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Historical evolution of Spanish Pouters

by Luis Montiel Bueno


Reading some articles of the Magazine “Palomos Deportivos” (when they were published), one can realize of the different trends that we can observe in the tastes of the fans of the Spanish Pouter Pigeons, and that, happily, can coexist between them. In a side, we have the fans to “picas” or “deportivos”, that constitute a world apart, with his competitions and his corresponding regulation. In another side, the fans enthusiastic for the purification of the different breeds of Pouters, his fixation to a certain standards, and his exhibition in shows.

On the other hand, articles as that of Francis, "Palomos de Clase", appeared in the number of September, 90, or "Palomos of my environment ", of Jose Castillo Rubio, in September, 91, do that we turn the eyes to the pigeon of hunt.

These different approaches on what it is needed to be a Pouter Pigeon, and that come gathered in the same Magazine, give idea of the plastic possibilities of a species as the pigeon, of the different tastes of the fans, and of a historical evolution, which we might make start from the beginning of the 20th century to the current moment, and that I will try to summarize.

At the beginning of century, different breeds of Pouters existed in Spain. The standards had not been established yet, but, evidently, there could not be equal the pigeons that were flying in Valencia, that the Rafeños of Seville or the Gaditanos. In every country it was predominating over a breed, and I suppose that between region and region there would be intermediate zones, in which the local breeds were adopting characters of some and of others.

In the whole Spain, the breed that was enjoying of major prestige as Pouter of hunt was the Valencian one. To say Valencian Pouter Pigeon was to refer to the súmun of the pigeons Laudinos. This way it can be read in the scanty written sources of which we arrange, that are "La Joya Colombófila ", of Confusio de Altamira Raventós (1.924), which reference to the Spanish Pouters was literally copied for Alberto Brillat in " El Palomar Lucrativo " (1.935), in " Nuestra Lucha ", of Ramon Fontelles (1.970), or in The Pigeon ", of Levi, for my taste, the best book that one has never written on pigeons.

The thickness of the interest to the Pouters was, naturally, in the East of the Peninsula (Valencia country). In that epoch, they were valued fundamentally, the aptitude to attract females and lost, that is to say, to hunt, and the aptitude to resist, without falling down in foreign lofts, to the strategies of seduction of pigeons of different sex.

In that so populated zone, the fans were moving from each villages to others, to see the work of the out-standing pigeons, which always were the most hunters and hardest. Reading the mentioned article of Francis (Rota), one can have an idea of how they were those pigeons of first of the XIX century, of that Fontelles tells also some examples.

In the 30s, and immediately after the Decrees of the Defense Department of the protection of the homer pigeons against the Pouters, the Valencian fans do not have any other remedy than associate and be regulated, and leave the former free “suelta”, in which the hunted pigeon passes to be a property of the new owner. They begin to organize controlled “sueltas”, with his own hen. Already there is not valued the hunt for the foreign pigeon, but the capacity of pursuit and of attraction of a before given up hen, by several males who compete between them. This way they are born the “pica” breed. The fans resort to crossing the former Pouters with the rock pigeon and obtain an ardent, light and driver pigeons, that are the parents of the actual “picas”.

To new pigeon, new ethics. The former concept of hunt is eliminated and even that of thieving pouters with which there were called , and is born of “palomos deportivos” (sport pigeons). Already it is not a question of stealing anything from anybody, but to organizing sports competitions.

The new interest to picas spreads over the whole region of Valencia, and from a few years, that we can fix at the end of the Spanish civil war (1.939), the former Valencian Pouter has eliminated of the country that saw it to be born. The breed only remains in other parts of Spain, because in Valencia only there are picas.

After the Spanish civil war, and in the 50s and 60s, they come bad times for the ancient Pouters. The picas are spreading over the rest of Spain, and there where they are implanted, the ancient pigeons pouter disappear. Provided that the flight of pigeons of any another breed was interfering the “sueltas”, the fans to picas, seeking protection in diverse governmental dispositions, which start of the Decrees of the Department of Defense of the thirties to protect the homer pigeons, and whose culminating point is the Order of the Presidency of the Government of 10/12/1.963, and resorting to the governmental authorities, they do the possible and impossible thing for eliminating the ancient Pouters, to whose owners named scornfully as "clandestinos".

But there are zones of the interior of Spain, in which in spite of the efforts of the fans of picas, the ancient pouter pigeons cannot be eliminated. On the one hand, the fans refuse to change his pouters of the whole life for the new breed. For other one, in these regions with cereals and olive trees of the interior, they possess an inestimable collaborator in his defense against the picas: the rock pigeon. There where the rock pigeon abound, the pica cannot take root. The pigeons best educated to the “suelta” sport release it to go away behind the rock pigeons. And pica that proves a hawker, it is necessary to withdraw it from the “suelta”. The “suelta” of picas only can be done in very located zones, as urbanizations of the suburbs, free of rock doves, but not in slightly big populations, in these where they cannot be eradicated.

This way we come at the end of the 70s, with the picas as the only legalized breed and with the ancient pouters prosecuted and only supported in regions of the interior of Spain, based on passive resistance and of little success of the picas in these zones.

Then, the situation changes. Fans of Seville achieve that the ancient pouters are admitted into the Federation of Colombicultura, and begin to elaborate the standards of the different breeds, at first of the zone of Seville, and to organize shows.

It is increasing the confection of the different standards and the number of fans and of shows proliferates for the whole Spain. Even it has taken root in Valencia, where the ancient pouters were eliminated does more than fifty years.

As everything in the life, the standardization of breeds and the shows they have his advantages and his disadvantages. As advantages, we will emphasize the labor of conservation of the different breeds, and his spreading all over the country. To me it fills of satisfaction that the Jiennense Pouter for example, is known in the whole Spain, and grow up in different places of the country. This had not been possible without the organzation of shows.

Disadvantages of the standardization: we will emphasize two:

Only the breeds with standards recognized exist officially. They forget this way the infinity of local breeds, without an official standard , that they are left. In many villages of the province of Jaen there existed very light, flying and hunters pouters, who have been replaced with the standardized, homogeneous, Jiennense Pouter of exhibition, heavier and fewer hunter than the local preexisting pouters.
There is diminished this way the genetic diversity, giving priority to a few races with standard, opposite to others that do not have it.

Out of the standard everything is a darkness. This way, such a beautiful breed in flight as the Marteño Pouter, or Colillano de Martos, which is mentioned in an article of the number of September, 91, is very little known out of Martos, not having a standard and not having met to exhibitions

The exhibitions as a last end. For many fans of the ancient Pouters, the last end of his interest is to compete at the shows. It is what happens abroad with the different races of exhibition. This way, we have the Show Homer, that departed from the homer, but that already nothing has to see with the original homer. Already there is not demanded him to compete in flight competitions, but only that looks like the most possible thing the standard, to be able to be in enjuiciated in the show pen.
But of all forms, it is what there are. The mode of the shows, that already has more than fifteen years, it is necessary to understand it as one more among the multiple facets of the colombophilia. To the one that he likes, that he devotes himself to her. The races of shows will be differing increasingly from those of flight and his aim will be so, the pen show.

But the Pouters have more facets. One of them, the races of posture in flight. There are characteristics, basic in some breeds, which are his posture in flight, when they place before a piece. This way, there are the flight of the Colillano of Seville (in Jaen we call them “olgueros”), that remains stopped in the air. Others, as the Colillano de Martos, turns the tail up to almost making touch his outer feathers. Or the Murciano, which gets up in almost vertical flight, like a helicopter. These races got into a pen, only can give a pale idea of what they are. It is necessary to see them flying and posturing. This one is a facet of the Pouters, which is separated of the shows pen.

And finally, we have the thieving. This one was the principal characteristic of the pouters of beginning of the 20th century, and that mentions Fontelles. The fans that were coming to see certain pouters, were not going to see his plumage, his head or his postures in the air. They were going to see how they were thieving, what snares they were using to enclose to the piece, and how they were resisting the females who were leaving them in “suelta”. By the way of the Pouter of the article on that I comment, the “Pintao de Amarillo ", we know not even his breed, nor how he had the head or the eye. We know that he was good, and that none female can resisting him.

Of the Thief Pouters, we can consider two branches. In those places in which it has followed the custom of putting hen in “suelta”, the pouters have to be very hard, not to be caught in foreign lofts. The game consists of the struggle between cock and hen in order to see the one who takes the other to his loft. These pouters, and this game, it seems that they continue taking place in the country of Cadiz.

But in many other places of Andalucía, has finished some time ago the “suelta” of hens. If it is a question of big cities and with feral or rock doves, the pouters in “suelta” only devote themselves to enclose steamed hawkers and squabs of this breed. They turn in “zuriteros”, and if some day they find a stamed hen of his same breed, they ignore them.

These pigeons, already they do not need to be so hard as the previous ones, because bing attractiveness for the hawkers, they will enclose them without resistance. Here we need most ardent birds, better flyers and most seducers with the rock doves. Them there will be necessary to have more controlled that the previous ones, since his temperament makes more vulnerable to get lost. In order that they result attractive at the hawkers, they will have to take crossing of hawker or of pica. With a hard hen in “suelta”, they are caught easily, like the picas. But, unfortunately, in many cities a lot of time ago there where eliminated the hens in “suelta”. There are few fans, and the only one pastime that offers them is the hunt for the steamed hen hawker, which is very beautiful. Here it would fit the type of bird that Jose Castillo Rubio mentions in his article of September, 91. A fiery, light and worker bird.

Summarizing, this one is the panorama that offers us now, from the only trunk of the Spanish Pouters of first of the 20th century:

On the one hand, the picas or Modern Thief Pouter , that appeared in the thirties and whose presence diminishes to zones very located of the country, where the fans are highly organized, and the skies, free of hawkers.

On the other hand, the ancient Thief Pouters, with his variants or modalities:
a) Breeds of show.
b) Breeds of posture in flight.
c) Birds of hunt, with his two variants of hard breeds, for those places in which the “hembreo” is practiced, and ardent breeds of cross, in those places in where only are hawkers.

In the pouters belonging to the paragraph c), the morphologic characteristics have little importance, compared with the quality of the pigeon to thieving, following like that the conductive thread, which is connected with the pouters of the beginning of the 20th century.

Luis Montiel Bueno. Jaen, December of 1.993

 Published in the Magazine " Arte Avícola " n º 36. Year 2.000.



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