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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks! I just ran across your forum here and it is a godsend!

A week ago some friends who work in construction began a job rebuilding the roof of and older barn. The client had asked them to destroy any pigeon nests they ran across, as the pigeons have been making a mess of his boat and car he has in there for storage. I guess he is having a local hunting club come over to destroy the adult population. There is little that I can do about that even though it breaks my heart.

They could not bring themselves to harm a pair of young they found, and brought one over to me a week ago. The second had spooked from the nest and fallen between the double wall and they couldn't get it out.

Two days later they returned and could still hear the young pigeon flapping between the walls. So after work was done they dug holes beneath the wall and were able to herd the other baby out of one of the holes. He's quite the miracle bird to survive his ordeal. The temperature was in the mid 80's and I can only imagine how hot it must have been in the wall. Besides being a bit dirty and dehydrated he was in good shape and has made a strong and speedy recovery in the last 5 days.

So I have become "mom" to two young feral pigeons. They have taken to me very well and follow me around the house whirring and cooing when they are loose. So far they are in excellent shape, eat very well, and seem very content to be house birds. I threatened my dogs that their world would end as they know it if they touched the birds, so it's quite comical to see my two german shepard crosses running away from the pigeons as if their lives depended on it:D.

The past few days one of them, nw named Hawk, has been showing interest in her bowl of seeds. But she seems to lack the dexterity to pick them up and I have yet to see her eat one.

I am hoping to get them weaned soon, as I work alot and have a good number of other pets that I am spread pretty thin right now.

My pigeons look to be somewhere between 20 and 25 days old.

Can anyone suggest to me how to begin weaning them off?

I don't want them to go too hungry, as of yet I have not been able to get either one to begin drinking on their own. So their only source of water is the hand feedings and I worry about them not getting enough water. Right now I am feeding them round the clock about every 4 hours.

I am planning to build a loft in the next week here, as they have gotten so attached to me (and I to them) that I don't think they will be good candidates for release. These guys have no idea they are birds, and no idea that I am human:p
I was told on another forum that my little feral pigeons will "home" to some degree and as long as I don't take them out of view of my yard they will return to their loft just as any homing pigeon would. But I do live in a very open area with no cover, and we have a good deal of hawks that call this area home.

Is it possible to train my pigeons to return to their loft when I call them? And if so how does one go about training them?

Thank you for any help you can offer folks. I have hand raised a few pigeons and doves before as a child, and I did keep one of the pigeons as a pet for years, but we made a house bird out of him and the idea of letting him fly outside never really crossed my mind. But I would really like these two to be happy and get lots of exercise, and well, be birds and do as birds do!

But here are some pics of my "kids"...sorry for the cell phone pics, is the best I can do at the moment.

Hawk (the first one to arrive)



And Scout (the second to arrive, after spending two days in a wall)
 

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Well, "mom"..........you've got a couple of cutie pies there. I'm very glad that you could save these two. It's a shame about the adults............
At thier age, they are VERY close to being able to eat on their own. They just have to learn "how"...........
Put some seeds in a deep dish and "swish" it around with your fingers to get their attention. You might pop a few into thier mouth and let them swallow and get a taste for them. Spreading some out on a towel and "pecking" with your fingers will get their attention too. They will eventually pick up a few and get the hang of it all.
Do the same thing with a bowl of water. I even drop a few seeds in the water after they learn to eat and when they try to get the seeds, they'll discover the water and take a drink.
As far as them staying in a loft, I expect that they will, but you must be warned, that the dangers of hawks, cats and other predators is real and although they could live for years in the loft, they could also be taken quite easily by a hawk and that would be the end of that.
So, it would be up to you how to handle it.
 

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lovly colours so sweet and thanks for helping these guys live you can have an avery on the side of a garden shed this works very well for birds that do not fly out as they can gte the freash air from the avery and these guys look older than 20 days more 30-40 i would say
good luck
 

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lovly colours so sweet and thanks for helping these guys live you can have an avery on the side of a garden shed this works very well for birds that do not fly out as they can gte the freash air from the avery and these guys look older than 20 days more 30-40 i would say
good luck
28 to 30 days maybe........not 40 though.............:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, "mom"..........you've got a couple of cutie pies there. I'm very glad that you could save these two. It's a shame about the adults............
At thier age, they are VERY close to being able to eat on their own. They just have to learn "how"...........
Put some seeds in a deep dish and "swish" it around with your fingers to get their attention. You might pop a few into thier mouth and let them swallow and get a taste for them. Spreading some out on a towel and "pecking" with your fingers will get their attention too. They will eventually pick up a few and get the hang of it all.
Do the same thing with a bowl of water. I even drop a few seeds in the water after they learn to eat and when they try to get the seeds, they'll discover the water and take a drink.
As far as them staying in a loft, I expect that they will, but you must be warned, that the dangers of hawks, cats and other predators is real and although they could live for years in the loft, they could also be taken quite easily by a hawk and that would be the end of that.
So, it would be up to you how to handle it.
Thank you! I will certainly try that with the towel. I have been tapping in their feed dishes, but they are far more interested in me and begging to be fed, than they are in what I am doing.
As far as free flying them goes, I am still torn and undecided about it. It would be very nice to let them, but on the other hand I would hate to see anything happen to them. I thought that maybe if I could train them to come back to their loft when I call them, I could at least afford them some protection that way, with supervision. But if they can't be called in then I'd rather not take the chance.

lovly colours so sweet and thanks for helping these guys live you can have an avery on the side of a garden shed this works very well for birds that do not fly out as they can gte the freash air from the avery and these guys look older than 20 days more 30-40 i would say
good luck
Hehe, I am still quoting myself from the day I got them. But 30 to 40 days I would not have guessed, thank you for the insight. I am planning to build the avery of the side of my chicken coop, which will afford them some protection from the elements and provide a large area at little cost since one side won't have to be screened in with wire and it will have a solid roof over the whole pen.
I have always wanted homing pigeons and I guess this is the motivation I needed to build the facilities. I guess the fact that I have these guys and am already tossing around the idea of getting a pair of homers makes me a pigeon addict in just under a week.

Would it be okay to house a pair of homers with these guys?

As far as saving them goes, I am very happy to do it. They have been a joy and alot of fun.
 

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Thank you! I will certainly try that with the towel. I have been tapping in their feed dishes, but they are far more interested in me and begging to be fed, than they are in what I am doing.
As far as free flying them goes, I am still torn and undecided about it. It would be very nice to let them, but on the other hand I would hate to see anything happen to them. I thought that maybe if I could train them to come back to their loft when I call them, I could at least afford them some protection that way, with supervision. But if they can't be called in then I'd rather not take the chance.


Hehe, I am still quoting myself from the day I got them. But 30 to 40 days I would not have guessed, thank you for the insight. I am planning to build the avery of the side of my chicken coop, which will afford them some protection from the elements and provide a large area at little cost since one side won't have to be screened in with wire and it will have a solid roof over the whole pen.
I have always wanted homing pigeons and I guess this is the motivation I needed to build the facilities. I guess the fact that I have these guys and am already tossing around the idea of getting a pair of homers makes me a pigeon addict in just under a week.

Would it be okay to house a pair of homers with these guys?

As far as saving them goes, I am very happy to do it. They have been a joy and alot of fun.

Well, there's a process that we go through to train the birds to return to the loft, and I'm sure that it could be done with these two. It basically involves FOOD..........that's about the only motivation that we have to use with these guys.
As far as putting other homers with them........yes, you could do that, but if you want flying birds, you need to get a couple more babies..........you can't get adult birds and re-home them. Well, you can TRY.........but trust me, it's MUCH easier to start with babies........re-homing a homing pigeon is difficult and iffy at best............and if it doesn't work, you've got a couple of birds that will starve to death in a few days......IMO, it's best to not even go there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, after these guys are weaned and comfortably settled in to a loft (got to build it still) I think I would love to do that then. I really wouldn't mind hand raising a few more squeakers. Especially when I have the luxury of being ready and prepared for it and have a bit more spare time on my hands than I do now.
I have run across a few websites in my travels that sell pedigreed babies and ship them...which would be convenient since I don't know anyone that has homers in my area.
Is that a good idea though? Or is there a good directory of breeders somewhere where I can find someone in New York? Shipping seems like it might be a stressful and risky to a baby bird...I wouldn't mind driving a few hours if I can find a breeder in New York.
 

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Hi Bella - welcome to the forum and thank you for rescuing these little guys. They are very cute.

Personally, I would not let them free fly. They will be perfectly content in an aviary setting and much safer.

They will catch on about eating very soon, particularly since you have two and they kinda compete. I would give them smallish seeds for a couple of weeks until they get the hang of picking them up and swallowing. I have found that often they just can't manage the larger peas.

I love their names.
 

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Bella, my tame feral "Brooklyn" does home back to the house. He is 3 years old and since he learned to fly he has been allowed fry flight out of the house. I always thought he would leave but he never has.

Brook will even fly around the neighborhood following me as I walk the dogs. Flying from window ledge to rooftop... sometimes riding along on my shoulder or walking on the ground after us. The neighbors think it's really crazy. LOL

I never used food to train him, he just is so bonded to me he follows me and comes when I call or will land wherever I point. I literally just yell, "Hey Brook, get in the house.." and zoom, in he goes. Even if he is out in the yard somewhere.

However!!! About a month ago he had a run in with a young male Coopers Hawk, he outmaneuvered him (thank god) but I realized the danger I had been warned about was now very real. The new loft was like having a big McHawkald's neon sign on my roof. Now the local hawks know there's "fast food" here and I haven't let anyone outside since. It's a shame because I have tumblers which I would love to let fly. But I am too close and personal with all of my birds to risk anybody getting eaten.

So for now they fly in the house for playtime. But it's sad, I miss letting Brooklyn spend his days flying around outside, in the backyard, all over the neighborhood. I used to just wake up and open the door for him so he could be out. He really enjoyed it but I don't want to risk him now that THEY know he's here.

Your babies are gorgeous!! They are so lucky to have been saved by you.

Best,
Kari Jo

p.s.
All of my birds love toys, and I don't think giving them toys is common practice. My racer friends think it's crazy, but even now I can hear my Berliner Kurze hen playing with her parakeet toys! They all have a toy in their nest boxes, and in the loft and quarantine cages. I use parakeet and cat toys, and tiny stuffed animals. Really keeps them busy!
 

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Well, after these guys are weaned and comfortably settled in to a loft (got to build it still) I think I would love to do that then. I really wouldn't mind hand raising a few more squeakers. Especially when I have the luxury of being ready and prepared for it and have a bit more spare time on my hands than I do now.
I have run across a few websites in my travels that sell pedigreed babies and ship them...which would be convenient since I don't know anyone that has homers in my area.
Is that a good idea though? Or is there a good directory of breeders somewhere where I can find someone in New York? Shipping seems like it might be a stressful and risky to a baby bird...I wouldn't mind driving a few hours if I can find a breeder in New York.
If you purchased squeakers, any responsible breeder would not even let you get them or ship them to you until they are weaned and eating on their own. Hand raising baby pigeons should only be done if there's no other choice. Normally, we ship them out at about 28 to 30 days old. By that age, the parents have taught them to eat and drink. There's lots of pigeon people in NY and we might even have some babies with members here that would be willing to let you have them.
Once you get a loft built and decide what you want to do, you can let us know.
Like Lady Tarheel said, it's not absolutely necessary to let them fly. I personally think there's nothing wrong with it because that's why God gave them wings, but we all have our own views on that. I DO have a few birds in my loft that I'm attached too and they don't get out to fly, simply because I would be heart broken if something happened to them, however, I race my birds, so I can see both sides.;)
Shipping birds is very safe and is not stressful as long as it's not too hot or too cold and the trip goes like it's supposed to.
Keep in mind when building a loft, that the birds will need an entrance for entering the loft and not being able to get back out once they are in. You might want to check out our Loft forum here. There's lots of info and pictures there so you can get some ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the advice guys, it has been very helpful.

I let the kids out to wander around last night and started playing a little game with them. I toss one single seed at them and they both would scurry over to see what it was. After a few tries Hawk has finally learned to pick them up and eat them.

Dead on that they are very competitive! It's a race every time.

This morning Hawk's seed dish was nearly empty when I woke up. A good deal of seed is scattered around the cage, but I think she/he ate quite a bit of it.

Scout is still dropping them, but now shows interest and is getting the hang of it. I'm going to be easing back on the feedings now:)


If you purchased squeakers, any responsible breeder would not even let you get them or ship them to you until they are weaned and eating on their own. Hand raising baby pigeons should only be done if there's no other choice. Normally, we ship them out at about 28 to 30 days old. By that age, the parents have taught them to eat and drink. There's lots of pigeon people in NY and we might even have some babies with members here that would be willing to let you have them.
Once you get a loft built and decide what you want to do, you can let us know.
Like Lady Tarheel said, it's not absolutely necessary to let them fly. I personally think there's nothing wrong with it because that's why God gave them wings, but we all have our own views on that. I DO have a few birds in my loft that I'm attached too and they don't get out to fly, simply because I would be heart broken if something happened to them, however, I race my birds, so I can see both sides.;)
Shipping birds is very safe and is not stressful as long as it's not too hot or too cold and the trip goes like it's supposed to.
Keep in mind when building a loft, that the birds will need an entrance for entering the loft and not being able to get back out once they are in. You might want to check out our Loft forum here. There's lots of info and pictures there so you can get some ideas.
Thank you lovebirds! I've been perusing the loft section trying to get an idea
of what exactly I will need to build.

I approached my boyfriend with the idea of getting into homing pigeons this morning and he was absolutely thrilled with the idea. So with his blessing I am definitely going to get into the sport. I'm hoping to get the loft built next week, and would like to get some homers well before summer ends so I have good weather to train them in. I will definitely be around these forums quite a bit to learn, ask a million questions and hopefully find a NY member that I can purchase some good young birds from:)

I am so excited! I can't stop reading everything about pigeons! I have a lot to learn before I get more birds:D
 
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