Confession: I like birds. A topic about pigeon fancying.

BirdManMike

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I like birds.

Do you like birds?

8 or so years ago, I started a flock of racing pigeons. The initial motivation was to use for falcon training. I intended to use for dog training, also, but I honestly havent found the need as yet tho I would if I thought I needed to for a new pup.

Now, tho, I think I would keep a flock of racing pigeons even had I no need or use for them. I like watching them fly around every day. I like training them and Ill get them out to returning home from a couple hundred miles away, often beating me back - they are 500 mile racer genetics, so I could theoretically release them on the east coast and Id see them again in a couple days.

I dont race, but there is a club here and I have plans to join and start racing if/once this flock gets a little more established and breeding well in the next couple years.

Here is roughly half my current flock today, the other half is still relatively young and not airborne as long and this was probably an hour after I had let them out so they were sitting or back in the loft at this point.

birds1.jpg

birds2.jpg

I know I have to spray that knapweed - been a couple years and its time again.


This is my 3rd flock in as many years.

I had a wonderful flock for 2 years that I had gotten started after moving into my new place (once they are imprinted on a loft, they really cant be re-homed to a new one so when you move, you have to start a new flock). They were really great flyers and breeding well. Until a mink got into the loft and killed every last one, 45 or so, in a single night.

97360704_177293983586706_8598716824865080907_n.jpg
97884850_243259730340421_5140182914886522552_n.jpg


Last years flock was training well, but on a 40 mile training flight one morning they did not beat me home as they usually would. Over the next couple days I got a few trickling in here and there, only ending up with about 20 out of the 35 released. They were never the same after that, often refusing to re-trap for the night or taking multiple days to return. I suspect the flock was shot into by bird hunters as their return flight passed over 2 very popular BMAs - that is the only thing I can think of that would disperse them so badly (a BOP would not).

So here is to hoping these new ones turn out great (as I had to go to eastern Oregon to get half and Wyoming for the other half since none of the local pigeon guys will sell me decent 500 mile racing squeakers)!



Anyone else like pigeons?
 

jeff_gibbons

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Oct 30, 2016
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Fairfax, VA
Hey Mike,
yes, i too like pigeons. Dad, brother and i used to raise rollers and we always had fun with them. We didn't have mink to contend with in So Ca and I'm surprised at the devastation that mink caused. we played with "homers" casually but didn't raise a kit. Keep after it as long as it's fun for you and enjoy. good luck with the wayward homers.
 

BirdManMike

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Oct 9, 2019
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473
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Montana
Hey Mike,
yes, i too like pigeons. Dad, brother and i used to raise rollers and we always had fun with them. We didn't have mink to contend with in So Ca and I'm surprised at the devastation that mink caused. we played with "homers" casually but didn't raise a kit. Keep after it as long as it's fun for you and enjoy. good luck with the wayward homers.
Hi, Jeff, thanks for the reply!

I have never had rollers and I have never seen rollers doing their rolls. Not in person, anyway.

Not long after I first started keeping pigeons, I decided the only thing better than 1 loft would be 2 lofts! I kept a flock of racers and a flock a tipplers. The tipplers, tho less useful for my main intent, were very neat birds. Much smaller, half the size, of the homers. Theyd really sky out going up and up, often pulling the homers with them, til the point theyd speck out and were so high I could no longer see them.

No flock of tipplers now. When I moved I gave them away and didnt start a new flock. Maybe again one day.
 

RobertD

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Southwest Georgia (GA)
Very cool, very interesting. I do like birds, chickens and such. I can see how this would be a lot of fun.

Edited, I want to hear the rest of the mink part of the story. How'd that trappin go down?
 

blueridge

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Jan 10, 2019
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Blue Ridge Mtns, VA
I promised my dad I would always keep a rafter behind them. ... Many holes in the barn roof later ... 😇

On a serious note, that is very cool, Mike, and I appreciate learning this part I knew nothing about.
 

gonhunting247

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Dec 11, 2010
Messages
34
I loved raising pigeons when I was younger. I never had homers, but I raised fantails, rollers, tumblers and any old rock dove I could scrounge up from under the railroad bridges. I sold rock doves (feral pigeons) to dog trainers for extra cash. Hopefully I can find time to raise some more now that we're getting settled at our new property. I like watching and listening to them!
 

BirdManMike

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Montana
Very cool, very interesting. I do like birds, chickens and such. I can see how this would be a lot of fun.

Edited, I want to hear the rest of the mink part of the story. How'd that trappin go down?
I have chickens, too. And quail, once upon a time. Going to get some quail going again maybe next year.


There isnt all that much to tell with the mink, but I will.

Weasels are destructive creatures. There is nothing else that kills like they do. If it moves and they can kill it, then it dies. It doesnt matter whether they are hungry. It just dies. They cache it - most often never returning - then move on looking for the next.

I love watching them in the wild.

I knew what kilt my pigeons as soon as I walked in there in the morning. The deficiency in the loft was a total fluke, not difficult to figure out, and has since been fixed - but, I did not fix it right away. I put the traps out, knowing the mink would not leave that big of a score and would return that same day. I collected all the dead save two and put them in the freezer as bird food, set the traps with the two, then went on about my day.

Checking the traps late afternoon, there was the mink. Hissing at me in anger.

My rage palpable, I picked up the trap, walked down to the river, then tossed the trap with mink inside into the river.

It didnt take long for my anger to die. Then I felt bad.

I fished the trap out of the river. And there was this mink, sputtering and still alive. Still hissing at me.

Did I mention that I love watching them? I love watching them in the wild.

I put the trap w/ mink inside my vehicle then drove well away. I released the mink.

I am soft. Had it been a cat, which would have been WAY less destructive in the loft with a few dead, it would have been at the bottom of the river still. Not this weasel tho. I loathe them for their wasteful ways, but I love them too.

Like I said, not all that interesting. The deficiency in my loft is secure now.
 

elkantlers

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May 12, 2009
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UT
I had racing pigeons and rollers when I was younger. The racing pigeons would always beat me home. It didn't matter if I turned them out 50 or 200 miles away.

I really enjoyed them and have been considering getting back into it. Thanks for the reminder.
 

1_pointer

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Dec 20, 2000
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Indiana
I could like having some pigeons if I had the place for them. A conservation club I used to belong to had some homers for dog training. Me, the boys, and Hank got a kick out of getting them out of the loft then putting them out for Hank to point.

In training Hank, I want some pigeons to shoot over him. Found some in the local Craigslist. I didn't know what a roller was, but for $3/bird I figured they'd work. My first shot broke as the bird rolled. I was like that the hell was that!!
 

Otto Matic

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Jan 3, 2021
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686
Nope. Don't care for sky rats.

Worked in a chemical plant.
The nasty damn things would roost in our blending building and crap all over our equipment.
If you EVER had to open a bulk tank, and we often did, they would inevitably crap IN them! 😠😖
That's where the term, "the solution to pollution is dilution" came about!
When you're mixing million gallon batches, a little pigeon poop doesn't hurt! 🙄
Finally cleaned them out with some .22 rat shot!

THEN....out at the Stockyards Indoor Arena, they roosted and nested in the overhead structures.
If you didn't know where NOT to tie your horse, you ended up with pigeon crap all over your horse and tack!

But I digress!
If you like pigeons, hey, go for it!
Have fun!
Beats standing on a street corner selling drugs!

P.S. - always did think those "roller" pigeons were pretty neat. I understand that if you breed a pair of rollers, the offspring will kill themselves because they can't quit "rolling".
 
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