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Hello I am going to start to raise homing pigeons. I only know what I have researched about them online. My question is how young should they be to start with so they will return to my loft? I do not have any at this point but my loft is almost finished and I am going to start looking for some this month. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks!!
 

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Hello I am going to start to raise homing pigeons. I only know what I have researched about them online. My question is how young should they be to start with so they will return to my loft? I do not have any at this point but my loft is almost finished and I am going to start looking for some this month. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks!!
Welcome to PT. Make sure you start with young birds.
 

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Welcome to Pigeon-talk. I intend to put my breeders together in about a month in Connecticut. If you are interested in raising birds this year I suspect any birds you start with now will be too old to fly. Depending upon where you live, you might be able to get some very young birds within a month from local flyers. Is there a racing club nearby? You'll find that many of those flyers will be very helpful.

Hugh,
 

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As young as possible but eating and drinking on their own. In other words, approximately 30 days old. Twenty eight days may be even better. But they MUST be eating and drinking on their own. When and if you obtain new young birds and put them in your loft, take each bird and slightly dip their beak into the waterer (whatever type you use), so that they know where it is. They will find the seed on their own, if they are actually already weaned.

If you get birds older than this, it can still be done if they are only a week or so older, but it will be a little touchy, depending on if you got them locally or from afar. Locally obtained birds may want to try and go "home", which they would consider as the place you got them from. Just about anyone you get them from can tell you if they are good for you to train to your loft or not.

They should be kept locked up in the loft for at least a week, before letting them out for the first time. Do that towards dusk and not in the early day. Do that when they won't be scared by loud noises or other things scary to jittery young birds.

The HUGE thing is, that this will be "hawk time" in many areas of the country, and if a hawk goes at them, they will scatter to the four winds and you may lose all of them. Plus the hawk will eat one for sure.

So, be observant and on your toes the first several times you let them out, for high winds, loud noises and predators.

It is not as hard as it sounds. Get them at the right age, weaned, and "babysit" them when they are out and it should go smoothly. Depends on your location. You sure do not want any loud noises or hawks around at first.
 

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I like to train them more slowly and if you follow my method I believe you are less likely to lose any. I have had good results training unflown homers 90 days old using this method.

For the first week you have the young homers every time you feed them make a consistent noise. You can whistle, shake a can of feed or say anything you want as long as it stays the same. They will associate the sound with being fed and this will be your feed call.

The second week place a cage on the outside on your landing board, so that the pigeons can only enter the loft, not fly away. Put the pigeons in the cage wait a couple of minutes for them to settle down and then do the feed call and feed them. They will try to get in to get the feed and thus learn how to trap into the loft. Do this every day.

The third week, if all is going well, skip their feed for a day, but give them water and an hour before dark put them on the board. Slowly remove the cage, so that you do not startle them, enter the loft, do the feed call and feed them. They should immediately enter. If they do not they should still try to get back in to sleep in the loft.

Do this every other day, but give them half of what they will eat in the morning and the rest when they enter during the training in the evening.

The fourth week if all is going well, skip there feed and in the evening put them on the board remove the cage and stand back and watch them for half an hour before calling them in. They may enter right away at first, but eventually they will start circling around and landing on higher perches.

Always make sure they are slightly hungry when you fly them and that they have food waiting for them in the loft.

Once they start routing, flying in big circles out of sight, put them in the cage you will release them from and let them go in several different places in your yard. This acclimates them to being in the cage.

If this is going well start releasing them at about 1 mile away from all different directions.

Slowly increase the distance you release them at until you have them trained out the distance you want them to fly.

Keith
 

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I am from PA. I am not sure if there are of any racing clubs in my area yet.
There are a couple of of clubs in PA, it all depends on where you live. I found three of them and they are located in Beaver Falls, Lehighton, and Sarver, PA. I am sure there are more than 3.
 
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