Jacobin Articles

The Jacobin Pigeon as presented by Bill Sacher (Jacobin Master Breeder from Canada and a member of Eastern Jacobin Association)

The below articles were taken from Pigeon Debut (Your Window to the Pigeon World) published in August, 1999 with the issue dedicated to the Jacobin.  Our sincerest thanks to you all for allowing us to use this and be known and be enjoyed  by us all again.



Should You Decide to Breed Jacobins

By: Louis Christener

Most Pigeon fanciers, before finding their favorite variety, have tried several before their appraisal is made. If your desire is made for the Jacobin, you are in the new field of surprises. Like the fundamentals of any pigeon raising, good housekeeping, clean water, and quality feed and grit are essential.

I mention quality feed and grit because a Jacobin is a breed of feather quality and can become easily rundown without a balanced grains and proper mineralized grit. I have seen a great number of Jacobins get in poor condition and once they have had it, never seem to make a good comeback. So if you’re shopping, beware of the Jacobin that is run down from negligence.

Again like in any other variety, start with the best foundation stock you can afford. A new Jacobin breeder today is fortunate to have the opportunity to select from club members from the AJC, CJC, EJC, WJC, SJC, PJC and International Jacobin Clubs. The good quality Jacobins are well distributed today and the challenge in the shows at the club meets are at its best. The members of any Jacobin Clubs are most helpful to get one started in the right direction.

Immediately after you get your start with the Jacobins, join the Jacobin Club of your choice, above all do attend the club meets and show your Jacobins. Never have the excuse they were not ready for showing, you may surprise yourself. Also meet the other breeders and exchange views and ideas on the Jacobin, and believe me there are a lot of them. Human nature is prevalent once a pigeon fancier has kept pigeons, he may think he has absorbed all the knowledge necessary for keeping Jacobins. I will say here that experience is the best teacher, so lets get started in the Jacks.

A few fundamentals for a new Jacobin Breeder to remember and this first one is argued on pro and con. The subject is trimming for breeding. Some Jacobin Breeders claim a Jacobin that is trimmed by the method of cutting away excess fluffing of the vent also cuts away the long hook feathers at the top back of the legs. The theory is that the Jacobin when treading picks himself, and cannot copulate successfully. On the other side of the debate, Jacobin Breeders will not try to start a breeding season without trimming. My own personal experience is to use your own judgment on the pair of Jacobins you are mating. Some come heavier fluffed in the vent than others, naturally I will trim this type of Jacobins. I have had Jacobins I have never trimmed at all and these were always lighter fluffed vents. Fertility in Jacobins is sometimes a problem once one gets involved. I have spent hours in a loft keeping an eye out for certain pairs not fertilizing eggs. Most always it is a young cock on his first year of breeding. And I will observe that they tread the ground instead of the hen, but don’t become disgusted, in time nature will take over the right way. The other part of the trimming is cutting away the chain of the Jacobin. If properly done with a little patience you will still have a good looking Jacobin. Some breeder’s claim that it destroys their beauty, I vision them as contented parents to fed and take care of their young. Also you will not have the loss of the young ones being dragged out of their nests, when the pigeon milk dries on the chain and sticks to the young. I have tried breeding without trimming the chain and with trimming and had the best success trimming.

Crowding your breeders, odd cocks or hens will raise havoc also. Most successful Jacobin Breeders have only Jacobins in the Breeding pens and no other variety. This works very well too, as the Jacobin seems more content amongst his own clan.

Today we are blessed with Jacobins of good carriage, until a few years back we were bedeviled with the crouchers. So do not tolerate them in the loft should one over turn up.

Constantly strive for feather quality in your Jacobins as it sure will show up in the show room. Nothing is more displeasing that we Jacobin Breeders call hairy feathered bird. This type of a Jacobin is not an eye-catcher to the judge. Look for the sound feathered, close smooth feather fit of the hood.

Especially give priority to the hood of your Jacobins, the mane, the top, and chain. Also with this make-up we should have the properly placed and shaped rose, the base of the hood feathers, which adds to the hoods beauty.

Keep an eye for good thick wealth of feathers in mane and chain, with good length of feather, the widest part being at the eye line.

Thrive for the top feather of the hood, the more the better. A Jacobin with a thin mane and chain and no top feather looks anemic in the judging pen.

Stick to the slender, well balanced bodied birds with good carriage always a good stretcher.

Watch your matings for the narrow neckline at the base of the hood. A wide neckline does not give the good whipped-in attraction of the mane and chain.

I breed for the close knit family of Jacobins, constantly challenging the standard of perfection in your matings.

There are two kinds of Jacobins. One I call the “Junk”-o- bin, the kind you should not have, the other the aristocratic Jacobin, the one you will enjoy.

My motto, “if you haven’t tried them, don’t knock them”. That goes for any variety in the present day fancy. I hope to see you at the club meets.

Jacobin – Building a Powerful Stud

By: Dennis Soares

Since my involvement in breeding and producing Powerful Jacobins – I have much work to credit and most certainly cannot overlook those who came before me. Without their tutelage, knowledge and birds they have bred, how could we create what we have now?

My experience with Jacobins has not only led me to visit and fellowship with fanciers in all sections of this great country, but all over the world. I have had the privilege of judging all of our major meets in the United States and now in the other countries. My Jacobins have made it into 19 countries that I know of and I have bred and won grand champions in every major meet here in the United States at some time. I have had grand champions in Black, Yellow, Red, White, Cream, Silver and Splash. I have had color class winners in every color in major meets. With this I lay claim to a powerful stud.

In this article I am going to mention a few of my methods of condition. Remember Jacobins should always be in good condition. Your job is to get them to finish in time for the big show. There is a difference. Without being finished, the finest Jacobin ever bred will be a sure bird out in the tough competition of today. No section of the country is without the bird that could be a grand champion today. The profusion of wealth in quality, unlike when I started, is in every area of the United States. I’ve seen this quality in Canadian birds, Australian birds and German birds, where tremendous evolution has taken place and now they are on par with many of our top show birds. I have had the privilege of providing an American style judging seminar in Germany, at the home of Jacobin fancier Dieter Beringes in February 1990, and judging the 1997 Australian Nationals, Australian Jacobin Club’s largest meet ever in July 1997.

The first order of business in building your stud of winners is of course, knowledge. Find out who’s consistently winning or placing well at major meets. Learn from these people. What they do, how they keep their birds, breeding techniques, etc. Don’t be disappointed if a fancier doesn’t tell you all his secrets at first. Be polite, persistent and show genuine interest and you will reap the harvest of experience. And remember everyone doesn’t do everything the same. Learn, evaluate and do what is right for you. Study the standard of perfection. Ask questions, watch judging by the top breeders very closely, verify with other top breeders why the birds are being selected. This is termed “developing an eye” for the good ones. Once you see that image of the bird in your mind that is consistently winning go for it. Ask about purchasing as high a caliber as you can afford. Once you have obtained birds of good breeding and outstanding traits, start applying that knowledge of who to mate to who and counter balancing family faults. Remember, don’t just look at one individual bird but rather the consistency of traits in the family that it comes from. This is the fastest way to ingrain those traits whether it be superior top feather, stretch, and profile, feather length at the eye level, color and so on. Knowing those prominent genetic family features will optimize your time in what to expect from their progeny.

Once you have the knowledge and idea to obtain what you are striving for and the birds you have been able to procure to do it, have a plan on your breeding and rearing methods. I will not go into detail whether to use feeders, individual, trimming or not but will leave this up to you and your mentor. Myself, I use feeders about 80% of the time. For breeding pairs, I use mostly 2’x4’ individuals and trim very little, mostly just around the vent area if the birds are not fertile first two rounds. There are others who get better production but my methods work well for me in that I’m sure of my strain and family traits as well as having a solid conditioning formula. This formula takes into consideration type of loft, (conditioning pens, individuals, open loft) your local weather conditions, (rain, extreme cold, wind) plus or minus nutritional requirements, (protein, carbohydrates, feed type, supplemental formulas). This is where you start learning from your own experience and is part of the beauty of this encompassing hobby.

Your conditions should not be just the last two months prior to exhibition but a well-rounded annual program which includes a clean dry loft, vermin free, and fresh water daily, this is imperative! Some hints for conditioning is to be sure to de-worm birds prior to breeding. I like Ascapilla+, it is structured for pigeons, safe and effective and also gets tape worms. You can always contact me for a seasonal program, of other product that I feel are optimum. Remember not to leave health of your birds to medication, rather develop a keen eye as to the daily condition of your pigeons by their action and activity. Use medication selectively and sensibly.

Room is a factor particularly in finishing out the Jacobin. I once wrote it is not the amount of real estate that you have but that your birds have enough perches or place to rest and develop feathers. Remember, never overcrowd. I use individuals but have to admit that some of my best feathered Champions have been well conditioned and finished in an open loft where the bird has had its own space. Again your ultimate teacher here will be your own experience.

Jacobins on a scale of one through ten can be a nine in the category of frustration when it comes to breeding season. Infertility, leaving eggs early or that “good one” just not making it under the feeders, can be ultimately depressing. This falls into the old saying of “peaks and valleys”, as the disappointment of frustration is quickly forgotten when that profusely feathered young bird is standing in the loft as a blooming chrysanthemum resembling a beautiful sight that you could ever imagine of any bird anywhere. Then performs his pageantry at your leading show, the exhilaration is overwhelming and all those valleys become experience as the price for satisfaction has been paid.

Lastly, let’s say that all I have touched on here is not difficult but rather a labor of love. You will definitely gain more knowledge than you could ever explain. Basically, keep in mind to build your study of Jacobins, is developing a knowledge and image of a perfect Jacobin. Obtain the best you can afford to buy, propagate and improve them, care for and keep them in good condition and you are started on your way to building your powerful stud.

This and That About Breeding, Keeping and Showing Jacobins

By: Ed Bachmann

As one can see by my ad in this issue and elsewhere, I have been quite successful in breeding and showing my Jacobins. One would ask what does it take to be successful in breeding and showing Jacobins?

First you should get good stock birds. Second, you must show your birds, not just at any open show, but against other Jacobin breeders and under an experienced Jacobin judge. Do not take loss too seriously, go and show your birds again and again. Try to learn from your losses and see what the other guy has gotten his birds and ask questions, for if you don’t ask you will never know the answer. Go to as many shows as possible and try to show against as many different fanciers as possible. Show and attend as many shows as possible in different sections of our country. I have traveled 16 consecutive years to the EJA shows, a record that will not be broken too soon and I hope to be able to go to many more EJA shows. I have attended or show in all the CJC shows since 1960. I have also shown and judged at a good number of shows, CJC, EJA, SJC, at various places. I have also shown and judged one show for PJC. All of the shows I have attended have helped me become a better Jacobin breeder.

As to breeding the Jacobins, they are not hard to breed. I should know as I breed 100-175 birds each year. One does not need a lot of room for Jacobins, the more the better. If one has not the room, one can be quiet successful breeding Jacobins single penned, it is however more work. I breed Jacobins in the open loft. I mate my birds on or about April 1st. I make my selections, I put the individual pairs in the pens for one or two days after, which I open the individual doors and let the birds out. My breeding pens are approximately 8’ x 14’ and about 8’ x 10’ fly pen. My individual compartments are about 36” x 36” x 20” high. To insure less fighting, I keep my cock birds in the same breeding pens, that way when I mate them in April, they have their old breeding compartments, and will not have to fight for a nest. Also the hens will settle quite fast.

Now a loft does not have to be some elaborate mansion. A loft has to be dry, clean and no drafts. I have my windows open all winter and it’s as cold inside as outside the loft. The birds love to go outside and take a snow bath. Some of my birds will stay outside overnight and it doesn’t hurt them. One more item, is cleanliness in the loft. I go to my loft every morning to feed my birds. I change the water every day and while I feed my birds I scrape and clean all of my nest boxes and perches. I do that every morning. I also pick up any piles of dropping that accumulate under the perches. As for little, I use wood shavings and dry droppings, which make a good floor covering. This helps in keeping the floor dry, as the moisture of the droppings is absorbed at once and keeps the loft from smelling. During the molting period, I rake my floor once a week until all the feathers are gone. After all the molted feathers are gone, I put about 3-4” of new wood shavings in the loft and the birds are ready and stay clean for another year.

Now to the mating and selecting your birds. For breeding, it stands to reason that to raise good birds, you should have good birds. If one has a number of birds and is not quite sure on how to mate birds, he should ask an experienced breeder and should refer to the Jacobin standard. When I mate my birds, I put the birds in the show cage and compare them. I check their background, as to parent, show records, fertility and health. One should never mate birds that are sick. My breeding success has been very simple. I put the two best birds together and hope for the best. You never know how good the mating was until the youngsters have molted and sometimes not until their second molt. I have been surprised many times by a yearling bird. It seems that a lot of birds won’t look good until their second molt, that’s one reason one does not see too many young birds become Grand Champs. Usually, the champion is a yearling or old bird. In selecting my birds for mating, I don’t mate brother and sister, I don’t mate father to daughter or mother to son.

I don’t have any good reason why I don’t make the above matings, I guess it’s just upbringing. I do mate uncle on niece and aunt to nephew, also first and second cousins. Unless one brings new birds into his loft, one’s birds will become so related to each that sooner or later all birds will be related. So for that reason, one will find himself mating a brother and sister together. It happened to me last year. By the time I realized what had happened, I had two youngsters which turned out quite good, of course I broke the pair up and them.

Well, that’s about all I know, the only other thing I’d like to say to a new Jacobin Fancier is, do not give up on your Jacobins or on the fancy. Consistency in showing your birds and breeding them will make anyone successful, but to be successful in Jacobins you must love them and dedicate much of your time, money and effort. I hope this article was interesting to someone. Good luck to all the Jacobin fanciers.

30 Years With Jacobins

By: Sergio DeAlmeida Jr. – Brick, NJ

It was 1969, and I was 5 years old, when my family went to visit my Aunt and Uncle in Cliffwood Beach, NJ. My Uncle Marty, owned a cabinet shop on Rt. 35,and it just sio happened that a man by the name of Ray Stepnowski, owned the pallet business next door. My uncle knew of my father’s love for pigeons since he always had a few in a small coop in our yard. Little that we know that what my uncle would do next would change our lives forever, he introduced us to Ray who showed us his Jacobins. Needless to say we had never seen anything like these pigeons before but we liked what we saw and made a great friend in Ray. The following Saturday we came back to Ray’s house and bought a few pairs and there began the common bond between a father, a son and these beautiful pigeons. Once we got the birds home when my Dad was home we were together out in the bird coop. It is such a great feeling to know your love for these birds, is shared by your father. Over the past 30 years we have gone to many shows and made friends with many of the great men who share this wonderful hobby, one of which was Mr. Roy Boug who was not only a great Jacobin Breeder but also a great man. In 1971, in Port Huron, Michigan, Mr. Boug cleaned up the show and I guess he saw a little boy who looked disappointed so he awarded me his reserve champion trophy and cheered me up immediately. Needless to say this trophy is one of my prize possessions and serves as a reminder to the great legacy that Mr. Boug has left for us to continue. Then of course there was Ray Stepnowski, the man who started us in Jac’s, we always travelled with Ray and his family to the distant shows. In 1978, while we were in Reading, Pa. at the annual show, my Dad became sick and being the good friend Ray was, he took care of everything. He got my Dad to the hospital made sure I was OK and got me home to my mother.

After this happened my Dad’s blood pressure could not be kept under control so because of the excitement the shows brought on him he could not show for a while. Then in Sept. 1984, our good friend and great Jacobin mentor, Ray Stepnowski, tragically passed away of a massive heart attack, at the age of 52. Needless to say this was a great blow to us and to all who knew Ray and all the good he had brought to the Jacobin fancy.

Years passed and we always had the birds, then in 1991, we decided it was time to get showing again and see our old friends again. So we decided it was time to bring in some new birds to mix with the ones we already had. We decided to the best, Mr. Ed Bachmann, Mr. Louis Christener and Mr. Redd Kinzer, needless to say, these are three more of the Jacobin greats and the birds they sold us helped us immensely. Since 1991, we have bred many good Jacobins including many shows and class winners and we have made a lost many good friends. One such new friend who is now like a family is Ebrahim Shaji. Here is a man who will help you any time, any place and anywhere. Ebrahim is our new travel partner and an irreplaceable friend. The Jacobin Fancy has so many wonderful breeders around the world and we have a great tradition past and present and if we on the path that has been laid for us we will also have a great future for many years to come. Hopefully my son and I will share the same love for these pigeons and for each other that my father and I will always share.

Building A Champion

By: Jim Ecker

In the early 1970’s, I was somewhat entrenched in the fancy with Jacobins being my first love. I was kind of getting the knack of putting birds together, and getting a little more out of the mating each year.

Being a good listener was by far the best teacher. Growing up neat Louie Christener and Bob Reigle also helped me to school novice breeders. Anybody who knew Bob Reigle would know that one had to be a good listener because you seldom had a chance to talk. Nevertheless I still cherish those moments, and will forever.

The early 1970’s in my memories were the most active times that I can remember for the number of breeders to the number of birds, a much higher ration than today. It was those times that I had a chance to meet Roy Bough and Paul McNorgan, both of Canada. Both, Master Gentlemen and Breeders. They did not need a patch on their arms to let you know that this was so. You only had to see their entries to know.

Louie and Bob use to frequently go to Canada and visit Roy Boug. It was after a visit, that I had a chance to a buy from Bob, which had come from Roy’s loft, a memorable Hen # 129 Red OH/969. She was quite old when I got her but she was still a good layer. I met Ray Stepnowski during these shows, Ray was always ready to sell a bird or two, especially at $100.00 a pop. I saw a couple of birds I liked and bought them. Louie kept telling me that the bloodline of Roy and Ray were identical, so I put the birds together. After that breeding season I had some respectable birds to show.

My first win was at a Hammond Ind. CJC Sectional meet, 1240 a Red Hen. The other wins 1151 Red Cock IJC Champion, Dayton Ohio National #1207 Red Cock and a bird that Louie took to Houston Texas National #558 Red Cock. It was the quality of these birds that helped fuel a stud of Reds, Yellow, Kites that just kept getting better.

The stud was surely not invincible by any means, I had my ups and downs, wins here and there. The 1990’s seem to be where the birds picked up the most steam. I’m quite pleased at their performance at some large shows, 1995 and 1996 Pageants of Pigeons in San Bernardino, then 1997 and 1998 Central Shows Myrtle Beach Grand Nationals.


Probably my most crowing achievement #836 Red OC, this was his 3rd Championship Win. He is truly the culmination of all that I learned over the years. When you breed a bird of his quality, it becomes an inspiration to learn more and breed something even better. These were my trials and the tribulations in Building a Champion.



Feather Length

By: Clint Robertson


To any beginner in Jacobins, feather length in profile is most definitely the most striking characteristics. It would seem to them that long feather is what sets a good jacobin apart from the rest. In reality, feather length can be very misleading and can actually be detrimental to an otherwise good Jacobin, if not bred properly. The late Harry Alexander put it best in his “Jacobin Handbool” when referring to feather length in Jacobins, he stated: “As long as possible but never to a fault.”


In my opinion, feather length by itself, is onoe of the easiest features to breed into your family of Jacobins. The challenge is to have all the other fine points that make up a show Jacobin, and still retain as much feather length as possible. Balance is so important: the chain must equal the mane in profile for extension and fit. You desire a smooth, hard feather. Marcel Giguere describes it as- “feather with a glossy finish where one feather cannot be distinguished from the other, and you can almost see yourself in its sheen.”


Too many breeders overlook good station and body refinement in their desire to breed bigger feather on bigger body, but again, the Standard, in regard to body, states: “Long and slender, stressing slimness.” You can breed big feathers on long refined bodies, it is just not as easy to do. I have seen it done and I have even bred a couple myself, it is just a matter of doing it.


All too often, a Jacobin that has long feather profile, lacks in areas such as proper hood setting and proper roll and fit to the feather. These are features that can only be determined by viewing the Jacobin from above or behind. As Drew Lobenstein puts it, he likes to see a “ball-y appearance” which is emphasizing the roll and volume of feather. It is also common to see long feather droop or hang down, rather than roll in from side to side. Frequently, this leads to the mane hanging down the back of the bird, taking away from the desired narrow neckline and whip-in region.


It is also common to see a lot of long feathered birds that lackj the welath or volume of feather we want. They can be almost paper thin. Often, when we do manage to add wealth and volume to the lengthm the feather mass becomes so heavy that it drops from side to side, and the bird cannot control it or hold it up. So you see, when you begin to study the Jacobin and the Standard, you as a breeder, can begin to appreciate the many fine characteristics which really make up a show bird. Each characteristics is somehow connected to the other so that for everything to work, it must be laid out or put on just right.


Again- “As long as possible, but never to a fault.” When you breed the beautifully balanced Jacobin with the perfect station, hood setting, top feather, chain, mane, color, markings (smooth, glossy, bally-y feather): nice even roses, refined body, and you finish it off with length of feather, then your Jacobin will be the one to beat. Hopefully, you can see now that, when all of the finer points (which are often far more difficult to breed) are placed on one balanced Jacobin, that Jacobin will win out over feather length alone.


Credit Where Credit is – Due

All to often I hear breeders say that they are working with a certain bloodlines in Jacobins: Lines which where started decades ago which in all reality are long since gone.


Genetic improvement and changes in the breeding of pigeons is very quick in comparison with the breeding of other types of livestock such as cattle, horses or sheep. It takes only a few generations (years) of selective breeding for a breeder to create his own mark on a line of birds. I like to see credit go where credit is due.


Of course, it is important to start with the best available stock. But once you have bred them and improved upon what you started, you deserve the credit for making smart matings and culling hard. In one generation with bad matings, you can lose what it took many generations of “smart matings” to achieve.


When I see good birds at the shows, bred by their exhibitors. I always make a point of complementing these individuals on their achievements. I feel we all need this sort of encouragement and it makes us feel good about what we have accomplished. So next time you see a nice bird in a show which was bred by its exhibitor, make sure you give credit where credit is due.


Producing Young

By: W. J. Sacher – Manitoba, Canada

Now that you have purchased your Jacobins, how do we get young off them? Just as a point of interest, when you hear breeders talking about breeding numbers. They meant the RAISING of numbers not breeding from many pairs. The biggest mistake that breeders make is over crowding the loft. I raise a new average of 5 young per pair. Let’s say I have 10 pairs that means I will in all likelihood have 50 young. How big of a pigeon loft, do I need? I have only been asked this question once in my life. It was from a newcomer Mark Iseki of Hawaii. In the above scenario, one would need 40 sq. ft. for the adult birds. The young bird loft would be 200 sq. ft. (50 young X 4 ft.). A total of 240 sq. ft. , or about the size of 12 X 20 and of course, if you want feeders an additional 2 sq. ft. per bird for them.


Trimming birds at breeding time? First thing that I do is to cut 1 ½ - 2 inches off of the tail. This will never interfere with the sexual breeding habits of the birds. Cutting off more will not make it better or faster. All we are trying to do is to make it easier to lift the tail for the hen, and control the tail for the cock. Sometimes the natural way is the best way. If you cut the vent area and the males tread the hens, and they prick itself on the cut feathers it teaches them something. Not to tread the hen because it hurts. I like taking that yearling and putting fertilized roller eggs under him to let him go the distance, in sitting and then let him feed. What I have noticed is that they don’t feed as well. To make sure that it is not a wasted effort, I leave one roller baby with its roller parents and the other under the Jacobins. That way I can rotate every day, the young teach the Jacobins how to be a parent. By doing this early in the season you will get more fertilized eggs during the course of the year. Now if the second round is blank, I cut the vent feathers. But I cut from the front of the vent forward. Leaving the feeler feathers at the back of the vent intact. They need this as a lazier guidance system to lock up. I have never needed to cut the hood area. If you plan keeping this bird for a few seasons wouldn’t it be in your best interest to invest the time the first year of the birds life? Here is the real test of the birds value to yourself. If you are not too worried about taking the time to switch baby rollers around. Or say invest the effort cutting, isolating the birds in the fly pen during that 10 day driving time! Why are you wasting your space, feeding and breeding Jacobins that you know are only going to breed second place youngsters?


Here is your baby Jacobin slow to learn how to eat. If you allow it, the young will have the parents feed up until six weeks of age. With the slow learning curve (Jacobins are spoiled birds they would rather have the parents feed as long as possible) that the Jacobin has. You can see why one must not rush the weaning process. However, you can help it along. In the feeder section only (Do not attempt this in an adult Jacobin environment) as soon as the young have feathers that covers the skin. Put the young on the floor, this way they have the maximum exposure with other birds on the floor. If you have an adult Jacobin situation then it would be in the interest of the young to stay in the nest as long as possible. Perhaps even put a feed bowl in the nest box. Wean the young right into the young bird pen. This is the spot where the Jacobin can water and dip its beak into the water. One or two days and the bird will catch on. I have seen breeders wean the young into a small holding pen, with a wire bottom. The reason for the wire bottoms, that way the young will not eat soiled feed. As well as stay dry. This is usually at waist height. That way the young will get to know you a little sooner. When the young have learned to eat and drink to your satisfaction then let them go into the baby pen. Some breeders have been known to help hand feed the birds. Great, however don’t over feed the young. You see Jacobins are tall and sleek, runway fashion models that stand out when they walk around. They do not have the crop capacity to hold that large hanging crop that that we all used to see on baby homers. If you have the hand feed fill it only half way. Jacobins are easy to breed. You need to understand and focus on certain things at certain times.



Getting Started With Jacobins

By: Bob Muszynsk


For fanciers who would like to get started raising Jacobins, I will attempt to answer some questions on how to manage the birds and the kind of loft you will need. I had my first Jacobins in 1943 and have had them on and off since then. So I will describe what works for me, but there are as many Management systems as there are successful Jacobin breeders’.


Jacobins are a difficult breed to raise, they have fertility problems, they will drag eggs and small squabs out of the nest. They are scalpers, and when they are ready to be weaned, they have trouble finding feed and water, I have tried to minimize these problems with loft design and management.


The good news is that I find Jacobins are good parents, so I don’t use feeders, which reduces the number of pigeons I have to keep. I don’t ruin their looks by trimming the hood feathers. Jacobins will feed the newly hatched nicely without hood trimming. A few pairs of Jacobins kept with other breeds don’t seem to do well, although a few pairs of another breed kept with Jacobins is fine. Some breeders like individual breed pens. I like large breeding compartments to let the birds mingle, since that seems to inspire and stimulate them into breeding. It also simplifies feeding and watering.


Jacobins have extra long feathers, which cover the vent, and get in the way while mating. So, to improve egg fertility, I clip the feathers from in front of the vent on both the cocks and hens. A large nesting compartment with a restricted opening eliminates interferences from the other birds while mating.


To prevent eggs and newly hatched squabs from being dragged out of the nest, I also clip the breast feathers—since these feathers are also extra long and cradle the eggs and small squabs. I also recommend deep nest bowls or nest boxes, so the birds have to hop out of them. If any eggs or squabs are caught in the breast feathers, they may fall back into the nest and not be carried out of it.


There is a stage in the life of Jacobins when they are ready to leave the nesting compartment, but they are not smart enough to get out of the way of a more aggressive bird, so they get scalped. I reduce the amount and severity of scalping by making it hard to get out of the compartments, and by providing a hiding place if they do get out. I make them hop up 6 inches to get out of the nesting compartment and I place a 6 inch wide board horizontally (& 4 inches off the floor) all around the loft and fly pen (see sketch). This also prevents youngsters from going into the wrong compartment…which is disastrous. I feed the birds twice a day at approximately the same time. This helps keep the young birds in the compartments, since the parents feed them right after they are fed. If you miss a feeding or are very late, the youngsters get hungry and are more likely to leave the compartment. This doesn’t mean you can’t miss a feeding occasionally, just feed double the amount on the previous feeding. I find the birds will be lackadaisical in feeding the youngsters if fed once a day all the time.


During the weaning period, some of the Jacobins have trouble finding the feed and water. They want to eat, but are reluctant to stick their heads through bars or small openings. Their beaks become green from picking at droppings around the feeders and waterers. I lose more birds at this time in their life cycle than at any other time. I don’t force feed them. They have to make it on their own. However, I do try to make it easier for them to learn how to eat. I like shallow pans for feeders and waterers, place on wire so there are no restrictions and nothing for them to pick at around the feeders. I like smaller pens and lofts, so the feed and water is closer to them. I feed them a measured amount twice a day. I adjust the amount so there are a few grains left over from the previous feeding. Since I use pans for water, I change it everyday, or if need be, twice a day. I have noticed that the birds drink most of their water right after being fed.


If you don’t already have a loft, shown is a sketch of one that would be suitable for 6 breeding pairs and their young. I estimate that it could be constructed for about $300.00. It would require: 10 sheets of plywood, 4 bundles of shingles (1 $ 1/3 square), approximately 25 2x4’s….10’ long, 10 feed of 4 foot wide hardware cloth, 25 foot roll of 4 foot wide chicken wire, a few pine boards, 1 inexpensive window, Hardware.


If you plan to relocate, with a little ingenuity, the loft could be made to easily disassemble, with no section larger than 4x8. Bringing the roof line down low keeps the rain from the feed in the fly pen and the loft. You should place more roosts than shown in sketch. It has been my experience that the youngsters prefer to roost in the fly pen section. Use individual roosts where possible, since this will reduce the amount of hood feathers being pulled out. I feel it’s important to have a large open fly pen facing the south, if possible and here in Connecticut, I leave it open all winter. Good ventilation is healthy for the birds and YOU. Hope some of my ideas will be helpful in raising some good Jacobins.





A Jacobin Loft That Works

By: Todd Toews


Many loft designs work well for many different breeds, but for me, the loft design I have now suits my Jacobins. My loft is divided into seven sections, hence my birds are never crowded. By the end of July, all my birds are separated cocks and hens. I have a compartment for young cocks and young hens because the old Jacobin cocks can be very aggressive. Each section opens into a fly pen, which is built off the ground. I have never had any pest such as a weasel or mink get into my loft. I like to think that my loft is even mouse-proof.


The loft is totally insulated and wired with timers for all the lights. I use fluorescent lighting in all my pens as this type of lighting appears to be good and bright. My loft is heated at one end and this is where I keep my stock birds.


I also have judging cages set up in this section. It makes viewing and culling a lot easier when you can go through your birds, in a warm environment.


I keep my feed separate from the birds, in a well-ventilated area so everything stays dry. My loft sits on 8-inch footings’ which raises it off the ground. This helps to keep the mice from under the loft.


I use individual breeding pens measuring 36 inches wide, 36 inches deep and 30 inches high. This works great for Jacobins. By providing them individual pens, there is no fighting over nests or hens. I am sure of the parents of every young Jacobin, once the Jacobins are placed into these breed pens. They remain in these pens until I separate the cocks from the hens in July. All the birds in the individual pens are fed and watered from the outside of the pens. I use the same water containers in the whole loft, so the Jacobins know where to drink when I switch them from one section to another.





The Jacobin Pigeons As Viewed and Bred Now (Bill Sacher)



Thick Side Walls and Long Top (Bill Sacher)


Trimming Jacobin's Vent for Breeding Purposes (Bill Sacher)


Comparison of a Standard Jacobin to a Recently bred Jacobin






This is one breeder's perspective on quarantining new birds. There is nothing revolutionary here regarding the processes involved in integrating new birds into your loft, although it is meant as a future discussion as to looking at how altering a single small detail in one's method of introduction of new birds can exponentially improve your chances of preventing potentially heavy losses should the worst happen and your birds become over run with an immune challenge to something in which they have no/low immunity towards.


A little on me....... I raised fantails exclusively as a boy/teenager for 10 years and was out of birds for 12 years before returning to them 6 years ago. As I had always only kept fantails in the past, I decided to scratch an old itch an try some modenas to see if it would take. Well as much as I do love that breed, there was just nothing else like handling, lacing, prepping a fantail and setting a good one down in a show pen, so the modena itch was scratched by the end of the year and back I went into fans full time.


While I was working with the modenas I decided I needed to get a good start to try and hit the ground running. This meant that the birds I felt were necessary for my foundation stock were going to have to come from a number of different breeders, and quite frankly, that became a scary prospect given the potential of mixing a handful of lofts together within a short time frame. It was especially daunting, as I had been out of birds for 12 years and so much had changed and developed in terms of avian illnesses I was already very concerned. I had my medicine chest all stacked up ( in spite of the fact that I have very strong personal opinions AGAINST the use of such things a discussion for a later time), disinfectants galore, and in spite of all my efforts I would up with nothing but problems expressed by a wide range of illnesses that occurred while attempting to integrate all the new birds from different lofts together. I must admit, when the birds started to get ill from several things at once, I was stressed out!! I remember thinking there had to be a better, more effective way to do this. It was all I could do to watch my birds suffer while I was doing everything I could to make them better. I don't know how many times I almost packed it in. But I ground through it. In an effort to cope with these realities before hand, I had spent a full year online studying these issues before I even received my first bird so that I could be better prepared to act if something were to pop up. Well, many things did.


To go back a few steps..... In that year before I got back into birds, I had read many articles from very well known, very competent breeders that had written articles on the topic of biosecurity. Some very good, time tested methods were put forth with some creative twists here and there. Twists such as adding dried droppings from the existing lofts floor to the drinking water of the new birds in quarantine for example. Makes perfect sense..... Allow an immune challenge on the part of the new birds to take place in isolation, rather than once they hit the main loft and invading pathogens can then spread like a wild fire. So an idea like that was great for taking care of one half of the equation.


On the one hand, vaccination protocols have emerged as likely our number one defense against some of the nastiest infections our birds can become over run by. On the other hand, there are far, far more potential pathogens than there are vaccines to cover, and as they are constantly evolving to become more potent, new strains are also emerging each year of this or that and which can translate to merely a partial immunity in some cases from existing vaccines when they encounter a mutated strain of virus for example. However for the sake of this article I simply will focus on an added new step and assume that all breeders these days are applying proper nutrition to their programs as well as vaccinations. But what about your existing birds? What could one do to safeguard there own flock against incoming pathogen invaders once the new birds had cleared quarantine and were added to the loft with your birds? That's where the gaping hole was for me..... In other words, whether you quarantine the new birds for 6 weeks or 6 months, inevitably they would be added to the loft unfiltered so to speak and any number of bad outcomes could potentially occur.


Last season, I decided that being a type breeder only in fantails was becoming a bore. I needed to add some new birds again to add some new colors and patterns. I had a new theory in my head that was rolling around so I bounced my idea off of some very respected fanciers that have decades of wisdom in these matters more than I do. I was very surprised that none of them had considered this idea before, and I feel the beauty of this is in it's simplicity.


Once I did receive some new fans and placed them into isolation, I gave them one week to settle in and in that week did daily assessments on each bird ensuring that they were all healthy and that stress had not brought out any unwelcomed guests. They were all very healthy birds, had vaccinations for PMV and salmonella, but this is where I found the deception lies.... The easy mistake to make is to think that they will remain that way when you add them to the loft, but there are so many immune responses and challenges taking place within the birds that we don't see, I did not want the same outcome as with the modenas.


So after one week, I went into my loft and selected 4 birds at the bottom of the totem pole so to speak. Birds that I would have either culled any way, or were simply expendable. And all I did was place those birds into the quarantine pen with the newbies after the first week, and allowed the close contact necessary to bring out an immune response on both sides and TEST each side's immunity for what is living in the other. Only this way, it's on a very small controlled scale so if the worst does happen, your main loft will not be decimated by illness. You can use this test to formulate a proper management plan for when you decide the new birds are ready to enter the main loft. This test can tell you a great many things. You see, the trick here is not to try and avoid exposure altogether from preventing new birds coming into your loft. Any immune system needs an immune response followed by challenge to become strong, but it needs to be done slowly by introducing birds to a LOW pathogen count, the lower the better, allowing them to create the necessary antibodies required without having their immune systems over run before they can produced these antibodies. Too many years of isolating one's birds from everything that is out there in the hobby will usually only result in a bad outcome eventually, when you decided to go to a show, or bring in new birds because they will have no means to cope to an immune challenge.


After these 4 birds were in the isolation pen for 6 weeks and I had snuffed out a few respiratory flare ups, etc. only MY 4 birds went back into the loft 2 weeks ahead of the new birds armed with immunity to what they had been exposed to. Wouldn't you know it? When they went in, then the new birds, there was not a single issue which one would have expected that happened in isolation. In short, the new process worked, at least in this case. It would be naive to think this will be 100% effective as that is not the case. I do believe firmly now, it is an infinitely better method than the one I had previously used. This method will allow you to adapt a protocol for anything that should occur before your main loft ever becomes affected. My hope is that other will try this and share their methods and results with others. GOOD LUCK!


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