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Bokhara Trumpeter Pigeon

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Jim Gifford

Is the Bokhara Trumpeter Pigeon right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Russian Trumpeter

Scientific name: Columba livia domestica

The basics:
The sheepdog of the pigeon world, the Bokhara Trumpeter Pigeon is an ornamental bird with an impressive double crest on the top of its head which conceals the small, downward-looking face. This crest is known as the “rose,” and the bird itself is often called the rose of the pigeon fancy. The legs feature long muffs or “boots,” a sweep of long feathers, sometimes more than 10 inches long, that trail on the ground. These gentle – some might even say lazy – birds do not fly or breed particularly well, but they are appreciated for their endearing appearance and sweet personality.

A single pet is not very difficult to care for, but if you plan to breed and exhibit these special birds, you should already be enjoying success as a breeder of a species known to be good at feeding and raising babies, since the Bokhara Trumpeter Pigeon is an aristocrat that doesn't trouble to raise its own young. Many people like to use Racing Homer Pigeons for the foster parents. You will also need to trim back the rose, the boots, and excessive feathers around the vent before the Bokharas can mate successfully.

The modern Bokhara Trumpeter Pigeon is bred for its unique appearance, but the name “trumpeter” harks back to the days when this group of pigeons was bred for its voice, a hobby going back to at least the 1600s. Early trumpeters were developed for a voice that actually sounded a bit like a trumpet, with males being able to coo trumpet-fashion for an extended period of time. However, down through the ages, the focus changed to developing the unique feather qualities, and the voice probably changed too, since it sounds more like a drumroll or a soft laugh today. Few breeders today are working to develop and improve the voice, because the modern bird is judged on its plumage.

Appearance:
A beautiful flower of a pigeon complete with crest on the head and muffs on the legs.

Weight:
370 grams (13 oz.)

Average size:
28 centimeters (11 in.)

Lifespan:
5 - 7 years

Behavior / temperament:
The Bokhara Trumpeter Pigeon is a gentle aristocrat that is calm around people and other pets. Like many another aristocrat, though, it does not believe in hard work. It will come to your hand for food if it doesn't have to come too far, and it is highly unlikely to feed its own young. You must be content to admire this variety for its beauty. If you're looking for a playful, active pet, you should consider another breed.

Housing:
A single pet or even a pair of Bokhara Trumpeter Pigeons can make an easy-going house pet, and you can arrange for a generous cage of 3' by 3' by 3' or even larger. If you plan to breed and exhibit the birds, keep in mind that breeders advise you to hold two pairs of “feeder” birds like Homers for every pair of Trumpeters, so that you will always be able to foster any fertilized eggs. Be aware that these birds aren't terrific flyers, and they may spend a lot of time on the floor, just goofing off. It is an excellent idea to network with other pigeon breeders when you design your loft. Keeping the birds clean will be very important, especially because you want to keep the long “boots” looking beautiful. All pigeons need protection from predators and bad weathers, but pigeons with specialized feathers that affect their ability to fly and to stay warm need extra attention. They do bathe in water, so give them the opportunity often.

Diet:
The Bokhara Trumpeter Pigeon can thrive on a relatively simple diet. Most people start with a high-quality pigeon mix from a well-regarded source. You may also mix in quality grains such as millet, barley, wheat, whole corn, dry peas, buckwheat, oats, and so on, either from a good feed store with fast turn-over or from a health food store. Special pellets formulated for pigeons can be used to supplement the diet, to ensure that your bird has enough vitamins and protein.

If you're hand-taming a special pet, you may want to hold back special high-fat treats like sunflower or safflower seed, to give to your Bokhara during the training and bonding process. They have obstructed vision because of the dramatic rose, so make sure the food is always in the same place where they can find it, and be patient about calling them to your hand. They can learn to fly to you for treats, but sometimes it takes a moment to get their attention, and you can't really expect them to come from much of a distance.

Chopped greens like kale, dandelion greens, spinach, or fresh sprouts should be offered each day. Some people offer high beta carotene foods like finely chopped carrot or papaya. Hard or sprouted beans seem to be well-liked. Bokhara Trumpeter Pigeons need access to a high quality pigeon grit to help them digest the tough, uncooked grains they like to eat. A cuttlebone or another calcium source is also valuable. However, calcium may not be properly absorbed without sufficient vitamin D3 if your pigeon is an indoor pet. Therefore, it is important to choose a good avian supplement that includes D3.

Written by Elaine Radford

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