Pigeons (merpati)

A very popular hobby in Indonesia is raising and racing pigeons. Below is information about the birds, as well as how one competition was conducted. Below is also a video we made of the competition.

  • The pigeons can live 15 years.
  • Their cost is between $22 – $1,600. Their value depends on their speed, and if they have won a lot of competitions.
  • The male birds are the only ones that race. The females are held by 2 contestants at the “finish line” as a sort of “bait.” Only two birds race at the same time.
  • During competitions the birds can fly away. That’s a risk the owners take.
  • The competition we observed involved a distance of 3 miles.
  • The birds arrived in about 3-5 minutes.
  • As the birds appear in the distance the 2 contestants holding the female birds stoop down in a 20’ x 20’ area. As the birds approach the finish line a whistle is blown, indicating that the contestants can stand up and wave the female birds so the flying males will be attracted to them.
  • To win, the birds must enter a large square area (approximately 50’ x 50’) that is marked off by streamers, about 30’ in the air.

    Finish line. The birds need to come down through the large square area that is outlined by streamers.

  • After all the birds are done racing they are placed in one large cage, with separate compartments, and taken back to the starting point. They did this five times at the competition we went to.
  • Competitions are organized by clubs or just local people.
  • The competition can last 4 hours.
  • The cost to enter competitions depends on the size of the prize. The average entry fee is ($3.00 — $21.00).
  • The prize at the competition we went to had a prize for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers. The prizes were:
    • 14” TV
    • DVD Player
    • Fan

Other Birds Indonesians Keep as Pets

Click here to read out post about the other birds Indonesians raise.

Below is a video we made of the pigeon race.