The History of The Holle cropper



The reasons for keeping fancy pigeons are obvious to the reader since it proves one of the best pastimes thinkable. One may go for arts, for nature study, for literature study, for sculpture and one may keep fan- cy pigeons thus having the best of all those things.

It is agreed that it is a pastime and that is a matter man did not always have an abundance of. However in the 17th century Holland had the "golden age". Merchants had money to spare and Dutch ships sailed the oceans bringing, among other things, pigeons to our country. Of course these merchants required the extraordinaire for their mansions, while in the towns flying tumblers (Amsterdam ) or thief cropper (The Hague) became very popular and in fact, have remained so.

Willoughby mentions in his "ornithologia" the Uploper in 1678. This. was a rather long cropper with a balloon resembling that of the Norwich Cropper and in fact was used to form that breed. The names implies something of temperament, "to walk towards one". From that. the Dutch balloon cropper evolved. Not a breed with a standard but bred on work- manlike lines more by the thief cropper fraternity and still to be found in the town of the Hague at the thief cropper lofts of' which this town still has many.

At the beginning of this century, with show becoming popular, there were 3 related forms of cropper all referred to as the Holle Cropper. The towns of' Amsterdam. the Hague and Groningen were where one could go and look for them. The Amsterdam birds were rather large. big balloon and a coarse headed form, the Groningen more of a flyer, the Hague variety a small "tail sweeper".

n the year 1904 the Dutch Holle Cropper Club was formed and immediately work was started to bring unity. The result is now clear to see. A beautiful little cropper. Full 01' temperament and round, round, round. One of the most important people in this. development was Mr. J. Ph. Tuyl. It was, he who brought forward the idea of a bird that fitted perfectly into a circle. Only 10 years after the forming of the breed club, Mr. Tuyt brought forward his famous cock "KING" in crude resembling what we want from a Holle Cropper today. With the help of the fantail and the Groingen Slenk (an old flying breed), the standard of 1920 was achieved. Not at all unlike what we have nowadays but, but with the tail carried low (not fitting in the circle remember?) and rather straight in front.

During the second world war much damage was done. The German occupier put a stop to all pigeon keeping, presumably thinking that birds as a Holle Cropper could be used to bring messages to England. The penalties for those that did not comply with that rule were enormous but yet some fanciers managed to pull some of their beloved birds through this dark period.

After that era of course the development continued. With the help of the Modena pigeon the tail was lifted and front was given. That breed and of course selection within the Holle Cropper itselflf gave us the picture of today.

Very popular at shows in the Netherlands where it is penned in cages which are board- ed so they can't see each other, thus preventing them to outlive themselves at the first day and sleep during the remainder of the show, it has now found its way well over the borders becoming one of the most popular blowing breeds. Foster parents are required in some strains but there still are many about that take care of the nesting duties in a most perfect way. One important thing to remember when breeding Holles is that of the balance. Several birds lack depth at front, while the bodyline from front to back, seen through the legs should be continuous. The latter is not only important from a judges point of view but birds lacking front will always try to walk back- wards and press their tail down to regain balance.