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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A little history... I'm a loft flyer and do not race. Got into this back in March and I'm having a ball. Here's my dilemma.

I trap trained my squeekers in a settling cage on my landing board for 7 days. This was after they had been in the loft for nearly 2 weeks. They were going through the bobs nicely. I then started releasing them from my loft. They're about 5 weeks old. All of them were routing and exploring the immediate area and then returning to the loft.

The problem was that they wouldn't trap. They would hang out on top of the loft for hours. This resulted in some becaming Coopers Hawk meals. A few would trap, but the rest would end up roosting on the ground underneath the loft. I think they felt safe because they could see up into the loft. I would wait until dark and then net them and return them to the loft.

I now have a new supply of squeekers and am in the process of trap training and settling them in again. This time I'm only feeding them once a day and associating it with can ratteling. Basically, all they can eat for 20-30 mins or so, and then I take it out (in the past they had food all the time).

The thing is, they seem down right ravenous by the time I bring the food out the next day. I'm hoping that this will help them to trap quicker (and on demand with the can) so that my birds don't become hawk bait or roost under the loft. However I want to make sure I'm meeting their intake needs.

1 - will this improve their trapping?
2 - is feeding once a day like this sufficient?
 

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I think you should feed them twice a day because they are still young and growing. Just let them out one hour before you feed them. I feed my birds at 9 and 6.
 

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The should be very hungry to get them trapping fast. Our birds are fed twice a day, but we short them in the morning to make sure they are hungry for the evening flight. What we do is measure out the days "ration". Give them 1/3rd after the morning flight. Then in the evening we give them 2/3rd. If you don't trap you don't eat. If you trap late you don't get much to eat. At this point it is almost dangerous to get between the birds and the trap when they are called to the food.

That said, we have been overfeeding our birds because they are young. Basically we are bumping them from 1 oz of feed to 2 oz of feed. Using a 2 oz ration we did this to get them convinced that they were starving. We started off with a short dinner (1/2 ration), then no breakfast, followed by 1/2 dinner, 1/4 breakfast, 1/4 dinner, no breakfast, 2/3 dinner, then back to regular feeding. We did this with regular flying schedule. Now that we are on regular feeding cycle using 2 oz the birds are flying almost 2 hours straight, twice a day, and are really starting to bulk up. Not to mention molt like I need a down mattress!

And they have started "dropping" to see if it is food time as soon as we move from our observation chairs (reclining lawn chairs). If we don't call they don't trap but they make sure we aren't calling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Interesting Jaysen. Thanks for the advice.

My birds are really going to think they're starving then. They went from food in front of them all the time, to eating once a day.

I would like to feed and fly twice a day, but my schedule just doesn't permit it. I work a lot of nights (3:00-midnight). I can't fly them in the morning because if they don't trap before I leave for work, I can't leave the landing board down or a predator will get in before I get home at MN (been there done that:( Not to mention that when I flew in the morning the hawks were killing me. Mayb it won't be as much of an issue if I get them trapping better...

I can really only fly 3 nights a week. I'm going to stick with this once a day routine, and see how it goes. Probably won't even feed them the day before I fly them...
 
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Interesting Jaysen. Thanks for the advice.

My birds are really going to think they're starving then. They went from food in front of them all the time, to eating once a day.

I would like to feed and fly twice a day, but my schedule just doesn't permit it. I work a lot of nights (3:00-midnight). I can't fly them in the morning because if they don't trap before I leave for work, I can't leave the landing board down or a predator will get in before I get home at MN (been there done that:( Not to mention that when I flew in the morning the hawks were killing me. Mayb it won't be as much of an issue if I get them trapping better...

I can really only fly 3 nights a week. I'm going to stick with this once a day routine, and see how it goes. Probably won't even feed them the day before I fly them...
as long as you feed them enuf that one time a day you should be fine , many people do it and you should be ok too as long as you meet their daily requirements ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm basically letting them eat their fill. After 20 mins or so all of them are finished and loafing about the flight pen.
 

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I think feeding once a day will be fine for your situation especially since you don't loft fly your birds everyday.

A proper trap training involves doing the same thing all the time. This will involve feeding less in the morning then let them out about an hour or so before feeding in the evening. When you call them in make sure the food is already inside waiting. You can call them by whistling, shaking a can with rocks or feed inside, etc and even a combination but you need to be consistent with your calls. Your birds will catch on and trap faster.

In my loft.. you trap too late then there's no food left for you to eat cause the other birds had already eaten them..
 

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Wild,

I have an advantage. My loft partners are my 13 year old son, my not yet over the "there so cute" phase 16 year old daughter, and my "I know you are nuts but they are so pretty" wife. Even when we go on vacation, 2 of our club members (ones that donated birds and hence have a vested interest in them) are willing to come fly and feed for us (from what I have heard it seems like we may be in one of the best clubs around).

The birds really belong to the boy and he is the primary handler. He dotes over those birds like a chicken over new chicks. His favorites come to names and if the flock is not up and moving they will come over and sit on an arm, shoulder or head preening. I only wish he would keep his room as clean as he keeps that loft.

Back to feeding… We had been struggling with the best way to feed. Early on we over fed, then under fed. Now we are using a "measured" method (the 1/3, 2/3 for 2 oz per bird) with a reward. Basically if a bird gets in fast we add a bit more. Basically we hand feed a bit extra to that bird just before we pick up the feed. We also make sure that any bird that gets shouldered out of the feeder gets a bit of hand feeding. only birds that are late get shorted. This is easy to keep track of with only 8 birds, so we are not sure how we are going to do this with the 2011 YB season.

Let us know how it all turns out for you. I would be interested to hear how you manage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wild,

I have an advantage. My loft partners are my 13 year old son, my not yet over the "there so cute" phase 16 year old daughter, and my "I know you are nuts but they are so pretty" wife. Even when we go on vacation, 2 of our club members (ones that donated birds and hence have a vested interest in them) are willing to come fly and feed for us (from what I have heard it seems like we may be in one of the best clubs around).

The birds really belong to the boy and he is the primary handler. He dotes over those birds like a chicken over new chicks. His favorites come to names and if the flock is not up and moving they will come over and sit on an arm, shoulder or head preening. I only wish he would keep his room as clean as he keeps that loft.

Back to feeding… We had been struggling with the best way to feed. Early on we over fed, then under fed. Now we are using a "measured" method (the 1/3, 2/3 for 2 oz per bird) with a reward. Basically if a bird gets in fast we add a bit more. Basically we hand feed a bit extra to that bird just before we pick up the feed. We also make sure that any bird that gets shouldered out of the feeder gets a bit of hand feeding. only birds that are late get shorted. This is easy to keep track of with only 8 birds, so we are not sure how we are going to do this with the 2011 YB season.

Let us know how it all turns out for you. I would be interested to hear how you manage.

Will do. I can realate a bit. My 4 year old son flat out loves "his pigeons." He has named his favorites: Joe, Lindsey, Pretty, and Fancy.

I have been feeding once a day and rattling the can at feeding time. They already seem to be reacting to the can. I will be flying them for the first time since this change on Sat eve.

Today, while doing some more trap training, I had a Coopers Hawk nail my settling cage while I was standing no less than 10 feet from it. Couldn't believe he was so bold. I don't know who was more shocked, the birds, me, or my son. :eek:
 

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We have Air, Big Nose, Checkers, Spalsh, Gertrude, Dumb (Dumber got lost), and Yellow. Lost so far are Buff, Warpaint, Jack, Frilly, Rusty, and Slate. There are still a few unnamed birds, but they are starting to show their personality.

We don't have any real how issues as there are plenty of ferrels and lots of cover. The crows and jays give lots of warning. It is just a matter of time though.
 

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Will do. I can realate a bit. My 4 year old son flat out loves "his pigeons." He has named his favorites: Joe, Lindsey, Pretty, and Fancy.

I have been feeding once a day and rattling the can at feeding time. They already seem to be reacting to the can. I will be flying them for the first time since this change on Sat eve.

Today, while doing some more trap training, I had a Coopers Hawk nail my settling cage while I was standing no less than 10 feet from it. Couldn't believe he was so bold. I don't know who was more shocked, the birds, me, or my son. :eek:

Hawks have pulled pet pigeons right off of peoples shoulders. They are a lot more bold than you would think.
 

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I fly no more than 15 to 20 birds max in my kit. When I feed my birds I blow a whistle, 4 times. I feed 1/2 milo and 1/2 wheat. 1 tbl spoon per bird per day.
I have a cage I set out infront of the trap. I open my trap with a bar that holds the bobs open. I keep the kit box dark. The birds go through the open trap to go out into the cage to sun them selves. I do this for about a week, until the birds are use to going into the cage and back into the kit box.
Then I open up the kit box. All of the birds fly into the cage. I then close the trap- bobs down. The birds now have to go through the trap to get into the kit box. I do this for about 3 or 4 days several times a day. Until they all go through the trap with no problems.
Then I remove the cage from infront of the trap. I hold back the food all day. I waite until almost dark. I set them free. I waite about 5 min then i call them and set the feed in the kit box. Almost every time all the birds return to the kit box. If not the next morning they return to it. As they are very hungry by then.
I feed 1 tbl spoonfull of 1/2 milo 1/2 wheat per bird. I feed about 1/3 of the feed in the morning and the rest after they fly at night. I fly the birds for a few nights just before dusk until they all return and understand what is going on. Then I will fly them at sun down for a while. Until they have that down pat. Then I fly them twice a day morning and at night.
If they are working real hard. Add some more feed. But keep them a bit hungry. That is how you control them.
This is what I found does the best for me. I hope it helps Jim
 

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The should be very hungry to get them trapping fast. Our birds are fed twice a day, but we short them in the morning to make sure they are hungry for the evening flight. What we do is measure out the days "ration". Give them 1/3rd after the morning flight. Then in the evening we give them 2/3rd. If you don't trap you don't eat. If you trap late you don't get much to eat. At this point it is almost dangerous to get between the birds and the trap when they are called to the food.

That said, we have been overfeeding our birds because they are young. Basically we are bumping them from 1 oz of feed to 2 oz of feed. Using a 2 oz ration we did this to get them convinced that they were starving. We started off with a short dinner (1/2 ration), then no breakfast, followed by 1/2 dinner, 1/4 breakfast, 1/4 dinner, no breakfast, 2/3 dinner, then back to regular feeding. We did this with regular flying schedule. Now that we are on regular feeding cycle using 2 oz the birds are flying almost 2 hours straight, twice a day, and are really starting to bulk up. Not to mention molt like I need a down mattress!

And they have started "dropping" to see if it is food time as soon as we move from our observation chairs (reclining lawn chairs). If we don't call they don't trap but they make sure we aren't calling.
i agree with jaysen, i do the same and it works nicely:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just an update. The once a day feeding with flying prior to feeding has been working great. My birds are trapping much more reliably now. Haven't had one loafing out on top of the loft all week. The hawks are most disappointed.
 

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Just an update. The once a day feeding with flying prior to feeding has been working great. My birds are trapping much more reliably now. Haven't had one loafing out on top of the loft all week. The hawks are most disappointed.
Great to hear your trapping troubles are behind you but don't get too laxed with your cooper situation. Those buggers are smart and will always find a way to get at your birds. ;)
 
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Great to hear your trapping troubles are behind you but don't get too laxed with your cooper situation. Those buggers are smart and will always find a way to get at your birds. ;)
its true cooper will outsmart you in time when it comes to letting your birds out to fly and their stomachs but you just have to keep your birds in shape enuf to out fly and out smart them while they are out or just keep them in til its safe again for you to fly them again ..timing is everything thru the season of being able to fly your birds ;)
 
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