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Pigeon Racing and Coronavirus

As of 23rd March the UK Government brought in further restrictions to limit the spread and impact of the coronavirus. As a direct result pigeon racing will be suspended until at least 23rd May 2020.

The RPRA and other unions will continue to monitor the situation, and updates will be published when available.

Furthermore, while non-essential travel is restricted, the following applies to all members: training of pigeons is classed as non-essential travel and is therefore strictly prohibited.

Care of your birds

We understand that many members will be very worried about how to care for their pigeons, especially if you keep them at a location away from home.
Some key points to consider: Attending to the basic needs of your pigeons should be considered as ‘essential’, such travel is allowed – but you still need to comply with all of the latest government guidance.

Further advice -be prepared: Planning ahead is essential, and you should have alternative arrangements ready in case you are unable to attend to your pigeons for any reason.

The most important scenario to plan for is how your pigeons will be cared for if you become ill – ensure you have arrangements with your friends, family or fellow fanciers to be able to look after your pigeons in your absence.


I am self-isolating, but I feel OK. Can I go to my pigeons as normal?
If you develop any kind of symptoms such as a raised temperature or persistent cough, current government guidance is that you should self-isolate for a minimum of seven days. Any pigeons kept away from home will have to be looked after by someone else for your period of self-isolation. Try to ensure that you always have enough food to last a fortnight at the loft.
I have been diagnosed with Covid-19. What should I do ?
If you have been diagnosed with Covid-19, the government guidance is that you must not leave your house, unless you are being moved to a hospital. So, someone else will need to look after your pigeons until you have recovered. You must not be tempted to continue looking after your pigeons until after you have recovered.

Training pigeons during coronavirus restrictions

As you will appreciate the decision taken to prohibit ALL training was taken in line with Government restrictions relating to non-essential travel and was therefore in reality a decision of Government. However, it seems that some members are continuing to train their pigeons while carrying out essential journeys, such as travelling to work.

To provide clarity in relation to training, we wish to confirm that ALL training is prohibited – even if carried out via an essential journey.

Members should consider that training – whether as part of an essential journey or not – will result in pigeons straying and/or becoming injured. This may lead to pigeons falling into the care of non-fanciers who are unable to care for the bird. This WILL result in a journey that is totally unavoidable, whether it is the owner collecting the bird, or the non-fancier delivering the bird to a vet or a nearby fancier, thereby increasing the risk of spreading the virus and placing lives at risk.

Anyone training during this period will be dealt with under RPRA rules relating to dishonourable conduct.

Vaccination Code of Practice (RPRA Rules p29)

As a result of current social distancing rules, the requirement for the vaccination of pigeons to be witnessed by two association members has been relaxed. Wherever possible vaccination should be witnessed by family members or members of the same household. This will remain in place until the Government lifts the restriction on social distancing.

Ian Evans

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