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goulian goulian is offline
Posted 5th January 2008, 12:13 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 137

Pigeons In My Pigeon Room


Hello fellow Pigeon People,

I have something I want to share with you all, but I am not sure how you will react to it. I have told you in a previous post that I had intended to take a pair of birds from the feral flock I feed each morning and attempt to have them breed in my spare room so that I can have a pet pigeon who has never been actually in the wild. My reasoning for this was that a bird who has tasted freedom would never be completely happy living in the restricted space a room would provide. Even though it would, in time, adapt to the tighter living space, I think the longing for freedom would always be there. That is why I want to have a baby bird raised in the room who has never been free. I do not think he could miss what he never had.

Anyway, the response I got from you guys and gals was pretty much unanimous in that my idea should not be tried. I understand your reasoning was derived from your concern for the birds. And, because of your recommendations, I tried even more to obtain a pigeon from a breeder, rather than from the wild. I have not been successful, even though several people have tries to help me to locate one.

I am now going to tell you what I have done, but first I will tell you about the Pigeon Room I have set up. A picture attached to this post shows the room from the entrance. The 1/4 inch screen door is half way open. On the left is a clothes closet. A large piece on plywood is on top of it to allow removal and cleaning of the area. Next to the closet is the cage and on top of the cage is the nest box. As you can see, the cage has a large opening on the front and back. The front opening is for a wooden nest front which is used when I want to confine a bird to the cage. The back opening is currently covered with a screen, but if opened can accommadate the nest box, which will extend out from the cage in order to allow the maximum in-cage space possible. The cage is three feet square and two feet high. When the nest box is attached to the cage, a plywood shelf extends about ten inches into the cage from the top of the box. The small door allows access for cleaning the shelf or getting to the bird. There is a shelf at the front entrance to allow easy access to the cage for the birds. Another shelf is attached to the window sill across from the cage. It seems to be easier for the birds to fly to the entrance if they first fly to the window shelf. Along the top right side of the room, there is a length of pipe which was used by the previous renter of the apartment as a clothes hanging rack. I have wrapped a fine grade sandpaper around this one and a quarter inch pipe to allow a firm grip by the pigeons. There is also a small shelf/perch on the wire door.

Now for the birds themselves. I chose two of the tamest pigeons in the flock. Both came to my hand and were completely comfortable being there. They had been coming to my hand for about five months and had joined the flock about a month before they became so tame. I thought that since the were only about six months old, then probably had not found a mate yet. I did not choose any older birds since they would probably already have picked a mate. I captured the female pigeon (the same brown one I submitted a photo of previously) on 10 December. She adapted to the pigeon room almost immediately. Within two days she was eating from my hand and flying to me whenever I went into the room. If any of you have seem the video of
"The Dinkster" on YouTube entitled "The Worlds Meanest Pigeon",you can see exactly how my pigeon attacks my "hand monster". She acts exactly like Dinkster does. And like the author said, "If he was afraid, he would fly
away." I feel the same way. She attacked my hand because she enjoyed it. When I took my hand away, she would run at it to continue the attack. Of course, when I got some food for her, the attacks abruptly ceased and she became the docile little fluff ball that she really is. I had almost decided to keep her as the pet pigeon, but I kept feeling that she missed the freedom she once knew. So on Christmas Day. I captured the male, who also adjusted very quickly to his captive situation. I kept him in the cage and the female outside the cage so they could get used to each other before they could actually get to each other. By that evening, they sat facing each
other with the screen between them. I listened to them sing to each other. Soon after that I opened the cage so they could interact together. The first picture shows them on the clothes pole sitting together on the first night. Two days later, the female began scratching on the top corner of the clothes closet. I have seen pigeons do this before as they attempted to scratch out a hollow in which to make a nest. Being that a nest in that
area would be not only out of my sight, by very difficult to clean, I glued a board accross the corner to prevent her from using that space. When she found that board, she was visibly upset. She tried all day to get behind it, but it was not to be. I put some pine needles in the nest bowl in the box and the male immediately went in and called the female. He called nonstop for hours before she finally gave up on her previously selected spot
and joined him in the box. For a few days they brought more and more pine needles into the box to make a nest. At six-thirty in the evening on New Years Day, she laid the first egg, followed by the second on Thursday
afternoon. Two pictures below show the female (Dru) and the male (Yako) dutifully incubating the eggs. I have seen the birds mate several times, but I guess I won't know if the are fertile until January 20th, when they should be hatching.

What I plan to do, when the young are between two and three weeks old, is to begin hand feeding them. That would probably also be a good time to release the adults back into the flock. This is perhaps the part of my plan that will be the most uncomfortable for the adults. I imagine they will be concerned about the whereabouts of their babies, and it will probably cause them some distress. Of course, one possibility is to allow the parents to keep the young until they are out of the nest naturally. But I think it will be more difficult to have the pigeons bond with me if I wait that long. At this point I am not sure what I will do, but I have some time to come up with a viable plan.

Well, there it is. I hope none of you are upset with me for what I am doing. Please rest assured that, if at any time, the birds seemed to react negatively or harmfully to themselves, they would have promptly been
released. They act just like the homing pigeons and fantails I had years ago. It is almost like they were raised in captivity, but of course, they weren't.

I will let you know how it goes. Take care, all.


Mike
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Dru and Yako 400.jpg (45.5 KB, 139 views)
File Type: jpg Pigeon Room.jpg (51.8 KB, 134 views)
File Type: jpg Dru on Nest.jpg (32.2 KB, 132 views)
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goulian goulian is offline
Posted 5th January 2008, 12:15 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 137

Fourth Picture


Hi. I did not know there was a three picture maximum per post. Therefore here is the photo of Yako on the nest.

Mike

P.S. By the way, if you look closely at the picture of the Pigeon Room, you can see Dru on the top right on the clothes rod and Yako in the nest box.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Yako on Nest.jpg (36.8 KB, 132 views)

Last edited by goulian; 5th January 2008 at 12:17 AM..
TheSnipes's Avatar
TheSnipes TheSnipes is offline
Posted 5th January 2008, 04:42 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MI, USA
Posts: 1,630
Huh. Well, maybe a bit unorthodox but you seem prepared for it and have your plan well thought out...good luck with your experiment. I guess this pair will live happily ever after and have an interesting tale to tell their grandkids some day, about the time a human took them home to its nest and pampered them. They're both very pretty birds.
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Reti Reti is offline
Posted 5th January 2008, 04:48 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Country: United States
Location: Miami,Fl
Posts: 9,868
Have you considered what you would do if those two adults won't want to leave after the baby is almost grown?
Also another thing to think about, what will you do with the baby if and when you have to return to the US?

Reti
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Charis Charis is offline
Posted 5th January 2008, 08:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Country: United States
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 13,043
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reti View Post
Have you considered what you would do if those two adults won't want to leave after the baby is almost grown?
Also another thing to think about, what will you do with the baby if and when you have to return to the US?

Reti
That's my worry too. What about the baby when iy's time to come back to the states.
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Charis




If all the beasts were
gone, men would die
from great loneliness of
spirit, for whatever
happens to the beasts
also happens to the man.
Seattle 1736-1866



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pigeonmama pigeonmama is offline
Posted 5th January 2008, 12:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,140
I have to agree with what people are saying here. The set up is nice, more than adequate, but these birds are going to become used to being cared for, warm, and bonded with people. To just toss them out after producing a baby (babies) is going to be hard on them physically and emotionally, and then, like has been asked, what about the baby when you come back to the U.S? Why even start something that is going to end sadly. Why not wait until you return tho the U.S and then get a pigeon or two ?
Daryl
Maggie-NC Maggie-NC is offline
Posted 5th January 2008, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 9,856
Hey Mike

You have really put a lot of effort into making a very nice home for a pigeon. They have room to fly and a nice roomy cage to go to for sleep. I do have one suggestion - I would clip the bottom off the yellow "tie downs" on the rod.

It is pretty amazing how those two have easily settled in your home. They already knew you so that helped a lot.

I can't give you any opinion on whether this is the right thing to do. Based on your posts, you care for pigeons and take very good care of your feral flock so whatever you decide to do, I know you will continue to take care of them.

And, I am absolutely not upset with you.
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Charis Charis is offline
Posted 5th January 2008, 01:27 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Country: United States
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 13,043
I'm not upset with you either.
__________________
Charis




If all the beasts were
gone, men would die
from great loneliness of
spirit, for whatever
happens to the beasts
also happens to the man.
Seattle 1736-1866



Another Life, Gone To The Birds!

DO NO HARM

Member, International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
ZeldaCA ZeldaCA is offline
Posted 5th January 2008, 02:14 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 66
I am a total newbie here so this question may be a basic one, but won't the pigeon parents become upset at having to be separated from their young when you decide to return them to the wild and keep the babies? And won't they get protective when you attempt to approach their babies in the nest if they do, in fact, reproduce?

As I said, I'm new here, but I was just wondering about these things as I read your post.
goulian goulian is offline
Posted 5th January 2008, 10:12 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 137
Hello, All,

In response to TheSnipes: You are correct, it is a bit unorthodox and I did try to cover all the bases in preparation for it. I attempted to make the transition as easy as possible for the birds. I must have succeeded somewhat, as I don't think the birds would have mated, built a nest, and laid eggs all within six days of being released together in the Pigeon Room if they were not comfortable and at ease with the whole thing, or as you said, experiment, which is exactly what it is. And yes, they do make a handsome couple.

In response to Reti and Charis: As you, I too am concerned about what may or may not happen in the future. In my current position, I am not bound to a certain time frame after which I must leave the Republic of Korea. I am very happy here now and, as long as nothing earth shattering happens, I will continue to be so for a long time. I have no plans to leave here anytime within the next five years. If and when the time to leave does come, I will do what I can to either place my bird(s) in a good home or get them accustomed to the feral flock from which their parents came for an eventual release into that flock. I have a plan that I think should make the transition easy and uneventful. But I do not plan on having to move myself or the birds for many years.

And, yes, Reti, I have considered the possibility of the parent birds not wanting to leave after being separated from their babies. I am sure, in fact, that they will want to get back to their young. As I said in my original post, I suspect that this will be the most stressful time the birds will have to go through. Considering the fact that pigeons are so adaptable to changing situations, I am sure they will survive the period of stress, partly because they will be with their original flock, birds that they have known all their lives, but mostly because they are so quick to adapt. If I thought, even for a moment, that this would actually lessen their chances for survival or harm them in any way, I would not have done it. Also, there is no way they could find their way back to the Pigeon Room because they were in a canvas bag while being transported from the feeding area to my home, and will be so on the return trip to the flock.

In response to pigeonmama: The adult pigeons are somewhat bonded to me as are the others in the flock I feed. They respond to me and the friends that usually accompany me for the daily feedings. The flock responds to no other people who walk in the area where they wait to eat. The pigeons I have now will probably be somewhat less bonded to me when I release them as I have not interacted with them since they became a pair. I only enter the Pigeon Room to clean and change the food/water/grit. I do speak to them, but I do not hand feed them or even approach them to interact. I think they will be fine once returned to their flock. I am not too happy about your statement that I will "just toss them out". I have no plans to just toss them out. That would be like my throwing them out the window. They will be returned to their flock at the feeding site. They will be with other pigeons they have known for their entire lives, probably even their own families. Please understand that I have planned this entire operation to be as stressfree and easy for the birds as possible. There will be short periods of time when the pigeons will he "not as happy as they would like", but those periods of time will be short lived. I am sure they will do fine. As for the young one(s), yes they will definately be bonded to me. I plan to provide them with the best life I can give them for as long as I can give it to them. They deserve nothing less. I do not think I have started something that will end sadly. On the contrary, I think it will be a grand adventure that will benefit both me and the birds in my care for a long time. Of course, I could be mistaken. Bad things could happen to anyone, most of which none of us will be prepared for. I don't think that we should allow that to stop us from attaining our goals.

In response to Lady Tarheel: Yes, I have put a lot of effort into the preparation of my Pigeon Room. I wanted to make it as accommodating as possible. I had purposely left the ties uncut so the bird would have something to peck at while she was alone in the house. As it turned out, neither she nor her mate ever gave them a second look as far as I can tell. Your suggestion to cut the ties is a good one and I will do that today. Thank you. I believe the fact that both birds have known me for over five months and came easily to my hand made all the difference. A pair of pigeons captured on the street would never have had the success these have had. Even so, I was amazed that it only took a week to go from introduction to incubation.

The right thing to do...that is the question, isn't it? Different people will have different opinions about that. But, to those who think I have done something terribly wrong, please keep in mind that I did not do this without careful preparations. From capture to release, these pigeons have been, and will continue to be, handled with the utmost care and respect. Even at it's worst, these birds will not be harmed or abused in any way that will permanently hurt them. A few short periods of distress will probably occur, but nothing more.

As to "my" feral flock, I love them all. I am so glad that I found them and even happier that they have accepted me. Feeding them is the highlight of my day.

In response to ZeldaCA: You are absolutely correct, the parents will definately react badly to the separation. And they will spend some time trying to find them. But they will recover and continue on with their lives. Pigeons adapt quickly to changing circumstances. As to their being protective of their young, you are again correct. That is the reason they must be released prior to my hand feeding the young. Not only would the babies be reluctent to trust me while their parents are trying to drive me away from the nest, The continued stress and confusion that both adult and babies would go through would cause way to much damage to the birds. You also bring up another good point when you said "if they do, in fact, reproduce." This attempt to get a young pigeon or two is a one time deal. If both eggs are infertile, or if the young, for whatever reason, fail to survive, I will not make another attempt at it. The adults will be released and I will use the cage for a more normal type of bird pet, such as parakeets or finches.

In final response to all of you: I wish to thank you all. To Lady Tarheel, and Charis, who have stated that they are not upset with me, and to the rest of you who have not stated that you are, I thank you. Your suggestions and help over the months since I have joined this site, whether I have heeded them or not, have all contributed to my ability to love and care for the noble pigeon.

Take care and happy pigeoning.

Mike

Last edited by goulian; 6th January 2008 at 02:40 AM.. Reason: Spelling corrections
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Charis Charis is offline
Posted 5th January 2008, 10:49 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Posts: 13,043
Mike,
You are thoughtful and kind and gracious too. I really like you.
Good luck with it all. You know where to find us if you need us. As you know we are not shy with our opinions nor with our willingness to help.
__________________
Charis




If all the beasts were
gone, men would die
from great loneliness of
spirit, for whatever
happens to the beasts
also happens to the man.
Seattle 1736-1866



Another Life, Gone To The Birds!

DO NO HARM

Member, International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
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TAWhatley TAWhatley is offline
Posted 5th January 2008, 11:22 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Posts: 21,208
Well, Mike, I'm not upset with you either. Best of luck to you and the birds in your endeavor! I've seen/read just about every half baked idea that there ever was here on pigeon talk for "acquiring" a pet pigeon. I think you have thought it out well, prepared for it well, and I'm convinced that no birds will be harmed in the process. I don't think many others should undertake something like this simply because they HAVEN'T thought it out and HAVEN'T prepared for things .. Good Luck!

Terry



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TheSnipes TheSnipes is offline
Posted 6th January 2008, 07:10 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MI, USA
Posts: 1,630
Mike, I really appreciate all the elaboration on your plans. I think it addresses all the concerns people may have had, and I only reiterate that while you've adopted an unusual approach, I think you prepared well and my gut reaction is that it will all work out just fine. I think the adult birds will be delighted to return to their flock and after what will likely be only a short separation, they'll settle in to normal life just fine. I hope you get a baby (or two) and am looking forward to pictures
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Maggie-NC Maggie-NC is offline
Posted 6th January 2008, 09:08 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 9,856
Hey Mike

You know, I'm not even sure that the parents will be so terribly stressed out by returning to their feral flock. If you keep them with the babies for a couple of weeks, that is about the time the really intensive care of babies begins to taper off. Parents leave them more often and begin thinking about making more babies. They still feed them but the intensity wears down.

I look forward to seeing pictures of the babies and watch their growing years.
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philodice philodice is offline
Posted 6th January 2008, 09:21 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: East Mesa, Arizona USA
Posts: 984
Seems like more of a vacation in a health spa than "time in captivity", since you are eventually going to return them to their friends I think the others in the flock just won't believe them.

"You were suddenly in darkness, got beamed up, and lived in luxury for a whole month? Sounds like you flew into the play pigeon mansion."
 

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adult pigeon, baby bird, female pigeon, feral flock, homing pigeons, house pigeon, male pigeon, nest bowl, older birds, pet bird, pet pigeon, pigeon parents, pine needles, wild bird, young pigeon

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