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Hey all,

I recently adopted a reject racing pigeon that landed himself in the hospital unable to fly and was very thin. He's since fattened up and can fly, although not well. I'd like to be able to bring him outside without worrying about him flying away and getting himself into trouble again. I was wondering if anybody had any suggestions on brands of bird harnesses and which size/bird equivalent should I get? I'm looking to build him an aviary come spring but I thought the harness would give us more exploration opportunity.

Also, his name is Humperdink and he's still adjusting to pet life (and kinda hates me). Any tips to win him over? He doesn't seem to want any special treats like lettuce or bread, etc.

Thanks!
-Cara and Humperdink
 

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Hi Cara! Seeing no one chimed in on your question, I thought I would at least give you my opinion.

First, regular iceberg lettuce has no nutritional value and will only cause diarrhea. Bread is a huge no-no. Try black sunflower seeds, but don't over-do it. They will make a pigeon fat.

As far as flying your pigeon on a harness, I don't think it would be a good idea. You should never trust a harness to work 100%. Birds can and have slipped out of them. Also to keep in mind is that bird of prey have no problem swooping down and snatching them. Having him/her tethered makes their job easier. Think about constructing an outdoor cage where the pigeon can fly around in with no risk of injury or predator attacks. :)
 

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A flightsuit works really well for letting a bird explore outside! You can also use it if you're letting him out inside the house, so he won't poop everywhere. Wide is the correct size for pigeons.

If you're interested in letting him fly outside, I agree with Michy, an outdoor cage is best. Eventually you may be able to let him free-fly without a harness or cage, as long as he is oriented to your property and trained to come when you whistle in case of dangers. If birds of prey are bad in your area you may not ever want to attempt this, but then again he is a racing homer and I've never had a bird of prey go after any of my birds while I was within close vicinity of them.

On the way to the field I keep my pigeon on a small set of jesses made for falcons, and once we arrive I release him so he can free-fly. A bonded pigeon won't stray too far. I wouldn't recommend letting just any pidge do this, they have to be trained (to come when you whistle, namely) and accustomed to free-flight.

PS If your pigeon seems like he hates you (biting and whatnot) that is actually a good sign. That means he is comfortable around you. Nipping and cooing, I've found, is simply a part of the traditional pigeon greeting. If he is afraid of you, pick him up and hold him a lot. Eventually he will settle down. Also, pigeons are very fond of peanuts, millet, soybeans, canary seed. They will be more inclined to take treats from your hand if you don't let them have constant access to their regular food.

Hope that helps!
 
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