What used to be the pre-occupation of the well-heeled in Lucknow and old Delhi has now come to Hyderabad
Pigeon-rearing is slowly developing from a favourite past-time into a business for most pigeon-lovers in the old city. In fact, the rapid urbanisation has failed to make its impact.
More and more people are getting involved in the trade for the good returns it brings. Of course the job is tough and time consuming but the small space needed to house these pigeons is seen as an advantage.
“There are two sets of people in the trade; one who rear common pigeons and those who raise only fancy pigeons,” says Mohammed Ansar, a breeder at Kalapather. Fancy pigeons are prized possessions and the more popular breed here is the Fantail. It is in turn divided into many sub species.
Varieties like Beauty Homer, Bocoro Trumpeter and Jacobin that cost a few thousands are also reared by some persons but there are few takers for these high priced birds. “Only those who are interested in keeping them or breeding make the huge investment. A few people who live in tiled houses own pigeons worth Rs 2 lakh,” says another pigeon lover.
One of the well-known breeds of pigeons is ‘Girebaz’. It has sub breeds such as Kalsera, Lalsera, Lal Chhapka, Kala Chhapka, Jeera, Hara, Neelam, Kathwa, etc.
Apart from this, the Sherazi species is also well-known and found with people here.
They cost less compared to the fancy pigeons that command a price ranging between Rs. 5,000 and Rs 30,000 a pair.
A pigeon lays 12 to 15 eggs per year. These eggs hatch in 18 days and the female birds will be ready for breeding within six months and males in five months. Starting with around 100 to 200 pigeons, one can grow around 1,000 pairs per year, says Mohammed Jaffer, a pigeon breeder at Shaheennagar.
A few pigeon species are in high demand and those interested in buying them give advance money and wait for the hatching to be completed.
The old city is home not just to pigeons but also to pigeon races, which are held during February to April every year.
Many people participate in these races. It has become an annual event for the last few years with more and more people coming forward.