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1. Basic Genetics 1

2. Basic Genetics 2

3. The Pigeons & Humans

4. Mutation & Natural Selection

5. Pigeon Colors 1

6. Pigeon Colors 2

7. Pigeon Patterns

8. Pigeon Eye Colors

9. X-Pigeons


cy - Crazy


The crazy mutant was first documented by Willard. F. Hollander and Robert. J. Mangile in 1994. The article, “Three New Recessive Behavior Mutants in the Domestic Pigeon”, published in Behavior Genetics reported three mutants producing uncoordinated behavior in pigeons. All three mutants "erratic," "wobbly," and "crazy” were discovered by fanciers separately but genetic testing for the mutants were conducted by Hollander and Mangile. The affected birds with these three mutants were able to survive and breed with some difficulties and all shown as simple autosomal recessive inheritance. Although the allelic testing was not completed among all mutants, the report suggested that at least erratic and crazy were not alleles, despite some phenotypic similarities.

According to Hollander and Mangile, the first known crazy mutant was produced from a pair of normal Racing Homers in 1989 owned by Ms. Sieglinde Tate of Duarte, California. To further investigate the inheritance, she gave the parent pair and one surviving crazy youngster to Dr. Gerald W. Dooley of Kingston Springs, Tennessee. From the original pair Dr. Dooley produced another crazy offspring, but it failed to survive past 6 weeks of age. In June 1990, Dr. Dooley gave the adult male crazy bird that he received from Ms. Tate to Mangile for comparison with the erratic birds.

Occasionally the original crazy male was found lying as if dead with his head on the floor of the cage. When closely approached or touched, he would snap to consciousness as if from deep Sleep. Some deafness possibly exists. For the first couple of days after hatching, crazy squabs show variable head-shaking or side-to-side swaying. Some put their bills against their crop and down to the nest bottom to steady themselves, unlike the behavior of erratic babies. Half-grown crazy squabs are calmer than erratics when approached. They tip the beak upward, without tremor. Crazy squabs often manage to get out of the nest and fall on the floor, so they need attention” (Hollander, Mangile).

In his observations, Mangile noticed that adult "crazy" pigeons' behavior is similar to that of “erratic” pigeons, but not identical. He noticed that the way crazy birds pick up the grain was also difficult, but the grain is swallowed without the exaggerated flinging activity shown by erratics. Crazy squabs had less trouble at weaning (fourth-fifth weeks) than erratics, but they needed to have their feed in a cup or trough. When a crazy male was mated to a normal hen, his mate did most, or all, of the feeding. Behavior of crazy females in mating has not been observed. Similar to erratics, crazy birds invariably have stayed on the floor or on objects a short hop up. However, unlike the spinning action sometimes shown by erratics, crazy birds often paced rapidly in circles about 8 inch in diameter. To date, no neurological study has been made about the crazy mutant. However, it seemed that the erratic and the crazy mutants appear to affect coordination mainly of the anterior part of the body.

As of July 2014, Bob Mangile (private communication) informed me that he still has the Crazy mutant but the Erratic and the Wobbly mutants were lost due to difficulty of hand feeding them to keep them alive. According to Mangile, the Erratic birds were impossible to keep alive and very few of them managed to learn to eat. Most of them were hand fed with the hope that they would learn to eat but that didn't happen.


Hollander W. F., Mangile, R. J. (1994). Three new recessive behavior mutants in the domestic pigeon. Behavior Genetics Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 181-186.
Mangile, R. J. (1983). "Erratic," a behavior mutant in the pigeon. Pigeon Genet. News Views Comments 2:7-11.
Mangile, R. J. (2014). Private Communication.
Mangile, R. J. (1988). "Wobbly"-Is it new in pigeons?" Am. Pigeon J. Jan.: 61.

Copyright July, 2014 by Arif Mümtaz

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