Ice Club Members 2018
Mr & Mrs Bradbourn
The Ice Pigeon in the U.K.
by John E Surridge – Ice breeder since 1964
The breed has certainly been well established in Europe for a long time, originating and being developed by breeders with foresight in Silesia and Saxony. In fact Neumeister described it fully in his writings way back in the early 1800’s and although it had obviously already been well established in the UK for some time it was not formerly standardised here until 1925. In type and classification it is a classical German Toy and is basically in the same format as the German Field Pigeons and unfortunately many still carry some of the original wild traits of being nervous, shy and even slightly erratic on occasion. World wide it is now commonly found in both of its two distinct varieties, namely the original type which was Clean Legged and the later Muffed version, which was developed mainly in the Saxony area of Germany between 1850 and 1870. The breed is described in some depth by Fulton in his writings in the out of date but still sought after book, “Fulton’s Book of Pigeons”. It is also extremely well documented in the great specialist book specifically on Colour Pigeons written by Bennett and Bannard and also by Wendell Levi in his world famous book “The Pigeon”.
The continuance of a specialist club for the breed here in the UK is as a result of a lifetimes dedicated work of just one fancier, the sadly late Joe Roper, who over the span of several decades kept the club and the breed itself going through thick and thin, regularly and always willingly spreading birds around especially to new comers, he did everything within his power to promote this wonderful breed. His influence, dedication and enthusiasm is already being sadly missed. In trying to follow in the steps of Joe, who was also a very good personal friend, I have given and still give many pigeons away to new fanciers. Hopefully we might one day see the names of some of these new Ice fanciers emblazoned on to the Club Trophies. Some of us more ‘senior’ (old) fanciers still exchange birds so that we can all hopefully keep the breed and the various markings, moving forward. In order to strengthen our UK bloodlines I have managed to make friends with a couple of the best Ice breeders in Europe and with a bit of luck, allied to a lot of hard and continuous work we will continue to improve our birds.
As for the pigeons themselves, their various pattern standards of Black or White Barred, Barless, Forellen, Porcelain and White Chequered, all superimposed upon a very unique Ice base colour each with darker but delicate flight colouration and a pronounced dark tail bar, are all well known and are accepted by clubs and fanciers world-wide, their strong point still being their Country of Origin, Germany, though the Dutch have some very serious breeders. Over the years various colour patterns have dominated in turn. When I first kept Ice way back in the mid 1960’s Black Barred CL were accounting for around 80% of the breed being exhibited in the UK with the Muffed colours being almost non-existent. Today the tables are turned. The bulk of Ice at UK shows today will be Muffed, whilst in the CL colours almost certainly only Barless or Forellen (Black Chequered) will appear. However, with the help of our many German and Dutch friends the quality of our Ice in the UK, in all of the patterns, in both CL and Muffed has improved 100% and is continuing to do so and importantly newer, often neglected patterns such as the Porcelain, are emerging.
late Joe Roper & late Pat Pratt around the show pens
Ice Club Member John Surridge
Secretary Graham Giddings
President Francis Bradbourn
with his Best in Show at Reading' Gold Cup' Show 2014
Best In Show Swansea 2014
Mr Mrs Bradbourn
Joe Roper Memorial trophy to be presented at Ice Club show Reading January 2017