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Pigmy Pouter Pigeon

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Jim Gifford

Is the Pigmy Pouter Pigeon right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: N/A

Scientific name: Columba livia domestica

The basics:
The Pigmy Pouter Pigeon can perhaps be best described as a miniature version of the English Pouter Pigeon. They also maintain the proud, eager-to-show-off pouter personality. They can be a little easier to work with than the full-sized variety, particularly because smaller birds may tend to have fewer crop problems.

Appearance:
The Pigmy Pouter, as the name and appearance suggests, is essentially a variety of pouter pigeon developed as a miniature breed of the English Pouter Pigeon. These smaller birds retain the elegant, slim-legged, erect stance as well as the large, round inflatable crop or globe that is marked with a bright white crescent.

Weight:
350 grams (12 oz.)

Average size:
28 - 30 centimeters (11 - 11.8 in.)

Lifespan:
7 - 10 years

Behavior / temperament:
A truly charming miniature breed, the Pigmy Pouter seems to possess the same desire to strut and show off as any other pouter pigeon. They can become very fond of their keeper, and a single pet will try to win plenty of attention. Despite its pride in its good looks, it can be a more reliable breeder than its bigger cousin, the English Pouter Pigeon, and some breeders have succeeded in having their Pigmy Pouters raise their own young. However, others report that their Pigmies do get bored with the nesting effort, and they do better by providing reliable foster parents such as Racing Homer Pigeons to raise the babies.

Their wonderful personality, combined with their compact size and their desire to show themselves to an admiring public, have caused the American Pigmy Pouter Club to declare them “the world's greatest showbird.” While fans of other varieties might squawk, there is certainly a lot that can be said for this special variety.

Housing:
The majority of Pigmy Pouter 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 Pigmy Pouter 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.

Pouter 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 Pigmy Pouter 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 Pigmy Pouter 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.

Pigmy Pouter 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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