Pigeon keeping in Pakistan
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flying pigeon is tradition of our city, Lahore. People are keeping and
flying pigeons since long.Very few fanciers keep fancy pigeons, majority
keep and breed high flying pigeons (tipplers). The history of high flying
pigeons goes back to Mughal era. Its time consuming and tough job to do in
the hottest month of the year. According to a rough survey there are about
300,000 high flying pigeon fanciers in my own city, Lahore, which has a
population of about 8 million people. You can see lot of pigeon lofts on
the roof tops. The cages are built by bricks and normally have flying pen
on top of the cage, which has a entrance below. There are few organized
clubs which caters the need of competitions among the high flying pigeons.
Every year in the month of May and June and again in September and October
pigeons competitions are held through out the country. Every club and city
have own methods and ways of competitions laid down by them. The high
flying pigeons from the city of Lahore, Kasur, Sialkot are popular and
known for their flying abilities and performances. Every pigeon flyers
developed his own strains, names are so many and color patterns are also
so many. Local herbs are being used to enhance the performance of
flying tippler. Every flying pigeon fancier normally get guidance
and works under the supervision of his teacher known as Ustad. The teacher
is normally an aged and experienced flying person who normally won many
flying competitions in the past.
flown in Kits
There are very few pigeon fanciers found who keep and breed pigeon flown in kits. It is very hard job to train pigeon for kit flying, have own rules and few cities where this sport is very popular. How to train and fly pigeons could be find in some other article on this web site. But every flying pigeon could be trained in the kit.
Homer (pigeon racing) was introduced about a decade. There were three proper clubs were formed in the city of Lahore only. A few pigeon races of about 300 KM and 400 Km were conducted but it could not get popularity here. The reasons being many, mainly the pigeon fanciers get difficult to do tosses to their pigeons, it is more expensive for the pigeon fanciers in Pakistan, this problem could only be solved if the club mange to hold such tosses, whichunfortunately could not happens and this sport has lost popularity. Many new fanciers who turns to be very good pigeon racers have lost interest within one or two years of time. The weather also plays very important role, as our summer seasons starts from mid march till mid October, so very few months have left for the races. The other main problem is that knowledge of good flying homer is very scare, since sport has started about 10 years ago, it takes lot of time and efforts to enjoy this beautiful sport. One of the main problem was calculation of distance also arose and it could not be properly handled. These were the few problems that is why this sport could not get popularity in Pakistan.
There is only one club which deals with fancy pigeons and it is also not very active these days. There were two fancy pigeon shows held by this club, one in 1998 and second in 2000 (please note that those were the two organized pigeon shows held since we got independence since 1947). All the pigeon shown in the show were mostly imported birds, unfortunately pigeon rings are not made in Pakistan so the spirit of wining is not very much there. I wish some day we are able to organize contest of fancy pigeons produced by our self, wearing the rings of made by Pakistan and are according to the international standards. I am the founder member of the club and was the first general secretary of the club (PAKISTAN RACING AND SHOW PIGEONS ASSOCAITION). The first president of the club is Mr. Akhlaq Ahmed Khan who tried his level best to organize and run the club. I think his efforts are appreciable. Mr. Khan is also very well known in high flying pigeon people. His efforts in promoting the hobby of high flying pigeons are commendable.
The popular breeds of fancy pigeons are modena, king, different types of pouters, trumpeter, runt, fantails, Indian fantails, short face tumblers and racing homers. The popular cities are Karachi, Lahore, Hyderabad, rawalpindi and faisalabad. Every city have their own likes and dislikes about specific breeds, but overall pigeon fanciers usually like to keep and breed heavy breeds of pigeons, like runt, heavy breeds of pouters, trumpeter etc.
It is a pity that pigeon fanciers in Pakistan donít have access to proper medicines for pigeons, mostly rely upon the medicines as we use for poultry. As regard pigeon vaccine for PMV-I we use ND vaccine available for poultry. Although few related medicines are available as they are imported from Australia (VetaFarm). But buyers are very few, pigeon fanciers in Pakistan would buy a pair worth about US$ 300 (which is very high price for Pakistan) but they donít believe in buying imported medicines for the prevention and diseases of pigeons.
Mostly pigeon were imported from Holland, England and know from neighboring gulf countries like sharjah, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia. We got very good breeds like Indian fantails, Jacobins, budapaset tumbler and homers from sharjah.
Which is the most favorite breed of pigeon in Pakistan, No doubts about the Pouters. The breeds like Pomeranians, Hana (mainly black color and more expensive and favorite is spangle) saxon (only black color, I donít know why but it is the highly price paid of pigeon in Pakistan these days), german magpie pouter and English pouters are kept by majority of pigeon fanciers. In the summer seasons (in Lahore, where I live temperature goes up to 48 C to 50 C) heavy breeds of pouters have sour/hanging crop problems. Pigeon fanciers usually give them medicated water made of local herbs to keep thebirds cool. I give grip water (given to human babies when they have stomach problems) found very effective against that, but I think if we catch the pigeon from very early stages then it is effective, other wise mortality rates are very high. I think heavy breeds of pouters are very sensitive in the hottest month of the years, because they donít get the same problem in cooler or moderate months.
A few years back the most popular breed in Pakistan was king, and as it all happened to other kings in the world it went down after three years time. Pakistani as a nation is very inconsistent in every way of life and it also happens in pigeon keeping too. A breed which is very popular one year, the next year it would be hard to find.
The sale of fancy pigeons in Pakistan is very poor. The role of shop keepers who deals in fancy pigeons is very negative in Pakistan. They sells pigeon at very high rates and repurchase them at a very very low rates. They mostly at the time of buying pigeons donít pay cash to the customers and never gives money on the due date. Since there are very few shops who deals in fancy pigeons, they usually exploit the situations and at a result many fanciers disheartens and leave the pigeon fancy. This situation only improve if there are lot of fancy pigeon clubs, frequent pigeon shows, awareness to general public. Since many educated people are coming to this hobby, I hope the future are very bright.
I am thankful to internet, as it gives me lot of information and knowledge about many fancy breeds kept over the years. I also believe in sharing the knowledge with other fanciers and passed what ever I gain from internet and many fancy pigeon breeders throughout the world.
I have observed that one should specialize in a particular breed. We in our country tries to keep all the breeds and colors at the same time. Result of breeding is poor as the requirements and cares of every breed normally differs with others. Golden rule of successful breeding, keep only limited number of pigeons so you can take care of . I always got very good result by keeping 10 pairs and always bad when I keep more than that, as I could not manage it.
Since we have pigeon shows very rare, so it is also very difficult to find good quality of birds too, majority of pigeon keepers donít know the exact standard of what he is keeping. Itís a pity that such clubs are not very active. I think we are just keepers of pigeons and donít concentrate on improving the pigeon we keep. Very few pigeon keepers have good knowledge and command over the standards of breeds, normally old myths and sayings are repeated year after years. Pigeon fanciers normally donít accept new techniques, latest research and even latest breeds. Things are improving but pace is very slow.
I am hopeful that the future of fancy pigeon keeping is bright. Best of luck to all the pigeon fanciers in Pakistan and in the world.