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Keeping Fantail Pigeons

Updated on July 9, 2011

Fantail Pigeon

 One of the most common domesticated birds to keep is the fantail pigeon.  The bird is originally a mutation found in India around the late sixteenth century.  The fantail was brought to England around the late seventeenth century.  The United Kingdom Fantail Club was formed in 1889.  Fantails are the best known fancy pigeon and are becoming the more popular pigeon in the world.  Fantails usually stop breeding around the age of seven or eight, but can live on to twelve or thirteen years old.

Appearance: Breeders look for fantails with up to forty two tail feathers that can be fanned out until almost circular in appearance.  Fantails have a rounded look as opposed to the X shape of wild pigeons, their fine small head sitting neatly on a cushion of feathers with their backs slightly hollow. The most common color for the fantail is white but they come in a wide range of colors and markings.  Colours include black, blue, red, yellow and silver. There are 'saddles', which have coloured wing shields and white bodies, 'body marks' which have coloured bodies and white tails and there are 'tail marks' which have coloured tails and white bodies.

Health Problems: The best fantails don't fly much at all so predators like cats can be a problem if kept outside an aviary.  The can be prone to a respiratory problem called 'canker' which causes blockages to breathing passages.  Pigeon dust can also damage human lungs, so a mask should be worn while cleaning cages.

Temperament: Males will fight over females but in general fantails are docile birds and can be handled very easily.

Feeding:  Birds can be fed with just a regular pigeon mix from your pet shop. Anti canker pellets which can be bought at a pet shop can be added. Shell grit is also good for bird to help grind the grains they eat.

Fantails are ideal for anyone who can handle them gently. Little children may be a little bit rough for these delicate birds.  They are great to breed as a hobby, as one pair of fantails can produce eight to to ten babies a year.  Fantails will cost you anything form twenty dollars to one hundred a pair.


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      Dennis 4 years ago

      Garden fantails fly well, but Exhibition and Indian fantails cannot fly much at all, making them easy prey for cats.

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      pigeons breeder 5 years ago

      I breed pigeons as a hobby my brother and i have seven now. ours eat small pebbles to help them with their digestion. They are, however not fantail pigeons but Iranian tumblers. It is great fun to breed them, I love it!

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      pavlovafowl 5 years ago

      Actually fantails fly really well. They just don't fly very far. There were apparently first bred in the Middle East to surround sacred sites and thus they have never lost their fidelity to their home dovecote. Mine rarely fly further than our house roof just now and again down to the lane in front of the house for some particular choice weeds. Mine are free-range, fed organic mixed grain, apart from what they forage for themselves and crushed oyster shell from the beach. So no need for medication.