Mon

06

Jun

2011

Pigeon Fanciers; Ambassadors for a Great Past Time

Raising pigeons is a great hobby, When pigeons get the care they need and deserve, they are a wonderful past time. It is a hobby that gives hours of inexpensive fun and pleasure. They can be as clean and enjoyable as any dog, cat, or goldfish.

Racing pigeons is one form of enjoyment. There are racing pigeon clubs in many Countries of the World. It is the National Sport of Belgium. Several times each week, clubs in Belgium send hundreds of thousands of pigeons to race for prizes that can be over $50,000. The Queen of England even has a loft of pigeons. She was given them as a token of friendship from the King of Belgium. Racing pigeons in America is also becoming a big sport. One race in America recently paid out nearly $800,000 in prize money to the top birds.

People that keep pigeons have a very big responsibility. They are Ambassadors for the Sport. It takes time and effort to make sure that the loft is clean and well kept. Notice that we said clean and well kept. A clean and well kept pigeon loft does not have to be expensive. It can be very cheap, but it does have to be well kept and clean, regardless how much it costs. The pigeons must also be well trained. They need to have good manners. If they are allowed to fly all over the neighborhood and land wherever they please, then they are not well mannered. When this happens, neighbors get upset. They also get upset when they have to look at a dirty and sloppy loft. When this happens, we are teaching our neighbors that pigeons are dirty. We are not being very good Ambassadors for the Sport.

If you would like to enter the Sport of Pigeon Racing, but you do not know where to find them, one of the easiest ways to call a local feed dealer that sells pigeon feeds. They are usually very helpful in helping you get in touch with a local fancier. It you already know someone who has racing homers, then you already have a head start.

8 Comments

Mon

06

Jun

2011

Varieties of Pigeons

There are very many varieties of pigeons. There are Show Pigeons, Rollers, and Racing Homers. Most show pigeons are not let outside to fly. This group includes pigeons such as Fantails, Runts and Pouters. Rollers can be shown and they also can be let out to fly. They get their names by flying high in the air and then rolling back flips down toward the ground. Racing Homers can also be shown, but most people that have homers keep them for their flying abilities. In nice weather, good homers can fly 600 miles in one day!

The choice of pigeons is up to you. Whatever kind of pigeons you would like to have, they must have three basic things. One is a save and secure loft. As we said before, one that is neat and clean. It must be safe from dogs, cats, mice, rats and people. Secondly, they must also have good food. Thirdly, they must have clean water.

2 Comments

Mon

06

Jun

2011

Introduction to the World of Racing Homers

You must also remember that this is just an introductory booklet. There are thousands of pigeon fanciers in our world. There are thousands of ways of handling and raising pigeons. This booklet is just intended to tell you the basic simple facts about raising and caring for Homing Pigeons. You can get additional information from other pigeons books and from experienced pigeon fliers. Remember, the pigeon fancier that know everything does not exist. Ask all the questions you can. Pick out the information that will make you as successful fancier and a good Ambassador for the Sport. Remember to pick out the good points and forget the bad ones. They will only lead to frustration and sorrow. They will also give the sport a black eye. How will you ever know the good ideas from the bad ones? Keep asking questions, and use common sense. Raising pigeons is hard work. It is like anything else. You get out of it what you put into it. If you put little time and effort into your pigeons, then that’s exactly what you will get back from your pigeons. Little or no enjoyment will be your reward. Hard work and asking questions to good fanciers, will lead you into a lifetime sport that will return joy, pleasure, and lasting friendships.

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Mon

06

Jun

2011

The Pigeon Loft

Pigeons are kept in pigeon lofts. Chickens are kept in a coop, so when we talk about a loft, we mean that it is a house just for pigeons. Pigeon lofts can come in all sizes. They also come in different prices. In place where pigeon racing is “big bucks,” pigeon lofts are quite nice and also quite expensive. Some people enjoy racing pigeons so much and are so good at it, that they make their living by racing pigeons. Some American fliers make an excess of $200,000 a year racing and selling pigeons. It is not hard to do considering that firs prize may be more than $40,000. Some of these lofts are so nice, that the average person could not afford to buy one for a house, let alone for a pigeon loft. Do not be afraid, the average pigeon fancier’s loft does not need to be more expensive than his house. Actually most pigeon lofts are small. They are also not very expensive. The price and size is up to you.

Whether your pigeon loft is small or large, cheap or expensive, it must be well ventilated, dry, free from drafts, well lighted and safe. Remember, this is the home for your pigeons. If you want them to come back, you must provide them with safety and nice living conditions. If you do not, they will eventually leave and find a place that has them.

Make sure that your loft has a good roof. The roof should hang well beyond the walls, because a driving rain will come through any openings that are not covered by the roof. The pigeon loft should be enclosed by three sides. Four walls are better. Pigeons are not like robins and other birds that live in trees they like security. Three or four walls gives them the protection and security from the weather and other animals. Face the loft toward the direction of your nicest weather. Most American lofts face either East or South, but this depends on your own local climate.

Pigeons must be familiar with their surroundings before they take off and fly. If they are forced to fly before they know where home is, they will probably become lost. A pigeon loft has a landing board where the pigeons enter and leave the loft. This landing board allows the pigeons to stand and become familiar with their surroundings. At the end of the landing board should be a flap that covers the traps or “bobs”. When the birds are inside the loft, the flap should be closed. Cats would like nothing more than to enter your loft and have a nice lunch. The “bobs” will not keep cats out. Cats will bend the traps with ease, and then, eat your birds. They will also probably kill a few more than they can eat. Cats are cats. Their instincts are to catch and kill birds and mice. Cats and pigeons do not mix any better than fire and gasoline. Keep the flap closed when your pigeons are inside.

Some pigeon lofts have a fly cage attached to the loft. This fly cage allows the pigeons to go safely outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. It also gives youngsters the opportunity to look at their surroundings and become familiar with their home and location.

Loft Location
A pigeon loft with pigeons that are allowed to fly outside should be out in the open. It should not be covered by trees. The pigeons need to be able to see their surroundings. They also need to be able to see their loft when they are flying. If you get a choice, do not place your loft near wires. Pigeons fliers that have lots o wires around their homes have many problems with broken legs and wings.

Loft Direction
Your pigeon loft should be facing the direction of your most pleasant weather. It should be facing away from the bad weather of winter. For most people, the best direction to face heir lofts is to the East or South.

Blocks
The loft should be place on concrete blocks. It you are building your pigeon loft on a concrete floor, the blocks are not needed. Most fanciers have a wooden floor in their lofts. By placing the loft off the ground, you discourage rats, mice, weasels, skunks, and other animals from living under your loft. Most of these animals only spell trouble for you and your pigeons. Your neighbors would not appreciate them either.

2 Comments

Mon

06

Jun

2011

Pigeon Loft Ventilation

Even if one whole side of your loft was open, you would not have good ventilation. In fact, you would have quite a draft and probably would get sick pigeons. How do you have good ventilation and yet not have drafts blowing on the birds? How can you have good ventilation without allowing your birds to get wet because you had the windows open? Why do you even have to have good ventilation? These are some good questions. They are also very important ones that most people over look. They are also reasons why many fanciers do not race as well as they could.

First of all, pigeons breathe out carbon dioxide just like you do. They need oxygen to be healthy and filled with energy. They also have their droppings land on the floor. These droppings contain ammonia. In large quantities ammonia will burn the linings of your nose and lungs. It also makes your eyes water. Your body does not want it or like it. Besides, it smells. It is much worse during damp weather because the droppings do not get a chance to dry out.

The carbon dioxide and the ammonia have to go. If they don’t , your pigeons will not perform their best. Most fanciers do not understand what good ventilation is. They feel that a window or two will take care of their needs. It is true that a window or two helps. In fact the windows are necessary, but heir main purpose of the windows should be to allow light to enter the loft. When the weather is nasty, those windows should be closed. It they are not, rain or snow will enter the loft and will dampen the floor and droppings. The damp floor as well as the damp droppings will soon cause your pigeons to become ill.

Proper ventilation is used in rain or shine. It is used in winter or summer. It is especially useful on days when there is no breeze. Proper ventilation begins either on the roof, of at the top of the highest wall. The pigeons produce body heat. The sun beating down on the loft also produces heat. The warm air rises. As it rise, it leaves from the ventilators in the roof or eaves. The second part of proper ventilators is to speed up the process of getting the warm air out. This is done by replacing it with cooler air. Cooler air is heavier than warm air. The bottom of the loft should have a ventilator vent on the bottom of the wall. It should be on the same wall as the top ventilator. In this way, cool oxygen filled air enters the loft at the bottom. As it leaves, it takes the carbon dioxide and ammonia with it. Simple isn’t it? It is also cheap. The results are wonderful. Your birds will be healthier and perform better. They will also not be in a draft, and the system works every day of the year, regardless hat the weather does. If you want to see if your system is adequate, you can do this test. Take something smelly, like air freshener, into your loft. Come back ten minutes later. It you can still smell the odor, then add another roof ventilator and floor ventilator.

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Mon

06

Jun

2011

Necessary elements of a champion pigeon racing loft.

Traps
For those fanciers that intend to allow their birds to fly outside, traps or bobs are a must. No loft should be without a set. The Belgians have developed a new kind of trap, but most American fliers still use the traditional aluminum bobs. Once the birds have come into the loft, they cannot leave again. Pigeons should either be out exercising, or inside the loft. If they are outside all day, they get into bad habits. As soon as they are finished flying, they should be called into the loft. There are times when you want to allow them the extra time to take a both or pick on the ground around the loft, but those should not be daily activities. When your birds are out all day, they pick up bad habits such as sitting on other peoples houses and telephone wires. They may also leave for a while to feed or mix with common pigeons. All of these are evils. Neighbors get angry by having pigeons sitting on their property. They don not like the messes the pigeons leave behind. When your birds feed with common pigeons, it exposes them to bad feed or poisons that could make them sick, or even worse, it could kill them. The common pigeons may also carry diseases that your birds do not need or want. If your birds are continually outside all day, you will not be able to catch them for training purposes. If you race your pigeons, they will not come into the loft when they return from a race. They will stay outside, because that’s what you taught them by allowing them to stay outside all day long.

Train them at an early age to enter the loft as soon as they are finished flying and you will be happier. It your birds land on your neighbors house or sit on telephone wires, throw something soft at them, such as a tennis ball. This will teach them that the only place to land is on your own property. Your neighbors will be happier, and the sport of pigeon flying will improve its good name. As we said, they should either be exercising or inside the loft. Traps are an important part in controlling your pigeons. They can be purchased from any pigeon supply company.

There is an exception to the rule of throwing tennis balls at your pigeons when they land on your neighbor’s house. Do not throw the ball at your birds until they know where home is. If they land on your neighbor’s house on their first few trips outside, you could force them to fly away be throwing the ball at them.

Landing Board
The landing board is placed in front of the traps. This is the landing and taking of pad that the birds use as they enter and leave the loft. It should be large enough for the birds to land and take off easily. If it is too small the birds will not be able to enter the loft easily, and they will not be as willing to come into the loft when you call them. It should also be large enough for your youngsters to sit and look at their surroundings.

Aviaries
An aviary or fly cage can be added to your loft. They are particularly helpful when it comes to caring for birds that are always kept in their loft. The aviary allows the birds to go outside and get some fresh air and sunshine. Some fanciers make the top of the aviary from wood or shingles. This is helpful in keeping droppings from sparrows or starlings out of your loft. These droppings could have some serious diseases that you would not want your pigeons to catch. Other fanciers take the risk and make their aviary top from wire. They feel that the advantage of allowing the pigeons outside in an open top aviary allows rain and sunshine to enter all the parts of the aviary, which makes it possible for the birds to take rain an sun baths.

Paint
Paint is a great tool in being a good Ambassador for the sport of racing pigeons. It’s surprising what a pint job does. There is no excuse for having a sloppy looking loft. Paint is not that expensive. It makes the loft look fresh and clean. It impresses people when they look at it . It is good for the sport. At this time it might also be helpful to remind yourself to keep the area around the loft cleaned up. This discourages rats, mice , and other pests. It also helps keep good relations with the neighbors. Take pride in your loft and pigeons. Take pride yourself. Keep your loft painted!

Locks
No pigeon loft should be without a lock. Over the years, a number of American fanciers have had their lofts vandalized. Their pigeons were either stolen or killed. A lock is not very expensive. A lock is a good investment and it should be on every loft.

Perches
There are several types of perches that you can build or buy. They are important parts of your pigeon’s lives. This is especially true for youngsters. This is their home inside their home. Once they have selected their perch, they will fight to keep it. They will drive all others from it. If you have more birds than perches, you have trouble. Those birds without perches will feel left out. They will have no sense of worth and no desire to come home. They are often the first to be lost because they do not have the desire to come back to a loft where they are left out. They will go some place else where they will be happier. That perch is important indeed. It is a magnet that draws pigeons home.

V-Perches
V perches are easy to build. They are also cheap. Cleaning them is very easy. They do have some drawbacks. It is easy for them to soil the pigeons below them if you make them too short. It also makes catching the birds a little more difficult.

Box Perches
Box perches are more difficult to build, and they cost more. They are excellent for controlling pigeons, because the birds cannot jump from one perch to another perch when you want to catch them. It is also harder for them to soil the other birds below with their droppings. Box perches are usually 9″ by 9″. If they are much larger than that, the pigeons often get their own droppings on their own perches.

Nests
Nests are to old birds as perches are to youngsters. They are a big reason why old birds want to come home. It is their home within a home. Once they select a nest they will fight to keep it. For this very reason, it is very useful to have fronts on your nests. It helps keep other pairs out.

Homing pigeons have nest boxes approximately 1 foot high, 1 foot wide, and 2 feet long. Good nest boxes have fronts that go on or off easily. Since the nests should be cleaned after each round of youngsters, it is helpful to have a good nest front. It makes cleaning the nest easier. A front can also be a big help when it is time to lock up the pairs during the mate selection process at the beginning of the breeding season. Good nest fronts are also helpful in keeping your pairs out of the nests when the breeding season is over.

6 Comments

Sun

05

Jun

2011

Feed, Grit and Water

Feed
What kind of body would you have if you only ate cake? It certainly would be fun for a while, but you soon would get tired of it. Worse, you would soon have an unhealthy body and not very much pep and energy.

Pigeons are seed eaters. Like you, they need a balanced diet. Eating just one kind of seed will cause them to become sick and weak. Many feed dealers have pigeon feeds that are already mixed with a proper selection of grains. If your feed store does not have pigeon feed, you might be able to order it. Many companies like Purina sell pigeon feeds and they usually have dealers in or near many cities. If you cannot find anyone that handles pigeon feeds, you could mix whole corn, wheat, milo, and chicken laying pellets together and have a balanced feed mix.

Pigeons also like greens. During the Summer, they can get their greens outside while exercising, but during the Winter, greens are not available. If your birds are always kept in the loft, then, they never have any greens. This problem can be solved by chopping a few leaves of lettuce, spinach, or cabbage. Sometimes a little salt sprinkled on it makes it a little more tasty.

Store your feed in a place where it will be protected from bugs, mice , and water. Insects will lay their eggs on your feed, and when the eggs hatch, your feed will become wormy. Mice will leave their droppings in the feed and spread diseases such as paratyphoid. Wet feed gets moldy and causes other pigeon diseases.

Feed Trough
Pigeons should be fed in or on some kind of feed trough. Could you imagine what would happen to you if you always ate food that fell on the floor? You may not always get ill from this, but sooner or later you would get sick. Pigeon droppings fall on the floor. So, you should not expect your birds to eat their food after it has fallen on the soiled floor either. Feeding from a trough reduces the risk of having your pigeons catch diseases.

If you feed your birds from an uncovered feed trough, remove the trough when the birds are finished eating. This prevents the pigeons from soiling the bottom of the feed tray. Never leave food in the tray when they are finished eating. Pigeons will knock the uneaten seeds on the floor and trample them into their droppings. Know how much your birds eat each day and feed them no more than that amount. Over fed pigeons waste feed, are expensive, difficult to train, and get fat and lazy.

Besides feeding time is one of the most important times of the day. It is a time to get acquainted with your birds. They will walk between your feet while eagerly waiting to be fed. They can be trained to eat from your hand. They will learn to trust you. Feed them in small amounts so that they have to eat all the seeds. It you pour a whole bunch of feed in the trough at one time. They will pick out only what they want to eat and thus not get a balanced diet.

Grit
Pigeons do not have teeth or stomachs. They have gizzards. The gizzards grind up the hard seeds so that the food can be digested in the small intestine. Pigeons need to eat grit. Grit is nothing more than small stones that the gizzard uses to grind up the grain. Your feed dealer probably has some grit. Commercial grit may contain minerals and salt. It you do not have an opportunity to buy commercial grit, you can make some yourself. Take a piece of concrete and break it into pieces about the size of small peas. If it is too large, they will not use it. If it is much smaller than that, the birds will continually be eating grit because the gizzard is breaking it down too quickly. You may add a little salt to the grit, but do not add too much salt. If you have too much salt in their diets, it will cause them to drink constantly. Oyster shells can be added to the grit. Pigeons use the calcium from the shells to make strong bones and firm eggs. Charcoal bits can also be added.Grit should be kept in a covered trough so the pigeons cannot soil it with their droppings.

Water
Pigeons need fresh water. It should be changed at least once a day. Some fliers add a teaspoon of Clorox bleach to a gallon of water. The bleach does not give the bacteria a chance to multiply so easily. Even if the water looks fresh the next day, it is not. Bacteria is so small that you need a microscope to see it. Just take a little extra time and pour it our and get some fresh water. Water should be changed just before you feed the birds.

Many fanciers keep their waterers off the floor because as the pigeons fly around the loft, their wings stir up dust. The dust may carry bacteria which will contaminate the water. If you put the waterer off the floor, you reduce the amount of dust which may fall into your water.

Wherever you place your waterer, make sure that it is covered. If the birds sit above an uncovered waterer, their droppings will fall directly into the water. It the openings in your waterer are to large, your pigeons will continuously e in the water taking a bath. Waterers can be bought from pigeon supply companies. You can also make your own from a gallon milk jug or a Clorox Jug.

After several weeks, you will notice a slick feeling slime on the bottom of your waterer. This is a microscopic form of algae. This algae also helps trap and hold other forms of bacteria, which might cause an illness in your pigeons. It is very easy to get rid of this slime. Just put a small amount of Clorox bleach in the water and wipe the waterer with a rag. Many top fliers wash their waterer with a disinfectant every day.

0 Comments

Sun

05

Jun

2011

Sick Pigeons

Pigeons sometimes get sick even in the cleanest lofts. Sick pigeons often ruffle their feathers and look droopy. When they are sick, they often have watery droppings. Many different diseases will cause these symptoms. Asking an experienced pigeon flier for help is a good idea. If you have no one to help you, it would be a good idea to remove the sick pigeon and place it in a small pen or cage. This may help to prevent the disease from spreading. You can call one of the pigeon supply companies for help.

Pigeons also may get lice. They live on the pigeons and in the cracks in the loft. Dusting powders and roost paints will get rid of lice. The lice and miter drink the pigeons blood and chew on their feathers. Dusting your birds several times a year will get rid of the lice. A handful of Borax laundry detergent in their bath water also helps remove and prevent lice. Dusting powders and roost paints can be purchased from any pigeon supply house.

The bottom of the aviary should be made from wire. The wire should have a small size mesh because pigeons will not walk on it if the mesh is too large. The mesh bottom allows the droppings and rain to fall through it.

4 Comments

Sun

05

Jun

2011

Getting Your Pigeons

Now that your loft is all ready, we are ready for the best part of all. We are ready to get your pigeons. Some of the best racing pigeons in America are listed for sale in the racing pigeon magazines. Unfortunately, most of them cost more than the beginning fancier can afford. The best source of good pigeons is from some of your local fliers. Most of these veteran fliers will be happy to help you get started. They know that their sport depends on new fliers. They will either provide you with some breeders so you can raise your own racers, or else they will get you started with some youngsters that you can settle and fly immediately.

3 Comments

Sun

05

Jun

2011

Pigeon Life Cycle

To help you understand what to expect from your pigeons, we will briefly follow them for one year. Because a year is a long time and many things can and will happen it will be impossible to explain everything. We will just explain the basics. Also, please remember that there are very many ways to keep, raise, and train pigeons. When you are ready for more information, go and ask a good flier. They are almost always ready to help you. Remember, they enjoy raising and racing pigeons. They also know that the sport of racing pigeons continues through new members.

As the amount of daylight increases in the Spring, hormones inside the pigeons get the birds excited. Cock birds ( boy pigeons ) will begin to puff up their chests and fan their tails as they chase the hens ( girl pigeons ) around the loft. The hens also get turned on, so to speak, and get ready to make eggs. By Valentines Day, many fanciers are ready to mate their birds.

Most fanciers spend many Winter nights planning on which cocks and hens are to be mated together. When the day comes to mate their pairs together, most fanciers place their planned pairs inside the nest boxes and lock them up. The cock birds might get so excited that they will scalp their hens. To prevent this, it is helpful to place a brick inside one corner of the nest. This allows the hen to stand above the cock and saver her from a possible pecking. The next day, you let them out to feed and stretch. After they have had a chance to feed and stretch, you lock them up again. After several days, they will begin to pair up. Most become paired up after just a few days. Some may go as long as two weeks, and there are a few that will never become paired. Fortunately those are few and far between.

3 Comments

Sun

05

Jun

2011

Nesting

As soon as the birds are paired, you can place nesting material in the loft. Some fanciers place the material inside the nests. Some place it on the floor and let the birds build their own nests. This practice also helps them exercise and wear off Winter fat.

What nesting material do you use? You can use straw, twigs, tobacco stems, or pine needles. Straw gets mushy as the squeakers ( baby pigeons ) get their droppings on it. It is also a good home for mites and lice. These pests live in the hollow stems of the straw. Straw is cheap and easy to get. Tobacco stems and pine needles are both great for nests. They both help repel mites and lice. Pine needles are cheaper. All you have to do is find a pine tree and rake them up.

While the birds are building their nest and courting, the cock will eventually get on top of the hen and mate with her. He will also feed her a milky fluid that helps stimulate her to produce the eggs.

5 Comments

Sun

05

Jun

2011

Pigeon Egg Incubation

After about 10 days from mating, the hen will lay her first egg. If it is not freezing outside, she will probably not sit on it all the time. She will skip a day, and then lay her second egg. Now she is ready to sit tight and incubate both of her eggs.

There are exceptions to every rule, and here is an exception. Remember when we mentioned that it was important to know how much your birds ate? Now, you will notice some extra feed being left in the trough. Here is the exception to the rule about leaving left over feed in the trough. Leave the food ! Some hens and cocks sit so tightly on their eggs or squeakers, that they will not go to eat until their mates are finished eating. When the mates are full, they will come and trade places and sit on the eggs or squeakers while the pigeon previously sitting on the nest can go and eat.

The hen will sit on the nest from late afternoon until mid morning. At mid morning, the cock will go into the nest and take over for a while. Now the hen can stretch and relax. Late in the afternoon, she will return to the nest and take over once more. During this time, both the cock and hen begin to form pigeon milk. This milk is made from partially digested grain. They will pump the milk into the newly hatched squeakers when the squeakers place their bill into the bills of their parents.

14 Comments

Sun

05

Jun

2011

Hatching

The first egg will begin to pip after 17 days. The squeaker uses an egg tooth to hammer his way out of the egg. One day later, he will crawl out of his shell. After the first one is hatched, the second one will begin to pip his shell.

The cock and hen will both feed the squeakers pigeon milk. Pigeon milk is partially digested grain which forms in the parent’s crops. The squabs grow fast. By the time they are 5 to 7 days old they will be covered with quill feathers and are ready to band.

As the days pass, they will reduce the amount of milk and feed the squabs more and more whole grains. The parents also will be eating more and more, so be prepared to increase their feed ration.

In 5 weeks, they will be ready to fly and the parents will be back on another set of eggs. The squeakers are now ready to wean. Just move them into your young bird section. They will be eating and drinking as well as the adults in a few days.

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Sun

05

Jun

2011

Settling Your Youngsters

Many fanciers take their squeakers outside the loft when they re 4 weeks old. They are too young to fly and cannot fly away. The youngsters will sit on the landing board and become familiar with their neighborhood. They also learn how to enter and exit the loft. Both of these are very important. If youngsters are frightened off the landing board before they know their surroundings and entry into the loft, they will probably become lost forever.

When the youngsters are first taken outside, they will spend a lot of time just sitting on the landing board and loft. They are becoming familiar with their surroundings and gathering information for their instincts which will allow them to find their way home.

This is a time when they need to be out for longer periods of time. When they are flying around the loft and are familiar with their surroundings, it is time to shorten their time outside.

7 Comments

Sun

05

Jun

2011

Training Your Birds

After the birds have been outside for a proper amount of time, they should be called into the loft. This is done by whistling and shaking the feed can. Just as a lion tamer uses a whip to train his lions, so you must use your feed to train your pigeons. When your pigeons are hungry, they quickly enter the loft. The ones that are late should not be given any food. This sounds cruel, but you can bet your last dollar they will be first tomorrow. If you plan to let your birds out twice a day, give them 1/3 of their ration in the morning. They will still be hungry enough to come into the loft when you exercise them again in the late afternoon. When you call them into the loft after the afternoon exercise, give them the other 2/3 of their daily ration. When the first few birds go to drink, you never allow any food to remain out. They must clean it all up. If they don not, take the remaining food and save it for tomorrow. Then, make sure that you cut back tomorrow’s ration a little bit. Remember, you want them hungry. You certainly do not want to starve them, but giving them all the food they want is just as bad. When you feed too much, you lose your whip. When you lose your whip, you lose control of your birds.

Be as consistent as you can. Always try to feed them and exercise them at the same time of day. Have a good routine, and follow it every day.

Neighborhood Manners
After several weeks, your birds will be flying for minutes at a time. Once they know where home is and how to enter the loft, you must teach them the other ground rules. They should only sit on your property. It is best if they only sit on your loft. If they sit on your neighbors house or telephone wires, get them off of them. Throw a tennis ball or anything else suitable. They will soon catch on to the idea that someone else’s property is off limits.

0 Comments

Sun

05

Jun

2011

Training down the road

When your birds have molted their 3rd flight feather, they are finally ready to take down the road. They should be taken in the same direction from which your local club is flying. If you are not in a club, pick out on direction and stick with it.

Basket your birds by catching them gently. If you have been feeding them carefully and have a good routine, they should be rather tame. If you ruffle their feathers when you catch them, gently put the feathers back into place. If you handle your birds roughly, they will become afraid of you and will fly wildly to escape you.

Pick clear days with very few clouds. It is better to pick a nice day than to pick a bad one and lose most or all of your birds. Train your youngsters in the morning. Young birds do not do as well if you train them down the road late afternoon or evening. Your losses will be much higher with the afternoon tosses.

Take your birds two miles away from home and find a place without any wires. Two miles sounds like a long distance for the first time out, but your pigeons can see much farther than that when they are high in the air. They probably have flown that far away from home many times while they were exercising around the loft. Besides, many fanciers take them 5 miles for their first trip, so don’t worry.

The first trip may take them an hour before they come home. This will give you time to get home and wait for their return. As soon as they return home whistle them inside the loft. They must be trained to enter the loft promptly as soon as they return home. Sometimes only seconds separate the winner from the next pigeon.

The next morning, you should take them back to the same place, if the weather is nice. As soon as they return, call them into the loft. On the third morning, you are ready to take 5 miles. Take them out 5 miles again on the fourth day. Now, your are ready to take them twice each time to 10, 15 and 20 miles.

By the end of the 20 mile mark, your pigeons should have been down the road ten times, if you went to each location twice. They should be coming home faster and faster and entering the loft more quickly each time.

At this point fliers will bring their birds back to a distance of 10 to 12 miles and either single toss or double toss their birds. They feel that this serves two purposes. First, it causes the pigeons to think on their own. Secondly, it will weed the duds that have been following the good pigeons home. The fliers may do this five or six times before moving farther down the road.

At this point, some fliers also give their birds a circle training. That is, the birds get tossed together at 5 miles and 10 miles to the North, South, West, and East. In this way the birds learn their way home from all directions up to 10 miles. Sometimes weather causes the pigeons to miss the mark, and this circle training method helps them to find their way home more quickly.

Now you may take them to the next tosses of 30, 40, 50, 60, 80 and 100 miles. These tosses should be in the same direction as your club flies. You will now be able to ship them to the first race and have confidence that you will have your pigeons home in good time and that they will enter the loft as soon as they return home.

The last tip is this. If your birds ever get “smashed” while training, back them up to the last place from which they returned in good time. A “smash” is a term uses to mean that the birds became confused and lost. Sometimes only a few birds will return after several days. Many smashes are caused by bad weather. Sometimes smashes just happen. They happen to most fliers, so do not feel badly. Just have enough courage and try it again. Give the birds a few days to rest, and take them back to the last place from which they returned home in good time.

2 Comments

Sun

05

Jun

2011

Culling the weak

If you don not race your pigeons with a club, it is still very important that your train out your youngsters. You must weed out the “duds” or else you soon will have pigeons overflowing out of your loft. Too many pigeons in the loft costs extra money for feed, extra work and raises the chances of having diseases spread through your loft. Is it worth keeping to many? The answer is no !

By training your birds down the road, you will lose those that are not smart enough to find their way home. You will also lose the ones that are not strong enough or do not have the courage or will to come home. These are the pigeons that you do not want or need. If you do not train out your birds, you will have no way of knowing the good ones from the bad ones.

You may not always agree with the way the basket weeds out the duds, because it is easy to get attached to favorite colors or looks. We feel sad when our favorite fails to come home. This is a natural part of life. The weak pigeons have got to go, otherwise they will breed more weak pigeons. Then, you will have a loft filled with duds. Saver your good pigeons and raise some more good ones next year. Get rid of the duds, and you will be much happier. You will save more money and work too.

5 Comments

Sun

05

Jun

2011

After the Breeding and Racing Seasons

After the breeding season

Correct Line BreedingAfter your breeders have produced the youngsters to your race team, they should be stopped from raising any more young ones. Some fliers separate the pairs, while others take the real eggs away and let the pairs sit on glass or dummy eggs. One or the other needs to be done because as the Fall begins, the birds begin to molt. All of their feathers will be replaced during the Fall. They molt a few feathers each day until all their plumage has been replaced. If you allow the parents to raise youngsters in the Fall, they will not have the strength to replace their feathers properly. The parent’s plumage will be dull because they gave too much of their food supply to their late hatched youngsters.

After the racing season

After the racing season, it is time to separate the cocks and hens. They can now finish out their molt and get ready for next Spring. You now have all Winter to think about which pairs will produce your “champion”. Winter is also the time that many clubs have their shows.

1 Comments

Sun

05

Jun

2011

Beginner’s Handbook Conclusion

You now have been introduced to the sport of pigeons. We have shown you a few of the basics. We have also taken you through one entire year in the lives of your birds. It might very well be confusing until you actually go through the experience of building a loft and raising and training your own birds. Find someone else in the sport to help you grow and learn, but remember that experience is the best teacher of all. Learn from mistakes and do not make the same mistakes twice. Ask questions. You will never learn unless your ask. Also remember that the pigeon fancier that knows everything does not exist. Always be a credit to your sport. Be a good Ambassador for a great past time.

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For Fancier Like You

1.(Nutritional advice for your pigeons) Click Here!
2.(Champion Pigeon Breeding Revealed) Click Here!
3.(The Pigeon Racing Formula) Click Here!
4.(The Pigeon Racing Feeding and Nutrition Secrets) Click Here!
5.(Amazing Complete Guide For Pigeon Fanciers) Click Here!
6.(Speed King) Click Here!

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