English Pouter Pigeon: Breed Profile, Pictures & Facts

English Pouter pigeon on white background

If you have not yet seen an English Pouter pigeon, it is a bird that boasts a uniquely shaped neck. Specifically, its throat houses a well-rounded muscular pouch that resembles a small sphere.

However, note that this breed has received attention not just for its appearance but also for its temperament and behavior. It is known as one of the best pigeons in the world for being calm and friendly to humans.

Diving into this article, you will learn more about the English Pouter pigeon, including its history, cost, lifespan, health issues, and much more. Let’s begin!

English Pouter Pigeon Breed Overview

Scientific Name:Columba livia domestica
Origin:United Kingdom
Adult Size:Up to 16 inches tall
Colors:White, black, silver, yellow, red, blue, dun, black check, blue check, pied
Personality:Calm, gentle, easily tameable, good-natured, active
Lifespan:6–10 years
Price Range:$50–$500
Purpose:Show, exhibition, companionship

What Is an English Pouter Pigeon?

English Pouter pigeons side by side
Image credit: sylhet_pigeon_club / Instagram

The English Pouter, also called the Pouting Horseman or English Poulter pigeon, is a specialized or fancy pigeon crafted through selective breeding. This towering bird stands out with its enormous, puffed-up crop. Moreover, known for its gentle nature, it is as friendly as it is striking.

To be specific, the English Pouter pigeon is a tall breed characterized by a big body and an impressively enlarged crop. It carries itself with a sense of pride, evident in its regal stance.

Like all domestic pigeons, English Pouters are descendants of the wild Rock dove. Their primary roles today encompass show, exhibition, and companionship, making them cherished birds for many enthusiasts.

English Pouter Pigeon Origin and History

Generally speaking, the English Pouter pigeon’s exact origins are a bit hazy. Yet, most pigeon fanciers believe it hails from the United Kingdom and traces back to about 400 years ago.

In fact, even expert William Bernhardt Tegetmeier thinks this pigeon was born from a mix of older breeds: the Parisian Cropper, Uploper, and Dutch Cropper, all of which have been around since the 1700s.

However, keep in mind that John Moore has expressed an alternative view. He stated that this breed was actually created in the 18th century by crossing a cropper type with the now-extinct Horseman.

This idea aligns with the alternative name for the English Pouter pigeon — the Pouting Horseman.

On a different note, one cannot discuss this breed without mentioning its puffed-up appearance. Charles Darwin even remarked upon this trait during his time studying and breeding pigeons.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that the Norwich Cropper pigeon, another notable species, is thought to have been bred from English Pouters.

English Pouter Pigeon Appearance and Size

English Pouter pigeon up close
Image credit: staarsmash / Instagram

The English Pouter pigeon stands out as the tallest among fancy breeds, reaching an impressive 16 inches.

Boasting a lean body, its elongated legs and upright stance make it look even taller. Further, you will notice that its waist, which is long and V-shaped, constitutes about one-third of its overall length.

However, what truly distinguishes English Pouter pigeons is their neck, with its large, globe-like crop that protrudes prominently. Meanwhile, their wings fit snugly against their bodies, often held up high.

Plumage-wise, these birds possess smooth feathers that come in many shades, including white, dun, silver, red, blue, black check, blue check, black, yellow, and pied.

This video shows what an English Pouter pigeon looks like in action:

Fancy pigeons English pouter

English Pouter Pigeon Temperament and Behavior

English Pouter pigeons are known for their active yet docile and friendly nature. They can also be easily tamed, making them ideal for first-time bird owners or families with children.

However, it should be noted that their gentle demeanor extends beyond human interaction; these pigeons are also non-aggressive towards other birds. Therefore, you can anticipate that they fit well in a mixed flock.

Moreover, while they may not excel in flight like other pigeon types, they do have a notably excessive sexual urge. So, potential owners should be aware of this trait when considering breeding or housing arrangements.

English Pouter Pigeon Lifespan and Health Issues

English Pouter pigeon on blue background
Image credit: mattcrawleyphoto / Instagram

The English Pouter’s lifespan ranges from 6 to 10 years, depending on factors such as diet, care, and genetics. However, like other breeds of pigeons, they can also face specific health challenges.

The following are some of the most common health problems encountered by English Pouter pigeons:

  • Pigeon Ornithosis: Pigeon ornithosis is a disease affecting English Pouters caused by a bacteria called chlamydophila psittaci. Symptoms of this condition include respiratory distress, lethargy, and a discharge from the eyes and nostrils.
  • Cryptococcosis: Cryptococcosis is a fungal disease that mainly affects a pigeon’s respiratory system. Infected English Pouters may show weakness, weight loss, and difficulty breathing. If left unchecked, it can cause severe neurological problems and death.
  • Crop Rot: Crop rot, also known as “sour crop,” is a condition where food remains undigested in the English Pouter pigeon’s crop, leading to fungal or bacterial growth. Regarding symptoms, this condition causes loss of appetite, vomiting, dehydration, regurgitation, and diarrhea.

While English Pouter pigeons are generally hardy birds, they can encounter these diseases if not cared for properly.

Fortunately, regular check-ups and early detection of symptoms are key steps in preventing these ailments from developing.

English Pouter Pigeon Care Guide

Caring for an English Pouter pigeon requires a blend of good nutrition, safe housing, and gentle training. Here are some ways to ensure your feathered pet leads a healthy and contented life.

Diet and Nutrition

Feeding your English Pouter pigeon twice a day will meet its nutritional needs. It is recommended, however, that the primary diet should comprise a mix of seeds and legumes found in commercially available pellets.

Moreover, fresh fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrot tops, grapes, corn, and potatoes, can add variety to the diet in terms of vitamins and minerals. However, strictly avoid avocado, as it is toxic to English Pouters.

Additionally, providing grit in the form of crushed eggshells or oyster shells will aid their digestion. Yet, give them only a few of these items at a time to avoid stomach blockage.

Most importantly, always ensure your English Pouter pigeon has access to clean water.

Housing and Enrichment

For outdoor housing, an aviary with a flight area measuring nine feet long, six feet wide, and six feet high is ideal for your English Pouter pigeon, along with a loft that’s four feet wide, eight feet long, and seven feet high.

Then, do not forget to enclose it with a mesh wire to prevent your pigeon from escaping and predators from entering.

Meanwhile, for those who prefer to keep their English Pouters indoors, select a cage spacious enough for a 16-inch pigeon. Place it away from drafts and direct sunlight to ensure the bird’s comfort.

Yet, no matter where you house them, note that enrichment is essential. Pigeons benefit from items like perches, bird bells, small tubes, mirrors, and even toys designed for other pets.

Taming and Training

Patience is the foundation when it comes to taming your English Pouter pigeon. First, approach it with calm movements and a gentle voice to establish trust.

Once familiar, offer treats inside the cage to reinforce positive behavior. It will soon learn that a treat means an opportunity to be rewarded with food.

As trust grows and the pigeon shows comfort with your presence, you can gradually allow it to explore inside your home. Then, when it’s ready, begin training.

Over the years working with English Pouters, I’ve seen their impressive adaptability first-hand. In one memorable instance, a pigeon named Oliver astoundingly picked up potty training, making indoor living a breeze.

Furthermore, consistent training made Oliver respond to calls and retrieve small objects, showcasing this breed’s potential for bonding and intelligence.

How Much Does an English Pouter Pigeon Cost?

English Pouter pigeon perched on a tree stump
Image credit: sylhet_pigeon_club / Instagram

The cost of English Pouter pigeons can range widely, varying from $50 to $500. Several factors influence this price, such as location, demand, the seller’s reputation, and the pigeon’s lineage.

Concerning availability, English Pouters are relatively common in the United States. This means they can be readily purchased from many pigeon fanciers.

If possible, however, check out the reputation of any seller before buying. The better known they are in the pigeon community, the more likely you’ll get a great deal on a bird.

You can easily do this by joining online forums and social media groups dedicated to the English Pouter breed.

Yet, if buying isn’t your preference, adopting is a commendable alternative. Numerous pigeon rescues house English Pouters in need of loving homes.

To add to that, adoption fees are typically more affordable, costing between $10 and $70.

Pros and Cons of Owning an English Pouter Pigeon

Owning an English Pouter pigeon, as with any pet, comes with its unique set of benefits and challenges. After all, it is a type of bird that requires lots of time and patience.

First, the list below details some of the pros of raising English Pouters:

  • Impressive appearance: English Pouter pigeons are known for their distinct and elegant look, characterized by their tall stature and large, puffed-out crop. These traits make them a favorite among pigeon enthusiasts and a showstopper at avian exhibitions.
  • Friendly nature: Known for their docile temperament, English Poulter pigeons get along well with families, even those with young kids.
  • Low maintenance: While all pigeons require basic care, English Pouters aren’t particularly demanding. With a proper diet, a clean environment, and routine check-ups, these birds can thrive with relative ease.
  • Entertaining behavior: Observing the antics of an English Pouter pigeon can be amusing. To be specific, its playful actions and curious nature will have you smiling for hours.
  • Good for breeding: English Pouters cannot fly well, but they compensate for this shortcoming by being adept at mating.

On the flip side, here are the cons of owning an English Pouter pigeon:

  • Prone to crop-related health issues: Due to their enlarged crop, English Pouter pigeons can suffer from crop-related concerns that can lead to severe complications if left untreated.
  • Limited flying ability: The English Pouter’s impressive height and globe-like crop, while considered visual advantages, can also present a problem when it comes to flying.
  • Can be noisy: Pigeons, in general, can be vocal. If you’re sensitive to noise or live in a quiet neighborhood, the English Pouter’s cooing might be a concern.
  • Poops a lot: Like most birds, English Pouters produce many droppings. So, regular cleaning and maintenance of their cage or aviary are essential.
  • May carry diseases: As with all avian species, there is the potential for English Pouters to carry life-threatening diseases, including bird flu, salmonellosis, and candidiasis.

As you can see, despite the English Pouter’s appeal as a pet, it has drawbacks. Hence, before you decide to get one for yourself, ensure you are prepared for all of its potential problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

English Pouter pigeon in a cage
Image credit: the.fancy.pigeon / Instagram

Can Pouter Pigeons Fly?

Yes, English Pouter pigeons can fly. However, their large crop makes them less adept flyers compared to other pigeon breeds. Simply put, this is why they are often used for exhibition purposes instead of racing.

Where Do Pouter Pigeons Come From?

Pouter pigeons trace their ancestry to feral Rock pigeons that were brought to England over 400 years ago. Specifically, they emerged from crossing Croppers and Uplopers with the now-extinct Horseman breed.

Why Do Pouter Pigeons Have Big Necks?

English Pouter pigeons are genetically altered by a mutation that causes them to grow an unusually large crop. Overall, it is designed to make it easier for them to attract a mate, thus increasing their chances of breeding.

Final Thoughts

The English Pouter pigeon stands out with its captivating appearance. Tallest among fancy pigeons, its distinctive inflated crop and striking colors make it one of the most recognizable in the world.

Beyond looks, this breed is also known for its friendly and docile disposition, making it an excellent choice for both novice bird owners and experienced enthusiasts.

However, note that English Pouters can be quite susceptible to health issues, particularly related to their bulging crops. That said, with proper care and attention, you can enjoy this species for years to come.

For those who have had experiences with the English Pouter pigeon, the comment section below awaits your insights!

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