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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been trying to raise homing pigeons for almost three years now and have had very little success. I have no clue what I am doing wrong, but I have almost no luck getting birds to come back to the loft. They have constant access to water, they are fed daily any number of Browns pigoen food mixes, I try to handle the young birds around two weeks of age so they are familiar with me. I start teaching them how to use the trap around 5 or 6 weeks by putting a flight cage up and sticking the birds int he cage. I ring a large bell every time I feed them so they associate the sound with food and that entices them to go through the trap and get fed. Once they are used to using the trap I take them out in pairs in put them in a cage about 8 feet from the loft. I feed the loft birds and ring the bell, then go a tilt the cage up for the young birds so they can fly onto the platform, walk through the trap and get fed...I'm not sure what else I can do.

Two days ago I trained two young birds just like I said and within minutes, they went into the loft and ate. Today, I trained the same two birds and they just flew off. Its dark now and they are not in the loft so I will never see them again. No idea what else I can do. I am not over feeding the birds as they clean up every speck of seed within 15 minutes of me feeding them. they have grit, food, water, shelter out of any element.

A couple weeks ago, I released 7 pigeons. They were homing great for a month. Flying together in circles around the coop and around the property. I released the seven two at a time. Just went to the loft and grabbed two and released them. They did the same thing as far as flying together. Only one came back out of the seven after at least of month homing. I have no clue what I am doing wrong.
 

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Are you sure they are homers? Before you take the birds any place do they leave the area of the loft and route (fly out of sight for an hour or so)? The other thing I would not do especially for the first time being released away from home is release them 2 at a time I would release them all together. After they have been released a few times then they can be released one or two at a time. The first time I let mine out of the loft I let them do their own thing.They will usually hang out on the loft a couple of days and take short flights before they start really flying. They should be very comfortable going in and out of the loft and flying for a few weeks before being taken away. How old are the birds when they are first let out? If they are too old 14 weeks or so they may fly off and not realize how far they have gone and get lost. Also if you have hawks in your area they may be chasing the birds and they may be flying too far in a panic and getting lost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I start training birds by age and try not to mix the youngest birds with a little older birds because of flying ability. I believe that is why I lost 6 of the 7 birds a few weeks ago. Two birds born in February really seem to take off and fly pretty far for several hours and younger birds follow them and then can't get back. The one bird out of 7 that returned was a "February" bird.

Hawks are a problem everywhere, but I live in very rural and wooded PA and do not have hawk densities like suburbia.

The birds are homers. I bought them from other folks that have large flocks and lofts of homers.

I have never released my birds any place but around the loft.

I have to physically take the birds out of the loft and release them because I have adults in the loft that I do not trust to home. I'm not sure if the handling of birds scares them and makes them want not to come back to the loft or what. They are always pumped to see me coming because they know Im going to feed them, but when I open the loft they are very afraid of me...unless of course I am filling the water can and then they can't wait to wet their beaks...
 

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When you say you take them out of the loft do you just put them on the loft and leave them alone to just hang out and go in when you either call them in or let them go in by themselves? Never chase young off the loft to get them to fly as this can be a disaster. I understand when you have adults from someone else they will probably go to their old loft is there a way you can lock them in but also let the young come out by themselves. I let my old birds and young out all together because they were all raised by me and the old ones keep the young ones in check for me. I have old birds go and chase down young that were flying for the first couple of time too far away and they go and bring them back. Some times my young will sit on the loft for a few days to a week and watch everyone fly before they make their first awkward flights. Also I let the young out of the loft when they just 4 weeks old just old enough to fly up to the open door. Never chase them, you want them to feel safe and secure at the loft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I take the young out of the loft and put them in a 3x3x2 wire cage i built. I sit them about 8 ft from the loft, under the cage. I ring the dinner bell, feed the birds in loft and then go to the wire cage and slowly tilt it up. The dinner bell and all the other birds going nuts should entice the young birds to go into the loft and get fed. I mean, the only other thing I could do is take them out and just sit them on top of the loft....if I do that tho, they will fly away as soon as I try and feed the loft birds...putting them in the cage and letting them settle down some seems like the best method.

Having adults to home young birds I'm sure is helpful...
 

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When you say you take them out of the loft do you just put them on the loft and leave them alone to just hang out and go in when you either call them in or let them go in by themselves? Never chase young off the loft to get them to fly as this can be a disaster. I understand when you have adults from someone else they will probably go to their old loft is there a way you can lock them in but also let the young come out by themselves. I let my old birds and young out all together because they were all raised by me and the old ones keep the young ones in check for me. I have old birds go and chase down young that were flying for the first couple of time too far away and they go and bring them back. Some times my young will sit on the loft for a few days to a week and watch everyone fly before they make their first awkward flights. Also I let the young out of the loft when they just 4 weeks old just old enough to fly up to the open door. Never chase them, you want them to feel safe and secure at the loft.
I have been having a similar problem and will work on just letting the younger birds out to explore on their own. Maybe set them on the trap ledge and get used to being outside the trap.
 

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you need to let them go in and out in their own time, not putting them in a cage. They will start doing small circles around the landing board or roof, Then around the loft them around the gardens. Give them their freedom to explore in this way , and they will learn to navigate home. They will not go far at firstall t As it is, as they get stronger on the wing they will fly off without the skills to navigate back. You need to be brave and let nature take its course. My birds are allowed to go out as soon as they leave the nest. Helps if there older birds to show them the way in but not essential. Feeding them by ringing a bell is spot on, and will help you to call them in. They should have water available at all times. Being keen when they see the watering can is not good. They may be flying off in search of water if it is not always there.
 
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