May 1994


Part 1.   General Requirements for Racing

Acceptance and inspection of pigeons for competition

Carriage and conveyance of pigeons

Feed and Water in transit to races

Liberation of Pigeons for racing and training

Performance enhancing drugs

The Pigeon Racing Federation of W.A. (Incorporated)
The Independent Pigeon Racing Federation (Incorporated)

ISBN No 0 95866 772 1   Set 0 95866 7705


This Code was produced by the Pigeon Racing Federations of WA for the welfare of the pigeons. All member clubs and affiliates are bound by the requirements of this Code and it should be studied carefully.

The principal effect of this Code of Practice is to ensure that the welfare of the pigeons is the prime consideration in all activities associated with our sport.

The main issues that the Code will focus on are:

*    Housing and environmental factors affecting health.

*    Racing and training practices, especially as they affect the chances of an individual
      pigeon returning safely to its loft.

*    Transport of pigeons to races and training flights.

*    Control measures to enhance the ability of a pigeon to return safely to its loft.

A breach of the Code will constitute an offence.












1.1     The Pigeon Federations as parent bodies for its member clubs and affiliates believe that people who own or are responsible for the care of pigeons have a fundamental duty to take all reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of those pigeons.

1.2      The Federations rule that:

A member, or affiliate, who has the care or charge of a pigeon or pigeons has a duty to take all reasonable measures to ensure the welfare of that pigeon or pigeons.


2.1     The Federations define ill treatment of pigeons as wounding, mutilating, abusing, tormenting and torturing, wanton or malicious beating and causing unnecessary pain or suffering. These acts are considered by the Federations as unacceptable treatment of pigeons.

2.2      The Federations rule that:

It shall be an offence to ill-treat any pigeon.

                           FOR COMPETITION

3.1     The Federations acknowledge the depth of expertise for pigeon care available within each member and affiliate club in which to provide suitably qualified personnel for the inspection of pigeons submitted for competition.

3.2    Stewards.  The Federations will select annually from a list of names forwarded by each club to act as Stewards on the Federations' behalf for the inspection of pigeons submitted for competition.

3.3    Steward Instruction.  All appointed Stewards are to be given Veterinary instruction at the Federations' expense.

3.4    Acceptance of Pigeons By Stewards.  All pigeons are accepted by the Stewards on the grounds of sound health and physical fitness to successfully complete the journey set for the event.

3.5    Steward's Right of Refusal.  The Steward retains the right to refuse an entry without challenge on the grounds of poor health, or physical impairment, or neglect, as to limit its opportunities to return safely; or on the grounds of a contagion hazard to other entries. Such refusals are to be documented for the Federations' action as necessary.

3.6    Health Examples.  Poor pigeon health can be described as symptoms such as general lassitude from obvious sickness, respiratory disease indicated by wheezing, sneezing, nasal and eye discharge (i.e. Chlamydia infections), Pigeon Pox and the like.

3.7    Neglect.  Neglect can be described as the pigeon being presented in a soiled and generally dishevelled condition and or harbouring external parasites.

3.8    Physical Impairment.  Physical impairment is intended to cover any condition which is likely to diminish the chances of the pigeon to successfully complete the journey. Examples of impairment are:

*     Injuries and scaring both old and new which are visible or felt when holding the pigeon.

*     Insufficient feathering which is likely to inhibit the pigeon from flying, competitively, is an impairment.

*     Insufficient primary wing flights is an impairment, as is also a pigeon presented in the eight and one half stage of primary flight growth, irrespective whether number ten primary flight remains attached or not.


4.1      PANNIERS

4.2    Configuration.  The carriage of pigeons is to be within the recognised rectangular or square pannier configuration, allowing for adequate air exchange at both sides and top and for the pigeons to freely view their outside surroundings.

4.3    Size of panniers.  The Federations recognise that private pigeon carry panniers are constructed in many sizes to suit or fit individual circumstances, such as vehicle configuration, and it is not intended to interfere with this freedom. Instead, the Federations set minimum space requirements per pigeon as follows:

4.4    Height Allowance in panniers.  The minimum height for all panniers, whether owned by the Federations or otherwise, is 21cm and is exclusive of all wire and plastic mesh bottom inserts.

4.5    Space per pigeon in panniers.  The space allowance per pigeon will vary according to the time such confinement is in force, the distance of the race and whether provision has to be made to feed and water the pigeons en route and at the liberation site.

4.6    Scope of Allowance.  This allowance pertains to pigeons being conveyed in any pannier used for private training, Federation training and or racing, or for conveyance of pigeons to the club rooms for entry into competition.

4.7    Confinement Provisions

The allowance is made on the following basis:

4.7.1     Overnight confinement of 24 hours or less duration and or the race journey is 500 kilometres or less, measured from the longest competitor, allow 200cm2 per pigeon per pannier. For competition events, the confinement period commences at the club starting time for acceptance of pigeons for entry.

4.7.2      Confinement in excess of 24 hours or 500 kilometres, as described, allow 300cm2 per pigeon per pannier, so as to ensure the pigeons can achieve the normal reclining position, typical for extended travel.

4.7.3     An example of permissible pigeons per pannier is shown as follows:

Pannier dimension 90cm x 60cm = 5400cm2 divided by 200cm2 = 27 pigeons for overnight confinement and when divided by 300cm2 = 18 pigeons for extended periods and for when feed and water is necessary.


5.1    No Feed.  The Federations have determined that there exists a balance between the need to feed the pigeons en route and at the liberation site, so as to sustain reserves of energy to complete the journey, and the need to avoid the detrimental effect of commencing a journey on a full stomach. On this basis it is determined that for up to 24 hours confinement, en route, involving an overnight journey, and or the race journey is 500 kilometres or less, measured from the longest competitor, no feed provisions are to apply.

5.2    Feed and Water.  Where the confinement is expected to exceed 24 hours and or the journey is in excess of 500 kilometres as described, provisions are to be made to feed and water the pigeons.

5.3     When to Arrange.  When feeding and watering of the pigeons is required, the Federations shall arrange for entries to be accepted at such a time that will ensure that the Transporter will arrive at the liberation site by at least 1600 hours on the day before the event is to start and at which time feed and water procedures are to commence. The feed is to remain in front of the pigeons for a minimum time of 1 hour and no more than 3 hours, whereupon it shall be withdrawn. The water shall remain available for the pigeons continuously until one hour before liberation, whereupon it shall be withdrawn.

5.4    Supplementary Feed and Water.  Supplementary feed and water en route is to apply by at least 1600 hours daily in the manner prescribed, where the journey time to the liberation site exceeds the 1600 hour provision for arrival time.

                    AND THE RELEASING OF PIGEONS


Notwithstanding the role and the provision for Stewards put in place for the inspection of pigeons being entered for competition, it is widely known that in Western Australia the months of April and May is a stressful period for a majority of pigeons in completing their annual moult cycle. This has specific reference to the shedding and replacement of the 8th, 9th and 10th primary flights in each wing, which, from general observation is seen to place both physical and psychological effects on some pigeons and leads to a reduced potential for flight in those birds, when so affected. For the general welfare of the pigeons, the annual programme of fixtures, arranged by the Federations, will be devised so as to coincide with the weekend falling nearest to the fifteenth day of May in each year. All pigeons entered for competition in the month of May shall be fully flighted, in terms of their primary wing flight growth, and such races in the month of May shall not exceed 160 kilometres.


6.2.1 Appointment.  The Federation will appoint annually a committee comprising three or more members including the official Liberator and presided over by the Federation President, who will arrange and conduct the annual race programme.

6.2.3 Name.  The Committee is to be known as the Race and Liberation Committee and will have control over the welfare of the pigeons, their collection, transport and liberation. They shall also compile, amend and manage the annual programme of racing, by the member clubs, in the interests of the welfare of the pigeons.

6.2.4 Powers.  The Race and Liberation Committee is empowered to cancel, postpone or alter the race venue and to direct the Convoyers/Liberator, in charge of the pigeons, to make whatever adjustment are necessary for the welfare of the pigeons.

6.3 Convoyers/Liberator.  The appointed Liberator has responsibility for performing the release of pigeons, at the liberation site, in such a manner as to avoid potential for injury to the pigeons on release. The authority to release pigeons, in all races, rests with the Race and Liberation Committee. The Liberator shall contact a, pre-arranged and nominated, Race and Liberation Committee member, at least one hour prior to release to report on conditions, discuss local conditions and receive approval to liberate. Having liberated, the Liberator will again contact the nominated Race and Liberation Committee member providing details of the liberation for announcement to competitors.

6.4 Race Delays and Hold-overs.  Where the liberation is delayed because of adverse weather conditions, such delay will remain in force until the Hold-over time is declared. When the Hold-over time is declared the pigeons will be held for a planned release the next day.

6.4.1 Second Day.  On the second day, the Race and Liberation Committee will decide to:

6.4.2 Release the pigeons at the time scheduled for the previous day, or,

6.4.3  Bring the pigeons back to a shorter liberation site and reconsider the situation at that shorter distance, or,

6.4.4  Hold the pigeons at the original site until Holdover time is again reached, and at which time the race will be declared cancelled and the pigeons returned home for collection by their respective owners.

6.5 Rain and Fog.  Rain and Fog at Liberation sites are known to interfere with the pigeons' ability to orientate. Pigeons, therefore, are not to be liberated away from the home lofts, for training or racing, into rain or fog and the liberators are to wait until such conditions abate or abort the exercise.

6.6 Liberation time. The release of pigeons for both training and racing are governed both by conditions at the liberation site and the time of year.

6.6.1 During the months of June to August pigeons are to be liberated as follows:

Under clear sky conditions - release a minimum of 15 minutes after gazetted sunrise for the area.
Under over-cast sky conditions release a minimum of 30 minutes after gazetted sunrise for the area.

6.6.2 During the months of September and October pigeons are to be liberated as follows:

Under clear sky conditions - release at the discretion of the Official Liberator. Under over-cast sky conditions release a minimum of 30 minutes after gazetted sunrise for the area.


The Hold-over time for any race is calculated by counting backwards from thirty (30) minutes after the gazetted time of sunset, at the home end, by the time derived from dividing the distance for the journey by 55 kilometres per hour (to the nearest quarter hour), which represents the recognised average speed for pigeons in flight, under adverse conditions . The holdover time therefore represents the estimated absolute latest time for liberation, allowing the pigeons time to make the home lofts on the day of liberation, under adverse conditions.

6.7.1 Example. An example of a declared Hold-over time is shown as follows:

Journey is 500 kilometres and sunset at the home end is 1800 hours or 6.00pm. Journey time at 55 kilometres per hour, average speed for the pigeon, is 500:-55 = 9 hours. The latest time for release on that day before a Hold-over is declared is therefore, 1800 hours, plus 30 minutes, minus 0900 hours = 0930 hours or 9.30am.


Because of the significant time delay between the entry of pigeons for a race and the actual liberation time many performance enhancing drugs illegally used in other contests are rendered ineffectual for pigeon racing. It is, however, policy that pigeon racing remains free of any administered performance enhancing drugs and this has particular reference to the use of any of the anabolic steroids and corticosteroids. Any competitor found to have entered a pigeon injected with any performance enhancing drug will be held responsible and be dealt with by the Federation. Any pigeons found sick or dead within the race panniers at liberation will be sent for analysis. Where an injectable substance is detected the owner/s will be held responsible and be dealt with by the Federation.

ISBN No 0 95866 772 1       Set 0 95866 770 5