Tag Archives: Squab

Just What Is a Utility Pigeon?

 

Dovecote22 Just What Is a Utility Pigeon?

English Dovecote. Photograph by Christine Westerback.

Most people are quite familiar with the image of a pigeon, a bird commonly seen in the courtyards and barnyards across the globe. But just what exactly is a “utility pigeon”?

A good place to begin an investigation is with the origin of the word pigeon. It is “pijon” in old french, meaning “young dove”, and “pipio” in Latin, or “young chirping bird”. Another clue can be found in the definition of utility, which means useful, beneficial, or profitable. Our good friend the pigeon is all of that, and more, and can certainly meet those basic requirements.

Utility Pigeon is a general term that is broadly applied to describe any breed of domestic pigeon that is kept primarily for the production of meat. Sometimes referred to as “working birds”, they are capable of producing an adequate number of young, or squabs, of suitable weight and quality to justify their production costs.

By their nature, some breeds of pigeons are more productive, and profitable, than others. Pigeons in general have been intensively and selectively bred for many centuries, with many breeds falling in and out of favor along with the whims of the times and other developments.

The standards today include the King Pigeon of various colors, the Red Carneau, and the French and Swiss Mondaines, to name just a few. All can make excellent squabbing pigeons, though the White King seems to be preferred by many commercial breeders.

In fact, careful and judicial breeding with productivity in mind is the story of the Utility Pigeon. Notice that the very origin of the word pigeon emphasizes the young bird, or squab, which gives us some true insight into what the originators were thinking all along. Utility pigeons produce squabs, lots and lots of squabs, to our everlasting epicurean delight. They are the steady workhorses of the pigeon world. They work to live, and live to work. It’s what they do, without apology, nor complaint.

They are indeed a most useful and utilitarian bird.

pigeonhouses1 Just What Is a Utility Pigeon?

Now That’s A Place Of Pigeons

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Michael Patrick McCarty

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http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/213221/Squab-raising.pdf

Michael Patrick McCarty

 

Dovecotes, Anyone?

 

Dovecote24 Dovecotes, Anyone?

Garden Dovecote

As many of you know, a dovecote is a compartmental structure, often raised on a pole, and once commonly used for housing domesticated pigeons and the production of squab. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and have been used for centuries by many cultures throughout the world.

We don’t have one on property as yet, but I hope that a little sweat equity will change that soon. I am fascinated with their form and function and captivated by the quaint romance of it all.

A giant bird house it may be, but it’s also much more than that. It’s a great way for the small property owner to ensure a steady supply of fresh poultry* for the dinner table, at minimal cost or trouble. When carefully or artistically built, they can add an immeasurable charm to any garden or secluded backyard hideaway. We find pigeon watching to be very soothing, and perhaps you do too.

We would love to hear from anyone who feels the same way about the dovecote. Send us your plans, your stories, or your pictures. We always have time to talk about pigeons, and the pleasures of the backyard.

*And yes, pigeon is classified as poultry.

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The Origin and History of The Giant Runt Pigeon

I am currently researching the history of the Giant Runt Pigeon and it’s breeders in The United States. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who raises Runts, or from anyone who has any knowledge of any of their descendents and family members who may have bred and raised them. From what I can gather, they were brought into this country sometime in the 1700′s. Any information or leads you can provide would be greatly appreciated, including any reference included in old books or periodicals that you may be aware of.

In addition, I am also researching the origins of the King Pigeon in the United States. And, last but not least, I am interested in the history of the squab farming industry in New Jersey.

Please send any information to Mike at thebackyardprovider@gmail.com

 

Fair Weather

Today I gathered two glorious January chicken eggs (without added heat or light, I might add), and harvested two plump squabs from our pigeon lofts. All I can say is “Ain’t life grand, and won’t dinner be finer”.

Fair weather – friends!