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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all.

OK... the story so far...

I bought myself 6 straight tail garden doves (yes, homing instinct)
I kept them enclosed for a full 7 weeks. Fed them daily by rattling a tin of corn before throwing some in for them through the trap (the signal).

During around the last 7 days for some RIDICULOUS reason (i now know after reading some other threads) I decided to put them on full feed inside the loft! Big mistake i know.

After the 7 weeks had elapsed, i quietly opened the door on the front of the trap and slowly they got the courage one by one to fly out. They circled for a good five minutes then vanished for a good hour. I thought I had lost them! Then sure enough they returned. This is 2 days ago. They are still moving from roof to roof, and i've shook their corn tin and "think" they've watched me doing so. I've then put feed into the loft as I used to do, but this is now their second night of not coming in and they're sleeping on a neighbours roof 3 doors down.

Now, I suspect due to my errors that their crops would have been quite full at release 2 days ago. Could it be that they just haven't felt the hunger yet?? Or would you say that it's possible they don't even realise where they flew out from????

I know they are homing as 1. a contact i spoke to once bought theirs from same source, and 2. If they weren't homing then there's no way they'd still be sitting on a roof nearby

So.... WILL I EVER GET THEM BACK IN?!?!

Thanks for any advice you can all offer
Wayne
 

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if these are homing pigeons they may fly back to the pre owner as that is what they do "home". you have to start with young birds 30 to 40 days old, trap train them to come in the trap door for food. if these are just garden pigeons as you say, they may take them awhile to get hungry. they need more than corn to eat, so perhaps they found something they like better elswhere. not sure if you will get then back in or not, you can try to leave some feed closer but just a bit and then put more in the loft everyday and wait and watch is all you can do now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
if these are homing pigeons they may fly back to the pre owner as that is what they do "home". you have to start with young birds 30 to 40 days old, trap train them to come in the trap door for food. if these are just garden pigeons as you say, they may take them awhile to get hungry. they need more than corn to eat, so perhaps they found something they like better elswhere. not sure if you will get then back in or not, you can try to leave some feed closer but just a bit and then put more in the loft everyday and wait and watch is all you can do now.
Thanks for your response. Surely if they were going to fly back to the previous owner, they'd have done so by now? They've flown off and come back several times, and seem quite happy that they live on this street - just not sure they know their loft! ;)
The previous owner was a breeder, and i know they were never released by him. I feel reasonably confident that they've homed to this close proximity, so like you say maybe they just need to get hungry. Any idea's how long they might "go without" for? Oh, forgot to mention that when i said "corn" i actually meant young bird feed. Corn, wheat, maize, peas - all sorts of stuff in there. I don't think they could possibly need anything else.
 

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it is very hard to rehome homers, but really Iam not sure that these are 100% homing pigeons as like you said they would of flown back home...that is why they call them homers. so either they have very poor homing instinct or they are just some kind of regular pigeon and they were not settled to your loft long enough. they needed to be coming in the trap on a regular basis to eat when called before letting them out. over feeding may be what has happend here. but I would say if they don't come in in a few more days they are eating else where like at a bird feeder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
more time in your loft might have been better 7 weeks i dont think is long enough i alwasy thought it was 2-3 months maby 4 i guess the longerthe better in my perspective
Thanks for joining the thread too :)

You've both made some valid points. As far as I know they are white straight tale english garden doves, a cross between a fantail and a white racer - and therefore supposed to have a strong homing instinct. The woman who told me where to buy some from kept hers in for just 4 weeks and had no problems at all, but I took general internet advice on 7 weeks.

I think overfeeding is the case - and i'm therefore praying that when they get hungry they will know where to go.

Also, it's a sputnik trap i built. Would you suggest leaving the main door dropped down too incase they don't work out how to get in different from getting out?

I really hope they come back in. They look gorgeous flying around the estate! I just wish i'd read more about the importance of feed patterns etc before i let them out - and let them out hungry!
 

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ok ,so they are mix breeds, that is why they have not gone far....I think they will be back, leave some feed out near the loft in the daytime and then more in the loft, if they start feeding near the loft then they may go back in there to eat when they get hungry enough. if you get them all back in then start over with the feed and call and keep them in for another month...2 oz per bird a day is about right so you don't over feed, or if you get them back you can feed them and wait 20 mins and then pick up the feed if there is any left, if none is left give a bit more. twice a day at the same time of day so they know the routine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
ok ,so they are mix breeds, that is why they have not gone far....I think they will be back, leave some feed out near the loft in the daytime and then more in the loft, if they start feeding near the loft then they may go back in there to eat when they get hungry enough. if you get them all back in then start over with the feed and call and keep them in for another month...2 oz per bird a day is about right so you don't over feed, or if you get them back you can feed them and wait 20 mins and then pick up the feed if there is any left, if none is left give a bit more. twice a day at the same time of day so they know the routine.
Yes and no to mixed breeds. They are pure bred english garden doves... but english garden doves were originally created by crossing a fantail and a white racer. If you see http://www.dovesdivine.co.uk/breeds.htm and look at the last section of that page re. Pure White Straight tail Garden Doves, then you'll see what I mean.

If they come back in then I will DEFINATELY follow a strict feeding regime like you say, and train to feed with a signal. Now only time will tell. I'll keep you updated and thanks for all the advice!
Oh, what about the front door on the trap? Would you leave it dropped down or rely on them dropping in through the traps?
Thanks again
 

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I would let them trap if they have been trained to do so, if not then it will need to be open so they can try to figure out how to get in the loft, if there is enough perches in there they may want to roost for the night and then you can close them up after dark...when I say mixed breed I meant not homing pigeons. I understand they are garden doves, which is a wonderful breed of pigeon, but it is not the homing pigeon breed which is different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good advice. It's midnight here now and they're sleeping on a nearby roof. By now I think they should be getting hungry so might trap tomorrow. I'll open up the front hatch before going to bed and watch for whatever prevails tomorrow.

I'll leave them some feed in the trap - but only a little. That way if they do come in to eat and then leave again, hopefully I can entice them back in for more later in the day towards the evening ;)

You've been most helpful. Thanks again for all the replies.
Will update tomorrow evening.
 

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Those straight tail ones remind me a lot of plain white homers and kings. No 'garden fantail' to them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Those straight tail ones remind me a lot of plain white homers and kings. No 'garden fantail' to them.
Quite true, a friend who keeps racers actually thought they were buchearts when i first got them. They're gorgeous birds they really are. I've seen them fly over at very good speeds! And I'm enjoying seeing them go missing and then come back again - I'd just enjoy it more if they were in their loft at night!! lol
 

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Haha. I'm sure they'll learn soon. Once you get them on a good feeding schedule to keep their behavior in check, lol :p
You might want to leave them in for a week or two once they trap, so they can get adjusted to the new feedings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Haha. I'm sure they'll learn soon. Once you get them on a good feeding schedule to keep their behavior in check, lol :p
You might want to leave them in for a week or two once they trap, so they can get adjusted to the new feedings.
Most certainly. If I'm lucky enough for them to return to their loft, they won't be released again until they hit the trap the second i call them to feed. If only I had come on this site 2 days ago before releasing them! never mind, the doves need to learn but so do I!
;)
 

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in the first paragraph it says

These doves are most suitable for aviaries, and NOT dovecotes. They do not have good “homing instinct”, and because of their heavy plumage, they are poor fliers of any distance. They will stay in your garden, and are very tame to feed out of the hand.

Besotted by their beauty, they are always a total joy to be with.

These doves need a "homing" period of three to four weeks.



is the first picturs the same as your pigeons?
 
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i think the fact that they are still around is a good sign so if you can at least get them down to your yard you will be well on your way yo getting them back into your loft ;)

p.s. even most show breeds have at least some homing instincts.
 

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in the first paragraph it says

These doves are most suitable for aviaries, and NOT dovecotes. They do not have good “homing instinct”, and because of their heavy plumage, they are poor fliers of any distance. They will stay in your garden, and are very tame to feed out of the hand.

Besotted by their beauty, they are always a total joy to be with.

These doves need a "homing" period of three to four weeks.



is the first picturs the same as your pigeons?


They are the straight tail doves. And it says that they ARE suited to a dovecoat, and that they have a STRONG homing ability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
in the first paragraph it says

These doves are most suitable for aviaries, and NOT dovecotes. They do not have good “homing instinct”, and because of their heavy plumage, they are poor fliers of any distance. They will stay in your garden, and are very tame to feed out of the hand.

Besotted by their beauty, they are always a total joy to be with.

These doves need a "homing" period of three to four weeks.



is the first picturs the same as your pigeons?
You've not looked at the right one's. I said if you go to the link and look at the very bottom of that page - there are the three main types of doves on there and the top one's you looked at are Indian Fantails. Continue down and then you get English Garden Fantails, and finally "Pure White Straight Tail Garden Doves" which are the one's I have.

It reads....
"These doves are ideal for dovecotes and have a strong “homing instinct”. They stay local to the dovecote and garden feeding their young, but can be transported a distance away from the locality, released, and then return home to the dovecote.

Hence, they are used for releases at weddings, funerals and special occasions.

These doves need a “homing” period of seven to eight weeks."
 
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