Originally Posted by mart9894
I have a friend who raises all white homing pigeons he has bred 20 young birds (never been outside of the loft) he gave them to me immediately after the parents drop them out of their nesting boxes and were starting to eat on their own. I then brought them to my loft and had them in there about 3-4 weeks. I then let them out and I have lost 9 birds the other are now flying 2 miles and returning home daily. I let out a second batch of 20 birds that he gave me after being in the loft 3-4 weeks. I let them out in the morning around 8am it is now 6:30pm and I have not got any birds back. I saw on my cameras that they were down on the grass and on top of the loft and a hawk landed on the cable wires and spooked them. How likely am I to get them back? I see them flying around the neighborhood.
Imo handicapping their wings is an easy target for a hawk..
There are steps you have to take with them and if one step is not completed then it can cause problems.
First step, use a feed call everytime you feed them.. a whistle or just say here pigeons.. what ever, just as long as it is the same sound every time and done every time you feed them.. do not over feed. Leave feed down for 20 mins , then take it up if there is any left. Makes sure it is enough feed for everyone but not excess.
When they start to respond to your feed call by dropping off their perches and eating immediately after your call and putting the feed in then you know they learned the feedcall.
Second, make settling cages on your landing board in front of the their trap door.
Put the pigeon in the settling cage and close the trap door about a half hour before feeding. Let them see outside, when time to feed open the trap door and use your feed call, repeat this until they come in through the trap door without hesitation to come to eat , because you called them, and they already learned step one.
Three, after they come in from the settling cage without much hesitation to a feed call , let them out on the landing board without the settling cage an hour before you feed them. At feeding time do your feed call and put the feed down. The smart ones will come in first, you still may have a few goofy ones in a tree or roof.. oh well they don’t get to eat if they do not trap in, there is always a few of these. Close the trap after a good 20 mins, birds who did not trap have to stay the night outside the loft.. most times they will trap the next day at your feed call routine and learned their lesson.
This regimen gets easier as the birds mature and get savvy.
My pigeons now , we take down the settling cage in front of the their doors to let them out to fly and they do on their own, I think that is important, rather than forcing . They need to feel the loft is a secure safe place, low stress. I only go in there to clean and feed and tend to babies if I decide to hatch any , then I’m out of there.. they like their own calm space.
Your birds are still young.. babies still really, they need more time and training . If one thing on those steps is not done by you then the bird will not learn and it will be confusing. And you lose birds.
I taught my first bought young birds this and only had to do it that one year I got them. Their young learn to go out and back in from the parent birds now and I do not have to restrict feed or do a call any longer .