As pigeon racing season approaches, pigeon fanciers will be taking their pigeons further away from their lofts for training.
Pretoria pigeon fancier Elaine Russell said this was done firstly to get their old birds fit and secondly for the young birds to build up stamina and to orientate themselves to go back to the loft.
“At this time of the year, there are thousands of pigeons being trained all over Gauteng and, unfortunately, some do get injured or lost,” she said.
Russel said there have been numerous enquiries on social media on how one goes about reporting these pigeons.
She provided useful information for non-pigeon fanciers, should a racing pigeon land at their residence tired or injured.
The first step is to check if the pigeon has a coloured identification ring on its leg, e.g. GPU (Gauteng Pigeon Union) ZA17 (year of issue) 13309 (ring number).
“If the pigeon does not have a ring on its leg, it is more likely a wild or feral pigeon, rather than a racing pigeon,” she said.
“If it is a seasoned racing pigeon, there may be an electronic ring on the pigeon’s another leg, which should have a sticker on it with the telephone number of the ring steward of the union or federation to which the pigeon owner belongs.”
Russel said most lost pigeons are hungry and thirsty.
“Water is necessary before all else – please ensure water is available in a deep dish,” she said.
“If you can provide food, then please give either birdseed, whole mealies or uncooked rice or lentils.”
She urged residents to not feed racing pigeons bread.
“We, as pigeon fanciers, thank you in advance for taking the time and effort to look after and report our pigeons,” she said.
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