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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 4 young pigeons that have been trap trained. They also return to my loft when they are released hungry. However, they take forever to go back into my loft and I worry about falcons. My area is polluted with sharp shinned falcons that love pigeon sized meals. They easily catch adult mourning doves and robins. I can tell when a falcon is in the area by the panic calls of the other birds. So I only release the pigeons when the area is quiet. But that does not last hours. There have been far too many close calls. But if things continue it is only a matter of time before a falcon discovers my loft.

It seems as though my squeakers are forgetting my rattle can food call. They sit on the loft roof for hours preening and chasing each other around before going back in. If I call them in, they basically ignore me. I am worried that I am teaching them to ignore the dinner bell by calling them when they don't want to come.

I think I need to balance food calling with flight training. Perhaps I could call them in for food from the small cage I have on the landing board two days out of 3, and let them fly around one morning out of 3, or something like that. Another alternative would be to only let them loose after skipping a meal so they are starved, let them fly around for a while, and then call them in when they look like they are ready.

But that may not be enough exercise for these young birds.

Does anyone have any advice on this matter?

Cheers!
 

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My advice would be not to release them at all, as they are sitting ducks and easy predator meal if they stay on the roof.

I agree that you need to adjust the feed but also would get more birds and train, pigeons are safer in numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have more adult birds but they are from another loft and cannot be released as they will not come back. They are not nesting yet either so there is little hope of growing my flock till much later. So based on the advice above, it looks like me best bet is to skip the evening meal every third day and release them VERY hungry the next morning, and focus on training them to come to my feed call the other two days (four meals).

Thanks, any other advice is welcome too!
 

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Susquatch,
You should be feeding them every day. Once in the evening after they have been out. If there is any feed in the loft an hour or two after they eat minus that much from tomorrows feeding. Get yourself a day glow orange flag like the ones on children's bikes and duct tape it to a long piece of pvc pipe. When they go to sit on the roof shoo them of once. you want them to land and stay on the landing board. It will take some time but they will get it. they are more apt to come in when they do a quick fly. Also make some hooples using the large fishing nets to guide them in and not your hands. While you are herding them in give them a command word or words like " come on". That way they know what you want from them. And when you get them out use a ling stick and say "lets go". They are smart animals. Using both of those methods with hand feeding will get them tame and they will see your hands as something good instead of a paw with claws. Remember you are the boss and they will work for you. As far as Sharp Shin's fly your birds 30 min to an hour before the sun goes down. I have been hit by them before and they are more persistent than the cooper hawk.
Logangrmnr
 

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i would say with a BOP like that in the area i would change my flying times daily so they don't know when there feeding time is and come hunt around then ...


i would say that getting them to come to a feed call is a good idea .. even during the day i would take out treats .. like greens or raw peanuts and do your feed call so they know Hey it could be a treat .... with a small about of birds it should be easy ...
 

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i would also say that i would call them in from the small cage with the trap down until they respond from it ... then fly them ...


your birds work for food ..

what i would do is put them in the small cage .. put out feed .. do my call and see who comes in ... if only one does then ill let him eat for ten or so mins .. then take the food away .... come back maybe an hour later and re try it with the others and leave the one that ate in since he will be full ... and if they don't come then .. i would make them wait over night ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So, looks like everyone agrees training them to come to my food call is a top priority, and flight training comes after that. So that is what I will do.

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Trouble is that it isn't just one falcon. Its more like 4 or 6. And when the fall comes, my area is also a falcon and hawk migration route. They come through by the hundreds. None of my pigeons will be flying around then - they will all be locked up in my loft whether or not the lack of exercise is good for them....... I'll try to grow my flock as quickly as possible, but my older birds are not all that interested in sex right now.
 

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Trouble is that it isn't just one falcon. Its more like 4 or 6. And when the fall comes, my area is also a falcon and hawk migration route. They come through by the hundreds. None of my pigeons will be flying around then - they will all be locked up in my loft whether or not the lack of exercise is good for them....... I'll try to grow my flock as quickly as possible, but my older birds are not all that interested in sex right now.
Birds of prey are always trouble if hungry, it is part of flying the birds..nothing can be done about it except not to fly if you have a bird of prey problem. the second "trouble" is you only have four birds to fly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
UPDATE

It is the first "flight day" of my 3 day cycle. Skip the evening meal every third day and release them VERY hungry the next morning, and focus on training them to come to my feed call the other two days (four meals).

Last night the young birds were put away without food and no food call for any birds. This morning, I let my young birds fly, which they did with considerable joy. But they were back on the loft roof in no time at all. So far so good.

I followed my standard routine, filled their food trough, and rattle the food can. They POURED IN as though they were on steroids!!!!! Yup, SO FAR, SO GOOD.

I'll update everyone in another 3 days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Second flight test report (6 days), not so good........

I released my young birds as planned and they immediately started flying with enthusiasm just like 3 days ago. But this time, one did not return for some unknown reason. At first, I thought a falcon got it or it hit a wire or something. As nightfall came, it was still missing.

The next morning still no sign of him. But as I walked back to the house after feeding the other ones, I noticed a bird that looked a lot like a racing pigeon a mile high circling my area about 500 yards out. So I ran back to the loft and rattled my food can. Down it came and right into the loft without any delay at all.

I'm not sure what to expect next time, but they have to fly....... So we will have to see......

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This morning should have been their 3rd flight. But there was a storm blowing through so it will have to wait till tomorrow. Too bad because that means they will miss 2 evening meals in a row!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Thanks Shorty2!!!!

These are indeed related to my issue. The advice given by others and to you is quite useful. Funny your choice of words, "thought I'd pass along what he showed me." Fits exactly with my motto as at the bottom of every post I make. You are doing what I will do someday too, and have already done on so many other fronts.

After reading the posts, I can say without question that I should have flown my young birds earlier. They are quite "strong on the wind" already. I received them from a friend a bit late, and I needed to get them used to my loft before flying them. I am also wondering if evening would be a better time to fly my young birds than morning.... Another poster suggested this earlier, but I missed the potential significance of evening vs morning.

Anyway, THANKS!!!
 

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Those birds should be going out now, Shorty. Open the door and stand back and let them out at 6pm or so. Later in the day is better i think for the first time out. After that you can let them out whenever. Some people throw seed down for them when they come outside to help them settle. Try that if you want. I always thought it was a little conterproductive to the trap training but it just give them a little. Either way both birds are fairly tame and should go out easy they should not just get out and fly away. I find that to be highly unlikely. They should just sit on the roof and be slightly confused.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Third Report (Flight #3). Day is nice and clear, and very hot. No storm warnings. Birds were put away hungry last night. Released them this morning. They flew around for about 15 minutes and then all four returned to the loft roof panting from the heat. I gave them another 10 minutes to cool off, and then called them in. Total success. All four promptly flew down to the landing board and trapped in for their seed.

It seems to be working so I'll just keep on doin this for a few more weeks.

Happy Happy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
THAT is hilarious Shorty2! Its pretty much exactly how I feel. Torn between two ideals. Keeping the pigeons I have learned to love, and setting them free to be falcon food.

With only four young birds, the stakes are high and the consequences of bad choices even higher!

I also have three pairs of older birds that are destined to be prisoners for life. I almost wouldn't mind if they got lost or eaten. They don't seem to like me much. They will peck at me or go nuts trying to get away from me. The young birds eat out of my hands and almost enjoy being picked up and handled.

I have the older birds just to provide a future stream of young birds. But even though 2 pairs have paired up and are sharing a nest box, they don't seem to be in too much of a hurry to raise a new family......

Cheers and thanks for the laugh!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
> I know what you are saying - you also feel that the birds really need to be let free to fly and if they get lost or eaten, thats just the price of freedom.
No, I really do mean I feel like getting rid of them. I do not mean letting them go. If I let them go, they WILL disappear. These birds have been prisoners all their lives. I received them as old birds from a friend who got them from a friend who got them from a friend. They are 8 to 12 years old. They have no idea where home is anymore and so they will disappear. I have read that and been told that by everyone and I accept that as a fact. I just plan to keep them as breeders and that isn't working out very well right now.... Do they sell viagra for birds? LOL

I like the idea of playing with the birds. My wife and kids hate the older birds because they are so mean. Working with them to change that is a good idea. I will just need to keep in mind that they are old and may not change.

The bottom line for these birds is that if they don't fly, breed, or like me, then why even have them? The red angel is whispering "YOU OLD FOOL. The only reason you got them is because the other guys didn't like them either!!!" LOL!!!!

Cheers!
 
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