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Can anybody give a fairly inexperienced fantail keeper some advice. My birds live in a dovecote and after two had been taken by a hawk late last year I built a new homing cage around the cote, netted it at night when they were in and had my two remaining doves caught. I bought four new birds and put them in to home them over winter and after a few failed attempts at incubation over the winter when it was far too cold we now have two new babies,who are three weeks old and also two birds on eggs.

The birds have been in now for 12 weeks and should be well and truly homed I hope and I would let them fly free but I am unsure what to do about the new squabs. They were hatched in the highest nest holes and I am concerned about how they cope, getting up and down for food etc when the time comes for them to leave the nest.

I have not found much information about dovecote doves, I know an aviary would be easier to manage but I like the idea of the dovectote and last summer it was brilliant seeing the birds flying free.
 

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Can anybody give a fairly inexperienced fantail keeper some advice. My birds live in a dovecote and after two had been taken by a hawk late last year I built a new homing cage around the cote, netted it at night when they were in and had my two remaining doves caught. I bought four new birds and put them in to home them over winter and after a few failed attempts at incubation over the winter when it was far too cold we now have two new babies,who are three weeks old and also two birds on eggs.

The birds have been in now for 12 weeks and should be well and truly homed I hope and I would let them fly free but I am unsure what to do about the new squabs. They were hatched in the highest nest holes and I am concerned about how they cope, getting up and down for food etc when the time comes for them to leave the nest.

I have not found much information about dovecote doves, I know an aviary would be easier to manage but I like the idea of the dovectote and last summer it was brilliant seeing the birds flying free.
sounds like you are doing all you should. with the dovecote, the birds are more or less like free birds that you feed, so if ferals can have babies and they do survive they can get old enough to fly and then follow the parent birds around and they will do as they do by picking and eating. the male bird should be feeding them at this point and when they get their wings so to speak they will come out of the cote and fly with the male bird. it is hard to manage free birds unlike a loft where you have control of things, so mother nature has a big part here. just hope the hawk does not get all of them.:) just a last thought you could use your net untill the young ones are mature and flying, but your likly to have more in the nest by then and start all over again.
 

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Can anybody give a fairly inexperienced fantail keeper some advice. My birds live in a dovecote and after two had been taken by a hawk late last year I built a new homing cage around the cote, netted it at night when they were in and had my two remaining doves caught. I bought four new birds and put them in to home them over winter and after a few failed attempts at incubation over the winter when it was far too cold we now have two new babies,who are three weeks old and also two birds on eggs.

The birds have been in now for 12 weeks and should be well and truly homed I hope and I would let them fly free but I am unsure what to do about the new squabs. They were hatched in the highest nest holes and I am concerned about how they cope, getting up and down for food etc when the time comes for them to leave the nest.

I have not found much information about dovecote doves, I know an aviary would be easier to manage but I like the idea of the dovectote and last summer it was brilliant seeing the birds flying free.
Are you birds garden fantails or garden doves? If they are, they are very easy to home and, if they have been under a net for 12 weeks they should easily be homed. If they are homing pigeons and were adult when you bought them then you will just have to take a chance that they stay and do not fly back to where they were reared. The best time to remove the net, in this case, would be when they are sitting on eggs.rolleyes:
The babies will not come out of the nestholes till they can fly, unless the cock stops feeding them....then they have no choice as they need to eat. I usually watch for them coming out and, if at dusk they have not flown back up I lift them and pop them back in for the night. When they just emerge from the dovecote you will have to keep a careful eye out for cats, they are more vulnerable to predators when they are on the ground.
 

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Are all your pigeons fantails? If so, you need to understand that they aren't good flyers and are easy pickings for hawks. If there is a time of year when hawks aren't around a lot, you could let them out to roam around your garden, but when hawks are around you must keep them in or you will lose them. A racing homer can out fly a hawk but a fantail can't. They are also more vulnerable to four-legged predators. Where we live in northern California, there are hawks around from late summer through early spring and we gave up flying our pigeons altogether because I don't like losing them to hawks.
 

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Are all your pigeons fantails? If so, you need to understand that they aren't good flyers and are easy pickings for hawks. If there is a time of year when hawks aren't around a lot, you could let them out to roam around your garden, but when hawks are around you must keep them in or you will lose them. A racing homer can out fly a hawk but a fantail can't. They are also more vulnerable to four-legged predators. Where we live in northern California, there are hawks around from late summer through early spring and we gave up flying our pigeons altogether because I don't like losing them to hawks.
I THINK, their Fantails are different than the kind we think of when we hear, Fantail.
 

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Well we do have the Indain fantails and the exhibition fantails which need to be kept in aviaries but the ones we are talking about are Garden fantails. They have a smaller tail and are often kept free flying from a dovecote.

Here is a picture of my new hen.
 

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Mine are garden fantails but not nearly as beautiful as Pigeonpoos! Which are fantastic, although my new babies are pretty cute now having been the ugliest little things imaginable at the start.

I have decided to keep all my birds under the net for the time being as it sounds like this year is dreadful for hawk attacks in my area. I just wish the hawkw would move on so I could fly my flock.
 

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Thank you for the complement - the hen is under the net at the moment - she has only been with me for a week but has already paired and laid. She is a yearling hen and is not very good at sitting on her eggs - she would rather be on the lawn with her new mate - so I don't hold out much hope for them hatching!:rolleyes:

The hawk problems will improve when the hen Sparrowhawk sits on her eggs. The male is not big enough to take a pigeon. I'm not sure about the dates up in Scotland - you might ask on Pigeon Basics.:cool:
 

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When you get an older bird how long do you need to keep them confined before you allow them to fly free? I am afraid that my new birds will head back to where they came from, they have been with me since Mid December. One of the males is very large and appears not to have any fan to his tail at all and looks more like a normal white homing pigeon! Also they had already been flying before they came to me.
 

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When you get an older bird how long do you need to keep them confined before you allow them to fly free? I am afraid that my new birds will head back to where they came from, they have been with me since Mid December. One of the males is very large and appears not to have any fan to his tail at all and looks more like a normal white homing pigeon! Also they had already been flying before they came to me.
Chances are great, that if they have already been flying outside before you got them, they may go back to the original home, if they have the homing instinct.
 

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Chances are great, that if they have already been flying outside before you got them, they may go back to the original home, if they have the homing instinct.
True, if they are more white homing pigeons that garden fantails.

They have had plenty of time under the net to learn about their surroundings The best chance of keeping cocks is when they are feeding babies. If you wait till the babies are a couple of weeks old then, if he does fly away, you have a better chance of rearing them yourself. Hens stay better when they are sitting on eggs but, either way there is a chance they will fly off in an attempt to find their original home.:rolleyes: Good luck and, do let us know how you get on, it's a learning curve for us all.

I have had my new hen for one week, she is on eggs now and, in one more week, I shall remove the net......
 

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My hen is a yearling. Yes, I think that she was homed and I was happy to take the nets off once she was on eggs but, I spoke too soon. I came out today to find both eggs on the lawn - one broken and one not.:eek: There is no way any predators could have got under the nets so I can only think that somehow, the pair managed to break one egg, which then stuck with the other egg to the hens tummy and when she came out of the dovecote, she pulled the eggs out.:( I shall wait till she goes down again and make sure she has plenty of extra grit and calcium just in case the eggs were weak shelled.
 

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What a shame about the eggs, I feel for you. I had several things like that but it was in the dead of winter and I am sure that they should not have been laying anyway when it was so cold up here. I now have two lovely babies nearly a month old and we think two more sets of eggs. I am leaving them all under the homing net for a few weeks more, the hawks are very bad up here this year and I want to make sure that I give my birds the best chance. I have been told that once the female sparrowhawk is on eggs then life should get better, but for how long?

I never thought being a dove keeper was going to be so stressful.
 
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