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Jacobin Pigeon

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Jim Gifford

Is the Jacobin Pigeon right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: N/A

Scientific name: Columba livia domestica

The basics:
The regal Jacobin Pigeon is a haughty, beautiful bird whose head is completely hidden behind its splendid hood of five to six inch long feathers. This beautiful pigeon has obstructed vision because of the hood, and it needs some pampering compared to many varieties. Therefore, this lovely bird is often recommended to expert exhibitors with some experience breeding and showing the more challenging fancy pigeons. However, if you have a talented staff, that might work just as well, since it is claimed that Queen Victoria herself kept this variety.

The Jacobin Pigeons were named after an order of French monks known for their distinctive hoods. The first Jacobins probably appeared in the 1500s, and breeders have been captivated by this elegant bird ever since.

Appearance:
Although the fluffy feathers give the impression that the Jacobin is a much larger pigeon than it really is, the body is relatively tall and slim, with long wings and bare legs. This pigeon is available in a variety of colors, including black, white, yellow, blue, and silver. Two-toned birds, known as “splash,” are also available.

Weight:
350 grams (9 oz.)

Average size:
35 centimeters (14 in.)

Lifespan:
7 - 10 years

Behavior / temperament:
The Jacobin Pigeon tends to be more territorial than the average pigeon, so you will likely need to separate pairs. Otherwise, the most territorial male could attempt to claim the entire ground floor. The hood makes it difficult for the birds to see and mate in the first place, and the short bill makes it difficult for them to feed their youngsters properly, so you must expect your foster pigeons to do the real work of raising the babies. Yes, you may feel as if you have to spoil them a little, but their beauty makes them worth it.

Housing:
There is no substitute to networking with other Jacobin Pigeon breeders if you intend to get into the hobby. Many people foster the eggs under a different variety of pigeon, so it's best if you already have a successful loft with good feeder birds like Racing Homers working for you. Also, this variety has a reputation for being more aggressive during the breeding season than most pigeons, so some breeders do separate each pair. You will need to trim the hood, so that the birds can see what they're doing and mate successfully. You will probably also need to trim any over-long feathers around the vent.

If you have a pair or a single pet or rescue bird, also keep in mind that the Jacobins can't see or fly that well, so allow them generous floor space with low perches. Also place the food, water, and bath water where the bird can find it. Pamper them a little.

Diet:
The Jacobin 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 English Trumpeter during the training and bonding process. 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. Jacobin 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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