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hey guys, i have 16 birds in my loft right now. there are 8 large nest boxes. currently i have only 2 nests going, i was really hoping to see more breeding activity than that. there were three but the eggs got pitched out of one nest box somehow. the birds are all 1 year old at least. i haven't got any predator issues right now that i know of. the birds seem very healthy and relaxed. also, i find it odd that when the birds are out they seem to be constantly making nests, dragging twigs ect into the loft and making nests, but no eggs. i haven't noticed any over agressive birds chasing birds out of nest boxes. they birds all look great and seem to be of proper weight. do you think this is an issue with the number of nest boxes? the loft is 10x12 with plenty of perching, it could easily hold twice this many birds and that is my goal. could something else be wrong with my birds health wise? currently they are getting purina checkers and all they can eat red grit plus oyster shell. thanks
 

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aarongreen123,

It sounds like you're doing all the right things. Are the dropping of all your birds firm? It maybe that the birds may be inexperienced as breeders. Yearlings sometimes have problems getting their first nest and clutches completed. Your birds sound content, it sounds like the eggs that you lost were due to a bird mistakenly flying into the wrong nest and the eggs were a loss from of a fight by the true occupants trying to protect their nest. They sometimes destroy their own nests in the process of defending them from intruders.

Ralph
 

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You DO have 8 cocks and 8 hens, right? What kind of nest boxes do you have? Do they have fronts on them or are they open across the front? I don't think you need more boxes. They'd just have something else to fight over. I NEVER have more boxes than I do pairs of birds. More perches than birds......yes, but not boxes.
Where do you feed your birds? In a communal feeder or in the boxes?
 

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All the birds bringing in stuff for nesting are usually cocks building nests to impress. Just keep watching and see how many hens you have. Trust me, in a few months you are going to have more pairs. Right now I have eight nest boxes but only three pairs. I have two more pairs dating. In watching them they date for about a month, nest building flirting and such before the eggs come. First pair of eggs are usually not fertile or they do a poor job sitting, second time around they are more mature but they might need help raising the babies. I will lock them in with the nest and feed them separately from the flock for about two weeks. This way they have all the time for raising the babies. Second set of babies they are on the own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
the nest boxes are open. i've given up trying to tell how many of each i have, everytime i think i know i end up wrong. if i had more birds on nests i'd go out there at midnight and figure out who was sitting, from what i understand that would give me a surer bet of who was a hen. i'm pretty sure that i've got at least 5 pairs in there, as i've had eggs from that many pairs but my record keeping has room for improvement. i just wanted to know if there was something specific i should be watching for or changing. i just like watching these white birds fly and the only thing i can think of better than watching 16 fly is watching 50 fly:)
 

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Be patient for now. I have birds that got interested after being 1+ year old and I even have 4 months hen that actually mated and had eggs. If other pairs are mating and having eggs, then it has nothing to do with your nest boxes. These pigeons will lay eggs on the floor if they need/want to. Make sure that indeed you have real pairs and you see them mating. If it helps you can also feed them more. I noticed that when I feed my birds more, they become hornier. More food available to them seems to induce them to mate more. You can also put some cover on those nest boxes for privacy. I have the opposite problem than you. My birds won't stop making eggs. All they do is mate and mate.
 

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the nest boxes are open. i've given up trying to tell how many of each i have, everytime i think i know i end up wrong. if i had more birds on nests i'd go out there at midnight and figure out who was sitting, from what i understand that would give me a surer bet of who was a hen. i'm pretty sure that i've got at least 5 pairs in there, as i've had eggs from that many pairs but my record keeping has room for improvement. i just wanted to know if there was something specific i should be watching for or changing. i just like watching these white birds fly and the only thing i can think of better than watching 16 fly is watching 50 fly:)
the only thing I can think of is what racing folks do, alot of them seperate the hens from the breeding section and let the cocks have their boxes. then when it is time to breed they put the hens in and then they will lay around the same time, I guess distance makes the heart grow fonder kind of thing. but with white birds....yikes...I only have a few marked with snap ons, blue is the cock bird and pink, hen. but I still don't know most of who is who. I was going to try to just let them in the breeding section and then take out anyone that was not paired and just causing trouble. or I can basket them all up and guess on cock and hens and mark them...it really is hard with all white birds, a breeding loft with spare birds is trouble for sure...
 

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the nest boxes are open. i've given up trying to tell how many of each i have, everytime i think i know i end up wrong. if i had more birds on nests i'd go out there at midnight and figure out who was sitting, from what i understand that would give me a surer bet of who was a hen. i'm pretty sure that i've got at least 5 pairs in there, as i've had eggs from that many pairs but my record keeping has room for improvement. i just wanted to know if there was something specific i should be watching for or changing. i just like watching these white birds fly and the only thing i can think of better than watching 16 fly is watching 50 fly:)

IMO, you need fronts on the nest boxes. I have never had eggs pitched or broken from fights. I think that is due to not having extra unpaired birds in the loft and having nest fronts on my boxes. It's much harder for an intruder "want to be" to go through a 4 inch wide hole before one of the birds in the box meets him and throws him off the perch, as opposed to having the whole front of the box open. Once a strange bird gets IN the nest box, the fight is on........
If I had white birds, I would go through them and pick what I THINK is cocks and hens and separate them. Put the cocks in the section where the boxes are and have ONE box open for each bird. It won't take long for each cock to take a box. If you happen to get a hen mixed in with them, you'll know pretty quickly. At that point, you take the hen out and move it to the hens section. Do the same with the hens. Remove any cocks that you find. In just a matter of a week, maybe less, you'll know who's who and can mark them at that time.
Sounds like a lot of work I guess, but having constant broken eggs and not being able to get any young birds is a waste of time for you AND the birds. And the constant fighting isn't good for the birds either.
Some people just throw a bunch of cocks and hens in a section and let them duke it out. I personally don't believe in that. A calm loft goes a long way....especially when you're trying to raise babies.;)
 

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IMO, you need fronts on the nest boxes. I have never had eggs pitched or broken from fights. I think that is due to not having extra unpaired birds in the loft and having nest fronts on my boxes. It's much harder for an intruder "want to be" to go through a 4 inch wide hole before one of the birds in the box meets him and throws him off the perch, as opposed to having the whole front of the box open. Once a strange bird gets IN the nest box, the fight is on........
If I had white birds, I would go through them and pick what I THINK is cocks and hens and separate them. Put the cocks in the section where the boxes are and have ONE box open for each bird. It won't take long for each cock to take a box. If you happen to get a hen mixed in with them, you'll know pretty quickly. At that point, you take the hen out and move it to the hens section. Do the same with the hens. Remove any cocks that you find. In just a matter of a week, maybe less, you'll know who's who and can mark them at that time.
Sounds like a lot of work I guess, but having constant broken eggs and not being able to get any young birds is a waste of time for you AND the birds. And the constant fighting isn't good for the birds either.
Some people just throw a bunch of cocks and hens in a section and let them duke it out. I personally don't believe in that. A calm loft goes a long way....especially when you're trying to raise babies.;)
great advice, Im going to do just that....it is kinda crazy in my loft ATM...LOL...:p:)
 

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Well, I just stared banding my birds with AU bands so people can call me if they get lost. But, to tell them apart I use colored, numbered, snap on bands. They are easy to see without having to catch the bird and they make it easier to tell them apart. Blue bands are for any birds brought into the loft from another source. The two I got from you now have blue bands. Once I have a hen laying, her babies get a color. Blue 13 has red banded babys. Blue 22 has yellow banded babies, and blue 18 has green banded babies. While Blue 13 has gone thru three cocks due to hawks, my spreadsheet has a record of which red band came from which cock. As my birds get older and I figure out the sex of a bird I make a note of the color and number and add the sex to the spread sheet. Once they pair up I note that also. Right now I have three pairs, all blue. I have 11 Blue, 5 red, 4 yellow, and 3 green. With blue 18 and 22 each sitting on more eggs and one yellow squab and two green squabs the Dads are finishing raising.

With 26 birds the AU bands would be too hard to read and keep up with, but the colors help me know parents and watch for imbreeding and the number tells me the age of the bird, even the blue numbers let me know when I got the bird. The only issue I had is the numbers 6 and 9 but I always snap the band on with the number up on the leg plus I threw away the sixs so I won't make that mistake again.

All white birds make it hard to tell them apart but you need to because you do not want to send a bird off to a wedding when it has eggs to sit on, babies to raise, is too young, or is not trained to home back to the loft.
 

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Renee,

Thanks again for those tips. I am learning a lot from you. I am glad that you are sharing your tips and experiences for us novice (or intermediates).
 

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Some people just throw a bunch of cocks and hens in a section and let them duke it out. I personally don't believe in that. A calm loft goes a long way....especially when you're trying to raise babies.;)
While you have a great idea, some of us only have one loft, one section, not to let them duke it out but because space, money, time... Since I cannot separate my birds I tag them and also have fronts on my nest boxs. I have only had one cracked egg and it still hatched.

So Aaron, next step for you is nest fronts. This will help the pairs have a little peace while raising babies. If you want ideas take a picture of your nest boxes and maybe I can help.
 

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While you have a great idea, some of us only have one loft, one section, not to let them duke it out but because space, money, time... Since I cannot separate my birds I tag them and also have fronts on my nest boxs. I have only had one cracked egg and it still hatched.

So Aaron, next step for you is nest fronts. This will help the pairs have a little peace while raising babies. If you want ideas take a picture of your nest boxes and maybe I can help.
I could be wrong but what I think Renee is refering to is just letting them pick their own mates, nestboxes etc. This will lead to a lot of fighting, broken eggs, etc, etc. I think what she is advocating is putting pairs together in a locked box (with nestfront) and letting them get attached first before letting them just roam in the loft. This can be done with just one section. It takes a little time and effort on the front end but the rewards far outweigh the time spent.

Dan
 

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While you have a great idea, some of us only have one loft, one section, not to let them duke it out but because space, money, time... Since I cannot separate my birds I tag them and also have fronts on my nest boxs. I have only had one cracked egg and it still hatched.
Well, you can only do what you can do. Aaron said he had a problem, so I offered a solution. :)
Having only one section doesn't have anything to do with it. Having money doesn't have anything to do with it. Having nest fronts and an even number of cocks and hens goes a long way in having a peaceful loft.




I could be wrong but what I think Renee is refering to is just letting them pick their own mates, nestboxes etc. This will lead to a lot of fighting, broken eggs, etc, etc. I think what she is advocating is putting pairs together in a locked box (with nestfront) and letting them get attached first before letting them just roam in the loft. This can be done with just one section. It takes a little time and effort on the front end but the rewards far outweigh the time spent.

Dan
Yea, that's pretty much what I meant. Although I don't lock my pairs in their box. I just throw one hen at a time into the cock loft and let her mate loose.
 

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IMO, you need fronts on the nest boxes. I have never had eggs pitched or broken from fights. I think that is due to not having extra unpaired birds in the loft and having nest fronts on my boxes. It's much harder for an intruder "want to be" to go through a 4 inch wide hole before one of the birds in the box meets him and throws him off the perch, as opposed to having the whole front of the box open. Once a strange bird gets IN the nest box, the fight is on.........;)
I guess I am bad about typing what I mean. Just so you know, I completely agree with Renee on the nest fronts. This will solve the broken eggs issues because of the four inch door and small platform in front is easy to defend and protect the nest from unwanted visitors. That is what needs to be done to help the pairs raise babies. It is also helpful for young parents that stray from their responsibilies by closing them in the nest for the first two weeks while raising their first babies and feeding them in the nest. So Renee is right about the nest fronts.

If I had white birds, I would go through them and pick what I THINK is cocks and hens and separate them. Put the cocks in the section where the boxes are and have ONE box open for each bird. It won't take long for each cock to take a box. If you happen to get a hen mixed in with them, you'll know pretty quickly. At that point, you take the hen out and move it to the hens section. Do the same with the hens. Remove any cocks that you find. In just a matter of a week, maybe less, you'll know who's who and can mark them at that time.;)
I also think this is a great idea but it takes two sections to do it and I only have a one section loft. I think Aaron may be in the same shape as me so this would be hard for him to do. That was the only point I meant to make.

Just so you know, Renee, most everything I do for my birds; from the borax baths, to the meds I give them, to the care and love they get I learned mainly from you, so I never want to offend the hand that helps me.

PS. my sprayed legged baby is slowly getting better. Still hard for him to move around but he is moving now, and each day I see improvement. Thanks for the help.
 

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Well to each he's own. I never use nest fronts, my nest boxes face each other, two boxes per pair, more space per pair, SO in all my years of pigeons, i have had broken eggs, once, at the most twice. Each box is 14" x 14" facing each other with about 13" between, plywood between tiers, little fighting, and it keeps one round well away from the other. oh, it also allows room for food and water cups for the almost weaned Squeeks.The truth is, if you use nest fronts, and one cock invades, you have all kinds of Havoc, because there is no escape route for the looser. True it would seem easier to defend, BUT no pair is always standing at the entrance. Dave
 
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