Over 2 000 pigeons competing in ‘beauty’ contest

2010-07-08 00:00

OVER 2 000 pigeons competed in the 2010 South African Fancy Pigeons National Championship, which started yesterday at the Royal Agricultural Showground.

With 132 variations of the pigeon species on show, the birds will be judged on standardised criteria that focus on colour, health and body shapes, among others. The birds are also judged per category.

The provincial president of the SA Fancy Pigeons Association (Safpa), Rodney Stevens, told The Witness that most of the contesting pigeons are provincial contest award-holders that made it through to the national round.

In its 64th year, Safpa has for decades been hosting pigeon contests in which pigeon breeders from across South Africa and neighbouring countries, set their birds head to head in a battle of the beauties.

Having undergone judging by a panel of 20 that comprises vets, neurosurgeons and genetic specialists, the winning pigeon and its owner will receive certificates, medals and prize money.

Stevens says the contest is really a hobby or sport, but also a way of encouraging bird breeders to conserve nature.

He says the contest is a “big deal” for Pietermaritzburg because provinces that wish to host it undergo a stringent bidding process.

The three-day event will end tomorrow.

“I request the public to attend,” said Stevens.

With 12 of his birds taking part, Jan Lombard says breeding pigeons has therapeutic value for him. After all, “the pigeon is not called the bird of peace for nothing,” he adds.

“I started breeding pigeons in 1996 and my area of interest is genetics. So far I’ve won five or six ‘best in breed’ awards.”

Stevens says the next contest will be held in Pretoria next year.

The contest is held at the Royal Agricultural Showground, Hall 2, and entrance is free.

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