Poultry show caters to pigeon fanciers

New Ulm pigeon show judge Roger Hansen of Ashton, S.D., second from right in the white coat and hat, judges pigeons as show competitors visit at the Brown County Fairgrounds Coliseum Saturday.

NEW ULM — The Brown County Poultry & Pigeon Association drew a crowd of bird lovers from several states to the Brown County Fairgrounds Coliseum Saturday.

Forty-three exhibitors brought 399 birds to the show, sponsored by Minnesota’s oldest pigeon and poultry association. The group has promoted friendship and sportsmanship for more than a century with bird shows and small animal swap meets at the fairgrounds.

This year a special incentive was added to draw young people to pigeon and poultry events. Anybody under age 16 received two tickets to be used to win two pair of birds in a cage.

“It’s a way of perpetuating the pigeon hobby. We like to get young people involved,” said show director Doug Grams of New Ulm.

Show participants included 16-year-old Dalton Langseth of Springfield.

A white grizzle racing homer pigeon was among the winners at the New Ulm pigeon show Saturday.

“I came to a show and everybody welcomed me,” said Langseth. “One person gave me a couple birds. Now I’ve got 40.”

Show judge Roger Hansen of Ashton, S.D. said he’s been around pigeons for a long time.

“It’s been a way of life for me since 1960,” Hansen said. “I haven’t lost my wife over it yet. We’ve traveled to shows around the U.S. and to Germany six times.”

Richard Okeson of St. Paul said he’s had pigeons for 72 years.

“It’s a great hobby. I’ve met a lot of nice people at shows around the country and in Germany,” Okeson said.

Grams said pigeons can be quite responsive to humans after they get used to them.

“They perk up, dance and sing, when they see me,” said Grams.

Larry Wilmes of Mankato has many pigeon breeds and has been to many New Ulm shows. He was the reserve champion with his American Giant Homer pigeon at the New Ulm show Saturday. Mike Hines of Sioux Falls was the overall champion with a jacobin bird.

Some people consider pigeons as therapy because caring for the birds make them happy.

According to the Urban Wildlife Society, pigeons:

• Provide good company particularly to senior citizens and children.

• Are loyal, affectionate, and make great friends.

• Eat food we dispose of as litter.

• Primarily eat seeds. Weed seeds are some of their favorites.

• Mate for life and care for their mate and their young, sharing feeding areas, and living peacefully with each other.

• Have delivered medications and provide a valuable messenger service in remote areas.

• Some domesticated pets have been known to understand and mirror human emotions.

• They may even dance to music.

For more information, visit the Brown County Poultry & Pigeon Association on Facebook.

(Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@



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