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Norwich Cropper Pigeon

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Jim Gifford

Is the Norwich Cropper Pigeon right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: N/A

Scientific name: Columba livia domestica

The basics:
The Norwich Cropper Pigeon is a splendid, highly regarded show pigeon admired for its sparkling personality and its interesting appearance. The bird has been bred to seem eager to inflate the disproportionately large crop, in order to show itself to best advantage. As a result, this charming variety is an enduring favorite among fanciers who breed for the exhibition hall.

The history of the Norwich Cropper is somewhat lost in time, but it is likely descended from one of the older Dutch breeds, probably the Oploper. Breeders in the English counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex helped work to develop this eye-catching species, and today it is a favorite of pigeon fanciers the world over.

Appearance:
The Norwich Cropper Pigeon is a slim, mid-sized cropper which stands erect, almost on tiptoes, so that its slender body contrasts with the huge, round inflatable crop, also known as a globe

Weight:
425 - 455 grams (15 - 16 oz.)

Average size:
38 centimeters (15 in.)

Lifespan:
7 - 10 years

Behavior / temperament:
Most pouter and cropper pigeons are highly regarded for their delightful, attention-loving personalities, and the Norwich Cropper Pigeon is often considered the best of the best. They're extremely active birds that seem to delight in calling attention to themselves, slapping their wings noisily before they take flight. They will bow, strut, and puff out their globes not just to potential mates but also to their human keepers and admirers. . Such a responsive bird can be rewarding both on the show bench and as a personal pet.

Some breeders feel that Norwich Croppers could be at higher risk for sour crop while feeding young, so they prefer to foster the baby Norwich Croppers under a reliable variety that is not at risk for this disease, such as the Racing Homer Pigeon.

Housing:
The majority of Norwich Cropper Pigeon keepers are breeders and exhibitors who keep their birds in a large outdoor loft. Talk to another breeder before you design your loft, and make sure that it is easy to clean and secure from mosquitoes, thieves, raccoons, and other predators that would like nothing better than to feast on a nice tasty pigeon. Have a minimum of 4 square feet of floor space for each pair. Yes, that does mean that an aviary 4 feet wide by 6 feet long houses a maximum of 12 birds. Pigeons are messy, and their droppings and feathers can accumulate, so don't take on a bigger job than you are sure you can manage.

It is worth noting that the trusting, sweet Norwich Cropper can enjoy living as a single pet. However, they want to be around you and show off for you, so don't isolate or neglect these social animals.

Cropper Pigeons do bathe in water, so they should be allowed access to a shallow dog dish or similar bathing bowl to splash around in. Since pigeons lower the head to drink, they will need a deeper bowl for the drinking water.

Diet:
The Norwich Cropper 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. Because of their large, impressive globe, the Norwich Cropper may sometimes be at risk for sour crop or other crop ailments, and you may be wise to offer several small feedings a day, instead of one or two feedings a day as may be customary with some other pigeons. Some breeders advise against pellets for pigeons at risk of sour crop. In a busy loft with multiple birds, you should have multiple food and water stations. The less aggressive pigeons need to be able to feed at will, without feeling forced to gorge themselves when they reach the food.

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 Norwich Cropper by hand during the training and bonding process. 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.

Norwich Cropper 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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