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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Voorburg Shield Cropper Pigeon

A member of the Pouter Family of pigeons, the Voorburg Cropper was a creation of the famous geneticist and illustrator, the late Mr. C. S. van Gink, who at his twenties, was obsessed by his intense desire to someday breed White Croppers with colored breast. It was not until 1929 that his dream came true and the actual breed originated. This breed owes its name to the fact that its cradle stood in one of the finest gardens in the town of Voorburg, near the Hague.
To acquire the beautiful markings and color, van Gink also started crossbreeding with the Schild pigeons. This type of pigeon when mated to a clean-legged pigeon will result again in a beautiful clean-legged young. The Voorburg Cropper is a plump, elegant, middle sized bird. Basically the quality of this bird is gauged through the following points: (a) type and posture; (b) pouter capacity; (c) color and markings which are very important.


Type: The Voorburg presents itself as a well-erect bird, with the tail sloping downward and not carried too high. A narrow, but not too long tail, plus a good full sized pouter make an elegant bird. Birds with too short a neck or legs can never present a good type, and a crooked or too short breastbone is unacceptable. Type is and always will be the basis on which ideal Voorburg Shield Croppers will be bred. A high, upright posture, a good long neck and well-built legs are very important. Legs should not be too widespread. The tail is also an important part of the pigeon breeds, which unfortunately receives too little attention. A good tail should not be too long, not too wide and should not touch the ground while in the resting position. A rather narrow tail is beautiful, if not too long, and gives the bird that special look. The tail always has 12 quills, which lie closely together, and overlaps, giving a beautiful, thin tail end. A beautiful body with good proportions can only make an impression if it is crowned by a fine, noble head with slightly high forehead, rather long, strong, flesh colored beak which is slightly bent at the tip and has white, powdered fine nostrils. Eyes are always dark, deep dark brown and a pair of narrow, fine eye ceres with light color is very important. Without its crop, a Cropper does not deserve its name; therefore, it is essential to breed good blowing birds. Female pigeons with good blowing qualities are not only an ornament in the show pen and in the loft, but a basis or foundation for an excellent stock. A female pigeon of good type and crop is highly valuable for the breeder, even if it has a small shortcoming in the markings. The blowing capability of the Croppers is characteristic of the breed. Sometimes the young birds which have just started blowing, give a comical expression, when sometimes they do not know the effect of their crop and sometimes even blow up their abdomen.
The usual magnificent deep color of the shield, on the white front of the other parts of the body gives the bird that fantastic beauty hardly found in other pigeons. The Black Shields are really as black as lacquer, and as a result of the strong contrast, black on white, this variety will fascinate those who admire strong colors. Nevertheless, it is a striking combination. The Red and Yellow Shields are mentioned simultaneously and are sometimes bred together. These two colors always meet the requirements provided they are sufficiently warm-tinted without a black or a blue film. Blue Shield is also a fascinating color because of its effect through its beautiful light blue and two narrow black bars. The males are usually lighter in tint than the females, and they can be put together and also mated with black shield and red, yellow, blue silvers. (Three silver varieties or fine pastel tint for the real experts.) The cream colored shield of the Yellow Silvers with two warm, yellow bars is a fantastically beautiful bird and the Blue Silvers have colors ranging from the deep, glossy black to the soft silver tint.
Character: Croppers have a complete character of their own. They are lively and extremely faithful to their owners. These characteristics are entirely akin to the Shield Cropper. They are very affectionate and tame and when one enters the loft, one is greeted by the birds with outspread wings. The males, as well as the females show this characteristic; sometimes the male while flying to the perch, would even hop at the same time. This feature undoubtedly goes back to the Norwich Cropper.
Breeding: Apart from their cheerfulness, vitality and tameness as positive qualities, one further important characteristic is the fact that one does not require feeders in the breeding of Voorburgs. They are prolific breeders and they take care of their young in every way. Often, some hens start laying eggs again, sometimes even when the young are not quite 14 days old. The young, however, are self-supporting and do without their parents very well. After 4 weeks, they can be moved to the young bird cages and they can take care of themselves without trouble.


Training: Starting at the age of 2 or 3 months, put them in a clean training pen; and as in the case of children, some young Croppers will respond more quickly than others. The more forward ones will start cooing very quickly in confined quarters, and many a young pigeon will start nodding as if it is conscious of its grace. At the beginning of training, never leave the birds longer than one day in the quarters even if they do not repeat the training a week later. A short review every month for a few hours will assure you that they are ready for showing, because once a Cropper has been trained correctly, it will always respond in the future. It is recommended to always wear a white coat and always handle your stick carefully and sparingly. This will make the bird become accustomed to being handled by the judge.

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