@Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

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@Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Indaswamp » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:51 pm

Any suggestions? I'm not looking for homers-just to have them around for the dogs and to cull the young tender ones...
what info can you point me to? Thanks..
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Rick Hall » Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:43 am

Headed to the camp for teal, so if this starts to fall from sight before I get back to it, give it a bump.
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby lonewolf9029 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:22 am

Inda: i raised pigeons on and off most of my life. I always had homers, but just raising birds ain't much of a science. Any birds you hatch would become homers automatically if you had traps for them to re-enter the coop. You'll just need a 4'x8' coop (I perferred 8'x8' where I could walk inside and tend to nesting boxes, water, and feed. You can start out with several pairs you buy at the feed store. You can also get your pigeon food, auto waters, accessories there. Just some chicken wire and plywood, and 2x4"s. And some 30lb. felt or shingle it if you want. Hay and/or pine needles for them to build nests with. I always made my nesting boxes approx 8"x8" out of scapes or whatever you have laying around. Don
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Rick Hall » Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:52 pm

I'm like Goldilocks, in that I tried one loft too big and one loft too small before building one I think "just right," an elevated walk-in with a 4'x6' footprint:
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As you can see, it's well ventilated, both for the birds' sake during our summers and to limit the amount of "dust" I'm exposed to while in it. And the size allows the birds room to move out of my way when I enter (instead of out the door) without getting far enough that I can't easily catch whichever one's I want without having to chase them around. Everything except the nest dividers is treated or roofing metal that can be hosed down for easy cleaning without a lot of scraping, but since the floor is grated, most waste goes out the bottom and only needs shoveled out twice a year.

I've double nest boxes for six pairs, so they can lay a second clutch of eggs while still feeding earlier young that aren't quite ready for the floor. (The less fighting there is over nest space, the more fliers are produced.) Nests need cleaned out after every second or third clutch, and I facilitate that with separate hinged, drop-down fronts on the nests that let me clean one without disturbing nesting in the other "duplex" half. Also line the bottom of cleaned nests with a double layer of wax paper topped with a large paper plate, which lets me easily pull out the whole pine needle "re-bar" and pigeon poop cement lump at once and avoid most scraping. I provide pine needles in a bin from which nesting birds draw as needed:
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Pigeons will eat most anything, and plain old "all stock" feed pellets are probably as cheap and easy as anything and require no additional grit, but pelletized feeds produce looser, smellier, more cement-like stools than grains do. Grain stools have little odor and reduce scraping at clean-up time. And the birds much prefer grains - except milo, which they seem to know is about as nutritious as styrofoam. I feed mine whole waste rice, which is free in the field or from farmer friends, but dryers will sell you broken and other waste rice, like sweepings, dirt cheap. Pigeons also love whole corn and do well on it, but be aware that sharp cracked corn edges can be bad news for tender baby pigeon crops. One rub with grains is that the birds need grit to help process it, which you can get them at a feed store, or they'll find on their own if given free time out of the loft. The other grain "rub" is that I've found I can up baby production by supplementing it with 17% protein "laying pellets," not that they won't lay without it, just that it puts them in over-drive. (Commercial "pigeon pellets" are also 17% but a little more expensive.) I keep laying pellets available in a "bullet domed" self-feeder, and the hens pretty much use them as needed, while still preferring their rice. Also like the bullet self feeders for water, as the birds can't foul it. Have built a PVC pipe waterer with bump nipples that worked fine and held a whole lot more water, but found I'm more apt to remember to check the translucent bullet waterers that need only a glance.

As for the pigeons, themselves, feral pigeon will home to the place they're first flown, just like homers, per se, but my experience has been that only racing homers can be counted on to home long distances. My common birds were reliable at seven or eight miles and lost at 20. If you start with adults with strong homing instincts, you'll have to let them raise a brood or two in their new loft before freeing them, so it's quickest to begin with young "squealers" or "floor birds" that haven't flown from any other place yet. Those you can safely release after a week or two in their new home.

And if you decide to fool with it, there are "tricks" to starting your birds homing and to keeping them from being a pain to neighbors or hawk bait that we can talk about as that time nears.

Fwiw, aside from semi-annual clean-up and times when I want to mess with them, I doubt I spend more than a couple minutes a day on them. But it sure is nice to have them when I want them, and we enjoy watching their exercise flights. In fact, the only complaint we've had from neighbors is that their evening exercise flights are suspended while I'm at the lodge during hunting season.
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Indaswamp » Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:24 pm

Thanks Rick! :bow: lotsa great info there...some that I would not have thought of-like the duplex nesting boxes... :thumbsup:
what did you use for the floor? I can get ferrel pigeons easily...but want to keep some on hand. looks like the materials are on the cheap to build a loft...
how often do you produce chicks? how often do the pigeons lay??
I'll have more questions later I'm sure...going watch the tigers play... :thumbsup:
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Rick Hall » Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:41 pm

Floor grate: http://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10052&storeId=10001&langId=-1&division=FarmTek&productId=20251

Good breeders should produce a pair of eggs roughly every 40-some days, except when stressed by weather, molt or overcrowding. I'd not keep a pair producing less than six broods a year.
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby lonewolf9029 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:47 pm

Rick: that looks like some really good flooring. I didn't have that with my last coop. Just plywood; had to shovel it out and wash it every couple weeks. Inda, when you get some decent birds that are producing, watch out for common(city) pigeons. Ring there necks right away. They carry all kinds of disease-pigeon pox,etc. and will infect your birds right away. Maybe not where you live, but I live in Houston, and every night when I'd let my birds(approx 80) out to fly when feeding, they bring in 2-3 strays. bad news!
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Indaswamp » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:10 pm

well lone...I was planning on getting my stock from city pigeons...not really in the city, but under the interstate...should I not go that route and find better stock??
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby lonewolf9029 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:42 pm

Inda: I know prices rise, but I am sure you can still get decent birds for $3 or 4 a pair. I used to go to the zoo and catch them, but the commons (you can tell by looking in their eyes) could disease a whole coop in a day or two. I'd personally check with your local feed store. Once you get going you'll be putting out birds a plenty. Don
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Drinkin' With Deacon » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:06 pm

Nice coop. I've never had one but a training buddy did and it's hard to overstate how important birds are in training a pup. I will build one when I get a puppy next year. Any 'pet' value in pigeons, as I'll have to demonstrate that utility to keep the wife happy and kids busy?

Would like to suggest Rick et al create a sticky on the subject.

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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Indaswamp » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:18 pm

Drinkin' With Deacon wrote:Nice coop. I've never had one but a training buddy did and it's hard to overstate how important birds are in training a pup. I will build one when I get a puppy next year. Any 'pet' value in pigeons, as I'll have to demonstrate that utility to keep the wife happy and kids busy?

Would like to suggest Rick et al create a sticky on the subject.

Deke

I'll send a note to hunt-chessies...he might agree and make it a sticky.
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby hunt-chessies » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:55 pm

Awesome info... what do you think it costs to get off the ground?? Don't seem like more than $100 and a weekend to me
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Indaswamp » Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:02 pm

how many pigeons will your loft hold rick?? how often do you nee to cull?
And what's the little trap door next to your regular door for?
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby lonewolf9029 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:24 pm

Inda: the little trap door. is called just that "traps". It's where you flush out your flyers and they can come back in (or trap in). Rick has the fancy wooden rods, I just got stainless heliarc wire at work and made my own :sad: . Either way-the bird can come in, but can't go back out. Don
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Indaswamp » Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:54 pm

lonewolf9029 wrote:Inda: the little trap door. is called just that "traps". It's where you flush out your flyers and they can come back in (or trap in). Rick has the fancy wooden rods, I just got stainless heliarc wire at work and made my own :sad: . Either way-the bird can come in, but can't go back out. Don

just for clarification, I'm not talking about the bob's where the pigeons return...I'm talking about the cut out section of tin to the right of the main entry door...towards the bottom of the cage..
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby lonewolf9029 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:12 pm

:biggrin: I'll have to let Rick answer. My guess is where he could feed or water without having to enter.
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Rick Hall » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:05 am

The small door under the nest boxes is just a handy way to put water and laying pellet feeders in the space below the nest boxes or add nesting pine needles to their bin without having to go in the loft. (Though the frame is wood, the bobs of my "trap" are aluminum.) And I've kept over 30 birds of flying age in this loft, but production is generally better when numbers are kept lower.
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Indaswamp » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:31 pm

Thanks Rick! :thumbsup:
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby quack killa » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:53 am

i raise racing pigeons if you would want some to raise with i'll give you some culls that didn't perform well
what part of la are you from i'm from crowley
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Indaswamp » Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:05 pm

quack killa wrote:i raise racing pigeons if you would want some to raise with i'll give you some culls that didn't perform well
what part of la are you from i'm from crowley

pm sent to ya quack killa.. :thumbsup:
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Rick Hall » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:09 am

That being one of the perks of living in Louisiana: don't have to hide your intent to get training stock from folks with racing birds.
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby canbakchaser » Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:07 pm

where do you get pigeons
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Indaswamp » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:22 pm

canbakchaser wrote:where do you get pigeons

if you want pigeons to train with-you can catch them. do a search on this forum for how to catch/trap pigeons. If you want to raise them, ask these guys..
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby Rick Hall » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:22 pm

If you can't find anything through area classifieds, local dog trainers and feed stores should know who has pigeons.
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Re: @Rick..thinking about starting a pigeon coup

Postby fowlprk » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:22 am

Growing up my uncle always had pigeons. Sometimes just a couple pairs, other times dozens. He had homers, racing birds and tumblers. One memory that always sticks with me is him throwing up a tumbler only to have a redtail hawk swoop down and grab the bird literally 4 ft above our heads. It was really unbelievable.
However reading this i feel the need to tell the story of my father a couple years ago getting a few birds to start my lab with. Now we could of easily gone to the feed store and ordered them (which i suggested) but dad being dad said there was no fun in that. So at midnight one Friday after watching dad and his buddy drink a 5th of jack, we grabbed 2 crab nets, and a few baskets and put my jon boat over, on the creek in downtown. Now keep in mind the downtown creek is covered with giant condos, apartments and ritzy hotels. Also numerous bars, and restuarants with dining on the water. After putting the boat over i was still confused on Dads method of catching pigeons, on the creek, at midnight, with 2 crab nets all the while surrounded by wealthy party goers. So after getting the boat over we were off to try and capture our prize. Well as we motored down creek at a slow pace dad informed me that the tide was high enough that we could reach the birds roosting under the DRAWBRIDGE on the creek. I could only laugh as this plan began to materialize, for as we pulled up the birds were there in huge numbers, i didn't even know we had this many pigeons. Well dad decided to go first as i was to "steady the boat". He climbs on the bow and with one big swoop mangages to grab 2 pigeons however in doing so he hit the bridge with the net, and BOOM pigeons went everywhere. We scrambled, and in the chaos SPLASH dad goes overboard with the net and pigeons. We get him back on the boat and our quest of cathing pigeons began to look like children catching butterflys only on a small boat with 3 adults and 2 of them being stone blind drunk. Between the chaos of the birds, me diving in the floor of a jon boat, dads buddy cursing loudly and dad falling overboard we managed to gain the attention of all the people at the tiki bar about 50 yards away. Suddenly we had a cheering section as they could clearly see us and our attempts to catch these birds. Well after blowing them off the roost they only went a few feet and settled down only this time they were all over the bridge and we all know that 2 wet pigeons wasn't enough so our quest continued.
We stayed under that bridge til 3 am, we all managed to catch a few and we all managed to laugh our tails off. Both my dad and his friend were both soaked and bruised when we left that night and some people still talk about watching us. It was a night i hope i never forget and im soo glad we didn't buy them from the feed store. Sorry this is soo long and im sure it was one of those things you had to see but man was it great. BTW we trained my lab with them and at 6months old she picked up 54 ducks her first season. Dad still contributes her success to those damn wet pigeons.
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