The Blue Rock pigeon
The type of pigeon used in live pigeon shooting was the variety known as the Blue Rock pigeon. The best variety was known as the Lincolnshire Tin Blue Rock. They were fed in Lincolnshire by farmers in the wintertime who also built dovecots for them. Other Blue Rocks were bred in Oxfordshire specifically for the purpose of live pigeon shooting.
A great many Blue Rocks were also bred in Antwerp for use in the Continent and W.W. Greener, writing in his book The Gun And its
Development, 1884 edition, stated with just a hint of jingoism: “They possess none of that gameness peculiar to the English bird”.
At some of the large and permanent live pigeon grounds, such as at Monaco, large dovecotes were erected and many birds were bred at the grounds to save on transportation costs. All four sides of the traps were hinged so that upon the cord being pulled, the trap collapsed entirely leaving the pigeon in the open. Of course the pigeon could then fly off in any direction compared to clay pigeon shooting – one factor in its popularity. It was important that pigeons intended for trap shooting should not become used to being handled to keep them wild and at all the clubs there were stringent rules in force against any mistreatment of birds.
The Blue Rock pigeon.