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Article from 1909

The Tippler Pigeon for Flying and Exhibition
Published by "Feathered World" 1909

Chapter XV 
The Show Tippler
By B H Wedgwood

Having been favoured with the honour of bringing the Show Tippler portion of this popular and instructive book up-to-date, I will do my best to enlighten some of those who have not watched the rapid strides made in this beautiful variety of pigeon and also novices and beginners (I say the latter, but how many give up before they really begin and have had any experience at all?) who are seeking useful information and also those who are unable to attend the Classic Shows and not quite in the right groove nor in touch with the present day Show Tippler.  When once you have thoroughly put heart and soul in the fancy, it is surprising what an infatuation there is to go one better, and these are the fanciers who derive the most pleasure from the same.

The old book was written some sixteen years ago by Dr Archibald F Hepworth. I well remember the doctor visiting my lofts and purchasing some of my birds, and although I should not be out of my teens, I believe I had made quite a name for myself in the Tippler world, having already won in 1891 the guinea special for the best Tippler in the show at one of the
big combined Dog, Poultry, and Pigeon Shows at Hanley, the metropolis of the Potteries. I regret to say these annual fixtures do not now exist, which is a great pity.  Needless to say, I experienced many drawbacks and disappointments, and of course was sorely tempted to sell, but I had the common sense to hold on, as I thought if the bird was so valuable to others who knew nothing about its pedigree, etc., well, it was worth more to me to keep, and from time to time I looked ahead and have kept well to the front ever since.  I have to thank my elder brother for starting me in the exhibition world, as he, at that time owned  a very good stud, and would only have the best, but did not exhibit, and soon afterwards he went away to farm, and I practically begged his stock from him, as he had to part, and so my luck soon started. After Hanley Show, I entered at Leek, and it appears my best bird got into the selling class, and my worst into the open, and naturally enough the selling bird was quickly claimed, but the purchaser soon saw the mistake and good-naturedly returned me my bird  and no doubt this kindly action was the means of keeping me in the Fancy, as otherwise I should have undoubtedly given up in disgust, thinking I had been duped.  At another show at Longton later, I was again successful in winning first prize, and when at the station I was accosted by one who was then a “big gun” , who informed me my bird was disqualified for trimming (I must confess I had not  yet learned the art referred to), but needless to say when I arrived at the show with beating heart it was nothing of the sort, although I believe jealousy was the motive, and as my bird was honestly shown the would-be mischief-makers were soon convinced.  I give these short experiences to show how the young Fancier can soon get downhearted and give up in despair.  However I would not wish to discourage young Fanciers with the numerous pitfalls and troubles I have experienced, as  I feel sure 99 per cent would retire from the Fancy in despair: but I have stuck to my guns and kept plodding on, and can flatter myself as being one of the most successful Tippler Fanciers of the day. Of course I have had to move with the times, as many changes have taken place, in order to improve the Exhibition Tippler.


Mr B H Wedgewood's Dark Mottle Show Tippler Hen
1st Prize, Crystal Palace, 1907

There are four varieties recognised in the Show Pen, viz.: Dark Mottled, Light Mottled, Self, and Light or Chuck. Some years ago it came under discussion the advisability of altering the name of the Chuck variety to Light, as the former was considered rather vulgar, but the new name did not seem at all popular, and the old Chuck still exists as Fanciers did not appear to recognise this charming variety as ‘light’ owing, I presume, to the marking underneath the beak, which certainly is a chuck. Below I give the Standard of the above varieties as adopted by the United Tippler Club.


Head :  5 Points
Round skull  (not too full in front), medium faced, pearl eyes with dark ceres and a dark beak.
Neck: 2 Points
Short, stout at shoulders, tapering well up to the head. 

Size & Shape : 10 Points
Medium in  size, broad chest and shoulders, strong wing butts, body tapering wedge shape  to tip of tail.

Flights : 5 Points
Short and broad, well over-lapping each other when expanded, sound in colour throughout  in the dark and light
mottles; a foul secondary may be admissible, but will  cause a broken bar and count against it. In the light class the 10 primary flights should be soundly tipped.
Legs & Feet : 3 Points
Short legs,  small feet, (bright red in appearance), and free from feathers below the hock.

Condition and General Appearance : 10 Points
Carriage,  sprightly and erect; hard, short, close and perfect in feather; flight or tail feathers out and not well through the pen will put a bird back as if it were a  foul feather; the whole possessing a rich
metallic sheen. Tail feathers should be 12 in number. 
Colours : 7 Points
Markings :  8 Points
Total Points : 50 Points

Dark Mottle Class
Rich chocolate brown ground with white markings ; solid coloured head, neck and body, well and evenly distributed on back and wings,  Flight and tail must be sound in colour.

Light Class
Simply a coloured "chuck", primary flight and tail feathers  rich chocolate brown to take the lead; remainder of bird, viz. head, neck, body  and wings, including secondaries ie short flight feathers, back and rump, white  or as clear as possible

Light Mottle Class
White ground, rich chocolate brown markings, evenly mottled  or printed throughout; flights and tail sound in colour

Self- Coloured Class
To be rich chocolate colour throughout.

Birds  competing in Young Bird Classes must bear a Conference Ring for the current year.  

Disqualifications : Cutting, plucking or dyeing

I consider the best time for mating up is Valentine’s Day (February 14th), although numbers pair their birds much earlier, in  order to try and catch the early worm, but this is a great mistake, unless one has a good stock pair or two which have not bred much the previous season and may probably throw out a likely bird for the early shows.  Then a separate pen is required in a secluded position, as if a mated pair is introduced to a loft containing either odd cocks or hens trouble is bound to ensue.

The next point is the size of nest-boxes and the like. I find roomy nesting places about 2ft. by 1ft. 6in. the best, so as to hold two pans, and if necessary, the pair can be confined for a short time for many reasons, especially when one cock desires to occupy two or three places, and also if many pairs are in a loft, I find it best to keep the birds in confinement occasionally as the fertile eggs are more certain.  Many kinds of nesting-pans and boxes are on the market, and I think as long as cleanliness is in vogue and a handful or so of sawdust as a layer and a little disinfectant powder sprinkled, good results are generally attained. As in other varieties when the youngsters are ten days or so old the old ones are apt to want when  go to nest again, and this should be carefully watched so that the young are not neglected.   You cannot have too much fresh air, and I advocate all window ventilators, and doors being open during the breeding season. Have a good supply of fresh water always being kept in a shaded position out of the sun’s bright rays.  I feed my birds morning and night, but if hungry give a light feed at midday.  A good mixture of tares, cinquintina, wheat and little dari is a grand staple food for squab feeding.

Now what to mate together to obtain the best results is the next question, and the best plan I find is to make careful notes on paper as to what bird would suit such and such a bird, and many pleasant hours may be passed by going into pedigree and winnings of your breeders for the coming season.  For instance, you put the cock’s description on one side of a sheet of paper and then find what hen is a likely mate, and place her name or description opposite, and by this method you can have your birds on paper ready for putting together. If one bird has a bad head then get the mate good in this, and also if short of markings then mate one with too much white, or gaily marked, and so on, but even this will not always obtain the desires you aim at, after all it greatly depends on how the bird is bred.  Even a bird sparsely marked, if bred from well-marked ones, will throw back, and I find from experience that birds from one strain will not blend with another, and this I can certify from some of our best Fanciers.  It is far better when commencing to obtain your stock from one reliable Fancier to state your requirements, when he will no doubt be able to fix you up with stock likely to produce exhibition stock, or birds approaching, as having bred most of his stock knows how same are bred.


  Light Mottle Show Tippler

After a season or so you will be able to judge what progress you are making and whether the youngsters are an improvement on the old ones, and you can then  purchase a cock or hen likely to suit whatever fault your birds have.  Now, novices and beginners, do not be downhearted because you don’t happen to breed a winner in the first or second season, and thereby throw up the sponge in disgust, but keep pegging away, as anything easy to obtain soon becomes monotonous, and the pretty Show Tippler is certainly very difficult to breed, and, roughly speaking, I should say not more than 1 per cent are winners, so it is easily seen that the more interesting it is in breeding to obtain a likely bird. Another great point is to remember not to be too greedy and try to obtain too many youngsters from a favourite pair because they have bred one or two good ones in the first nests.  Do not over-strain the old birds by letting them breed on.  A Fancier may do this successfully for one season and think he’s doing well and breed late into the year, but watch his results when commencing breeding operations again, and his tale of woe will soon be told.  Tipplers are greatly used in rearing other varieties of pigeons, such as Barbs, Owls, etc, which are unable to bring up their own, so this shows what excellent breeders Tipplers are.  The main feature is cleanliness, and unless your birds are well looked after in this respect trouble is bound to ensue.

Now, as to varieties, I consider Dark Mottles come first, and you will also notice that this variety always stands first in the show schedules with few exceptions. To my mind they are the most taking of all, and the easiest to keep in condition even in a smoky atmosphere, as they have not so much white about them as Light Mottles and Chucks, and are more up to the standard than Light Mottles which can easily be observed at our shows.  Unfortunately the best Dark Mottles are only in few hands and abound round the Staffordshire District, and this county undoubtedly turns out more Dark Mottles than the remainder of England and Wales together.  Since the last book was written there has been a vast improvement in both colour and markings. I understand some breeders have improved their colour by the introduction of a German variety known as the Brander.  They certainly improve the colour, but the majority of the youngsters are either light underneath or cut like a magpie, or coarse in the head and bad shape.  Of course it is quite possible that the faults may be remedied by careful study and crossing, but personally I cannot say the introduction into Dark Mottles has been a success.  I can vouch for a number of our principal breeders of this variety that no Brander blood is in their stock, and the present up-to-date colour is attained by careful studying and scientific breeding from their best coloured stock, it being an essential point to have Brown Tails and sound coloured heads and underneath.

Young fanciers must not run away with the idea that winners can only be produced from exhibition birds as this is a great mistake, as many of our leading winners have been bred from good stock birds, say a self-coloured cock and light marked hen or vice versa.  The most important point is what they are bred from, and when you have ascertained this correctly, you know what grounds to work on. The ideal colour to my mind is a rich chestnut brown, and you can imagine what a lovely sight an aviary of a dozen of this sort, with a nice sheen, would be.  The most difficult points in dark mottle breeding are the soundness of head, breast, and right underneath to vent and also up to second bar, the remainder of wing having nice brown ground colour with evenly distributed white markings.  Type is also a leading feature, as no matter how bright and good a bird is in colour if same has a long coarse head and beak and long in the body, it generally has to take a back seat.  I like to see the squabs with a smeary colour on the wings, and these generally mottle up well, and if not sound in colour after first moult improve with age, as many of our Dark Mottles shown in the season of 1908 are what is termed washy, and this takes a deal of the charm away and general appearance.  I also find that the hen birds are in many cases better coloured on the rump and tail than cocks, and could never account for this.  Of course there are few exceptions.  I have made myself  as clear as I possibly can respecting Dark Mottles and will now attempt to describe the Light Mottles.

This variety, I must confess, have not made such headway as the dark mottles, although a far greater number are bred, and are in the hands of a great many breeders. Markings seem to be the stumbling block, and have been almost entirely ignored in the rage for colour.  Now, to my mind, this should not be so, and consider that more points should be allowed for markings.  I consider the Light Mottles now being bred are nothing approaching the birds bred ten years ago, except perhaps slightly better in colour, as in 1907bI don’t consider a real good one was exhibited.  I certainly think the finest Light Mottle I ever saw was a hen I purchased from Mr F C Minoprio, and won for me hundreds of prizes, but would not be hardly looked at today by our specialists simply because she had not got the colour.  This colour has certainly gained a strong hold, but at what cost?  It will take many years to get the markings anything up to standard form and attain the brown colour, and there is no doubt a good chance for our enterprising fanciers to push this variety.  I understand the Brander has been used successfully in connection with the colour part to a certain extent, but we have lost the beautiful type, shape, and markings.  Many of our Light Mottles are also much too heavy in my opinion, and I don’t consider some Light Mottles but mediums.  Even if a bird is on the light side a little and fairly well broken on head and neck, and spotted with brown on the body and underneath, I would prefer same to a heavily marked bird.

Light or Chuck Show Tippler

Now as to the best way to get these requirements produced. Some say one way and some say the other; well, what is the right way? It is true that like produce like, but I find that a heavily mottled bird paired to a light one is best, and this was how those lovely mottled birds bred and shown by Mr Carter of Uttoxeter, some ten or twelve years ago were obtained.  Never have I seen before or since such lovely markings or colour, and yet no Brander was there.  I saw these birds several times, and the old pair was a cock almost self coloured and an ordinary common-looking light hen.  Mr Carter was unfortunately hard of hearing, and I well remember at one summer show a then principal breeder asking him how his birds were bred, and Mr Carter exclaimed, “Yes, I sell milk”, as this was his business, and we had a right good laugh at the time.  I purchased one of this gentleman’s young hens, from which I bred many first-class winners. This tends to show that mottled birds are not always bred from equally-marked ones, and I strongly recommend a heavy-marked cock with a lightly-marked hen.  A great point is getting the head nicely spangled or broken, neck and underneath, and in trying to obtain the latter many of the birds are heavy on the breast.  I like to see the birds heavily marked or coloured in the nest; in fact I’ve known birds to look like self to mottle lovely when moulted. It is very awkward to distinguish a good Light mottle in the nest, and I strongly advise you to keep all good coloured youngsters until moulted, as you never know what a bird will be, the most promising either throwing white flight feather or something else.  Hen birds are generally much better in quality than cocks, especially in tail colour, and I have never  yet been able to fathom why brown-tailed light mottle cocks are so scarce, and I consider that in classes for cock and hen after some consideration should be given to cocks.  I must confess we are a long way from standard yet, and this is borne out by the old stagers still heading the prize lists in Light Mottles. There is certainly good colour obtained by the Brander cross, but this should be judiciously used, otherwise trouble will result, and you get so far and think what a champion you have got, in fact ideal in your idea, but wait, my friend, until the moult.

Here a wonderful improvement has been made in recent years, especially colour, and I must confess that Brander is the means of same. The introduction of the latter has been the most successful in Selfs, and we are now obtaining far better type than some little time back.  An ordinary self tippler of the old school would stand no chance whatever against the present day bird.  I consider the chief characteristic in Selfs is the head, which adds greatly to a bird, and regret to say that at some of our principal shows I have seen birds win almost pure Brander with raky bodies and bad heads, and consider this most unjust, as we want Tippler type to remain and be encouraged.  Selfs are no doubt the easiest variety to breed, as no markings are wanted, therefore all you have to breed for is shape, colour, and soundness, but the typical bird with good sheen, head and eye takes some getting, and a great deal of patience in various crosses has to be used in attaining perfection.

These are considered one of the prettiest varieties, but are very difficult to obtain, and I am sorry to say do not get the encouragement they deserve in the show pen, as they are usually classed with Selfs, and the latter generally take the lead.  Breeders who have made a speciality of this variety seem to get so far, but lack the required colour, and this is very difficult to introduce.  The Chuck is no doubt the nearest to the old original Flying Tippler, which has been brought to its present state by careful and scientific breeding. A man who has a really good Chuck is very lucky, and one bird I bred some seven or eight years ago won me hundreds of prizes for many years, but I regret to say I have not since been able to breed another equal to it.  If the standard was altered to read “light” and not bound to be clear on the head, then I think a class for Lights would fill at every show, and this would do away with the amount of trimming which is undoubtedly done to the heads, especially of this variety.  Also, instead of ten flight feathers only being sound, to have the secondaries or the twelve inner feathers to be sound also instead of white. If this was done then there is no doubt more breeders would cultivate this class, as undoubtedly most of the winners are chance bred from Light Mottles.

Article from 'The Pigeon Book' 1910

By Alfred Henry Osman 
Published by George Newnes Ltd, London 1910.
 Extract : Pages 145 - 147

Show Tipplers by Joseph Colgrove

The Show Tippler has been made by careful selection and crossing from the old Flying Tippler, and the well-balanced standard of shape first laid down has kept out any of the exaggeration of shape seen in several varieties. It is a well-balanced bird in every respect, a free breeder, a good feeder, and very hardy ; in fact, it will live and keep in show condition in surroundings that would kill many varieties.

There are four sub-varieties, the Light Mottle, the Dark Mottle, the Self, and the Chuck or Light. They all have several points similar in all four varieties, viz., shape, which is very similar to the Long-faced Tumbler, but they should be smaller, shorter in feather, broader in chest, and not quite so large in head, black beak, white eye, finished off with a fine dark cere. The colour now sought after is a bright chestnut-brown, especially on rump and tail. The ten primary flights must be a sound brown tipped with black. The tail also must carry a black bar. Good colour is one of the most difficult points to obtain and also to retain.

Light Mottles are the most numerous in the show pen. They should be evenly mottled with brown feather on a white ground, say two white feathers to one brown. The body, head, and wings should be mottled with the exception of rump and tail, which should be brown. The flights and secondaries should be sound brown, so that when closed they form what is termed by fanciers one sound bar. This sound bar on a bird carrying a mottled head and underneath mottling is very hard to breed.

 Light Mottle Tippler "Worry"
Challenge Cup Crystal Palace, Specials Hanley, Manchester & Loughborough 1907
First Birkenhead & Manchester 1908
Bred & Exhibited by Joseph Colgrove

The Dark Mottle is a bird with mottled wings on a sound body. The head, breast, underneath, and thighs should be one nice uniform brown. The wings should be evenly mottled on a dark brown ground from butts to what is termed the second bar, which is the next row of feathers to flights and secondaries. These should be a good, sound chestnut-brown. To get this bar sound, with plenty of markings on wings and a sound under-body colour and no white over nose, will give plenty of scope for the breeders' art.

The Self bids fair to become the most popular variety. At present they are too large. It should be one even chestnut-brown from head to bar on tail, sound under-neath, and carry the whitest of eyes with a very black beak and fine black cere, not having the markings of the other varieties. A gravel-coloured eye, a light beak, or bad wide cere should not be tolerated in a Self.

The Chuck or Light is a white-bodied bird with the exception of a crescent-shaped chuck or beard, and the ten primary flights and tail, which should be a good brown, with the Tippler's cardinal points of black tips to flights, bar on tail, black beak, cere and toenails. The Chuck is just the contrary to the Beard Tumbler; where the Beard is dark the Chuck is white, and vice versa. Good Chucks are still very scarce.

All fanciers of this variety should obtain one of the new Standards issued by the United Tippler Club.

Articles List

The Tippler Pigeon for Flying and Exhibition

Published by "Feathered World" 1909
By B H Wedgewood

The Pigeon Book
By Alfred Henry Osman
Published by George Newnes Ltd, London 1910.
Extract : Pages 145 - 147
Show Tipplers by Joseph Colgrove 


Recently added:
The Tippler for Exhibition and Flying
Published by "The Feathered World" 1927
By B H Wedgewood
As a PDF File



"The Tippler
Exhibition & Flying"
B H Wedgewood
Published by "Feathered World"

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Some early photographs

A noted hen formerly owned by Mr B H Wedgewood
she won many firsts and was eventually sold to America
for a good money and won many more prizes
(circa 1920)

A noted bird knows as "King Cock"
Won prizes all over the country
and was recognised as the Best Light Mottle of its day
(circa 1910)

(circa 1950)