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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
G'Day. I'm forced to 'take flight' not knowing if I'm a fledgling lol. Here's my deal. I live on the Rocky Mountain front just south of Canada in Montana. We've had crazy weather, and the chicks I thought I'd get in June will arrive next week. Pure white homers :) (not to worry too much, I've talked on and off for several years about doing this. Not a snap decision overall).

This am as daylight breaks, we are setting out to set up an unused horse barn/shed for a large aviary with a 'roosting box' at one end. Once the ground thaws in the spring we'll break ground for our 'ultimate' set up. We've collected the 'basics' for now.

I would so love to hear from all of you wishing to share the knowledge you've gained to start my endeavors. How many times did we not see that 'blind curve' coming in the road to show us a crossroad where we wished we'd turned another way?

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN PLANNING AND DESIGN IF YOU WERE STARTING FROM SCRATCH?

Ie, Bob or drops? Why?
What are some of your coolest inventions?
Worst mistakes?


I am your sponge! Hope you'll share and post pics too.

Sara :)
 

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I would learn about the pigeons themselves first, why they do the things they do, nesting, mating, choosing a mate, age at maturity ect. some of that will explain why people make their lofts the way they do.. I find that even if you don't let babies hatch and use fake eggs still make a place for the pigeons to play house and nest reguardless because they will just find a place that may not be conveinent like the floor. I think box perches work well for that, but if you do let them hatch eggs you will need a proper nest box that is bigger.

Im not sure why you are getting young birds in this cold right now, most breeders would not ship birds right now..with deleys possible and the very cold..the birds will not have food for two days in that box. personally I would double check your source and get the best birds you can afford and have them sent on when better weather hits. also someone who bands their hatchlings is taking an extra step in responsiblity for what he allows to be hatched at their loft, so IMO banded birds is a good sign of a responible breeder.. not always now but with these homers I do think as so many get lost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Clarification-

Im not sure why you are getting young birds in this cold right now, most breeders would not ship birds right now..with deleys possible and the very cold..the birds will not have food for two days in that box. personally I would double check your source and get the best birds you can afford and have them sent on when better weather hits. also someone who bands their hatchlings is taking an extra step in responsiblity for what he allows to be hatched at their loft, so IMO banded birds is a good sign of a responible breeder.. not always now but with these homers I do think as so many get lost.
Just some clarification:
They are coming from my village, no shipping etc. A 20 min trip by car.
We had several extremely warm days in a row here, and one of the fella's musta decided it was spring. As many have said on here, it can be difficult sometimes to know which are females and males. So I guess we have an 'oops' in the coop. :eek: As I said, none of us expected babies til later in the year.

I've been reading much on here for a while now and finally decided to make a 'membership'. I will continue to read through all the areas of PT. I would like a fancier 'roost' than the one the birds are in now -- eventually, but wish to have the best of function and protections as that is my highest priority. I can design my landscape around what their needs are when I break ground in the spring.
 

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Just some clarification:
They are coming from my village, no shipping etc. A 20 min trip by car.
We had several extremely warm days in a row here, and one of the fella's musta decided it was spring. As many have said on here, it can be difficult sometimes to know which are females and males. So I guess we have an 'oops' in the coop. :eek: As I said, none of us expected babies til later in the year.

I've been reading much on here for a while now and finally decided to make a 'membership'. I will continue to read through all the areas of PT. I would like a fancier 'roost' than the one the birds are in now -- eventually, but wish to have the best of function and protections as that is my highest priority. I can design my landscape around what their needs are when I break ground in the spring.
That's great! I would take those birds then esp being so close. They won't be doing much at young age anyway,but you are going to want to trap train them before you let them out for the first time, so training them to another loft can be tricky but can be done, it's just could get frustrating as they are creatures of habit.
 

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Make your loft secure a mink can get through a very small whole and then you will not have any more birds. A raccoon can chew through a 3/4 in plywood, I can't stress enough, make the loft secure. You live in some wild country plenty of critters that would like to eat your birds.
Dave
 

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I think the first thing to do is examine what you are going for. Are you going to race? Are there races near you? Can you race to your loft or will you have to send to one loft races?
After this do you want short race birds, middle or long distance birds?
What ever you choose buy from someone that is respected, all advertized birds will look super on paper.
Go for birds that do well in your conditions. and start small with good birds and breed them up. If you get 4-8 year old birds they usually are good or they wouldn't have been held that long. You can wait years trying to develop birds you like their publicity rather than plain birds that can get home. I believe in lots of short tosses to orient birds toward coming home and trapping. then a 40-60 mile toss to sort out keepers.
I use drop traps and don't do any trap training. It is so easy for them to get in that they just do it, especially if as squeakers they see others dropping in at feeding time. I open my loft for them to get out and an hour or so later close the drop so they can get back in. They will fight to get in at feed time.
 

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I would make my loft long and narrow with a hallway down the whole front . The hallway being your space and the back of the loft for the birds, keeping the sections small so you could easily catch the birds. The hallway could be used to move birds around the different section as needed too without touching any of the birds. I would make the windows all in front out of wire and have thick green house hard plastic panels to cover them for winter and to adjust the air flow and let the sun inside too . The inside ceiling made of small strong wire that could be covered to keep it warmer inside if needed. Venting through the soffit or roof and I would use metal for the roof with a pitch that suits your winters. Breeding boxes in one section and other sections with perches . A room at the end for storage and I would make the loft up off the ground a few feet with easy cleaning plywood floor or a drop through floor in each section so the droppings can be scrapped quickly out of the loft. Each section would have sliding doors with the top of each door plastic 1/2 inch pvc water pipes or round wood dowels for air flow, or peg board which also could be used as walls between the sections. One or two good size landing boards at waist level for the birds to enter with portable cages to cover them as an aviary that could be moved easily when the birds are out flying and a folding table inside to place treats on when the birds enter the trap. On the adult bird end I would have a very large aviary ,very secure for the birds to sun and have a place outside to hang out in when needed. I would add a summer time sprinkler for them to bath with in that big aviary. Keeping the loft narrow like 6 feet wide you could easily add on to it as you needed to. I would start with the adult section with the large aviary first and put the nest boxes in that section.
 

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Sara, there is a you tube video that may be of help in designing what you build. I assume that you are interested in flying competitively and keeping your birds in top health and form. If you simply type in a search for Geoff and Catherine Cooper you should find several articles and you tube videos. One is a video of Geoff explaining the construction and design of his newly constructed loft. The Coopers are located in Great Britain, but the design concept is relevant anywhere. I doubt that you will construct a masonry loft or one which is 85' by 8', but you can adjust the size and materials used to fit your situation.
John Lamberton also has videos on the net that identify his loft design and construction and the philosophy he employs in keeping his birds and their management.
John Lamberton is located in Oklahoma and has been very successful with his birds.
Mr. and Mrs. Cooper have been immensely successful in British National competition for decades.
There is much available info out there, and as the saying goes "many roads lead to Rome".
Good luck with the birds. If you are going to compete in racing, the best advice anyone could give you is that the quality of birds is of utmost importance. Pretty birds all too frequently do not produce outstanding results.
 

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There is an tremendous amount of information to consider. Start slow. Visit other fanciers' lofts and ask about their ideas. Search the internet to get some great ideas for various types of lofts. Make sure the loft you decide on works for you. Ceilings not to high(birds fly over your head). Compartments not to large(birds will try to get around you). I like the idea of entering the loft into a hallway or some empty entry space where the pigeons can't escape from the loft when you open the door. You may find it convenient to run electricty for lights. The number of compartments your loft should have is something elese to think about. An opening for coraling pigeons into a crate saves a lot of time when your preparing for a training toss.
Have fun! Enjoy the journey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thank you everyone for you thoughts and comments.

We have been methodically building the roost, 8 ft long, 4 ft deep, and 4 ft tall. There is a center divider making the 8feet into two 4 ft chambers. So in essence, it's 4/4/4 cubed. Nest boxes start 1 ft off the floor, and there are 3 levels so 12 boxes on the back wall, single 'towers' will be placed on either side of the 'front' door giving 3 more nests on each side. Thus 18 nests per cube, grand total of 36.

This roost, is now sitting in what will become a full flight aviary measuring 24'/12'. Once weather permits, it will be placed on legs 18" to 2' off the ground.
If I had good weather we'd be done already.

Baby homers are still in their nests on the other side of the village.

Meanwhile, weather here has turned brutal for frostbite (currently -20s with wind chill heading for -40), so building has ceased til better weather. Let's hope we get sun and near freezing temps on Sunday.

Ps I'm not finding any other fanciers around Montana. I only know this one fella. Another fella further out and opposite direction moved - leaving his birds free and irritating the 'crap' out of his neighbors. Those in that village wish me to trap them and take them in. (I see no good reason for my flock to have them, even if they are all white like mine). Any thoughts on that?
 

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Silver Wings, not sure which part of Montana you're from but there's a racing club near Bozeman. Here is their website: www.montanaloft.com

Jim Jenner of Paccom films ( http://www.paccomfilms.com/ ) who has made many pigeon videos lives in Montana. Also Gene Yoes who runs the Racing Pigeon Digest ( http://www.racingpigeondigest.com/ ) recently moved up there.

Someday when I retire I hope to find my way to Montana permanently. I visit every chance I can get, I love it. Here's a pretty cool video of Dusan Smetanas loft: http://vimeo.com/32589338
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Silver Wings, not sure which part of Montana you're from but there's a racing club near Bozeman. Here is their website: www.montanaloft.com

Jim Jenner of Paccom films ( http://www.paccomfilms.com/ ) who has made many pigeon videos lives in Montana. Also Gene Yoes who runs the Racing Pigeon Digest ( http://www.racingpigeondigest.com/ ) recently moved up there.

Someday when I retire I hope to find my way to Montana permanently. I visit every chance I can get, I love it. Here's a pretty cool video of Dusan Smetanas loft: http://vimeo.com/32589338
Hey West!!

Well that is darn cool ! While Bozeman is the complete opposite end of the state from me (I'm closer to Choteau, if you decide to Google). What time of year do you come out? Where abouts do you go? Montana has many different qualities within its' borders.

So Gene Yoes is farther out than Bozeman.

But Jim Jenner is one mountain range west of where I plan to release my birds once they are capable. (Best friend was murdered by a suicidal driver on the interstate near there in Jan '13. as he intentionally played 'chicken' with several drivers that day before running her down head on at over 100 mph.) Sooooo yes, I'll be working my flock for a release from the crash site -eventually. For a 'straight' flight that would be 86.4 miles back to me....

If you think of any individuals closer to Choteau/ Simms areas, please let me know. That 'helo' flight video is rather awesome!
 

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In my opinion, there isn't a lot you need to know about pigeon racing other than how to care for them to keep them healthy. Most important is to get a routine going that you are comfortable with that don't require a lot of your time doing unnecessary things for the birds and loft. And, don't try too hard to complicate a simple issue.
 
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