Origin of Tippler
All races of breeds of domestic pigeon columba livia domestic have been evolved from rock pigeon also called a rock dove columba livia or our jungli kabootar (wild pigeon) that cohabits with man every where in the world. The domestic pigeon breeds are believed to have been developed in the east and Europe had no original breed of its own. According to the Marco polo, trade in pigeons was at its peak during his time along the silk route. This is because pigeon fancy was a status symbol amongst the mughal elite and gentry. Mughals are also supposed to have introduced this pet into the sub continent. The first fantail in Britain was gifted to Queen Elizabeth by great mughal emperor Akber in the 16th century. In crusades Muslims used pigeons frequently as messengers.
The mughals emperor Babar wrote in his biography about the sport of pigeon keeping, but Akbar the great was crazy about pigeon keeping. Abul Fazal (one of his senator) told that when ever king (Akbar) goes on a trip he always carry pigeons with him. They were normally more than two thousands birds. They were kept in special carriers. In his book (Aieen e Akbri) he told in detail about the kinds, breeding techniques, their special feed for flying, buying and selling of pigeons. He told about the techniques used by Akbar the great about in a good flying pigeon. Raising pigeons was a very popular and prestigious hobby amongst mughals and pigeon houses were an essential part of the palaces. Havelies, etc of the elite rich, nawabs rajas and kings of those times.
Keeping of pigeons
In almost all the case pigeon are kept on the roof tops. Every cage should be one pen made of wire mesh either in front of the main door or on top of the cage. These pens are also seen in my pictures sent to you. Normally breeding pairs are kept separately and also male and female who are flown in the competition should also be kept separately. Good breeding seasons are mid October till mid May. In the month of June till September males and females are kept apart.
Normal feed consists of grains like wheat, pulses, rice, millet and corn. Although tipplers flyer don't like corn given to their birds. Apart from normal feed many prescription of local herbs are given. It is difficult for me to translate them in to English, but I will try to sent them to you. But normally almonds are used extensively for keeping flying birds in top condition. Our flying birds are always under fed and over feeding is avoided at all. Water should be given very little when the birds returns after his flight.
Sign of a Good flying pigeon.
The good flying pigeon should have many features but according to my experience and after getting help from the experience of other fancier the good flying tippler should be;
Should be very early familiar with his place and always return to its place.
Should start flying early and more time is spent in the air more it is better.
In difficult conditions especially in bad weather condition it should fight like an solider
It looks beautiful and good looking.
Art of Feeding to the flying birds
For flying birds we should give food once in a day normally after noon at about 4.00 p.m.
Art of Flying Tipplers
This is very time consuming laborious and hard working exercises, especially in our hot weather when temperature is above hundred in the month of May and June. This is my experience that the weight of the pigeon is very important when flying and over weight pigeon could not fly longer times. I think barley is best to be given to the flying birds although many fancier give them millet. Three months before the completions all the flying and wings of the tail are plucked. During this time the pigeon should be served with protein rich diet ( pulses, soybean, calcium and dry milk) other wise the wings could be weak. The pigeon when flown should be hungry. If the pigeon are flown early in the morning around 6.00 Am. the last food should be given a day before at about 4.00 p.m. but water should be given two hours before flying. Many teachers (competitions are normally done under the supervision of Ustad (teacher) gives tablet of almonds for energy. In our competition local prescriptions (given to the flying birds to enhance their time in flight ) are numerous and many, all are given by teachers. The role of teacher is very important, he is the most respected and honorable person in pigeon competitions.
Tipplers are flown twice in a year. Once in the month of May and June and at the end of September or start of October. Normally five or seven pigeons are flown in the competition known as bazi. Normally three or five games are held in one competition and winner would be who won two or three of the games respectively. The total hours are computed for the final result. Normally in the month of February the males and females are separated and their primary flight feathers are plucked. After ten days all the tail feathers are plucked. The birds are never flown when their flight feathers are not completed. They should be properly served with multivitamins, and other protein rich diet is given to the birds. In normal feed they are given wheat and pulses. After the completion of their flight feathers they should be kept in pens. The pigeons are de-wormed before the competition. Then are kept outside so they flew away according to their will and should be closed after noon and given food. In early month of April flew them at 10 am and reduce the timing gradually. First two days only males should be flown and next two days only the females flown. When their timing is prolonged they should be given rest. For example the pigeon who flew more should be given two days rest and who don't flew too much should be given one day rest. In this manner the pigeon don't lose weight so rapidly. On the rest day the pigeon should be given bread boiled in oil. When they flew back they should be given water but very few. The bird after flight should be held in the hand and its arms and legs should be messaged. First they should be given bread and after ten minutes the water should be given. At this stage the role of teacher is very important because according to the temperature on that particular day the medicine should be given to the pigeon. Few prescriptions are hot for the pigeon and few cool them off. Normally the rice cooked in boiled water given to the pigeons. The record of every bird flight should be maintained. One day before the competition the pigeon who are going in the completions should be served at 3.pm. In the evening only water should be given. At 10.00 p.m. if their crop is empty they are given bread cooked in oil. The pigeons should be kept completely undisturbed during the rest of the time. In the morning a few drops of water should be given. The pigeon are flown in kits usually of 5 or 7 birds.
Normally all the competitions are held under the supervision of a teacher. A knowledgeable teacher is very respectable person in pigeon flying peoples. The students are very proud of winning the races and they respect their teacher very much. Normally competitions are held in the name of the teachers are not in the name of students. Teacher look after the pigeons when they flew back. Select the pigeon for flying. Give medications to the pigeon during the training period and especially when pigeon returned after their long flight. He select the pigeon who would be flown in the competition.
The completions are supervised by munsifs (judges). This is also very respectable person and treated with great honor. He act as supervisor of the game. Their appointment is mutually agreed by both the parties or by the club. All the pigeons flown in the competition should be affixed stamp on their tail feather one day before the competition. This stamp is checked when the pigeon is returned to its loft. The touch down time of the pigeon is noted by judge. Heavy betting is involved in pigeon flying so the chances of fraud are too much. The judge should be very experienced and active.
Disqualification in the race
The pigeon who disqualify as per follows. 1- when he landed on the roof top of some other house other than its own 2- the pigeon who landed is without the stamp mark affixed on the pigeon one day before by the judge.3- the pigeon when came down should be come straight from the sky and not if it comes flown length wise. (I am not sure this point is clear or not).
Prepared by:(Guest Article) ZAHEER MINHAS, LAHORE, PAKISTAN