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I'm just starting out keeping pigeons and I'm seeking some advice. I built a small loft (about 2 ft X 3 ft footprint) and just want to keep a few homing pigeons. I have four boxes built into the back of the loft and three perches, plus a small aviary. My grandpa used to race homing pigeons, and he gave me seven young pigeons. He doesn't get around very well now and his club disbanded, so my uncle takes care of his pigeons. My uncle picked out the birds for me and he couldn't tell me exactly how old the birds were, but that they were old enough to eat on their own. They are fully feathered, but the area near the top of their beaks doesn't look quite like an adult bird, but pretty close. My grandpa told me to keep them in the loft for a month before I start training them and they should home to my loft just fine.

I brought the pigeons into my loft on Sunday and put out some water, wild bird seed and grit that i got from a local feed store. As i was putting them in the loft i noticed that one of the birds (my kids call him Sam) has a problem with one of its eyes. The eye is gray and looks a little swollen and it seems to be blind in this eye. Its other eye looks fine. I don't know what, if any, medications the birds have received. My sense is that my uncle doesn't tend to the birds too closely other than feeding and watering them, so I'd guess they haven't been treated with anything. Any idea what might be going on with Sam's eye? What should I do for him? Should I worry about him spreading something to the other birds?

For the first day it didn't look like they were eating anything, so I was getting a little worried, but at the end of the second day all of the food I had put out was gone! I put more out and watched them, and a few of the birds flew down from their perches and were trying to each, but Sam would peck at them and chase them away from the food. He seems to get around the loft okay, and has flown into the aviary, but he mostly hangs out on the floor. Except for a few times right after I put food out, a few of the other pigeons will walk around on the floor and he doesn't mother them. I took him out of the loft to give the other birds a chance to eat, but they didn't eat much, if anything before it was dark and I put him back in the loft. I changed out the food and water this morning and I saw Sam pecking at the other birds and chasing them away again. I'm not 100% sure that they are all able to eat with Sam bullying them around.

I don't know what to do about Sam's behavior toward the other birds. I know that seven birds is probably pushing the limits of this small loft, but being a beginner, I've been told that when I start to fly them I'm likely to loose some, so I figured I'd start with a few more than I really wanted. There is a perch or box for everyone, but Sam seems to want to stay on the floor even though there are empty perches or boxes. Should I remove Sam from the loft for now (or permanantly?)? Should I remove the boxes and put in more perches?

What signs should I look for to indicate that some of them may not be getting enough food?

Thanks for any advice you might have.

Jeff
 

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Hi Jeff,

I am also a beginner, but I do have a couple thoughts... I would try and seperate Sam from the other birds, at least until you get some solid advice on what to do. This will help you out in 2 ways. First, just in case he is contagious, other birds will be better protected and, second, other birds will have less stress and more opportunities to eat.

Just a thought... Good luck!

Kim
 

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Yup, get rid of the bully, cage him within the loft or in house, but ya I had the same scenario with a big male. It can stress a bird enough to make them sick to be hen pecked out of the feed and water dishes all the time. If they are stressing, you look for fluffed birds, slow blink rate, not perching or not even coming off a perch to go to feed. They will always have a pecking order, and when same is gone, another will attempt to take his place but may be more forgiving and less of a bully, so u have to keep an eye. I always put the food in trough and stand back and observe to make sure they all come of the perches to the floor, if one doesnt I wait and see if he does or not and then make any adjustments. Eg: I put the feed in one big trough and two smaller dishes around the coop and the bully cannot guard them all at the same time. Some high and some low. If a bird is fluffed and wont feed, then u need to find out why and treat that bird minimally or the entire flock.
 

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If it were me I would take the bird back to grandpa and see if I could trade it for another with 2 good eyes, and hopefully a little nicer. JMO
Dave
 

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I'm with Crazy Pete! Trade that one out. It will take some time for the birds to settle in and find there own spot and it sounds a lil crowded already. There is a normal pecking order and there usually one bird that takes on the Boss role. There is a difference between bossing and being a bully though. When you take him out, watch, there will be another that starts bossing the others around pretty quick due to the lack of space. Chances will be better without the eye problem adding to the mix. Good luck, Jim
 

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Jeff there is always a pecking order with birds. The best thing to do is to let the bird out of your loft at night to fly and he will not return. If you keep him and the other birds have eggs, Sam will start pecking the eggs or even the young. If you return him to your uncle ,Sam will do the same in any loft he's at.

good lick Dave
 

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There might be a bit of overcrowding going on, and you need to add a few more boxes. As far as Sam goes, either keep him and separate him or return him, but DO NOT release him at night, that is cruel and inhumane. ATTN: oldpine65, you are breaking forum rules to suggest such an idea.

Can you post a youtube video of his behavior at feeding time?...., that might help figure out if he is truly a bully, or just protecting his territory which he may just think is the floor. Does he have any discharge, swelling of the eye in question?.
 

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Been following this because I had a similar problem. Now I have a question.

I was given an "older" male (band still says 2014). My other pigeons are all around 3 to 4 months old. After quarantine, I put them all together at the same time in new loft. I noticed right away that he was picking on what I figured were going to be males and chased around bobbing head and cooing at what I'm assuming are going to be the females!

I put him in other half of loft and sure enough, one of the other pigeons started hanging around right next to him through wire. I opened the door between the 2 sections and she went right in wiTh him. They definitely like each other.

I did notice, though, that he was a real bully when with other birds. I just ordered fronts for nest boxes as someone suggested locking other males in boxes so they can establish a territory. Right now other younger birds are in other section. Bullying male and his female are alone in nest box section of loft.

Am now worried that he might continue bullying even after males have their boxes! Does this ever happen after they are all paired up, and if so, what would you recommend?

By the way, I think all of you experienced people taking the time to answer beginner's questions is really great and is much appreciated!

Thank you! T Kim
 
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