Racing pigeons, a Bangladeshi passion

racing pigeons
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Pigeons are domestic birds that are closely related to doves. They have stout bodies, short necks and fleshy beaks protruding from their slender bills. The pigeon can vary in size from as small as 7 ounces up to 3 pounds or more. They typically have a life span of about 15 years although some have been known to live up to 30+ years. An amazing fact is that the pigeon has a wing span of more than 12 inches to 3-1/2 feet in width, making them excellent specimens for racing. They have been known to fly at speeds between 40 and 50 miles per hour, with endurance to fly as much as 600 miles daily.

Pigeon racing is a sport that is becoming more popular over the years in various parts of the world, including Bangladesh. It involves releasing specially trained birds over specified distances. The amount of time each bird can cover the distance is calculated in comparison to others to determine which animal made it in the quickest amount of time. The most common type of bird for pigeon racing is the racing homer that is specifically trained for this purpose. They get their names because of their special abilities to return “home” after being taken miles away.

Birds used for races are conditioned and trained to go great distances with the quickest speed. Various measure and timing devices have been developed to ensure the success of your pigeon. Your birds would need a loft of some type, depending on the number of pigeons you have and where you live. This would be the home of the birds where they develop their speedy flying skills.

The loft should be kept open, cleaned regularly and provided with high-quality food of grain and grit along with fresh water. Be sure food is stored to keep it clean, dry and free from rodent access. A good food consisting of a mix of barley, corn, millet, wheat and dun peas provides a good condition for your bird, although you can find excellent commercial feed and supplements of calcium and minerals.

A prize winning pigeon would have silky feathers, good motion and a tight muscular build. Training usually begins within the loft, letting them fly around to build muscle and stamina. Eventually toss them in the air to start sharpening their flying and homing
skills, which gets them prepared for racing. It is best to start with young birds and as they mature they get the urge to leave the loft and fly farther distances.

Eventually, you would take your birds away in release baskets with some treats. Treats will also be in the loft, enticing them to return there. Begin by going with the basket for short distances such as a mile or two, going further and further to see how far you can go, with the pigeon finding its way back. Do not go further distances until the bird(s) are comfortable with the current distance and make it back to their loft in good time before moving on to further distances. It may take more than one person, one doing the release and one at the loft to time the bird. Continue the practice and create your winning pigeon racer.

Pigeon racing is something that was once considered a hobby as far back as 220 AD in Belgium but is gaining great popularity and success in Bangladesh. This may not be a sport for everyone but it is most often those who love animals and working with them who appreciate this friendly, wholesome sport. You should, however, be fully educated on the care and training necessary to be successful in this sport and working with the pigeons.

Learn how to choose good stock by finding good breeders of the birds. Investigate pets for sale through Bangladesh classifieds such as bikroy.com to find some great bird specimens for pigeon racing. To ensure you make some good choices in selecting good stock, question people you know who love the sport, and do your research before choosing to make a purchase of birds.

Once you have made the decision to purchase some pigeons as racing birds, you should be fully prepared with an appropriate loft, which will be the home for your birds. Along with the healthy, wholesome food and grain, the loft should be fully equipped with nests, food and water dishes (that must be cleaned and changed daily,) and perches. The birds need to feel comfortable and the loft should be big enough to house the number of birds you plan to keep.

Unfortunately, because of multi-story blocks throughout Bangladesh, finding the best space for your pigeons can be difficult and leave them disoriented with very few places for them to fly. Additionally, another concern for the country is that people kill them for food. Some of the birds are seen as carriers of disease through their droppings, although this should not be a problem for the birds you are rearing and racing.

In such a densely populated country as Bangladesh, you need to develop some type of loft or cote on your property. This can be difficult in such tight living quarters but it is a matter of raising the pigeons in a specific area that they can call home; where they can land and feed regularly. Enthusiasts in the country state that there was a successful pigeon market and more people involved in the sport. There is still a market but fewer people interested. Traditionally, the Biribaj homing pigeon is used in Bangladesh for raging and flying. Since there has been a demise in the sport, enthusiasts are trying to bring it back.

Over time, you will want to breed your birds to increase their numbers and chances of producing more homing pigeon racing winners. You will need to do some extra research on the web to gain more knowledge before breeding your pigeons. You will learn how to make sure the breeding birds remain in the loft during their season of reproduction, which can be at any time after maturity. The birds cannot mate until they are about 5 to 6 months old.

If you don’t want your birds to breed continuously, you will have to determine how to keep the males and females separate. You can also fake them out by providing wooden eggs in their nests to make them think they already have young to attend. A nice nesting area for young would include materials such as leaf stems and pine needles in a nesting bowl. Also provide food for the mother bird to include minerals, ground oyster shells and salt, along with ample supply of clean, fresh water. When you have such young birds, you begin training them at an early age once they have fledged from their nests.

Both the male and female pigeon cares for the young, and both sexes are great for the purpose of racing. Some say the males will fly faster to get to their young while females would fly through walls for their babies. No specific sex of bird makes a better racer; you need to train them all and see which ones are faster.

Younger people in Bangladesh seem to find other hobbies to entertain their time without realizing the responsibilities and joys in owning and racing pigeons. They can make good companions and pets with little maintenance, providing years of fun and satisfaction through their care and racing abilities. Join a group of pigeon racing fanciers and gain their support through further tips on racing your pigeons.

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