Why Do Pigeons Have Tags on Their Feet?

Many ornithologists, bird rescuing organizations, and pet owners who have pigeons prefer to add tags on their feet when they want to get specific information.

You can also put a colorful band on your bird if you care about it to reduce the chances of getting lost somewhere far from their home.

Why Do Pigeons Have Tags on Their Feet? Pigeons have tags on their feet that help identify their gender as male birds have bands on their right legs while females have a ring on the left leg. Moreover, it helps determine the owner and birth year given as alphanumeric data on the band. You can add a digital band on their feet to study their mating and feeding behavior while doing research. Furthermore, tags are the marks to know the purpose of their presence in the cage and help rescue them when they fly away somewhere and forget their way to come back. 

Many people add colorful bands around the necks and feet of their birds like parrots, pigeons, chickens, etc.

Many regulatory authorities make it essential to add on the birds when you want to use them for trade internationally as it is an identity tag.

What are the tags on pigeons’ feet?

The plastic or metal tags are usually on the feet or around the narrow legs of pigeons. They are available in different sizes, from 7 to 10 mm, according to their leg size.

These bands are circular rings with different colors like red, green, blue, yellow, black, etc.

Every band color is specific and denotes a particular reason, like breeders add a green band for those birds that they do not want to get back to them.

Moreover, a blue band on their feet means these are not wild birds and helps them recognize as pet.

There are fewer chances of getting lost somewhere, as people can make contact with their owners when they see a blue color band on their legs.

In addition, a yellow band on the legs means it needs to be rescued and sent to a protected place or home. Similarly, other colors like red, orange, and pink have meanings.

The circular rings made of zinc were used in old times, but people replaced them with lightweight and non-rusty aluminum rings.

However, plastic rings are also widely used, which are more challenging to break and lighter in weight.

Why would you add tags on the pigeon’s feet?

Tags are essential to add to the birds for proper identification based on their genetics, age, and selling purposes.

Gender identification

The bands are sometimes for identification of gender as some of them look alike, and it becomes difficult to distinguish the two.

Breeders mark these pets’ left and right legs to understand the types of males and females.

They add a circular strip on the right leg of the male, while the female has a band on their left legs. It helps them identify the two different genders so they can control the population.

Know about the birth year

They provide detailed information about a particular bird, like the club to whom it belongs and the serial number in the pigeon house.

Moreover, you can see a birth year mentioned on it which tells when the bird was hatched. It helps determine the pet’s age so you can take care of it accordingly.

Check behavior

Many breeders add digital strips on the pigeon’s feet to know their behavior, where they go, and how they feed.

It helps check on the flock’s movement so that you can locate their position when they get lost.

Some leave their homes searching for food or man interventions and fly somewhere. Moreover, researchers add tags to check their mating or feeding behavior to find something new.

Trace an owner

The alphanumeric data on tags provide information about its owner. You can contact the parent organization to hand over the rescued pigeons.

The name of the owner company or an organization is mentioned in the short form like CRPU, which stands for Canadian Racing Pigeon Union.

Similarly, you can check the abbreviated names to check the organization from where these pets belong.

Mark its purpose

It is essential to mark the birds when caring for them for a specific purpose. For example, some of them are raised only for mating purposes, while a few of these pets are sold when they become adults.

Many breeders raise them to ship them to different countries. So, it is difficult to put them separately based on future use.

You can add it to distinguish them, like some are used for selling or shipping, and add different color on those used only for raising the population.

In addition, some of them have a red band which means they are grown for fighting purposes.

Rescue birds

People remain confused about whether it is better to keep the birds in their homes or send them back to their birthplace.

So, these colors help understand the measures you can take accordingly.

Moreover, you can take them to the home or organization mentioned.

At what age do pigeons have tags?

It is better to add a tag on the bird before it can fly. It depends on its type of breed and size.

Many breeders prefer to put a colored band when they get 7 to 9 days old. It is easier to pass a plastic ring through their small and soft feet than the larger ones.

Moreover, you can add these when they cannot leave their nests to reduce the risk of losing a bird with no band.

Sometimes, it gets slipped and reach the foot because its size is more than their legs, but it gets fixed when they become adult.

Is it dangerous for pigeons to have tags?

It is usual for the pigeons to have bands on their feet, but sometimes it can cause injuries when the size gets short for them.

Sometimes it gets tighter when the dead skin accumulates behind it and restricts blood flow.

Moreover, there is a risk of getting caught in the cage wires, which can lead to cuts and bleeding. This is the reason few pigeons have red feet.

How do you put tags on pigeons’ feet?

There is nothing tricky about adding tags and you can put a ring above their toes in a few minutes.

Take it in your hand and make it feel comfortable by moving your hand on its body gently. Next, move the legs a little bit out of their body to access their toes.

Move all the toes together to pass the ring quickly and put a ring in their feet. Some bands are like clips that are easy to put on and off the legs.

What type of information does the pigeon’s tag provide?

They have specific printed information about the pigeon’s type, address, age, gender, etc. In addition, you can see an organization abbreviation that depicts the bird’s address.

Then, the year name is mentioned, which relates to a birth year or when it has become part of the organization.

You can also find digits like 289 or 1061, which is for the serial number of a particular bird in a group.

Additionally, some organizations mention their contact number and website address to get easier access when you find one of their birds in the backyard of your house.

You can only add plastic strips with a serial number when you have a small number of birds to differentiate among them.

What to do if you find a pigeon with a tag? 

Many people do not know what to do with a bird with a tag on its legs. So you have to rescue them and try to understand their behavior.

You have to read it carefully and note down the information provided. Then, you can search the abbreviations to find the parent organization’s name.

Note down their contact number or an email address and make a phone call or drop them a mail at the provided address.

However, you have to take care of the bird with blue bands because it means that the organization does not want it to come back.

What do pigeon owners say about this?

I surveyed 749 pigeon owners to know about the reasons for adding tags and how it helps to identify their birds and some related information.

Out of 749 people, 478 (64%) said they add bands on their pets to distinguish them as everyone looks similar, so it becomes difficult to identify their gender.

However, 159 people (21%) who belong to the bird rescuing organization said there is a risk of losing them as they fly away. Therefore, many people rescue the pigeons and send them back by reading the information.

While the remaining 112 people (15%) said such tags, provide information about them, like their age. As it is difficult to remember their birth year, they put bands providing data about a birth year, serial number, etc.

It is essential to add these on the birds to identify their species and gender when there is a flock of different pigeons at your place.

“I used to add different colors to identify the species, and it helped me distinguish males from females due to the presence of marks on the left leg of a female.”

Some organizations find it challenging to manage them without adding any strips as they are raised for different purposes.

“I have put different purple color bands for the pigeons that need to be shipped to different countries, while the mating partners have a black tag.”

These birds have no specific names and lack the instinct to give a response when you call their names. So, you can only assign them a number like 1, 2, 3, and so on to identify them.

“I have 12 pigeons at my home that are difficult to distinguish from each other, so I assigned them a different serial number written on the tags for my convenience.”

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