Welcome to the fascinating world of pigeon racing

Among other sports related topics, Grove explained why pigeon racing is fun, the basics of being a successful racer and the passion shared among pigeon owners.

What is pigeon racing?

You normally have two lofts at home for your pigeons – a breeding loft and a racing loft. The racing loft is where you keep the pigeons that you use for racing. After the breeding process, we wean the newborn pigeons at around 30 days old and when they are around 100 days old, we “run” them to get them used to their surroundings. Just like humans, pigeons also have different levels of fitness. We train them and toss them (in the air) is part of the training.

An interesting fact about carrier pigeons?

Pigeons do not like to fly in the dark and alone. They always fly in a kit, which is the collective name for a group of pigeons.

Take us through the pigeon racing season

Breeding normally takes place between October and January. We usually start training for the season in April. The season begins the first week of June and runs through September. So it’s a year round thing, really.

How do you know when a pigeon is fit enough for a race?

It’s a good question! If you toss it in the air and it just flies around its surroundings then it is not ready to run, but when you toss it and it flies away and disappears for at least 30 minutes and comes back , then he’s ready to run. There are a lot of details in there – you have to check their feathers, you have to check their weight – if your pigeons are too big you won’t win. Then you get the extreme guys who would check out the legs, feet, etc. of their pigeons.

How do you know when the health of a pigeon is good?

Some of the signs of a healthy pigeon include shiny feathers, shiny (not watery) eyes, and a white nose.

What are the race distances?

The first race distance is normally 250 km. The races can go up to 870 km.

You mentioned that pigeons don’t like to fly in the dark, so how do they do over really long distances?

They find a place to rest during the night and leave in the early morning.

How do pigeons know where to go?

Another good question. It is still to know. This is why it is important to teach them about their environment. Some say they use the sun, which makes sense as they can’t fly in the dark.

What do you need to be successful in sports?

Good pigeons.

If you are interested in joining the sport, where to start?

You can visit auction sites, which are very useful if you want to find places to buy pigeons. Each club is affiliated with a union. Our club is affiliated with the Gauteng Pigeon Union.

What do you feed your pigeons with?

Usually corn, sunflower peas and a little wheat. Some pigeon owners import feed.

Where does sport come from?

There is no clear answer, but Belgium is widely known as the founding country of sport. China is currently experiencing strong growth.

How many pigeons do you currently have?

80 carrier pigeons and 20 youngsters.

How did you get into the sport?

My father had been flying pigeons since I was little. It is a very enjoyable sport. The loft calms you down; it just has that calming effect. And, unlike most sports, you don’t go to the bar afterwards and you won’t be in trouble. You just have to wait for your pigeons to come home and that’s the most exciting part, seeing them come home.

How is a winner determined?

All the pigeons are taken to the specific race point where they are released and must return to their respective lofts. They have electronic rings that are permanently attached to their paws.

The ring is synchronized with the owner’s clock. Thus, when the bird (s) finally arrive in your loft, the owner then takes the time to go to his club where the velocity is calculated. Whoever finishes with the highest speed wins the race. – @ SabeloBoksburg * The meetings of the Combined Pigeon Club of Boksburg:

  • During the racing season, members meet on Thursdays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. On Thursday, they meet for basketing (distribution of birds for a race) and on Saturday, they meet to collect the results of the race. Anyone interested in joining the club can contact the president of the Boksburg Combined Racing Pigeon Club, Billy Kitchenbrand, on 082 804 9968. The club is located at the corner of Du Plessis and Kruger streets, Boksburg East.


* Pigeons are the oldest domesticated bird.

* They can fly up to a speed of 120 km / h.

* The average life expectancy of a pigeon is 15 years.

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