S'porean man raises 22 fancy pigeons & 6 chickens outside Telok Blangah HDB flat


Lean Jinghui | February 03, 2021, 06:14 PM

For Rudy, 54, fantail pigeons have always been a fascination.

12 cages — housing 22 pigeons, three chickens and three roosters — line the corridor outside his HDB flat at 29 Telok Blangah Rise.

Said Rudy:

"It started with two. Two fantail pigeons, which I'd bought for S$300, and a pair of chickens, which my friends had wanted to 'throw away'."

"I ended up taking them in because they weren't very healthy chicken. If you let it go outside it will die."

Started as a hobby

Rudy explained that keeping pigeons is his hobby, because he "loves pigeons so much".

In particular, he has a soft spot for fantail pigeons, which he describes as "quite tame".

The fantail is a popular "fancy" breed of pigeon amongst bird lovers, characterised by its unique fan-shaped tail.

Rudy's entire "collection"


While it was much easier to purchase one in the past, the fantail pigeon is hard to find today in bird shops.

Rudy purchased one pair three years ago. He used to keep a fantail pigeon as a companion in primary school, and for the longest time, wanted to rear it again.

So when the opportunity to own a pair came around, he grabbed it. 

Spends S$150 monthly on food

To ensure that his birds are well and healthy, Rudy spends about S$150 a month on their food alone.

The birds are fed twice daily, with a mix of brown rice ("Because brown rice is good for their bones.") and bird seeds.

Rudy's pigeons and chickens with their food

Rudy also cleans them twice a day for at least an hour before he goes to work and when he returns.

This means that he sometimes wakes up as early as 7am or 8am, in order to bathe them.

The birds also get some exercise time every day.  "I don't want them to lose the knowledge of how to fly," he says.

Multiplied rapidly over few years

Over the past few years, Rudy's collection has flourished. Rapidly.

The cages, from just two, now clutter the narrow corridor.

However, other than the cooing of the pigeons and the occasional crowing of the roosters, there is no accompanying smell that one might expect from this mini bird sanctuary.

Image via Jinghui Lean

According to Rudy, the new birds are chicks and baby pigeons. Some of the pigeons are mixed breeds.

"They multiplied without knowing," he said.

Seeing the baby chicks hatch was very exciting and interesting for him, so he decided to keep them.

He said however, that the number of birds is currently too much; he is thinking of reducing the number of pigeons in his care.

Some have already been given away.

Rudy said that he is willing to give away the others too, as long as he can find someone who can take care of them.

Said Rudy,

"This is not a normal pigeon. I can’t just let the birds go out as they would die. It [Fantail pigeon] cannot survive outside. You let [it] go, it cannot find food on its own."

Told to keep area clean

Rudy's concern also stems from the fact that he was recently visited by the Member of Parliament (MP) from the Radin Mas Constituency who reminded him to "keep the area clean" and suggested reducing the number of birds that he rears.

Under the Animal and Birds Act, no person is allowed to keep, harbour, roost, nest or breed pigeons unless otherwise licensed. Poultry is also limited to "no more than 10" in any premise.

However, Rudy said that so far, all his neighbours are "quite good". No one has also directly approached him with a complaint about the birds.

Rudy added that he cleans the area regularly, because "cleanliness is very important".

He also brings the roosters in every night, so that their crowing would not disrupt his neighbours in the morning.

It's an effortful endeavour on Rudy's part but he is willing to do it because seeing his birds fly around is "very free and peaceful".

Neighbours have no issue with the birds

Rudy's immediate neighbours confirmed with Mothership that they have no issues with Rudy's birds.

One neighbour, Cai, 70, said:

"It's not that I've gotten used to it. There also isn't much benefit for us. But, there needs to be tolerance between neighbours. If you complain over a small matter, it is not good."

Another neighbour, also named Cai, 71, mentioned that she "doesn't care" about the situation because Rudy keeps the area outside his house clean.

She said that all of Rudy's pigeons and chickens are "really pretty", and that it is rare to see them in the wild anymore.

All images by Jinghui Lean. Interviews were conducted in English and Mandarin.