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Valencian Figurita Pigeon

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Jim Gifford

Is the Valencian Figurita Pigeon right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Valencian Frill

Scientific name: Columba livia domestica

The basics:
The charming Valencian Figurita Pigeon is a tiny pigeon that has been developed as a show bird. It is probably the smallest fancy pigeon in the world. It can fly, but it should be trained and supervised carefully, as it may have a weak homing instinct and also be more tempting to predators. Birds that are slightly too large to be accepted on the show bench make friendly, easy to handle pets. “Figurita” means “little doll,” and the name seems to fit their cute size, looks, and behavior.

The Valencian Figurita Pigeon was developed or at least first described in the area around Valencia, Spain. They were apparently singled out by name in writing by 1799, but some people believe that these birds or their ancestors were introduced by the Moors during their occupation, which ended in 1492. That means that these charming birds have a lot of lost history. In the 20th century, they were threatened with near-extinction during the government of General Franco, which banned some elements of Catalan culture, including the local pigeon breeds. Fortunately, the birds were preserved by fanciers on the island of Mallorca.

Appearance:
A tiny pigeon with a frilled neck.They are available in a wide choice of color mutations.

Weight:
150 - 190 grams (5 - 6.7 oz.)

Average size:
12 centimeters (5 in.)

Lifespan:
7 - 10 years

Behavior / temperament:
“Figurita” or “Little Doll” isn't just a name for the Valencian Figurita Pigeon. It's an attitude. This variety is highly regarded as a naturally tame pet with steady nerves. They do well in the loft, sitting tight on their nests even if visitors stop by, because they aren't bothered by humans or other birds. And they do well as pets, because they are quick to learn to run or to fly to the hand in exchange for food rewards. The only downside is that they sometimes like to spend a lot of time running on the floor, so you must be very cautious about where you put your feet, to avoid stepping on these petite charmers.

Housing:
The majority of Valencian Figurita 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.

Despite their small size, Valencian Figurita Pigeons are regarded as easy-going yet confident pigeons who won't allow themselves to be harassed in a mixed flock, so that they can usually be kept in aviaries or lofts with other pigeon varieties. Keep an eye on the pairs, because some people report that their birds get in a hurry and don't finish raising the young properly, especially in cooler weather. However, other people have reported that their pairs make great parents. There's no substitute for monitoring what goes on in your loft, to make sure all pairs and pigeons are living safely together.

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 Valencian Figurita 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. In a mixed aviary, keep in mind that this bird may be much shorter than your other pigeons, and make sure your birds can easily reach the feeder if you are not feeding the birds by hand.

If you are hand-taming a special pet or pair, you may want to hold back special high-fat treats like sunflower or safflower seed, to give to your Valencian Figurita Pigeon 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.

Valencian Figurita 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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