great deal, perhaps too much, attention to mating
Pouters for proper marking, but this idea is rapidly dying
out. Shape, not color is the primary point now. Years ago.
an old Scotch fancier took the ground that a Pouter is a
bird of "shape" not color. Good markings are much to be
desired, but the most perfect marking known, on a poor
bird as to shape, would amount to nothing. And so the
rising fancier who is so charmed with snips and ring necks,
swallow throat, and bishop wings, and who would turn in
disgust, from a Kite wing, should go a little further and see
what sort of a shaped bird is carrying such nice marks. A
''broken' 1 eye, and a stained tail, are not such awful things
if a lordly bird is carrying them.
And we must not forget that in these days of close compe-
tition, Pouters are judged in a walking pen. A Pouter may
be well trained for the single pen. He may blow a good
globe, tight and round, and may move with ease and grace,
but put, him in the walking pen, and he will blow out of
shape, and "sprawl" and stagger back till he is stopped by
the sides of the pen.
Few Pouters are marked just right 011 the shoulders, for
some are too gay and some not gay enough, and some have
no shoulder marks. If good judges are selected, men who
have spent years in breeding this wonderful and beautifu
bird, it is safe to say that they will pay far more attention
to the real Pouter qualities than to "color," no matter what
it may be.
In all colored varieties, the entire under part of the body
must be white. The line begins across the breast, and it ex-
What They May Come To.
104 1'KiKONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
tends to thighs, legs and feet, and also takes in the flights.
In Blacks and Blues the color extends to ends of tail, and
the Blues should have black bars on wings.
In all the pied birds the head is colored, albo the neck and
back, the wing coverts and the crop, except the "crescent''
which is a baud of white of the shape of a new moon or cres-
cent which passes around the front of the crop, and reaches
nearly to the eyes.
The "bib" as the colored patch is called, comes down from
the throat, and forms the upper part of the crescent, and it
should be large and sharp.
On the shoulders should be a small circular patch of white
feathers, called the "rose," or "rose pinion," but these
should be on the shoulder, and not begin on the wing butt.
There are white Pouters, but no solid Blacks, Blues, Reds
or Yellows. In factthe only self colored Pouter is the white.
The pieds run in black, blue, red and yellow, which are the
standard colors, but there are also Splashes, Checquers,
Sandies, Mealies, and Silvers, which are called "off-colored"
In blacks and blues the beak is dark ; in yellows it is a
flesh ; in reds a pale red, and in whites a pale flesh.
In whites a dark beak, or any eye except "bull," disquali-
One of the greatest troubles about the Pouter is its ten-
dency to "gorge" or to fill its crop so full that it hangs like
a wet bag, and interferes with digestion, to say nothing of
drawing the poor bird over till it cannot stand. A gorged
Pouter is a pitiable sight, and it is strange how some men
who ought to know how to relieve them, make mistakes.
Sometimes they gorge just at the wrong time i. e. when put
in the show pen preparatory to judging. This is always
PIGEONS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 105
caused by carelessness of the attendant, who does not know
of the gorging proclivities of Pouters.
Some fanciers put the gorged bird in a padded box that
holds up the crop. A narrow box, set up on end, is the prop-
er thing, and all one needs is to use judgment. As long as
there is no digestion going on the crop will remain as it is,
and keep growing worse. Sometimes it is nearly all a water
crop, and then it can be gently squeezed, (holding the bird's
head down) and the water will run out.
But sometimes the gorging is so bad that the stomach will
not act at all, and then the only thing to do is to cut the
crop open, clean it out and sew it up with silk thread, or
Of course the crop proper and the outer skin must be
The operation is nearly always a success, but often the
bird goes right to gorging again, and should be carefully fed
for a while after.
IOC) n<;K<>N> AM) ALL AIJOTT Til KM.
Hi: AD Fine, small and narrow in proportion to the size of
tin* bird, forming an elongated arch from the base of the beak
and measuring 1 0-8 inch from tip of beak to centre of eye.
BEAK Fine, mandible straight, upper slightly curved at
BEAK WATTLE Small and fine in texture.
EVE Full and of mild expression.
EYE CEKE Very line and threadlike.
NECK Long and furnished with a large globular crop, for-
ward in position.
BODY (1) Shoulders small and flat or "wall-shouldered,"
and tight to the body. (2) Back narrow and long with a
grooved line from base of neck towards rump. (3) Rump-
narrow, shallow, straight and smooth. (4) Breast narrow,
long and convex, showing very little keel. (5) Belly narrow
and tapering to the vent.
WINGS Long and shallow, close to body showing waist and
upper part of thigh, tapering to flights, which should be
long, broad in web of feather, and tapering to end of tail, up-
on which they should rest.
TAIL Long, narrow, straight with body, round ended,
nearly touching the ground and with the wings presenting a
wedge-shaped appearance from shoulders to tip of tail.
CARRIAGE Upright .
ACTION Free, lively and graceful.
LENGTH From 18 inches in hens to 21 inches in cocks,
measured from tip of beak to end of tail.
LIMBS On a scale at the rate of 3-8 inch in limb to 1 inch
in feather, measured from thigh joint to tip of toe nail. (1)
Front View Placed well back from crop, insertion close,
thigh and hock joint straight, inclining inwards, from thence
to foot inclining outwards very slightly. (2) Side View
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 107
Following the line of body with convex line on fore side of
thigh to hock, slightly concave on the opposite side, and
straight from hock to foot. (3) Generally lengthy both in
thigh and shank, long and in proportion, feathered closely
and evenly, presenting a stocking-like appearance.
TOES Well feathered to tip, and not cramped.
COLORS Yellow, red, black, blue, (standard pieds) and
MARKINGS The above colors cover the bird with the excep-
tion (1) of a white crescent on crop, the horns of which reach
to about an inch from each eye (2) of a few white feathers,
about a dozen, on the shoulders (in the shape of a rose) and
white primary flights (3) of white on all the body behind a
line encircling the centre of the waist.
In the case of blacks and blues, color of the tail same as
body color, and blues must have black bars on the wings.
In yellows and reels, a colored tail is preferred if of as good
color as the body.
Whites have no marking.
COLOR OF EYE In pied birds red or orange, and in whites a
COLOH OF BEAK In blacks and blues, black, and in other
colors flesh colored.
10S PI<;K<)\> AM) ALL AIJOIT TIIKM.
THE PIGMY POUTER.
THESE neat and pretty little pets seem to have had quite
a struggle in achieving popularity, for as late as 1896?
there were only about three lofts in this country, where
they were bred to any degree of excellence. Of late, however
they are becoming quite the thing, and are being rapidly
taken up by fanciers.
It seems useless to devote a chapter to them, as they are
simply Pouters proper, on a small scale.
The same slender body, good legs, full, but even globe, and
upright station that governs the large Pouter, holds good in
Pigmies, and the great point is to get the proper proportions.
Any tendency to coarseness will not do at all ; in fact the
very smal In ess of the bird makes fine and delicate lines of
symmetry the great desideratum. They come in all colors
and are rapidly becoming nearly as good in contour as the
large birds. The cousequental airs put on by the little fel-
lows, seem to endear them to all lovers of pigeons.
There is one point that is bound to make the Pigmy Pouter
popular, and that is, the very evident tendency to breed all
pigeons down in size. Outside of Runts, Duchesse and birds
of that type, the lines are drawn more closely year by year
and the small, gracefully built bird is driving his coarser
brother out of the field.
As the greatest point in the Pigmy is his dimiuutiveness,
we may look to see a great rivalry as to who can produce the
AMY >nc \vlio has ever seen a lot of Pigmies being judged
in the walking ](C .,i will admit that they are peculiarly
''taking' little fellows, and their assumption of such exao--
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
gerated dignity, clothed in such small bodies, draws one to
them and makes them great favorites.
I can remember when there was more rivalry in Pouters
proper, than in perhaps any other variety, and there is no
reason why the same condition should not exist with Pigmies.
Quite a number of enthusiasts are taking them up and we
may look for large entries at our shows in the future.
110 PIGEONS AND ALL AP.OFT THEM.
IN taking up this beautiful and interesting variety I wish
to go on record at once, in not admitting that the fantail
fanciers of this modern day recognize those two old bug-
bears of the fancy, the English and Scotch types. By this I
mean, that while each may exist as a type of something of
the past, the Fantail of to-day is a happy combination of the
best points in the two types. Of these two styles or types, it
is needless to say much, for their history is known to all fan-
tail men who are at all posted. The Scotch bird was a small,
tight, beautifully bodied bird, with great style and a funnel
shaped tail. In short, it was all style arid action. The Eng-
lish fan was larger, with a tendency to loose feather, coarse
head and neck, but with an enormous tail. The English
seemed to breed for a grand tail alone and cared little for
The modern fantail has the beautiful body of the Scotch
type, and as near the English tail as a bird so much smaller
can carry ; but the tail, instead of being loose and rough, and
''laced" on the ends, as the English used to like it, is hard
and stiff, with a great broad feather with firm and rounded
end, and each feather in place. The "bunches"' and ''splits"
that were so common in the old English bird have no place
Those who have kept pace w r ith pigeon literature of late
years, will admit that there have been more articles on the
Fantail than any other variety. I do not know that the fan-
tail fanciers are any more prolific writers, but somehow their
hearts were in their work. I have vast files of fantail liter-
ature, but, as all tend to the one point, that the modern or
combination bird is the bird there is little use in reproduc-
ing any opinions.
PIGEONS .VXD ALL ABOUT
Years ago "tail count " was a great factor in the fantail,
and I have seen birds with over fortj feathers in their tails,
but now we often see them with only twenty-eight and thir-
ty, and they are far superior in every respect. As stated, the
battle of the types, which raged so hotly for so many years
is over and an amicable peace has been declared, and the type
of fan that wins to-day in America would win in either Scot-
laud or England, or anywhere where fantails are bred.
As far as I now see, the only rock from which we must
steer away, is that of getting our birds " overstyled, " a point
which not only makes them of little use for breeding, but
tends to destroy their graceful carriage.
There is no question but that the Fantail, (as it exists to-
day, or nearly so,) is one of the oldest known breeds. We
can go back a long way in history and tind them, though the
old Indian birds were nearly all crested birds which, by the
way, are rapidly going out of date, for the reason that the
crest spoils the delicate lines of the head or neck.
The impression exists that the white crested fan is the only
fan bred in India; but this is a great mistake for they are
bred over there in every self color, and in Saddles and Splash-
es in far greater proficiency than we can breed them. Yet we
can go clear back to the time when India was unknown, and
find the fantail one of the most popular birds of the golden
days of the Roman empire.
Before speaking of how to breed and care for fans, 1 will
take up what is considered by all fanciers, the model of this
day and age.
The beak should be thin and riiie, not short and blunt.
The head should be fine and " snaky. ' The eye should be
as large and full as possible, with that soft, affectionate look
so vastly different from the eagle eye of the Homer.
114 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
The neck must be thin and of a graceful taper from the
head to chest, and must not be too short in proportion to the
body, nor too long, for one is as bad as the other. If it is too
long there is a tendency to drop the head over one side of the
cushion, and if too short it will not reach to the spot just in
the centre of the cushion where it should always rest when
the bird is on "parade.''
The general idea is to get the bird as small as possible, yet
as nearly round as can be. The breast should look like a
ball, and yet, when you view it from either side or from front
or rear, it should be all graceful curves. Back slightly hol-
low, so that the head can rest nicely on the cushion.
The wings should be well set on and should look like a part
of the body, and not stand out. In looking at the bird from
the front, the wing butts should barely show where they are
and that is all. A narrow bird will not only show bold and
outstanding wing butts, but it is generally wedge-shaped at
the cushion, and such a cushion cannot carry a good broad
tail. A weak rump will not hold a tail in good position. In
other words, the bird will not " balance " well and this all
tends to show how very necessary the ball shape is.
I cannot lay down any rules as to length of flights, but a
bird with very long flights carried out behind it, lacks har-
mony of shape. The same rule applies to the legs. How of-
ten do we see a grand little bird with legs so stilty as to spoil
its general contour. We see them perfect in all else, but
with legs so short that they look " stunted. '
The tail must be regular and even, and the feathers as
broad and stiff as possible. Each feather must be in place
in its regular row in the rnmp, and there must be no open
place, or "split" in the centre, nor "bunches' down on the
side. In cases of bunches it will usually be found that the
feathers grow so closely in the rump, that there is no room
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 115
for them to grow evenly, and some are set in crooked. A
child's mouth, when too many teeth come at once, is on the
same principle exactly.
This tail must be flat, or very slightly saucer shaped and
must be carried up and back. A bird with a pot lid tail, i. e.
a tail carried over the head, is as bad as a scoop ; though I
would rather breed from the first mentioned.
When the bird stands in position, the ends of the flights.
and the lower ends of the tail should just touch the floor.
Xow add to this the proper motion (up and down,) of the
head, and the tip-toe walk, and we have the fantail of the
Of course "station "is a great point; but the bird I have
described above would, of necessity, have the right station,
and it could not sprawl around, get its head past its cushion,
thrust out one leg and push with it, and look miserable.
Perhaps I ought to speak of the value of an extra stiff tail.
It is this; it will nut fray on the ends every time it touches
anything, and it will ward off the flights when they strike
it, and allow them to drop into place. Flights, provided the
bird is built right, will not catch in a good stiff tail, but are
prone to lodge and *' pinch " in a soft tail, that gives way to
the harder feathers of the flights. A good tai! may be ruined
in a few days in this way, and while the average judge will
take his stick and push the flights into position in the pen.
if he notices that the bird puts them back, he will couni
against it every time.
I consider fautails the equals of almost any of the varieties
as breeders. Given fertile eggs, and their average percent-
age of birds raised is equal to any, but there is always more
or less trouble with young, high-styled cocks, for it is im-
possible for them to fertilize. I have seen thousands of
11 r, 1'K.KOXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
instances where ;i cock would approach a crouching hen, and
by being overcome by nervous action, go backwards, across
an entire loft floor. I have heard of an English cock that
\\a> i \\elve years old before he fertilized, and I, myself, have
had many that were absolutely useless, until their second or
In cases of this kind, and with any pair that are not tried
and true breeders, it is a good idea to cut the tails of both
cock and hen. I trim the hen with a circular trim, say two
inches long, taking care to cut the lower tail feathers very
close to the rump. The cock's tails I leave much longer, cut-
ting both sides and merely a fraction of the top, as my ex-
perience has been that this gives them a better chance to
maintain their balance.
Speaking further of cutting, I would give as a rule always
to be remembered, never cut a fantail's wing. If it pinches its
tail with its wings, cut the tail rather than the w r ings. A
high-styled bird depends very largely on its wings to keep
its balance, and an overstyled bird without the help of its
flights, which it drops to the floor to steady itself, is like a
man with a pair of legs, but no feet. This is a very crude
simile, but a true one.
There are also booted fans and plenty of them in this coun-
try ; but they cannot be called popular. Year by year, fewer
of the large shows make classes for them. Most of them are
very coarse, and with bad tails, often large in spread, but
very irregular. Booted fans come in all colors; but I do not
think they will ever get a hold on popular favor.
I think that next to whites, the blues have attained near-
est perfection, that is, taking them as a whole. If we go
Wr ' '*' ?fll
f- A 1 ' '^m
PIGEONS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 119
back a few years, we find that they were scattered all over
this country, at a time when other colors were rarely seen.
The color of a proper blue should be rather a dark blue.
By this I mean, a shade of blue that does not approach a sil-
ver. The bars on the wings and tails should be very dark,
and very distinctly marked, with no "blurs.' There is also
a beautiful, metallic lustre on the neck, which is a great help
to the general appearance of the bird. This is a color which
often needs a good cross into Blacks to keep it in shape.
When the color begins to get smoky and the bars faulty, a
good, well bred cock should be crossed onto a very black hen
with as much lustre on her feathers as possible.
The best authorities all decide that the cross should be
made by a blue cock onto a black hen and not vice versa, as
they claim that a sound color is more apt to be produced in
The eye of a correct Blue is either orange or pearl, and the
latter is preferable because it seems to make a more distinc-
We tind that the great majority of Blues are inclined to
run coarse, and this shows most in the head and neck. To
correct this, it is only necessary to cross a good blue cock on
to as small a white hen as can be obtained. One would nat-
urally suppose that this would affect color and make it too
lit'ht ; but this does not seem to be the case. It is an old rule
that color comes from the cock, and shape and size from the
hen; therefore I would not advise the mating of a small
white cock 1o a blue hen that is oversized. Again; by the
first mating the blue cock to a white hen the very dark
blue a blue black that sometimes gets into a blue strain,
can be lightened. After all, the great thing in blue is cor-
rect color, other points being fairly up to standard. Many
birds are shown yearly that are very imperfect in coloring.
120 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
One will be almost a checker, or so dark as to hardly be en-
tilled to the name of blue; while the next will be almost a
silver. Another will be good in wings and tail, but will run
too light in I lie cushion and around vent.
Hlack fans are brooming quite the rage now, and I am
glad to sec it, for a more lovely bird does not exist. And
yet they need little description, for they are simply the re-
verse of t lie white in color. The same general rules govern
as to size, shape and carriage, and the point is to get that
sound, pure metallic black, that i.s a black. A smutty black
never was, and never will be pretty. Get a black that has a
sheen all over, with r. lustre on the neck that looks as if
burnished. Get the feet a rich healthy red that makes a
contrast, and the proper white or pearl eye, and that is the
black we all want.
YELLOW AND RED FANTAILS.
In these two colors, the fancier who loves to experiment
will lind a good field. I do not wish to hurt the feelings of
fanciers of these colors, but I must say that good ones in
either, are few and far between.
I believe that there are a few, a very few, good Reds and
Yellows in England, and there may be in this country, but
I have not seen them.
It seems sad to think of the years that have been put in by
enthusiastic fanciers to try and get something good in these
two colors, with such poor results.
One would suppose that a fair red or yellow bred onto a
good lustrous black, would bring a sound color, with the
added style and tail of the black, but experiments have not
shown this to be the case. The young generally come dun
or ash colored in the cushions, and vents. I think that a red
PIGEON'S AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
and yellow cross is the best, and yet where are the good reds
and yellows with which to make it?
The English standard calls for a "rich, bright golden yel-
low" and a "rich golden, chestnut red."
My advice would be to pair reds and yellows, and then the
young, keeping only the best and soundest colors, and
cross-mating again and again. Then mate sound red cocks
to good red saddle hens. By this latter cross, good style and
tail may be had.
Before closing with re-Js and yellows I might speak of
"Duns." Very few are bred either here or in the old world.
In fact nobody pays any attention to them. I have also seen
alleged "Silver" fans, but never one that in any way ap-
proached the standard fantail.
In saddles, 1 feel that there is a great opening. It is only
of late years that they have sprung into popularity in this
They come in all colors, and, when one gets a good one, he
feels well repaid for his time and trouble. Yet good ones
are scarce. They should have not a mark to mar the beauti-
ful body white, save the marking on the wing, but they are
prone to come with foul feathers in the breast, bishoped
wings or foul wing butts. Sometimes a grand young speci-
men will be ruined by a few foul feathers in the tail. Some-
times all else is perfect, but the foul will crop out all over
the thighs, and around the vent.
There is absolutely no rule by which one can go. A pair
as near perfectly marked as can be had, will throw young
that are worthless, while a pair badly inismarked will throw
young after young that are away up.
In general properties, that is, fantail properties, saddle-;
li'-l PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
aie good. There are many of them in this country that
are the equals of whites in all points, and if it were not for
those foul feathers that wreck the hopes of so many breeders
they would be found in nearly every fan loft. The same
general properties govern saddles, that govern other fans.
The Silky, or Laced fan, has not much of a foot-hold in
America. They are exactly like the "Friesland" or "frizzly"
chicken, the fibre of the feather being something like that of
the ostrich. The Silky cannot fty, from the peculiar confor-
mation of its wings, and it is therefore at a disadvantage in a
loft with a large flight, with an entrance that must be reach-
ed by flying. They are very pretty birds, and are so odd as
to attract much attention. They seem to be '"accidents" as
the best one 1 ever saw came from a pair of sound whites
that never before, and never afterwards br-ed another silky.
They are hard to keep clean, as their feathers seem to
catch every particle of dust that is flying. To breed good
Silkies, do not mate a pair together, but cross-mate them
with a plain pair that are inclined to loose feather. I believe
that beautiful colored Laces can be produced by simply
crossing white laced hens with colored cocks.
TAIL AND BODY MARKED FANTAILS.
We now have plenty of tail fans, i. e. whites with colored
tails, and body fans, i. e. colored bodies with white tails.
I consider them ''accidents" as they crop out of saddles,
and even out of plain birds. Sometimes in making a black
and white cross, we get a tail or a body fan.
Most specimens are very poor, though I have occasionally
seen a grand bird come out, and generally greatly to the
PIGEON'S AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 125
I once bred a magnificent tail hen, out of a pair of whites
that I had owned some years.
She was grand in style, and fine in spread, and I did not
then realize what a treasure she was, and sold her. Where
that dash of blood came from was always a mystery to me,
but it just shows what a drop of blood will sometimes do.
When a man begins to dabble in the colors, he may look for
some strange birds.
PKiEONs AND ALL ABOl'T THEM.
HEAD Small, line and snaky.
BEAK Thin, and of medium length, the upper mandible
slightly curved at the tip like that of a dove.
COLOK OK BEAK Whites, Saddlebacks. Reds and Yellows,
flesh color. Blues, Silvers and Blacks Pearl, Gravel or
Orange, former preferred.
EYE CEIJE Very fine.
NECK Thin and Swanlike ; tapering well off as it ap-
proaches the head.
LENGTH OF NECK Corresponding with length of back, so
as to enable the head to rest closely on the cushion.
BODY Shape small and round. Back slightly hollowed
in centre. Length of back corresponding with length of
neck, so as to enable the head to rest closely on the cushion.
Rump small, but of sufficient size and strength to balance
the tail evenly.
Chest broad, round and free from hollowness, except a
slight parting in the centre.
Breast round and full.
WINGS Set on fairly low, and closely tucked in at the
chest. Flights of medium length and well closed.
CUSHION Full and massive; the feathers at the back close-
ly overlapping each other, and spreading well over the tail
TAIL Slightly concave, and circular; filled with long,
broad, evenly set feathers, closely overlapping each other,
and thick as possible in the centre.
LEGS Of moderate length, not stilty, well set apart, and
free from feathers below the hocks.
FEET Small, line and neat.
COLOR OF LEGS AND FEET Bright red.
PLUMAGE Feathers hard and tight fitting.
PIGEONS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 127
CARRIAGE The bird should stand on tiptoe, and walk in a
jaunty manner. Head thrown back in a graceful way, rest-
ing closely on the cushion. Chest upright, so as to carry the
breast almost in a straight line with the leg:-.
Flights, just clearing the lowest tail feathers, aud almost
meeting at the tips.
Tail carried well up, not being allowed to drop, or fall
MOTION Convulsive, jerking or twitching of the neck, and
apparent upheaving of the chest.
GEXE-KAL APPEARANCE Closely built.
SADDLEBACKS White, with colored wings, each having
ten white flights.
BLUES Sound, bright and clear, with two broad, well de-
lined black bars across each wing, and one at tip of each
BLACKS Jet black, with beetle green lustre.
REDS AND YELLOWS Rich and sound throughout.
LACE Loose or deficient in webbing, each fibre being sep-
128 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
THE above is another variety of pigeon, so beautiful, so
odd and so attractive generally, that it has its hun-
dreds of firm adherents, who stand by it year after year
and declare that no other fancy pigeon is its equal.
Who can blame them ; for what bird more than the Jaco-
bin, shows what art can do. Who can say that it is not plain
"art" and not "good luck, " that produces these wonders of
to-day. Surely the hood is an object to be gazed on with
wonder, and especially by those who have seen only the old
style ruffle-necks. The coloring of the Jacobin is exquisite,
and the contrast always lovely, while the little head peering
out from the hood reminds one of some dainty maiden who
has pulled her high sealskin collar around her head, and is
setting forth to conquer hearts.
Jacobins, like other varieties, are being bred down in size,
and the coarse, loose feathered birds with flaring hoods are
giving way to the tightly built, and close hooded birds, that
are now the accepted style.
It is generally conceded, that the Jacobin of to-day must
be bred down as small as possible, just so it is able, in feather
length, to show up nicely the hood, mane and chain, which
are the three great points to be bred for.
But we must not lorget that if we breed these three prin-
cipal points up to a high standard, and then succeed in
putting them on a nice trim body, we have made quite a
step in advancement.
AVe must not forget either, while admiring the demure look
of the Jacobin, that it is quite a pugnacious variety and for
that reason cannot be bred successfully in a crowded loft.
A Jacobin loft should be well supplied with individual
perches, so that, the chances for pitched battles may be few.
PKrKOXS AM) ALL ABOUT THEM. l:U
The hood is the great and the primary point in a Jacobin;
but we must not assume that a great, loose, ''flaring' hood
is the proper ideal. On the contrary, it must be thick and
even on the edges, and must fit tight.
The chain comes next, and is formed by the parting of the
neck feathers, (the front part. The back part, curving back
forms what is called the mane.) This must be even, and
must be composed of long feathers, the more even the better,
for that does away with a sort of half-finished appearance,
that shows in many specimens. It must fit in closely and
hide even the beak, and of course the shorter the beak the
better. A good Jacobin is down-faced.
The mane comes right up from the back and joins the
hood, and it also must be even. I feel that I cannot lay too
much stress on the fact that "evenness" is a great necessity.
I care not how much chain, mane and hood feather a Jaco-
bin may have, or how wonderfully long it may be, if it does
not fit up even and tight, the bird cannot win under a good
While the Jacobin, from its short legs in comparison to its
length of body, will always appear a "squatty" sort of bird,
care must be taken to breed long necks. A short necked
bird cannot show up its best properties.
The head of the bird should be full and round, but not
coarse as compared to its size. The beak is short, as stated
before, and is a pale white. The eyes are pearl or white, and
a bull eye, or broken eye, has always disqualified in tlu
oldest known Standards.
The body should be long and slender, and the shoulders
narrow as possible, for this point gives added significance to
the mane and chain. A slightly hollow back, and slight tilt-
up to the rump, and the flights, which are very long, are
132 PIGEONS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM.
carried over the tail. There must be no suspicion of booting
on the legs.
It is hard to tell which is the most popular color in these
birds, as they come in all colors, and that is one beauty
about them. I think that the old style birds, the first real
Jacobins, came usually in reds, and I refer to the time in
this country, when the old fanciers first began to breed them.
Constant care must be excercised, or Jacobins cannot be
kept in good shape. If they are allowed to feed on the
ground or a rough floor, the chain is liable to be damaged.
Attemion must also be paid to the bath, as they soon become
so wet and bedraggled in a deep bath, that they cannot take
care of themselves.
PIGEONS AND ALL AliOl'T THEM. 185
BEAK Short and thick, well curved downwards forming- a
continuation of curve of skull, and flesh color.
HEAD Small, flat between the eyes, with full appearance
EYES Centre, black, surrounded by pearl or light grey.
HOOD Long, fitting well down on head, even at edge,
crossing the head in a line with the front of the eyes.
CHAIN Fitting close and even from back to breast, stand-
ing well out, giving a curved line from hood to breast.
MANE Full, being well filled out at back, even at edge,
and fitting in evenly with the hood.
liosK Shape, oval, in a line slanting across bottom of neck.
SIZE AND SHAPE OF BODY Breast full, long, and slender.
The back to be narrow, flat and straight.
WINGS Rather low at butts, flights resting on tail.
CAKKIAGE Sprightly, the head carried about eight inches
from the ground.
LEGS AND FEET Short, and free from feathers below the
hock, color red. Feet small and fine, with claws same col-
or as beak.
RUMP Smooth fiat and narrow.
TAIL Narrow and straight in line with the back.
COLOK Reds, blacks, and yellows, sound, lustrous and
even, from lower mandible to vent, with rump, tail, ten
flights, and head white. Whites pure throughout.
i:j<J PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
IF I were asked as to the most popular bird among the toy
pigeons I think I would answer ''the Magpie."
It seems to me that in the breeding of no other toy, is
there so much rivalry.
The Magpie does not rely on its beautiful marking alone,
but it must have head and beak, neck, body, and leg proper-
ties, and so close is the competition, and to such a fine point
are Magpies bred, that I have seen long discussions, as to
which of two crack birds had the best beak or head, etc
All sorts of authorities have been hunted up, to show just
which bird approached most nearly to the standard in this
one point, all others being equal.
I suppose there are few of my readers that do not know
just how the Magpie is marked.
The wings are white, and so is the breast, and its markings
are nearly the reverse of those of many other toys. For
while the Swallow or the Turbit may take its class name
from the color of its wings, the Magpie takes it from the
color of its breast and back, its wings being always white, as
is the lower part of its body.
The Magpie is bred chiefly in blacks, reds and yellows, but
there are also duns, silvers and blues. These latter colors
will, however never be as popular as the first three, for in
the first three the color line is sharply accentuated, and that
that is one of the chief beauties of the bird.
But, as stated, to get the perfect Magpie we begin with the
head, which must be long and slender, and with a delicate
beak of the same type, to match it. And we must not stop
there, for this same slenderness must govern the entire body,
and affect, even t he tail. It is emphatically a narrow bird :
BLACK MAC PIE, From life.
PIGEONS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 139
a slender bird, and broad square shoulders broad breast and
back, and a shortness of leg, that would give it the least bit
of a stunted appearance are inexcusable.
The color line on the breast must be sharp and decided,
with no irregularities.
It must appear as if a painter with a perfect eye, had gone
just so far, and no further. Its color, whatever it be, must
be clear and rich, and the nearer its carriage can be to that
of a fine English Carrier, the better. Perhaps the word
"a T ert" will indicate the "style of the proper Magpie.
This slenderness must extend even to the tail, for it should
be narrow, should have few feathers, and they should lie
closely one 011 the other.
It is hard i'<>r me to describe the breast line, but it is ovai,
and conforms to the shape of the body, while at the wings,
it would seem, (looking at the bird from the side) as if a Hue
had been drawn with a compass,, and had cut off the entire
top of the wing. The sam:> color begins again at the rump
back of the legs, and must be "sound.''
The very fact that good breeder:; feed very lightly before
a show, shows that they are striving for a "lean" bird, with-
out an ounce of surplus rlesh on it.
One reason that the black is such a favorite, is that K
acquires a beetle green sheen, a lustre, that k> all its own,
It is a shade that once seen, is never forgotten.
The reds must be a blood-red, rich and striking, aud the
yellows must not be pale, washed-out looking specimens.
It is said by experts that too deep a yellow, generally h.u;
with it a coarseness of feather.
The Magpie is a bird that shows up well at first glance, but
put it in the pen, and begin to go over it carefully, and in
will be found that really first class specimens do not grow on
PIGEONS AXD ALL AIJol'T THEM.
bushes. For instance, blacks that have a lovely neck color
will In; found to have a bluish cast about the head, and in
the others a dull color about the head will be often found.
Of the Magpie, I can say, as I can of many other pigeons,
that if it was no trouble to breed them "right," they would
lose half their charm.
It is thi.s very uncertainty, that makes the breeding of
them such a delightful task.
-. _ - ^1 ~7 'i __ ^-_^ _ /* ' ^ ^ ~ ^-x^
ji? N Av^h4 Foi\ 7*t\uOiw Nj^c* ~~ "^
RED ENGLISH OWL.
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 143
SIZE Small, from actual measurements, good average
specimens, in good condition, weight for cocks from 9 1-2 to
10 1-8 ounces, hens from 8 1-2 to 9 1-2 ounces; and when
standing in a natural position measure from sole of foot to
top of head from 8 to 9 1-2 inches in height, the length from
tip of beak to end of tail, without stretching, from 12 1-2 to
SHAPE Apparently long, slender and snake-like, chest
full and round, but not broad, the body round, thin, and
gracefully tapering from front to vent, with no approach to
owl or tumbler form, shoulders well defined, but not carried
prominently as in the dragoon, legs set well -back to show
CARRIAGE Is a very important characteristic of the Mag-
pie, but if the shape be good and true, the proper carriage
is almost sure to follow; it should be smart, sprightly. The
body well poised on the graceful and slender limbs, the neck
and body forming a continuous easy curve, but the neck
must not incline backwards, head and beak carried hor-
izontally, flights and tail neatly folded.
HEAD Must be long and thin, round on top of skull, show-
ing a soft easy curve in every direction the term snake-
headed is often used, but does not apply, as many snakes are
flat-headed, which is quite a reverse of what is wanted in
the Magpie as nearly even in substance throughout as pos-
sible, not wedge-headed, no stop at junction of head and
beak, but rising with a gradual curve from front to back,
fine and neat at back of skull, lean face, with no approach
to owl or short-faced tumbler form. Junction of head with
neck to be neat and almost imperceptible without throatiness.
BEAK Should be long, thin, and nearly equal in substance
throughout, with slight hook at end of mandible, but no dip
144 I'MiKoNS AM) ALL ABOUT THEM.
in lower mandible, free from coarsenei-5,, furnished with
slight wattle of li.ie texture, pale in color approaching white,
free from stain or marking 1 except in blacks, blues and duns,
in which colors a very slight Vandyke mark 011 tip of upper
mandible is admissible.
NKCK Long', thin, <juite free from gullet or fullness of the
throat, thinnest at the point of junction with the head, swell-
ing gently towards the shoulders, which it should join with
a graceful and gentle curve.
EYE AND EYE CERE Eye white or pearl color, pupil in-
tensely black and clearly defined, what is commonly known
as a "fish eye,'' the eye cere is seen in various tints, from near-
ly white to a coral red. In blacks the deeper the red the bet-
ter, add a shade of pink in other colors, but do not put much
stress on this point. The cere should be small and fine in
texture, no approach to a barb eye is admissible, but just
enough to show a delicate and even border to the eye. and no
more. The general effect of the eye, although prominent, is
mild in expression.
LEGS AND FEET Legs rather long than otherwise, straight
nut knock-kneed or cow hocked. Shanks thin, lean and free
from feathering, covered with fine scales. Toes long, thin,
and well separated, also free from feathering. Toenails
white, both legs and feet bright red in color.
TAIL AND FLIGHTS Tail rather long, the feathers narrow
and closely folded, containing not more than twelve feathers.
Not swallow-tailed or divided in centre, the tail should be
carried in a line with the back, just clear of the ground, but
not cocked up at all.
Flights rather narrow, closely folded carried close to the
side, tips resting on top of tail, about half an inch from side,
Color The whole of the body except head, neck and
breast, back, saddle and tail pure white, the color on the
PTGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 145
colored portions to be bright, deep and lustrous as possible;
in blacks the irridescent colors and metallic sheen are most
important ; wherever the color extends it must be of one rich,
even depth, extending even to the shafts of the tail featheis.
Many otherwise good birds often run chequery or ashy about
the top of rump and root of tail, which is very objectionable.
Blues and silvers should have black tail bars.
MARKINGS Cut on breast. Sharp and evenly defined,
without artificial assistance, the color extending downwards
to about the tip of the breast bone, or a very little below,
running across the breast-, either in a straight line or slight-
ly curving upwards towards shoulders, showing a slightly
convex form. It is advisable to raise the wings, and if many
foul feathers are discovered between breast and vent mark-
ings, the breast should be carefully examined for foul feath-
ers or trimming.
Cut on shoulders. Color extending across the broadest
part of the back at the shoulders, from side to side at inter-
section of the wing with body, tapering evenly and smoothly
towards the tail, and forming an elongated heart or V shaped
saddle, showing no ragged edges on shoulders.
Cut at vent Even and extending only a very short dis-
tance from beneath root of tail, no foul or colored feathers
extending towards thighs or belly.
PLUMAGE Close and compact, but not hard feathered.
DISQUALIFICATIONS Trimming or plucking of foul feath-
ers, dyeing or oiling, dark or gravel eyes, heavy markings on
back, feathered legs or feet, tumbler form of head or body,
chequered or ashy back or rump, want of condition.
140 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
ANOTHER of the pigeons that can well come under the
description " High Class Toys'' is the Owl, which for
years has been the embodiment of everything that is
neat and high bred in the way of a pet.
One of the great points in the Owl is to breed it down in
size, and the standard says that the African and Chinese Owl
must not weigh more than ten ounces or a little more.
The size of the body is governed of course by weight ; but
the body must be plump looking, though the plumage is very
tight and close. The flights and tail are short, and the wings
are well tucked up. The shoulders sit close, and the neck is
short and the chest broad. The carriage of the Owl is up"
right, the head carried well up and its appearance is rather
bold for so small a bird.
The skull of the Owl is round, but it is a short and broad
roundness, the head looking somewhat like a globe. There
must be no narrowness behind the beak and no flatness on
the top of the skull.
The beak is short and thick, and makes an even curve
down in perfect accord with the appearance of the skull.
The upper mandible hangs over the lower, and the more pro-
nounced the better. The lower mandible is very thick and
strong, and meets and fits well into the upper.
The beak wattle is smooth, and, while it is pronounced,
cannot be very large on account of the diminutive size of the
bird ; yet it is one of the great points and its fulness and
evenness cut quite a figure in the general make up of the
bird. It must be very even and neatly made, and it rises
high from the beak, is free from any lines and dents, and
does its part in what is known as the "down face, ' which is
such a great point in the bird.
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 149
The eyes are prominent and very full. A good full eye
has quite a bearing on the tout ensemble of the bird ; and a
good bright eye, full and prominent, lends quite a charm to
The gullet should be full and deep. It should begin at the
lower mar dible, near the tip, and reach down the throat to
The frill is a big point and one of the best ones about the
bird. It is oval in shape, parts at the centre, and forms the
rose, curling in every direction. Xow in the Chinese Owl,
the frill does not stop at the gullet, but parts and extends up
each side of the neck and back to the head, and this forms
what are known a& whiskers. These should be as full as
The legs of the Owl are short with barely any thigh that is
noticeable, and the feet are small and neat.
In the English, the colors are Black, Blue, Red, Yellow,
Powdered Blue, Silver and Powdered Silver.
The Africans come Black, Blue and White. Also blacks
with white tails, and whites with black tails.
The Chinese run White, Blue and Black, blacks with white
tails, whites with black tails. They also have blue tails.
Owls should have clean legs; no feathers below the hock.
In the solid Owls, the color runs solid all over the body.
In tail marked, the body color is solid, and the tail marking
begins at the rump. White tail birds have the same general
characteristic, the white marking beginning at the rump.
Blues have a black bar across the wing covert, and a black
ha.nd near the end of the tail. Silvers have a brownish bar,
on the coverts, and the same band at tail. In Powdered-blues,
the neck, flight, and tail run darker in color. Powdered- sil-
vers run darker in necks, flights, and tails.
I'KiKONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
The beak, in Blacks, Blues, and Powdered-Blues is black,
and in all other varieties a flesh, except in Silvers and Pow-
dered-Silvers which are darker.
The eye in Blues is a reddish-gravel, and in all colors but
white are yellow-gravel, but in whites they are dark or bull.
One must look out for colored feathers, grouse legs, and
for dark toe-nails, but the Owl is now bred to such a high
standard that these little defects seldom appear.
The Owl from its very neat and cute appearance will al-
ways be a great favorite, and those fanciers who once take
them up, find so much to admire and attract, that they sel-
dom give them up.
I know a number of fanciers who have bred them for many
years, and find as much in them to infatuate as ever, and
this speaks well for the points in them that can so easily be
brought out if care, skill, and judgment, is added to a nat-
ural liking for these pretty little pets. There are many lofts
in America that will compare favorably with those of Eng
BLUE ENGLISH OWL
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. i;>3
SIZE OF BODY To be governed by weight; the English
Owl to weigh not less than eleven ounces ; the African and
Chinese Owl to weigh not more than ten ounces.
SHAPE OF BODY Chest broad ; neck rather short and thick,
but symmetrically shaped ; wing-butts and shoulders well
tucked in, giving a rounded appearance; nights and tail
r.ither short; plumage very tight and close; body plump,
and standing low in the smaller varieties.
CARRIAGE Upright, with the head thrown rather back,
showing a broad and prominent breast; bold and active.
SKULL Short, broad, and globular, nicely rounded in
every direction, and free from any narrowness behind the
beak, or flat on top.
BEAK Short and thick, with an even downward curve,
forming continuation of curve of the skull, with the upper
mandible hanging over the lower. The more these points
are observable the better. The lower mandible stout, meet-
ing and fitting well into the upper.
BEAK WATTLE Smooth, rather full and even on each side;
neatly made, and to rise high from the beak, as its projec-
tion fills up and rounds off the even convex profile, called
"down-face;" free from any straight lines or dent.
EYES Prominent and very full, set in center of side of
GULLET OR DEW-LAP Should be as full and deep as pos-
sible, commencing at tip of lower mandible, and reaching
down the throat to the frill.
FRILL Ample, and well-developed as po'ssible ; oval in
shape, and reaching from gullet to breast; the feathers curl-
ing in every direction, and nicely parted from the center,
forming the "rose."'
In the Chinese Owl the frill differs; instead of stopping at
the gullet, it parts and extends up on each side of the neck
1.Y1 IMCiKONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
t.\\ard the back of head, called "whiskers." The fuller
these are, the better.
LEGS Short, showing little or no thigh in the smaller
FEET Small and neat.
SOLID COLORS A clear and even color throughout the
entire body ; free from any admixture of any other color.
TAIL-MAKKKD The entire body should be pure white, ex-
cept the tail, which is colored according to the variety.
The white-tailed birds have the body colored according to
the variety, and the tail white.
Whatever the color in the above varieties, it should be
bright, clear, and even.
lllues Have black bars across the wing-coverts, and black
band near the end of tail-feathers. Neck and flights of a
Silvers A delicate silver-grey with brownish bars across
the wing-coverts, and band of the same color near the end of
tail-feathers; neck, flights, and tail of a darker shade of
Powdered-blue^ A delicate, frosted blue ; neck, flights, and
tail darker in color.
Poivdered-silvers A delicate, frosted-silver tint, with neck,
flights, and tail darker.
Whites Plumage pure white throughout.
COLOR OF BEAK In Blacks, Blues, and Powdered-blues is
black; in the other varieties flesh color, excepting the Sil-
vers and Powdered-silvers, which are darker.
COLOR OF EYES In Blues, a reddish-gravel ; in the other
varieties a yellowish-gravel, except Whites, which are dark
COLOR OF LEGS AND FEET A bright red.
DISQUALIFICATIONS Birds not matching when shown in
pairs ;Trimming, plucking, coloring, or any artificial alter-
ation; under or over weight in the class entered ; appearance
of feathers on legs or feet; out of condition from disease;
any decided deformity; for Whites, colored feathers, dark
beak, dark toe-nails, or if the eyes are not bull.
BLUE TURBIT. Drawn from life.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 157
THIS is a justly popular variety. For neat contour,
pretty markings, and a general high-bred and dainty
appearance, it has few equals. It is one of the old
standard varieties and has been bred for many years. Out
of it have grown a host of "made" birds ; but the Turbit is
the foundation of them all. It shows it, for no matter how
we attempt to disguise them, the Turbit properties stand out
boldly. The Turbit is. a small bird, in fact much of its
dainty appearance is due to its diminutive stature. It has
a. short, round body, full and prominent chest, shoulders
well tucked in, flights short and resting on the tail, which i.s
also short and closely folded The head is large in propor-
tion to its body. It is round, very full above the eyes, and
a side view should present a curve from the back of head
clear around to the tip of beak. It has a peak and a mane,
also a frill on the breast.
The peak is a delicate point, rising just back of the head
centre, and the mane goes well down the back of the neck.
In the old standards a shell crest was admissable ; but the
latest standard, 1898, calls for a "point." The beak is short,
thick and strong, and the upper mandible sets in a curve
over the lower, which fits tightly in.
The face is broad, with puffy cheeks, and the eyes are full
and prominent. The beak wattle is small, but well defined;
and must not rise so high as to break the perfect curve of
The frill is double, turning back both ways. It should be
full as possible and taper nicely into points on each side of
the gullet, which latter is full and extends from lower beak
down to the frill. The neck is naturally full for so small a
158 PIGEONS ANT) A LI, AUGHT THEM.
bird. Legs very short with hardly a perceptible thigh.
Clean below the hock, bright red and pale toe nails.
The body color of the Turbit is always white, the wing col-
or stamping the color of its class; but the ten primary flights
arc white. It comes in Reds, Blacks, Blues and Yellows for
standard colors, but there are other colors which come under
the A. O. C. class. In Blues and Silvers, the wing bars are
black. In carriage, the bird is erect and sprightly, and full
of grace. The great point in the Turbit is its head, and it is
here that the close competition between noted breeders comes
in. Such a figure does it cut that the average judge looks
over the good headed birds in a class, before he pays any at-
tention to other points.
A great Turbit fancier being once asked for the model
Turbit said concisely, " Bullfinch beak, high peak, full frill
and mane, short neck, short legs and broad chest. "
Such a bird looks well from either side or front, and the
judge does not take him up with pleasure, only to put him
back when he gets a full face view.
The rule is so plain that I do not see how there can be
such diversity of opinion regarding what are called ''types"
of the Turbit. There is only one proper type, and that is
laid down plainly in the Standard, and as Turbits are judged
by comparison, the one nearest approaching it is the best
bird. It is a certainty that the Turbit, the real Turbit, has
a face different from any other bird, but approaching nearly
to several others, and that is what has caused so much dis-
cussion in the past.
The formation of the Turbit head or rather face is not
like the curve of the Owl. It is not like the show Antwerp,
nor yet like the Tumbler, but it seems to be a blending, a
combination of all three, and it is all its own.
fe. - . />-- .-; ..---.: .v-g^rv^.- .:_.;. _;-_; -
; ^-^^^^^^- > ( V
YELLOW TURBIT. ( Feathered World. )
PIGEONS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 161
In these days there is a noticeable absence of the grouse
legs, foul necks and shoulders, bishoped wings etc., that
used to be so common when shows were a new thing in this
country. The standard now fixes the number of white flights,
while formerly every breeder had a number of his own and
claimed that he was right. The standard now disqualifies
for grouse leg and for ''artificial alteration;" but as foul
feathers don't seem to come as much now as formerly, it is
needless to discuss this latter clause.
I know of no other p.igeon that combines so many traits
each different, which mast all be blended into one to make
the peifect Turbit. Hence we find among Turbit breeders,
fanciers of the very highest class ; men who work year after
year for that type of perfection which is so hard to get, and
the near approach to which is such a satisfaction to the
102 1'1<.KUN> AM) ALL ABOUT THEM.
T TUB IT STANDARD.
SIZE Small. breast full and large. Flights short and rest-
ing above the- tail. Tail short and tightly folded. Carriage
erect and graceful.
CREST Spring ing from the mane which should extend well
down the neck and raising to a point a little above and be-
hind the centre of the head, and not broken.
UK AD Large and broad. Forehead high and round, full
above the wattle and prominent over the eyes, being well
bulged out. (so as to present a downi'ace appearance.
BEAK Short and thick the upper mandible having a down-
ward tendency. The lower mandible should be straight and
fitting tightly into the upper.
MOUTH Wide, with full cheeks extending below the eyes,
the space between the juncture of the mandibles and the
eyes being short and well filled out, and a fair distance from
the eyes to the face of the mane.
EYES- Large and prominent and situated near the top and
front of the head. Color dark or bull. Eye cere, pale flesh
BEAK WATTLE A fair amount, but in no way raising out
of the profile.
GULLET As much as possible, extending from near the
point of the lower mandible, down the throat to the frill.
FRILL As much as possible, turning both ways and taper-
ing off into points on each side of the gullet.
NECK Broad from front to back.
LEGS Short, showing but little of the thigh. Color bright
red with pale colored toe nails and free from feathers below
PIOEOXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 163
MARKINGS Entire wing colored according to the variety,
except ten primary flights, which are white as well as the re-
mainder of the body.
COLORS Black, blue, red, yellow, and the various other
colors known as, ''Any color'' the bars of the Blue and Sil-
vers to be black across the wing coverts, broad, even and
DISQUALIFICATIONS Birds not matching when shown in
pairs. Trimming, plucking, coloring or artificial alteration
in any way. Appearance of feathers on the legs or feet.
Out of condition, or any decided deformity.
164 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
THE above caption covers a family of the most beautiful
pigeons known, not only as to marking, but in various
other points which distinguish them from any other
They are what are known as "made" birds. In other
words their existence to-day is due to the care, the knowl-
edge of the blending of certain points and properties to pro-
duce certain results, and the skill, ability, and, more than
all to the perseverence of the fanciers who have watched
their pets little by little change from mere "attempts" into
the beautiful realities that stand as a monument to their life
Under the head ''Oriental Frills" come the following. Blon-
dinettes, Laced and Barred, Bluettes, Brunettes, Silverettes,
Satinettes, Sulphurettes, Vizors, Dominos, Turbiteens, and
There is a family likeness that runs all through these
beautiful birds, so great in fact that the uninitiated find
great trouble in telling them apart.
They are so much alike that one general rule will cover
the main points of all, and the only real variation is found in
The body is small, compact, and plump; the head is pro-
portionately large in comparison. It is very full, and round,
with high forehead, and it is so arched as to form a complete
curve line from neck to beak. The face proper is very full,
with chubby cheeks, and the beak is short, strong, and thick.
The beak wattle is not large, but is delicate looking, and the
eye is as large and full as possible. They run both smooth
and crest Leads; in the latter both peak and shell are admitt-
BLUE LACED KLONDINETTE,
PIGEOXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 167
ed, though few shell-crests are seen. If the peak-crest, it
must be very fine, come to a perfect point, stand well up and
central. If a shell-crest, it must be even and well spread.
The gullet must be very full, and reach to beginning of frill,
which latter must be large and well placed. The neck is
short, thick and broad at the base.
The flights are rather short, and carried closely folded and
tight to body, and tail must also be in proportion to body,
and carried tightly. The legs are rather short, and are
grouse muffed, with short vulture hocks.
It would be folly for me to state that the Frills are easy to
breed, for they are not. There is a great tendency to run
foul in the breast, and especially in the thighs. They also
run short of leg feather. They come foul also in the wings,
Again the lacing will run badly on the wings, while others
will be short of proper spots.
The tail has a dark band, and in it are oval or oblong white
spots. They show plainly when the tail is opened, but when
closed, appear like a white band. These spots should be
clear and well defined.
Blondinettes run in colors, Black, Blue, Dun, Ked, Yellow
and Sulphur Laced, and Blue and Silver Barred.
The eyes run brown, orange and gravel to match the body
color, and the beaks also var\ to match.
Barred Blondinettes have clear white wing bars, with a
fine black line at lower edge of each bar.
Laced Blondinettes have each feather edged hi the princi-
pal parts, even to the neck.
The Satinette has a white head, neck and body, but the
shoulders have a dull color, with black edging at lower part.
This bird does not call for a heavy marking, but it must be
clear and even, The eye is dark brown, with flesh colored
168 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
cere, and the beak a flesh color. The thighs should be as
light as possible, and the flights white.
The tail grows darker, beginning at the rump, and has a
dark band, and in this band, are the white spots, as in the
What are called Black Satinettes vary only in the shade of
coloring, and the tail, which is white with a black edge.
tiulphurettes take their name from their color, which is a
near approach to sulphur. Their markings are the same as
Silverette has pale shoulders, and white bars, which must
have a dark edge.
Bluette has blue shoulders, and white bars, edged with
black. The tail is a darker blue, with the same white spots
edged with black, that mark the others.
77(2 Brunette is really a silver grey, with red brown or
fawn markings, or a French grey with tail of same shade.
The Vizor is much like the Bluette, but the head is the
same color as the wings, the dark purple running to a sharp
line, which cuts around the neck at the bottom of the gullet
and runs to the back of the crest. This divides the dark
head from the white body, and makes a beautiful contrast.
The Domino is one of those birds that we see more often
in books than in real life. It is certainly an oddity, yet it
is a lovely little bird, which, while bearing marked resem-
blance to the Turbit or Turbiteen families, is yet of a type all
It has a round skull, yet not so round as the Owl's. It is
peak-headed, but has no foot feathering whatever. It is very
down-faced, with a short, extremely blunt beak, and has the
frill on its breast. It has a black face, the black extending
KXHIB1TION WORKING HOMERS.
rWJ;, >. ,
SiteCrijillgFsS!^ I ,J ; / i
SUABIAN. ( Fanciers Gazette.)
PIftEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 173
down under the throat. The rest of the body to the tail is
white, and so are the flights, but the wing butts are black.
It takes its name from its face, which is similar to a dom-
ino, or mask in its contrast to the white neck and breast. In
some respects its face is like that of the Xun, though the
resemblance ceases at the crest, both in color and shape.
For, while the solid color stops at the shell of the Xun. which
latter must be white, it extends on into the crest of the
Domino. The Domino, like other "made" breeds, must rely
on strong plumage contrasts for its beauty.
It is a cute little bird with a piquant expression, and an air
of general "pertnr.^." The eye is full, and may be dark, or
may be orange or pearl as to iris. The lighter the color of
the eye, the better effect it has on the appearance of the dark
"mask" on the face.
The Domino is not bred to any extent in. this country, and
is hard to breed true to plumage, but is liable to jump into
popularity at any time, now that birds with quaint markings
art- so rapidly coming into favor, and this production is be-
coming such a matter of rivalry with so many fanciers.
The Turbiteen resembles the Turbit perhaps more than
does any other variety of the Orientals, as it has the identi-
cal body, with the same peak, frill and colored shoulders.
But it has the grouse leg and its forehead and cheeks are
colored the same as its wing color.
The spot on the forehead is oval, in fact it looks as if a
thumb had been pressed against it to make the stain. The
marks on the cheeks are pear shaped, and extend from the
beak to the base of the crest just below the eyes. Care must
be taken that the spots do not run into each other, but be
divided by a sharp white line,
174 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
The standard allows a bird with only the frontal spot to
compete, but the three spots are more to be desired. They
come in all the colors of the turbit. The upper beak man-
dible is dark and the lower white.
By reading this description carefully, one can imagine how
hard it is to breed such a bird absolutely true to marking,
but as I have remarked, there is great pleasure to the fancier
when a "true" one is turned out.
Oriental Turbits come Blue, Black, Red, Yellow, Silver and
Dun, and also in (/hecks and Creams. The shoulders must
be marked perfectly clean in deep rich colors, and body white.
The standard however, allows both the white and the dark
tail to count.
To the fancier who has never bred Orientals, they are a
great study, and he finds himself wondering at the skill of
the men who breed them.
Very naturally in breeding these dainty birds, the eggs of
which are often worth their weight in gold, the use of feed-
ers or nurses is a necessity. It would seem useless to suggest
that in this case the mated birds must not be overworked
even though the desire to get "one or more good youngsters"
is a natural one. For feeders, long-faced birds of small size
are to be desired.
The rage for Orientals seems to be unlimited just now, yet
how many of us can remember when they were few and far
between in this country. In the old American Standard (1889)
they were not even mentioned; but there is no quetsion now.
but that they have come to stay.
BARRED BLONDINETTE. ( Feathered World. )
PIGEON'S AND ALL ABOUT T11EM. 177
ORIENTAL FRILL STANDARD.
(rEXERAL FORMATION FOR ALL VARIETIES.
HEAD Large, round, high, broad and well arched forming
a continuous curve from neck to tip of beak, well filled in
between eye and beak.
CHEEKS Full and chubby.
BEAK Short, thick and close fitting.
BEAK WATTLE Small and of fine texture.
EYE Large, bright and prominent.
CERE Small and smooth.
CREST 1. Needle-pointed, upright and central.
2. Shell crest, even ridge and wide spread.
3. Plain head.
GULLET Full and well developed, falling from near tip of
under mandible to start of frill.
NECK Thick, broad at base, well arched, and full under
FRILL As much as possible, well covering the breast.
FLIGHTS AND TAIL Proportionate and well set; former
curried close up to body.
LK<;S Moderate length, grouse muffed, the feathers con-
tinuing to toe-nails, completely covering shanks and feet.
FORM Compact, round and plump.
CARRIAGE Erect, active, dignified.
178 PIGEONS AM) ALL ABOUT THEM.
I AM delighted to see the many fine illustrations of Tumb-
lers that have appeared in the Pigeon News in the last
These photos and cuts are the greatest educators, for no
writer can produce with his pen, the same object lesson that
is given by a half-tone plate from life.
In the Tumbler we must necessarily begin with the body,
for there is one uniform rule for all. Mark it as we may,
shorten or lengthen its face, muff it, or breed clean, the typ-
ical tumbler body still remains as the foundation on which
we build all these beautiful additions of art.
The old rule was based on Flying Tumblers, the body
which is of medium size, but round, plump, and compact.
Head round, and with high forehead which comes down
sharply to a beak of medium length. Eyes prominent, neck
very short and tapering to a breast that must be very prom-
inent, full and broad.
The shoulders naturally should be very broad for such a
sized bird, and the back short. It then runs quickly to a
narrow rump and close tail, over which tho wings are carried.
The legs are short, but strong, and the feet small.
The above is the typical Tumbler body on which, as I stat-
ed, art has put so many additions, and it is this body with
which we must begin.
Therefore in starting a Tumbler loft one should breed first
for this type of bird, and experiment as he chooses for the
other points. I have read, from what I consider good au-
thority, that there is not living to-day, a typical long-muffed
Tumbler, that is sound colored and perfectly marked. So it
will be seen that even after a good start in Tumblers, it. is a
long way to the top of the ladder.
Black Mottle Tumbler From Life.
CLEAN LEG MOTTLE, CLEAN LEG WHITESIDE
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 181
I must not be understood as advising my readers not to try
t' >r handsome markings, but my suggestion is that they work
iirst for fine body properties, and then for the markings.
The mating of two birds nearly perfect in markings often
shows as a result, birds riot nearly so true as either of the
parents. Again, the solid colors are far more easy to produce
in a type nearly reaching perfection.
The following will give an idea of the different markings,
and I give it in detail because so few (outside of well-posted
Tumbler fanciers) seem to know just what some of the names
call for in the way of markings.
Mottles Color sound and even throughout, the wing-
marks are white and circular, evenly distributed, butts free
as possible from white, the black markings should be Y
shaped, well and evenly mottled.
Rosewings Same as above, excepting back marking.
Beards The beard, should be small, crescent-sLaped, and
not extending beyond the centre of the eye, and in line with
centre of beak ; primary flights and muffs white. The rest
of the body to be of a sound, even color throughout. Beak
should be flesh color in all varieties.
White Sides The whole of the body, including tail and
primary flights should be sound color throughout; the shoul-
ders, wing coverts and secondary flights pure white; beak
flesh color, except in Blacks.
Self Colors Red, Yellow, Black and White, sound, rich
and even color throughout. Bluck showing a green metallic
lustre ; beaks flesh color, except in Blacks.
Barred Yarieties Blues, Silvers, and Checks, to possess
broad, even black bars, and free from ticking or kite color ;
beak in Blues and Checkers very dark, and in Silvers horn
182 1'IGKOXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
Saddles Black, Blue, Red and Yellow. The two former
to be dark tailed; the two latter to be dark or light tailed.
Head markings A snip or blaze up front of face, with a full
white beard extending from back of eye to back of eye under
beak, forming a bib; with the dark patches running pear
shaped into it from the centre of lower mandible, the latter
called whiskers. In addition, a dot over each eye about the
size of a hemp seed, with a white band extending around,
with the exception of a heart shape on the back, which is
dark, giving the bird the name.
Badges Same as Saddles except body color, which should
be dark except foot feathering and ten lower flights which
should be white. Head marks same as Saddles.
Regarding tiie breeding for "markings," of Mottles and
Rosew r iiigs, F. H. McCardie says
"The tendency of strong healthy birds of good color is to
throw birds with less markings than themselves. The ten-
dency of a weak and inbred strain, or unhealthy birds is to
produce plenty of markings. If you can get a strong healthy
bird gaily marked on the wings only, that is the bird on
which you can found the markings of your strain. Inexper-
ienced fanciers would throw such a bird out, instead of
treasuring it as it deserved. This, paired to a short marked
bird, a self marked-bred is the most likely way to breed a
well marked bird.
Two short-marked or standard marked birds are most like-
ly to breed selfs, unless closely related and gaily bred.
It. is the most successful plan to pair so as to strike an
average rather than trying to get like to produce like.
Do not breed too much for one point, but keep the general
average improving. The value of the different points is
about equal, and a bird perfect in one point and poor in the
Blue Kadge Tumbler.
BA.RRED, MUFFED TUMBLER. (Feathered World.)
PIGEOXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 185
remainder is useless for the show pen. Considerable weight
may however be given to the head.
Do not be afraid of showing imperfect birds. Support the
shows as much as possible, they are the backbone of the
Carefully avoid a white back bird or one with white feath-
er in the short flights. These qualities are very difficult to
breed out and will often crop up in the otherwise best spec-
imens causing great disappointment. However good a bird
may be, unless you are sure his pedegree is of the best, keep
his blood out of your stock. When mating up it is well to
consider the grand parents as much as the parents of the
birds in question."
186 1'HiKONs AND ALL AIJOI'T THEM.
Ml'KFKD Tl'MIiLKU STANDARD.
HKAK Close fitting, straight set and of medium thickness.
\\"A rri.K Neat, fine in texture.
SKILL Round, showing no flatness or indentations.
EYE Pearl, or sometimes called white; centrally placed.
CKIIE Small as possible, fine in texture, flesh colored.
NKCK Medium length, inclined to shortness. hr<>;id at
shoulders, tapering gradually to throat ; slightly a:vlu d.
BODY Short, stout and wedge shaped: prominent and
wide in chest.
FLU JUTS Close set and broad.
TAIL Closely folded.
LK<;S Stout; well set, and of medium length.
MUFF Profuse, and the outer edge forming a half circle
coming in to hock without break it' possible.
CARRIAGE Sprightly, upiight, bold, and jaunty.
FEATHEK Clean, close, short and tight fitting.
Black Badge Tumbler From Life.
I5LACK BALDHEAD TUMBLER. (Feathered World.)
' ; '
Blue Saddle Tumliler.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 191
CLEAN LEG TUMBLERS.
IT must not be supposed that the long faced clean legged
Tumbler is at all out of date. The long faced clean-leg
has many admirers, and always will have. The clean-
legs run in solids (or sell's) Mottles, and Rosewings, White-
sides, Balds, Almunds, and there are also German Beards,
and Danish Tumblers.
In all colors, the eye should be pearl. The eye cere is pale
and very narrow, and it should not be red, as this gives a
kind of coarse look to the head.
A good Mottle has say twenty to thirty-live white feathers
in the w r ings, and slightly away from the butts, where they
stand clear and distinct. But a common fault is that they
run into the wing butts, and therefore spoil the finished ap-
pearance of the true mottle. These white feathers must not
run together, but be distinct. These white dots appear
again at the base of the neck and extend over the back like
a triangle with the base next to the neck.
In Rosewings the dots appear in a circle on the wings.
There should be about as many as on the wings of the Mot-
tle. In England some whites have been shown with the
rose-wing mark in black, but thej are scarce.
Whitesides are another fancy variety. They should be
solid colored, but with the wing and the short flights all
white. Many of these birds are "made"' birds. They come
with colored feathers all through the wings, which are pull-
ed again and again till they come white.
The Whiteside is not a good bird to breed, for the reasons
I'KiKoNs AM) ALL AlIOl'T THEM.
The Baldhead gets its iiame from its white head. The
line starts from the thick part of the lower beak, just misses
the eye, and goes around the back of the head at the same
To make the Bald more beautiful, the head should be nice-
ly rounded. The ten large flights should be white. The
lower part of the body is white from a line just below the
The Beard is thus marked. The body except the flights
and tail is solid. Just under the lower beak is a white
patch, that extends just under the eye. It is something like
a half moon, with the two horns extending to the eye or a
little under it. This "beard" is sometimes called a "chuck,"
but that is only a kind of slang term for it. It is needless to
say that the shape of this beard is often "assisted" by fan-
ciers. The exactly proper Beard, has ten white flights,
though a bird with only eight is tolerated.
Otherwise good birds are apt to show foul feathers about
the thighs and hocks, and this seems to be rather more the
case in Beards and Balds than in other marked Tumblers.
German Beards are longer in the head and beak than the
English birds, but are tight feathered trim birds, that do
good work in the air.
The beak is a pale flesh, in all the colors, the eye a pearl,
and the head round, though as stated, rather long.
Good authorities say that in mating for color in Beards it
is not well to cross the colors, but rather to mate straight for
the color desired.
Parlor Tumbler From Life.
PIGEOXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 195
CLEAN LEGGED TUMBLER STANDARD.
BEAK Close fitting, straight set, and of medium thickness.
WATTLE Neat, fine in texture.
SKULL Rather more oval than round, with wide frontage,
showing no flatness or indentation.
EYE Pearl or white, centrally placed.
CERE Small as possible, fine in texture.
NECK Medium length, broad at base, tapering gradually
to throat, slightly arched.
BODY Short, stout and wedge-shaped, prominent and
wide in chest.
FLU JUTS AND TAIL Flights closely set, broad, short and
carried on tail. Tail closely folded and wedge shape.
LEGS Stout, and well set, and of medium length.
r.vKuiEiis Sprightly, upright, bold and jaunty.
FEATHER Clean, close, and tight fitting.
MOTTLES Color sound and even throughout. The pinion
mutt lings should be white, and nearly circular, evenly dis-
tributed, butts free from white. The back marking should
be V shaped, well and evenly mottled. Beak as in Selfs.
ROSE WINGS Same as Mottles excepting back markings.
BEARDS Markings. The Bearding or Chuck should be
small, and not extending beyond the centre of the eyes, and
in line with centre of beak. Primary flights 10 x 10 tail and
stockings white; the rest of the body to be of a sound even
color throughout. Beak In blues, blacks and chequers, the
upper mandible should be dark, and the lower flesh colored,
while in other varieties both mandibles should be flesh
BALD HEADS Markings. Head, primary flights 10 x 10,
tail and body color downwards from the breast bone, white.
The line of demarcation should extend from slightly under
the lower mandible, following close to the eye* and gradually
10(5 PKiKONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
and evenly rising to the back of the skull. Beak & Cere,
flesh colored in all varieties.
WHITESIDES The whole of the body, including tail and
primary flights 10 x 10, should be sound colored throughout.
The shoulders, wing coverts, and secondary flights, pure
white. Beak Flesh colored, excepting blacks, which should
ALMONDS & SUB-VARIETIES Same as in the Short-Face.
SELF COLORS Blacks. Color, deep and sound, showing
a green metallic lustre. Beak and toe- nails Black.
Reds. Rich color, sound and even throughout, with a lus-
trous, golden bronzy hackle showing free from green. Beak-
Whites .should possess a satin silvery-like appearance, with
Beak, Toe-nails, Eye and Cere, white.
Yellows. Color, rich golden, even 'throughout, hackle
showing a pink lustre free from green. Beak F'esh colored.
English Hunts ( See page 224.)
PIUEOXS A\D ALL A1JOUT THEM. 199
SHORT FACE TUMBLER.
THE short face tumbler does not seem to be as popular
now as it was some years ago, and I attribute this to
the fact that so many have taken up the variety of
which I have just written.
Short faces are smaller in size and have all the character-
istics of the other breed, and the high forehead is much more
pronounced. They are cute little birds, many of them beaut-
ifully marked and are most emphatically "toys." It must
not be understood that a short face and a " down face ' are
at all alike. Take the Owl for instance, and its face is very
short, but the beak comes right on down from the face. But
in the short face tumbler, the forehead bulges out as far as
possible and the beak breaks this line and stands out almost
at right angles. It is very short and very fine. Another
point; the tumbler proper, often carries it; elf with the head
rather forward, while the short face carries it back of its very
prominent breast. In fact theie are two grand curves in the
short face, one at the forehead and another at the chest.
They are dear little birds and make the very best of pets.
They are not good breeders, being bred down rather too fine,
and thus lacking vigor of constitution, and the short beaks
are not adapted for either feeding by the old or receiving
the food by the young.
THE PARLOR OR INSIDE TUMBER.
THE Parlor or Inside Tumbler is a very popular variety
in America, but scarcely known in England. They are
judged by comparison, as to the way they do their
work. Some of them make only one revolution in the air
after rising, but some make three or even four, and light
squarely on their feet. The parlor tumbler that does its
200 PIGEONS AM) ALL ABOUT THEM.
work the most easily and gracefully, turning nicely in the
air in the shortest space and striking the floor with its wings
folded nicely and feet firmly placed with no sprawling, is the
bird that will win, 110 matter what its color or general
They usually come in solid colors, but there are lovely
mottles and splashes. They are great pets and can be train-
ed to a high degree, and are a never failing source of interest
As their merit consists solely in their abilityto tumble
well, little attention is paid to feather. There are two things
in favor of the Parlor Tumbler, one that it can be bred any-
where, and in almost any kind of a loft, and another that the
fancier who breeds them always has something with which
to delight visitors.
WE have now treated of "'show" Tumblers, and Inside
workers, and therefore come to what is known as a
"flying kit," in other words, Tumblers that are
judged by their ability to keep on the wing, and practice
those wonderful evolutions chat have given the Tumbler its
I take it for granted that the fancier who owns a good fly-
ing kit, cares little for marking. The work of such birds is
done in the air, where the most exquisite marking counts for
It is no easy thing to produce a good Kit of Rollers even
with a good start in the way of stock, as much care must
be expended in getting the proper rolling into a Kit.
It will not do for the birds to dart up in the air, make a
few revolutions and then settle. That is not rolling. The
birds must go up and stay up. They must roll with some
PIGEONS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 201
regularity, and at a good height, and hence the great necess-
ity of having birds that will work together.
A good Roller must be a fast worker, but it must be uni-
form in its work.
Perhaps it is necessary to explain still further, as many do
not understand of what .a good flying Kit consists. When
the bird is let out, its rolling is its exercise; its delight. Tt
gets rid of its superabundant spirits by rising high, circling
in great circles and ever and anon ''rolling/' The great
point is to keep the Kit well up.
THESE birds are trained in various ways the most gen-
eral of which is to allow them to first get used to the
loft, and its vicinity, and then frighten them into the
air. Instinct keeps them up longer than other birds, and,
when they feel like settling, they are frightened off with a
cloth on a pole until the owner is willing to let them come
I think that Tipplers and Rollers are just now coming into
popularity in this country, and we ought to have Kits that
fly for the love of it, and not through fear. We want no iv<!
and white flags, and lanterns in this country, but birds that
will go into the air, work well and come down at a proper
There are some splendid Kits in this country, and all a
modest fancier needs is about three good old pairs, and he
will soon have a Kit, for the young w 11 fly well at two or
three mouths. And, trained with good parents they will
work all the better. One can let them out in the morning
enjoy them, and then go about his work, satisfied that they
will drop in due time.
202 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
THE Barb is a variety of pigeon well known the world
over, but I am sorry to say that it seems to have ret-
rograded in the popular fancy in this country during
the last few years. At the old-time shows, Barbs were always
an important class and well filled ; but latterly they seem to
have lost their hold on the popular fancy, and the Barb class-
es are not only badly filled, but the entries are confined to
two or three fanciers w r ho still stick to them.
Barbs have brought very high prices in the fancy, perhaps
as high as any known variety. Most of its points lie in the
skull, the head total, 'and the beak and jew wattle.
In size, the bird is medium, but it has the broad breast,
strong and prominent wing butts, and the general " well
built' 1 appearance of birds of its family.
The beak is short and massive, with a strong, " down-face ''
appearance, and the mandibles are of about even thickness.
The beak wattle stands out large and full, extending well
onto the beak. It is of fine texture, evenly divided on either
side, and must not be stained. The jew wattle matches the
beak wattle as nearly as possible and must have no stains.
The jaw of the barb is full and strong, and adds to the square
appearance of the entire head.
The eyes are completely surrounded by a heavy eye wattle
of a bright red. The eye is pearl color with dark pupil ex-
cept in whites, which have bull eyes. The legs and feet are
as bright a red as possible.
The eye wattle, being a great point, is worthy of a careful
description. It is circular and even, filling out evenly in all
directions and should stand well out from the eyes. Its even-
ness is its great point and there should be no tendency to
BARBS. (Feathered World.)
ICE PIGEONS. From Fulton's Pigeon Book.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 205
spouts. The neck is short and tapers gradually from the
square shoulders to the head. The breast is broad and full
and should stand well out, but not detract from the plump
body lines. Back broad and flat. The wings rest above the
tail, which latter is of medium length, and the legs are
short. Barbs come in Blacks, Reds, Duns, Yellows and
A great deal depends on keeping the wattle in good shape.
It is so large that it is apt to become the abiding place for
little ulcerations. The tendency to these sores does not come
from heredity, but is the effect of dirt and extraneous matter
that gets into the little crevices. When a barb is to be shown,
the most caieful attention must be shown to its wattles.
The Barb is a bird that must be kept in confinement, as a
well developed specimen cannot see either in front or behind.
The old authorities are fond of referring to the Barb as a
"spool-head" and looking at it from the front, its head has
much the appearance of a spool with the winding part of the
spool as a base, and the two sides for the eye wattle.
It is hard to breed Barbs without good nurses. Their fec-
undity is great, but. through peculiar head formation, they
lack the ability to feed their young. As in many other birds
where the egg must be removed, it is not well to let the lien^
over-lay. They should be allowed to set on their own eggs
or on "dummies"' until nature has a chance.
The Barb does not reach its show form till about three
years old, and it is hard to tell just how the average young-
ster in the loft will turn out. If it has the proper head for-
mation the chances are that the wattle will come all right
200 PI(.K()N> AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
OH, Mr. Judge, please show me a Carrier! Oh, is that
one? Why what a funny bird. Does it carry the
note in its beak, and how does it know where you
want the note taken ?"
I give this sample of the questions asked a Judge at a show
in order that my readers may see the predicament I am in.
through writing for others than fanciers.
We (of the purple,) all know that the show Carrier is not
a Homer, and that the Homer is the bird that takes a mes-
sage to its home loft, and nowhere else. That the average
Show Carrier would not home a mile.
I feel that I hurt the feelings of no Carrier fancier, when
I state that the show Carrier, the old English Carrier, is not-
one of the most popular varieties. At the big shows the
Carrier classes are rarely well filled, yet personally I think
the Carrier a wonderful bird, and one that well repays the
fancier for the time spent in perfecting its points.
The Carrier is a large bodied pigeon, and is in reality
larger and heavier than it really looks, for its feathers lie
close and hard, and it is so "trim" as to be misleading. One
of its great points is its wattle. There must be two, the up-
per or beak wattle, and the lower or Jew wattle. The more
prominent these are, the better.
The head of the Carrier should be long, shallow on top,
and narrow between the eyes.
The wattles should stand out well, but be short and wide.
The beak wattle should be free from hollowness, but should
be full, and larger of course than the Jew wattle, which,
however should have the same general characteristics as the
Swiss or Crescent.
PIGEONS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM. 200
The eye should be full and prominent, and should have a
wild, alert look, as if the bird were ready to spring into the
air at the slightest motion.
The beak is long and thick and nearly straight, the meas-
urement being two inches from the eye to the tip.
The neck is long and slender, aud with a clean gullet. The
breast is broad and full, and the shoulders very square, with
prominent wing butts. The wings and tail are long, and the
thighs muscular, with long, strong looking legs. The feet
are also large and muscular looking.
Black and Dun Carriers have always seemed the most pop-
ular bieeds, but the white now seems to be quite the fancy.
In blacks and blues the eye should be dark red. In whites
it should be dark, or. bull-eye, and in Yellows, Reds and
Duns it should be a pearl.
The great point is to breed a very long face aud then get
the proper wattle on it, but the same idea of getting '"length"
must also be applied to the bird. With a cock with a good
heavy wattle, and a hen that maybe somewhat lacking in
this respect, it is possible to get good young, provided the
hen is a good raugey bird.
The Carrier is emphatically a show bird, and is rarely bred
save in confinement.
Before a show the greatest attention should be paid to
these birds. Every feather should be clean and in place, and
the wattles should not -show the least particle of dirt. In
cleaning the beak and eye wattles it is best to do so several
days before a show in order that the bird may have the tint
that nature has put on.
210 PIGEON!* AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
THE Dragoon is not only a variety of its own, but it is
one of the most handsome and most striking pigeons
that lives. It is claimed that it is a direct descendant
of the Horseman, a bird of which we now never, hear.
In England there are two types, the sturdy compact bird
that we now accept as the proper one, and a narrow slender-
ly built bird, that had the proper head and beak, but lacked
the strong and vigorous make-up of the now typical Dra
The most pronounced feature about the Dragoon is its
skull, which comes up round, full and broad, and narrows
quickly to the beak.
It is more of a wedge-shape, than any other, and the watts
which fits close to the beak, and is also wedge-shaped, adds
to 1 his general contour. The rise from the beak tip is also
regular, and this gives a sort of "low forehead" appearance,
which must be seen to be understood.
It is now admitted that the proper skull must be about
twice as broad at the back, as at the frontal, where the wat-
tle begins. There has been much discussion as to length of
beak, but I believe the best authorities place it at about one
and a half inches from tip to front edge of the eye.
The wattle is a great feature in the Dragoon, and should
rise gradually from where it begins on the beak, to the be-
ginning of the frontal bone, but it should not extend much
over the side of the beak, for this would detract from its even
appearance. Close to the skull it comes up even and hard,
as if firmly glued to it, and does not stand out as does the
The beak should be as thick as possible, with no wattle on
the lower mandible.
Brswqfor $$ |WS V<^
BLACK DRAGOON Sketched from Life.
GERMAN ANCIENT TUMBLERS.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
The eye should be large and full, and have rather a wild
expression. It is just midway in the face, and the iris is a
The neck is short and strong, and spreads gradually to a
broad chest, and a broad, flat back.
The shoulder butts protrude slightly, and show much
strength, but the wings do not set so closely as in the Car-
The flights are broad, even, and strong looking, and rest
just above the tail at their tips.
The tail is inclined to be short and is carried rather up
from the floor.
The legs are short, and very strong looking and the thighs
muscular. The legs are clean, with no suspicion of booting,
and rest on large strong feet. In color, the Dragoon fancier
may suit himself, as the bird comes in all colors, though
red, yellows and whites are hardly up to the standard of the
other colors. I think there is nothing more handsome than
a nice Silver.
Blues seem to be the most favorite colored birds, and as a
color are in the majority. The Dragoon is a good breeder
and thrives with wonderful ease in almost any kind of a
Of late years, the Dragoon has made wonderful strides in
popularity, not only in this country but in England, for at
one of the recent large shows over the water there were
more Dragoons entered than birds of any other one variety.
It should be remembered that the Dragoon is somewhat
of a fighter, but not a vicious bird. All wattled birds seem
born fighters, and yet they are chary of mankind.
214 PKJKONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
HEAD Wedge-shaped and broad, yet proportionate to the
stoutness and length of the beak, slightly curved when view-
ed from the side or front, thus showing no angle or extended
BEAK Thick, measuring from the termination of the beak
horn to the anterior corner of the eye, about li inches. The
lower mandible stout, straight and close fitting ; the upper
also stout, and terminating in a slight curve.
AVATTLE Peg shaped, i. e., broad and perpendicular at its
base, narrowing with even sides and longitudinal furrows
towards the point of the upper mandible, but not intruding
on the lower.
EYE CERE Small, fine in texture, nearly circular, slightly
pinched at the back.
EYE Prominent and watchful. In Blues, Silvers, Chequers
and Grizzles, the iris of a deep rich red color. In other va-
rieties, an approximation to this color; except in Whites, in
which the iris is dark colored.
NECK Short and thick without gullet, and widening boldly
from head to shoulders.
BKEAST Broad and full.
BACK Broad and as flat as possible ; shoulders prominent.
WINGS Strong, the flights carried above the tail.
TAIL Short and running in a line with the back, carried
clear of the ground, and extending quite half-an-inch beyond
the tips of the wings.
LK<;S Short. The thighs stout and muscular. The whole
length of the body, from the point of the beak to the ex-
tremity of the tail, about 15 inches.
COLOR In Blues. The neck dark and lustrous; the body,
rump and thighs, a leaden blue of uniform shade.
M vKKiNos A broad black bar across the end of the tail.
T\v<> Mark bars, about of an inch, wide, even and distinct,
PIGEONS A:NT> ALL ABOUT THEM. 217
running transverse! ey from top to bottom of each whig, in
the form of 'the letter Y inverted. Color of beak in Blues
black. Color of Eye Cero. A dark grey.
Colors of Grizzles and Chequers. Each Feather distinctly
grizzled or chequered. The marking, color of Beaks and Eye
cere, same as in Blues.
Color of Silvers. A uniform and light silver tint. Xeck
a deeper shade. Bars as black as possible. Beak, horn
Yellows and Reds. Color uniform and bright. Beak of an
even flesh color. Eye Cere, hard and white.
Wattles Beak, pale flesh color Eye Cere same as in
Yellows and Reds.
218 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
THE SHOW HOMER.
THE Show Homer is not a bird that would attract much
attention in the show room, and by this I mean that it
has not the variegated plumage that wculd cause the
masses to stop and look at it. Yet it has its points, and they
are as hard to breed to perfection, as are the points of other
The show Homer is another of the birds that has sprung
into sudden popularity, and this assertion holds true on
either side of the big pond.
The primary points show at an early age, and the breeder
does not have to halt between hope and fear and wonder
"how the birds will turn out. ' Just as soon as the young-
ster is through moult it is ready to show, and in fact it looks
about as well then, as when fully matured.
There are two great points in the show Homer, and they
are simply head and body. The head is a beautiful curve
from the tip of the beak to the back of the skull. There is
no gap between the beak wattle and the skull, but it fills
right up in one unbroken curve. The eye cere is small and
fine, and dark. The color of the eye most sought for is a
pearl or flesh white. The beak is medium in length and
thickness and seems to fit close to a compact head. The
wattle is not laige, but close fitting and must come up just
enough to make that perfect curve that we see in so many
wood cuts and on so few birds. The chest of the bird is full
and strong and stands well out, and the shoulders are also
well out and strong looking, though there must be a close-
ness of feather all over. The very appearance of the body
which is short and thick set, gives the idea of hidden
PIGEON'S AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
The flight> are short and broad, and lap closely, and the
tail short and also folded so closely as to seem like the end
of a wedge. The legs are of medium length, and of strong
appearance. The beak wattle is rather of an almond shape,
and as I stated, it must come up just far enough to make the
perfect curve I mentioned. There is no jew wattle, and the
bird must be clean cut on the neck. The bird is a long face,
pure and simple, and the longer the better.
The entire head of the show Homer should look "long"
with the eye just about the centre. The eyes run pearl, red
and black, or bull, but the pearl eye makes a contrast that
is striking and gjves a better general look to the bird.
Though the entire head seems to be a curve, this should not
extend to the beak, which is almost straight, but the curved
appearance is back of the beak and its being straight does
not affect the general outline.
Though the neck is strong looking, it is not coarse. On
the contrary it is very clean cut, and it tapers down to the
220 PKIhOXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
THE FLYING HOMER.
I NOW take up the pigeon that is perhaps creating more
excitement to-day than is any other breed. Not only
are its wonderful powers being turned to use in civil and
military life ; not only is it used as a "sporting" bird, just as
the race horse is used, but, through its low price, it is being
disseminated all over this land, and is being kept by untold
numbers of budding fanciers who w r ant something a little
better than the common pigeon, and yet cannot afford to
handle the high priced varieties.
Again, it is so hardy, so strong, so easily kept, (needing no
more attention than the common pigeon) and such are its
breeding powers, and its care of its young, that it is no won-
der that Homers are to be seen in almost every little village
in the country.
Outside of the general characteristics, the Homer is not
bred for feather, for body, skull, beak, or even size, except
that it should be large enough to be vigorous.
Some of the greatest flyers have been rather small and
delicate looking birds that have easily surpassed other bird*
which have seemed to show every point bred to the highest
Take the average basket of Homers that is sent to an Ex.
press office for liberation, and no man, 110 matter how care-
fully he may look them over, can express a competent opin-
ion as to which is the best bird.
But the working Homer is not produced without due care,
and the greatest regard to heredity. It is to a producing of
the instinct, or the eye sig'ht and memory, or whatever we
may decide it to be, to which the good fancier directs his
PIGEOXS AXI) ALL ABOUT THEM. 221
The successful flyer not only watches to see that the proper
bone and muscle, the proper stamina, enters into his birds,
but he knows every blood line in his loft, and when he mates
he tries to blend the birds, the records of the ancestors of
which show so plainly where the coveted "homer sense" lies.
Two great essentials in handling Homers are trapping and
i raining. Young birds can be taught to trap fast in a few
days. Let them go hungry and drive them out of the loft,
on a nice morning, and get them up in the air.
Then let the bob-wires down and throw a good feed in
plain sight, >n the floor, and, being hungry they will soon
force in and go to feeding. Try it again in the evening, and
so on day after day, till the birds liml that the sooner they
bolt in, the sooner they will get to feeding. Be sure and
have either a very large entrance hole, or several small ones
so that a single bird cannot stand at the hole and beat off
he others that wish to enter.
The young birds must be trained to 'homo'' and in this
connection I want to sound a note of warning against over-
working young birds. Better ten good Hies of ten miles each,
than one bad one of twenty-five. Training should begin at
say five months, for by that time the youngsters will get a
good knowledge of localities around the home loft. They
should be taken short distances, not in one direction, but to
all the points of the compass.
The idea is to give them a conception of where home lies,
so that no matter where they are sent on long trips, the same
general knowledge of line of flight, will guide them.
But. to return to my subject, and it is well to use a rubber
stamp, and on the wing of each biid, and on the tail feathers
stamp a request to notify you, (using name and address,) if
the bird is caught or shot.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
In its general appearance it is much like the show Homer,
which latter bird is a direct descendent of the worker.
I feel that I have not done justice to this wonderful bird,
but anyone who reads the daily press can constantly see re-
ports of the uses to which the instinct of the true Homer is
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
I BELIEVE I said somewhere in this work that to me all
pigeons were beautiful, but I fear I will have to draw
the line on the Scandaroon.
This bird is like no other. It has somewhat the body shape
of the Homer, though more lengthy in build. Legs clean,
and rather short; wings well folded and lapping over tail.
The head is large in proportion to body. Small eye and beak
wattles, the latter extending well down on the beak, which
is curved down. It can hardly be called a "sickle-bill" yet
there is a curve from the face to the tip of the beak.
There are not many of them in this country, and the few
fanciers who keep them, and to whom I have spoken, have
admitted that they saw no beauty in them, but kept them
because they were odd and quaint looking.
In Germany the Scandaroons have a strong place in favor,
and at Nuremberg especially, they can be found in profusion.
I do not think the bird will ever be popular in America, for
the reason that it has no particular beauty, or good points to
1'IGEONS AM) ALL ABOUT THEM.
THE Hunt is a large bird that has come into notoriety of
late years, through its size and nothing else.
It has no markings by which the judge can use com-
parison, but it is simply a large pigeon, bred large by those
who feel that a pigeon represents so much meat. However
the Runt has been found a good bird for a cross, to make
good eating squabs. Crossed with the Homer, or with birds
of that class, the young have been found to show up in good
shape, and.they are certainly as good eating as can be found,
that is if one can imagine that the pigeon is a bird Jit only
to eat. To the fanciers who look on the pigeon as being-
something more than "a piece of liver 1 '/, e. something to
use as so much marketing, the cultivation of the Runt does
not offer many inducements, though it must be admitted
that by its size, it is an impressive sort of bird.
Still, there is nothing in the way of grace or style, that
will ever make it a show bird. As to the breeding qualities
of the Runt, the Runt proper is not so good a breeder as the
cross bred bird. Just as in any bird that is bred to excess in
certain points, the Runt seems to develope a tendency to
grow either into infertility or into pour feeding qualities.
In shape, the Runt is much like the common pigeon, but
its tendency is to carry the tail "up" instead of out, with the
flights resting below it. The neck is coarse, and the shoul-
ders wide; breast plump, and body rather short built.
Still, no regular body lines can be laid down. The judge
must simply judge by comparison, taking for his ideal a
large sized common pigeon, "built for meat," and nothing
else. It may be that in years to come we may build the
Runt on certain lines, and it will then be a show bird, but.
prior to that time we must simply assume that it is a large
PIGEOXS AXD ALL ABOUT THEM.
THIS is a biid that is not well known to the masses, yet
latterly they seem to have grown in popularity.
The Duchesse looks simply like an overgrown com-
mon pigeon, booted. There is no question but that the old
stock came from the other side-, supposably from Germany
The great points with the Duchesse are size and breeding
quality, yet withal they are handsome birds, and have many
attractive ways. They come in all colors.
The beak is long and line, with the upper mandible far
more heavy than the lower and slightly curved at the tip.
The eye should be large, full and round, with a mild expres-
sion, just i he reverse of the Homer and birds of that class.
The neck ! > very short, and sets nicely on very broad shouL
ders. Back broad, wings closely folded, with tips meeting
over the tail.
The tail is closely folded and is held up from the ground-
The legs are short and strong looking, and are heavily boot-
ed from the hocks to the tips of toes.
They come either smooth-headed, or shell-crested. They
are good home birds, fine breeders and feeders, and as stated,
have many good points to commend them to the public, yet
they will never rank up in class with the true "fancy 1 '
220 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
THE Archargel is a bird that does not depend 011 sharp
contrasts of plumage, yet its plumage is its greatest
point, for I do not know of anything more beautiful
than the rich bronze of an Archangel's neck and breast, as
it shows next to the burnished wing, so inky black that it
seems different from almost any other black we see. Per-
haps it is the combination of colors that does it ; I only know
that for beauty of plumage few birds can excel the Arch-
I do not consider it a striking bird. I think its beauty
grows on one as he slowly takes it in.
It is another of what are known as German Toys, yet it is
different from all the rest.
Beginning with the head, it should be long and narrow,
with a round skujl. In other words its face must be lean
and slender, but not angular at the top. The crest should
be a perfect peak, running to a nice crest point, and should
show no mane at all. The beak is long and slender with
somewhat of a curve at the end. It should have a small fine
wattle, and the upper mandible of beak of a darker tint than
the lower. The eye is full and bright, and deep red in color.
The neck is long and slender, and is a perfect wedge shape
from the shoulders up, which latter should be well defined,
but not square.
The Archangel is not a "blocky" bird, but is slender in all
points. The breast protrudes slightly, but must be a neat
and pretty curve.
The wings are very long, but lie close to the body. They
reach nearly to the tip of the tail, and rest just over it. The
legs are rather long, giving the bird an "upstanding" ap-
THE SHOW HOMER.
PIGEOXS AND ALT, AF.OUT THEM. 220
pearance. They are bright red, free from any feathering,
and the toes are black.
The head and neck, the breast and thighs, are of a beaut*
copper bronze, and the wings rump and tail are of a metallic
black, which has the peculiar lustre of which I have spoken.
A well groomed Archangel can show more lovely shades
than any other pigeon of which I have any knowledge.
The Archangel is a good breeder, and also breeds remark-
ably true, and I see no reason why it should not become very
The description I have given is of the dark bronze variety,
which is admitted to be the best. There is a lighter variety,
which differs from it in tint of color, and is called light
bronze. In the dark bird the entire upper mandible i^ mark-
ed, while in the light variety, there is a small black stripe at
the point only, while the rest of the beak is flesh colored.
230 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
HEAD Long and narrow, with gradual curve from front
to back ; round skull, showing an easy curve in all directions ;
lean face, junction with head to neck almost imperceptible.
CKEST Central, needle-pointed, one-fourth to one-half
inch in length, and slightly inclined forward, showing no
mane behind or beneath it.
BEAK Dove shaped, light brown color, slightly curved ai
end with black marking on top of upper mandible extending
from wattle to end of beak, lower mandible straight.
WATTLE Fine in texture and small, showing very little or
no white surface.
EYE AND CEKE Deep orange red; pupil large and clearly
defined, prominent, yet of a rather mild expression, eye-cere
very small and fine in texture.
NECK Long, slender, graceful, and slenderest at point of
junction with head, gently widening toward the shoulders,
joining the latter with a gradual curve.
BREAST Slightly prominent, plain and neat
WINGS Long, close to body, and tapering to flights, which
should be narrow in web of feather, extending to within a
half an inch of end of tail and meeting tip to tip, gently
resting on the tail.
LEGS AND FEET Firm and of good length, shank free from
feathers and covered with line scales; toes well separated
and long, claws black, legs and feet crimson in color.
BODY Rather small in size, narrow and slender, and gr^ce-
f ully tapering from front to vent, with shoulders well de-
fined and close to the body.
COLOR Wings, rump and tail rich bronzed black ; around
ends of wings and rump feathers are arranged brilliant me-
tallic colors, changing in hue with every change of position;
tail feathers black, have a rounded appearance at end; head,
neck, belly and thighs an even, deep rich copper.
PLUMAGE Close and compact.
NATURE Rather wild, yet graceful.
THE SHOW HOMER.
PIGEOXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 233
THIS is another "toy" pigeon, for the production of which
we can thank our German friends.
It is another of the type which must rely on a con-
trast of colors for its distinctive points.
It is not a popular bird, yet why I do not see, unless it is
because of the tendency of foul feathers to crop out, for it is
a splendid breeder, and can thrive anywhere. It is a very
attractive bird, and has many admirers, yet for some reason
there are few fanciers who take it up as a specialty, and
breed it up to the perfection it deserves.
The body of the Xun is pure white, with its head, front of
neck, flight, feathers and tail, of some solid color. General-
ly this color is black, but it is bred also in red, yellow, dun
It has a crest that rises sharp and clear, and comes clear
around from eye to eye, and must be white, in order to make
the sharp contrast with the colored head more marked. In
blacks the beak must be black, and in the other colors it is
The old writers were at logger-heads about the number of
colored flights the bird must have. Fulton demanded ten
flights colored, while others were content w r ith six.
After all, the marking is about all that makes the Xun.
It has no booting, and its legs arc a rich red.
234 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
_ . . .
r T^HE Trumpeter is one of the most odd looking birds in
the fancy, and while not a general favorite, is bred to
the very highest point by quite a number of enthusi-
astic breeders. In old days it was sometimes called the
Laughing pigeon, but it now goes by the name of the Russian
or Bokhara Trumpeter. This bird is said to be a native of
Russia, but the great majority of those in this country were
imported from Germany. That the trumpeter is one of the
most peculiar vagaries of the pigeon tribe, all will admit,
I know of no other pigeon that has the "rose" so developed,
and the nearest approach to it in any bird is in a breed of
Canaries that have it. This rose is a complete circle be-
ginning at the centre of the skull, covering it entirely, ex-
tending over the eyes and over almost the entire beak.
The crest of the trumpeter is similar to that of such va-
rieties as the Swillow and Nun, and it rises behind the rose,
making a sort of double head covering. The larger this
crest the better of course, and it should begin below the eye.
As to boots, the trumpeter stands almost alone, if I may
'except the Spot or Fairy Swallow. There is no great length
of feather at the hock, but the booting grows heavier as we
go down, until, on the outside of the foot it reaches an enor-
This bird is very deceptive in size, some of them, through
their wonderful and loose feathering, looking as large as
Runts, but the body is no larger than that of a medium
The eye of the trumpeter is white. The standard colors
;ire, mottles which are far in the majority and come lirst, and
blacks and whites, with a few reds and yellows.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
THE Swallow is essentially a "toy" bird, its pretty mark-
ings being the result of crosses for color in the past,
ami ilie credit for its production is given to Germany,
where it holds a high place among the ''German Toys."
Xo bird has more beautiful or more pronounced markings,
the contrast being so distinct as to strike the eye at once,
even when the bird is far off and on the wing.
There seems to be no limit to the endless varieties of mark-
ing that can be produced. Some years ago the Feathered
World produced a cut of a Spangle Spot Swallow, one of the
mpst lovely things I ever saw. The wings are spangled and
the row goes clear down the flights, while the spangle on the
boots is also plainly to be seen. At another time it printed
a reproduction of a Spot or Fairy Swallow, which was almost
Every breed however has its drawbacks, and the only one
with the swallow is, that it is hard to breed it true to
Necessarily in a "made*' bird, foul feathers \\ill continually
show, and this drives many a young fancier out of this va-
riety, for no matter how perfect his old birds are. he is sure
from time to time, to find foul marked young.
The marking of the perfect Swallow is very simple. If he
is a black, the entire body must be snow white. The skull
is jet black and this color line must be sharply drawn at the
base of the crest, which is a complete cup ciest and snow
white. Then beginning sharply at the shoulder the entire
wing must be jet black and then we go past the hocks (which
are long or "vulture' hocks) and the black begins again
sharply at the knee, and extends t.> every feather in the
238 PIGEONS AM) ALL AIJOTT THEM.
It is in the hocks' that trouble generally begins, for the
head may be solid and correct, the wings the same, and yet,
we find little discolorations creeping into the hock feathers.
Again, while the swallows of long ago were all solid mark-
ed, save the blues, which had black wing bars, modern
fanciers are now producing beautiful white barred birds in
The perfect bird has the marking of the back so complete
tliat when the wings are folded, there is a perfect white flat-
iron, in shape, 011 the back.
They should be as small as possible, as it is generally ad-
mitted that the smaller a toy bird can be bred the better.
They should be broad in chest, short neck, nice flat, broad
back, and a regular wedge-shaped taper clear to the end of
the tail. They stand low, seemingly in a douching position,
but the head is a dove shape (i. e. round, not flat.)
The marking of the head should run directly in a line with
the beak opening, but the mark line should not affect the
eye, but be just over it. The upper mandible of the beak
will thus be colored and the lower one white. The crest is
a regular cup shape and should extend from eye to eye, pure
white, without a discoloration, and if there can be a little
"rose" at each end of the crest, so much the better.
SWALLOWS. (From Fulton's Book.)
BAKLESS SWALLOW. ( Feathered World. >
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 241
SHAPE Chubby and crouching.
HEAD Dove-shaped, showing an indentation over the
wattle; rather low, but slightly convex on the crown.
BEAK Slender, rather long and straight, the upper man-
dible dark, the under one light in color.
WATTLE Very small and smooth, showing a whitish
EYE CERE Very fine in texture and dark in color.
EYES Black or ' bull-eyed. '
NECK Short and rather thick or cobby in appearance, but
having no sign of gullet.
SHOULDERS Broad and rather full-set, the back being also
wide and flat.
LEGS Short and rathe?- wide apart.
MARKINGS Whole body white, with the exception of the
cap, wings and the leg and foot feathering below the hocks.
CAP Extending from tae wattle to the back of skull at a
clean-cut line, dividing the dark skull plumage from the
wMte of the lower part of head, such line of demarcation to
be drawn from the juncture of the mandibles straight under
the eyes o .. to the back of the upper part of the head, just
fringing bat not intruding into the white lining of the crest.
CRESJ. -To extend from back of eye to eye, rising about
one-quarter of an incb over the cap, showing cup-like cavity,
I nt not resting on or touching the head ; the crest should be
wholly white including the inner lining,
WINGS -All small and large feathers dark below the scap-
ula plumage; this should form a kind of heart-shaped white
saddle lying at the top of the shoulder end of the back.
Flight feathers long and wide in web.
TAIL Wholly white; the larger tail feathers should be
rather long and wide in web,
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
LEG AND FOOT FEATHERING- -Long and slippei pointed on
the feet; the back feathering being long and evenly project-
ing towards the vent. No bareness should be visible between
the feet or on the legs.
CARRIAGE- Squatty, that is, low on legs and short and
rather projecting in the front of the body.
PLUMAGE Abundant and but modestly close in fitting
the flights being carried rather loosely and the tail somewhat
CONDITION Very lustrous i:i the dark shading of the
plumage, and free from all soil on the foot and hock feather-
-- ~ ^3fc*MiWBr*rS
FAIRY SWALLOW. ( Feathered World.)
PIGEOXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 24o
Rectors of the Church of England, after specific pray-
ers for various persons, use a general prayer for " all
sorts and conditions of men 1 ' and so 1. after treating of
the popular breeds, will speak in a general way of " all sorts
and conditions'' of pigeons.
Many of these of which I now write are almost unknown
in this country and are rarely seen at shows on the other
side, yet they are pigeons and therefore worthy of brief
notice in this book, which is claimed to cover all known
This is a plump, compact pigeon that comes hi four stand-
ard colors, Black, Blue, Red and Yellow. It has a shell crest
and a tuft or rose over the nostrils. Its shape is much like
that of the Swallow and it has the same heavily booted legs.
though some are only grouse-legged. There are many Priests
that do not have the rose, but these are of little value. The
top mandible is white and the lower black. The eye should
be dark or ''bull." All blues should be barred with white
and a white band on the tail primaries is correct.
This bird is almost identical with the Priest, about the
only difference being that the entire top of the head, the
crest and the rose are white. The ten primary nights are
also white. The same general rules that govern the Priest
apply to the Brunswick.
These are German birds, large, bold and strong looking.
The bird is a dark, rich blue as to body, with breast, thighs.
rump and tail a little lighter in shade. Orange eye, black
24(1 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
beak, legs clean from feather. The wings and sides are of a
tri-color with a triangular dart on en eh feather. This mark-
ing also extends across the saddle.
This bird from being so hard to breed true to marking, is
quite rare. They may have shells or peak crests, or be plain
heads. They may also be clean legged or muffed.
They run black in color, with a light crescent on breast and
running up to a point at back of skull. The wings are
spangled, and the tail black with a white band in the best
specimens. While the dark bird is the best, it is permissable
for them to run to light colors, but the marking in the lat-
ter case is of course not so attractive.
These pretty birds come in four colors. They are short,
"squatty" birds, rather wild and shy. They run clean or
muffed legged. The eyes are dark, and beaks black. Their
great point is a sort of powdery blue or lavender tint all over,
except in flights. All have light wing bars except the laven-
der colored. Some are spangled or laced, and they can be
marked in so many different ways that it is hard to say
which is the proper idea. The lavender bird has no bars e..-
cept the pale birds, which have bars tipped with a black
edging. The spangled birds are particularly beautiful, but
hard to breed correctly, and this is a fact common to nearly
all the varieties of this family of birds.
A VERY pretty little pigeon that is rarely seen and
especially in this country is the Capuchin. It is of
the Oriental variety and is very small, erect in station,
and a nice, bright, clean-built little fellow all over.
It has a broad shell-crest, which should come nicely around
Scandaroons and Frill-backs.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 2-19
from ear to ear, but it should be close fitting and not flaring.
It should seem to fit close to the skull. The Capuchin is
round or ''bullet headed"' with a fulness in front. The beak
is short and black, and the beak wattle white and fine. The
eye cere is dark and like a fine line, and the pupil of the eye
is white, or of a silver cast.
The body proper is dark, and the white line begins at the
base of the rump, and must be clean cut, and the tail is
The Capuchin comes in whole colors, but is bred also in
barred blues and barred silvers. Its body feathers have the
same sheen that is seen n the Archangel. It is a beautiful
little bird, and is liable to become quite a favorite at some
This bird, though a little larger, is almost a fac
the Hyacinth except that it is more of a sulphur shade. The
eye is orange, no crest or frill; beak and nails black.
This bird owes its name to a peculiar frilled or "frizzly"
condition of its feathers, which, especially 011 the sides and
breast, seem to turn the wrong way. They are not handseme
but simply odd looking. They are plain-headed or peaked,
and often shell-crested or muff-legged. The frilled feathers
are most easily bred on the sides, but it is hard to get them
on the saddle, head and neck. This is the great desideratum
but seldom reached.
Though ice and fire are so little alike, these two breeds of
pigeons are much the same. The contour is alike and so are
all general points. The Fire pigeon is a rich brown on the
back, shoulders and sides. The flights are black, and so are
L>:>0 PIGEOXS A XI) ALL A BO FT THEM.
the head, neck and breast. There is a white, egg-shaped
spot on the forehead, and the tail is pure white, the dividing
line extending sharply around the rump at the vent. Eye
orange and beak black, though sometimes the upper man-
dible is white. The longer the boots the better, and a good
vulture hock is a great addition. The great tendency is to
throw young without the spot, and with foul tails.
These birds are much like clean-legged tumblers. They
run small in size and are pure white with a sort of dark cap
or "helmet," which begins at the nose, runs through the eye
and goes around the back of the head. The tail is black or
dark, from a clean cut line at the vent; the eye is pearl.
They are great pets and good breeders, and are the sort of
birds that attract much attention from their peculiar marking.
In all points the Spot is identical with the Helmet, except
that the former has an oval spot on the head, beginning at
the nose and extending up the forehead and ending above
the eye. This spot must be clear and distinct and have
sharply defined edges. They come in Blue, Black, Red and
Yellow, clean legged or muffed. They also come plain, or
with peak or shell crests. The tail must be colored like that
of the Helmet.
THE LETZ AXD THE SHIELD.
The Letz and its relative the Shield are both German Toys,
relying on marking only for any claim to merit. The Shield
has a plain head, while the Letz has a shell crest and a rose
at the nostrils. Both have colored shoulders and wing bars,
and both rely on heavy boots and hocks. The Shield is simp-
ly a plain-headed Swallow, and the Letz, a Swallow with a
SWIFT. (Feathered World.,
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM. 253
I lie Crescent is a creamy white bird with brown wing bars
shaped much like a common turtle dove, with the same high
forehead and long- beak. The neck is short and body plump,
and they are low in the leg. They derive their name from a
sort of half-moon on the breast, which is of a rich copper
lustre. They have orange eyes and dark beaks.
This bird is black, with barred wings and a half-moon on
the breast. Sometimes the head is dotted with white, and
this, far from being wrong, is a mark of purity. The eye is
red and the beak and nails black. They may be either plain
or crested, and clean or grouse legged. The great point is
distinctive marking. The black must be sound and the bars
and crescent very pure.
These birds are a dark brown on the head, upper neck,
back and breast. The tail and flights are darker in color.
The same exquisite pencilling that marks the Suabian, is the
great point with the Porcelain. The eye should be orange
(but a pearl is admissible) and the beak and nails black.
Sometimes, but rarely, they have the very desirable spot in
the flights. A sort of chocolate color is what is wanted.
The above is an odd pigeon that can hardly be called beau-
tiful. It is a large bird, with a head like a Runt, a very
crooked neck, full breast, short back, and an upright tail,
which looks as if cut off with a pair of shears,
are short and tilt up and meet just behind the tail,
legs are stilty, and their walk, when mating, is a sort of tip-
toe. They come in all sorts of colors, selfs, mottled and pied.
About the only use I cap. see for the Burmese, is to put it
PK4EOXS AXD ALL AI'.OTT THEM.
in with other pigeons so that the beauty of the latter may be
enhanced. The Burmese is said to be identical with the Leg-
horn Paint, a cut of which is one of the oldest known of any
This bird is much like the Runt. It is a large, quiet bird,
plump and heavy. Most are black or dark colored. The
beak is heavy and the head coarse, the neck short and shoul"
ders very wide and strong. The back is broad and short, and
the whole bird is shaped like a wedge. The upper beak
mandible is dark, and the lower, white or flesh, the white
color begins at the lower jaw, and seems to extend down the
breast around the belly, vent and tail, and up the back. This
leaves the entire wing, even to the back coverts, black or
dark, and mike a very peculiar dividing line. They are good
breeders, but for some reason seem to have few admirers.
The Swift is of the Swallow tribe, but is an Indian bird, [t
has been such a favorite in Egypt, that it is often called the
Egyptian Swift, but this is a mistake. It is a large bird in
appearance, but this is caused by loose feathering, for it is
small in body. It is long and low-set, with small head and
strong, short beak. The nights and tail are very long, and
the wings cross over the tail. Their name is a mistake, for,
even with their long wings, they are very slow and poor fly
ers. The webbing of their feathers is so loose that they get
along with difficulty. They come in all colors and with all
sorts of markings.
This is another bird from the far east, it having been a
great favori^ a century ago. It is like the Owl in shape,
with the same head and beak. It is larger than the Owl and
SPANGLED MONK. ( Fanciers Gazette.)
PIUEOXS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
a bold looking little fellow. It has a large blue eye cere sur-
rounding a damson colored eye. The old style of birds were
plain-legged, but they are now, by some change, almost, all
grouse-legged. Their color is a sort of silver, with very dis-
tinct wing bars of black. The tail also has a dark band, and
the flights and tail run to a dark color. There are few of
these birds in this country.
Blue Checker Homer Hen, No Record but Bred from 500 Mile Parents.
A Grand Stock Hen and Winner at many Shows.
258 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
SUMMARY OF TERMS.
The following is a concise explanation of some of the terms
used in this work. They are used by fanciers the world
DEW-LAP The thin, loose skin, finely feathered, and ex-
tending from lower mandible down the throat.
DOWN-FACED An even and unbroken curve of the head,
from the point of the beak to the top of the skull.
EYE-WATTLE A fleshy protuberance growing around the
eye in a circular form.
FOUL-THIGHED Mixed colored feathers on the thighs.
GAY-MARKED A surplus of white on the colored portion
of the body.
HALF-MOON The crescent-shaped, white marking on the
HOCK The knee-joint.
HOOD The feathers rising up and extending around the
back and the side of the head, and falling forward over the
top of the skull and into the sweep of the ''Chain/'
JEW-WATTLE A fleshy protuberance growing out from
the root of the "Lower Mandible."
JOWL The beak.
KEEL The breast-bone.
LOWER MANDIBLE The lower half of the beak.
MANE The feathers rising upward and backward, meet-
ing the "Hood," and extending down the back of the neck.
PEAK-CREST The feathers rising to a point at the back of
the skull, and falling into the sweep of the "Mane."
PRIMARIES OR FLIGHTS The long quills or first ten feath-
ers of the wing.
RING-NECK The white running up on each side of the
neck, and meeting at the back of the head.
ROACH-BACK The back raised or arched.
ROSE-PINION OR MARKING A circular patch of white feath-
ers, each feather separate and distinct from the other on the
colored ground of the shoulder of wings only.
PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
ROSE The feathers springing from a common centre and
falling over, showing the white under fluff, as in the "Jaco-
ROSE A tuft of feathers springing out from the base of the
beak in an even and circular form, covering the whole front
of the head, as in the "Trumpeter."
SADDLE The feathers on the back and upper part of the
wings, coming down and rounding off and meeting the wing-
SECONDARIES The inner flights or shorter quills that fold
up and rest on the outer flights or primaries.
SLIPPERED The entire feet and toes evenly covered with
SNIP A small tick of white on the front of the head at
the base of the beak.
SPOUTS A warty protuberance growing on the "Eye-wat-
STOCKING-BOOTED The entire limb covered with soft, fine
feathers, fitting close to the limb.
STOP The sudden rise of the forehead from the root of
SWALLOW-THROAT The white extending up under lower
jaw, showing no "Bib."
UPPER MANDIBLE The upper half of the beak.
VULTURE-HOCK Long, stiff feathers growing out and fall-
ing backward from the hock-joint.
WHISKERS The feathers curling up on each side of the
neck, as in the Chinese Owl.
WiNG-Bow The shoulder part of the wing.
WING-BUTT As applied to pigeons, the front of the
WING-COVEKTS The short and broad feathers that cover
the roots of the inner flights or secondary-quills.
BEAK-WATTLE A fleshy protuberance growing out from
L>r,0 PIGEONS AND ALL ABOUT THEM.
the root of the ik Upper Mandible. '
BEARD A crescent-shaped, white marking around the
throat, close under lower jaw.
BIB A colored patch coming down from the throat, and
forming the upper edge of the " Half-moon. '
BISHOPED OK LAWN-SLEEVED A patch of white feathers
on the colored ground of the shoulder, extending to tne edge
of k ' Wing-butt. '
BOX-BEAK The beak long, straight, of equal thickness,
and blunt at the point.
CHAIN The feathers curling forward on each side of the
neck, meeting close under the throat, and continuing down
the breast as far as possible.
CARRIAGE The '"style" of the bird, or the manner in
which it deports itself when in a walking or standing position.
CLEAR-CUT The colored portion of the body separated
from the white by a sharp and even line.
CLOSE-MARKED A lack of sufficient white on the colored
portion of the body.
CONDITION The state of health and perfection of plumage.
CROWN OR SHELL-CREST The feathers rising up shatp and
even, falling slightly forward, and extending around the
back of the head from ear to ear.
Advertising Circulars, 51
Archangel, The 226
Archangel Standard 230
Birds, Choice of ... 35
Buy, Where To 45
Birds, Prices Of 49
Booted Fautails.. . lit;
Blue Fantails 116
Black Fantails 120
Beards, German 192
Barb, The 202
Brunswick, The 245
Burmese, The 253
Constitution, As To 42
Color, As To 44
Circulars, Advertising 51
Coops, Training 54
Cleaning Birds 7G
Clean Leg Tumblers 191
Carrier, The 20G
Capuchin, The 246
Crescent, The 253
Domino, The 108
Dragoon, The 210
Dragoon Standard 214
Duchesse, The 225
Damascene, The 254
Eggs, Shifting 63
Egg Bound 81
Feed, etc 23
Fantail, The . . 110
Fantail, Booted 116
Fantail , Blue . . 116
Fantail, Black 12u
Fantail, Yellow and Red 120
Fantail, Saddle-back 123
Fantail, Silky 124
Fantail, Tail and Body Marked 124
Fantail Standard 126
Frillback, The 249
Fire Pigeons 249
Going Light 79
German Beards l;i2
Homer, the Show 218
Homer, the Flying 220
Hyacinth, The. 245
Helmet, The 250
Importing, Danger in 40
Ice Pigeons 24G
Jacobin, The 128
Jacobin Standard 135
Loft, The 11
Loft, Gable 11
Loft, Yard * 15
Loft, Ideal 10
Loft Points, Other 21
Loft, Cleaning The 29
Loft, In The 53
Loft Register, The 68
Loft, Sickness In The 78
Letz, The 250
Lahore, The 254
Mating - 55
Mate, What To 59
Magpie, The 136
Magpie Standard 143
Muffed Tumblers 178
Nest, Material 19
Nun, The 233
Owl, The.... .14<:
Owl Standard . 153
Oriental Frills . .164
Oriental Turbits .174
Oriental Frill Standard . .177
Outside Tumblers. . . . .'-'no
Pigeons, Varieties Of. 93
Pouter, The ...94
Pouter Standard. . . lot;
Pouter, The Pigmy. ..108
Priest, The .. .245
Porcelain, The 253
Register, The Loft . . .68
Red Fantails 120
Runt, The ....224
Shifting Eggs . .1:3
Shifting Young . . r,:;
Selling Birds 70
Shipping On Approval. . 71
Shipping Birds 7:;
Showing Birds sf>
Shipping To Shows 9
Saddle-back Fantails !_':;
Silky Fantails 124
Scandaroon, The 223
Swallow Standard 241
Suabian, The 246
Spot, The 250
Shield, The ..250
Starling, The 253
Swift, The 254
Troubles, Other Minor. 83
Turbit, The 157
Turbit Standard 162
Turbiteen, The 173
Turbits, Oriental 174
Tumblers, Muffed 178
Tumblers, Clean Leg 191
Tumblers, Outside 200
Tippler, The 201
Trumpeter, The ". 234
Varieties of Pigeons 93
Varieties, Other 245
Victoria, The 249
Wing Disease 81
Young, Shifting 3
Young, Helping . . . .65
Yellow Fantails ,. . - 120
We are the largest dealers in all kinde of Fancy Pigeons
and Pigeon Supplies in the United States.
PIGEON PERCH BS.
Made of seasoned maple and coppered stool wire.
3 inches in Diameter 4o. each, by mail 7o. $4.00 per 100.
tti " " He. " " 80. $5.00 "
4 ' " 60. " 9e. *rt.OO
A combination grit and tonic for pigeons. It aids digestion,
invigorates the system and promotes good health.
Pi ice per biick lOc. by mail 30c, $1.00 per doz. by express.
PIGEON NESTS OR NAPPIES.
Mailo of red clay, 9 inches across the top, heavy bottom.
Piieo lfc. each, 2 for 2, r >c. C for 50c. $1.00 per dozen.
LEG BANDS FOR PIGEONS.
'Heartless Aluminum, 2r>o. doz. 50 for OOc. $1.50 per 100.
Open German Silver, 25o. " 50" SOc. $1.50
Open Aluminum, ISc. " 50 " GOc. 75c.
Dr. Wendel'fl Pigeon Pills for Going Light 2oc. post paid.
Imperial Pigeon Remedies, 35c. box, 3 boxen for $1.00
Our immense 212 page supply catalogue sent free
anywhere. Send for one.
EXCELSIOR WIRE & POULTRY SUPPLY CO.
26 & 28 VE5EY STREET, NEW YORK, CITY.