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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, I'm new to the wonderful world of racing pigeons. Well, long story but we received a Blue Bar race pigeon a few weeks ago, tracked down his owner who has no interest in wanting him back. Philosophy was "he couldn't make it home 250 miles, I don't need a bird like that in my loft." So, we kept him.

Now, we live in Northern Nevada, don't get an abundance of rain or snow, and humidity level is rarely over 50% and that's while it is raining, but winter does get down to 0-20 degrees. We have built a 8 x 8 x 8 fully wired pen, with perches, one side backed up to a solid wood fence. But winter is slowly going to approach and he and his future family will need a house. We have already made arrangements to get him a "lady friend", and would like to end up with 6-10 birds total. These will be for our own enjoyment, not for professional racing.
Our plan is to construct a 6 X 6 Lean-To style shed on the south side of the wire enclosure, with a cut out on the north end to go directly into the wire pen, offering free access to come & go in & out. Inside the lean-to shed, I plan on using one wall for nest boxes and the other for 6-10 perches(depending on how many birds). On the south end will be the "human" access door. In tall part on the end sides, there will be 2" vent holes covered in screen for air flow. Considering some sort of window on front sid ethat can be opened in summer for additional ventilation. So to sum it up they will have a 6 x 6 shed and attached 8 x 8 flying area.

So here are my questions:
Is this a sufficient plan?
Is it fine that they can come & go as they please from the shed to wired area?
How big should the opening be and how far off the ground, to go from shed to enclosure?
Is the 2" vent holes sufficient for air flow?
Floor will be plywood, should I cover it in linoleum tiles so moisture doesn't seep into the wood floor? Been reading a lot on this forum about the moisture causing health issues, so that is my big concern.
Should feed & water be placed inside shed area or left in wired area? or both?

Am I off on the right track?

Shed would be somewhat like this shape, except door would be on end.
 

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I can't help you out on the structure but I wanted to thank you for helping the pigeon out and giving it a good home. Your a good person and now you want more pigeon. YEPPEEE!!! You'll find allot of information on here and ask anything and someone will always will help you. Good job, mindy
 

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I built a loft pretty close to what you are talking about, check out the pics on my profile albums, both inside and outside areas on mine are waterproof exept the aviary.
 

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Thank you for taking in this stranger.

Sounds good. If you can open up some ventilation under all the eaves of the roof that would be good. Don't have openings on opposite sides as that will create a draft.

Pigeons need protection from rain, drafts, dampness and predators (any opening to the outside world should be closed with 1/4 inch hardware cloth).

They should NEVER be allowed to come and go as they please, as this can lead to their demise. Predators will be on the look out for pigeons that sit idle outside. Be with them when you let them out and always close up the coop once they are inside.

Plywood floors off the ground are fine, as coop should be closed so rain cannot get in, a little moisture is okay as long as the coop is well ventilated and can dry.

Food and water should be off the ground where it cannot get full of poop or dust. Remember, there will be poop anywhere underneath areas where the birds will roost. That will help you figure out exactly where you want them perching and don't want them perching. Any small areas left open to smallest cracks will collect dust, dirt and feathers.

I have a seperate area off the ground with 1/2 inch heavy duty hardware cloth for floor where the food and water containers are (openings shouldn't be more then 1/4 inch, but my feeding area is closed off at night from outside. Always remove feeders and waterers at night, keep them clean.
 

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here is a pic of my loft.. it may be a bit longer than the one you want to bulid but it can give you some ideas. the landing board is the roof of the aviaries and the pop holes can be propped open about 4 inches at the bottom so they can drop in the loft but can't fly back out, or I can open them so they can go out to fly. it is 8x16 with three sections, one has nest boxes in it. you can put a removable settling cage on the landing board in front of the pop hole door to train them to trap in, you put the young birds out, then drop the door down, leave open about 4 inches and then they learn to drop in that way, but not beable to get back out.


the side with the door, door found at yard sale.


inside perches.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the info & pics. So I am off on the right track apparently.

As for ventilation under the eaves, great idea! That kind of makes building the roof a little easier. How much ventilation under the eaves would be good on the 6 X 6 (might end up going 6 x 8 if space will allow)? Screened vents on every truss at 16" apart or only maybe on 2 trusses? Should it be on one side only or both sides? Not sure if on both it would cause a draft maybe?

When I said they could come & go as they wanted, I didn't mean fully loose. I meant from the shed to the enclosed pen. The 8 x 8 wired pen is fully enclosed with wire plus has vinyl lattice on top for additional shade. We don't get racoons and such here, the only issue is the neighbor's cats, which my great pyrenees is taking care of one by one;). She is loose with the ducks and in the vacinity of the pigeon area 24/7. We have had a few red hawks hang out in the trees near the ducks, but again the dog has warded them off. So with that, can they be in their shed to pen without supervision, or is it just better to be cautionary?
 

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everything needs to be coverd with 1/2 or 1/4 inch hardware cloth, for rodents and snakes too, yes snakes come in and want the eggs and depending on the kind of snake it will try to eat squabs and birds too, so nothing anywhere should be more that 1/2 or 1/4 of an inch opening, your fly pen roof will have to be coverd with hardwire cloth or a metal roof and any openings coverd...I shut the doors to my aviary at night because I did not use the right size wire or hardware cloth, so small critters could get in if I left it open all night.
 

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It won't cause a draft if you have openings under all sides of the roof. The openings should be big enough to allow air to flow, but not too big to allow rain to blow in, and that also has to do with having a roof that overlaps the walls to keep rain out. You can cover openings with 1/4 inch mesh, if vent openings are smaller then 1/4 inch you can use them.


It is always best to be cautious when birds are outside but if they have a pen that is completely covered and protected that shouldn't be a problem. I am still cautious because we never had any kind of predators come around for 6 months after we got the pigeons, then when the word got out we have cooper hawks, racoons, snakes, rats and other critters drawn to pigeons and their eggs. My birds have a wrap around aviary in the front that they have access to all day, but the coop is closed off at night for complete protection from anything that hunts at night as the aviray has openings larger then 1/2 inch, but it is double wrapped in fencing and hardware cloth/chicken wire.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Trees Gray: I looked at you loft pictures, on the white baskets, how weel are those working for you as nest boxes? Looks like an easy to clean idea.
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Yes, everything is covered in small wire, we didn't want the local sparrows & such sneaking in and helping themselves to the feed. We don't have varmin here either, but do get he occasional snake (gopher & rattler), have only seen one gopher snake all year, but it was clear on the other side of the property. My ducks are egg layers and are not fully contained(they can't fly either though), so I am hoping that since nothing has come in after them, maybe it will be safe for the pigeons?

Thanks everyone for the input, glad to know I am pretty much on the right track with my plans.
 

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If you are talking about the cubbies, they are designed for mated pigeons (retired :p), but not really large enough for birds that you want to breed. My pigeons sit on dummy eggs, so they only need enough room to sit on them and have a little extra space. If you are going to breed you need a nest box large enough to house two nesting bowls, parents, and one set of babies. It should also have a front to keep strangers out, babies in (until they are old enough to fly) and room for individual feed bowls.

Thanks again for adopting this noble bird. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
A pigeon that was found, most likely won't rehome to your loft. It will need to be kept in from now on.

-Hilly
That is what his "previous" owner told me. He said to keep him, and gave me the breeders number to call and arrange for a "lady friend", which I have done. He also said to use the future offspring as the homers. Amazing how one day my life totally changed and I became the proud owner of a pigeon! He is a beautiful bird though, so it is worth it. :)


Some of you have vents close to the bottom of your lofts, are those necessary or are the ones in the rafters enough?
And how much light needs to get in the loft? I wasn't planning on puting any windows, just never thought of it until now. They would be in their flight aviary all day and only in the loft at nights or on cold, windy, snowy, rainy days which here in NV can be counted on one hand. Should I put in a decent window?

Also, have decided to go with 8 long x 6 deep x 6 high in the back & 5 high in the front. Figured it would be plenty for 10 birds, plus the 8 x 8 aviary.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
How much ventilation under the eaves would be good on the 6 X 6 (might end up going 6 x 8 if space will allow)? Screened vents on every truss at 16" apart or only maybe on 2 trusses? Should it be on one side only or both sides? Not sure if on both it would cause a draft maybe?
Ok, decided to go with the 6 x 8 size. Any answers regarding the ventilation amount? Rafter vents will be on the 8' side. Reading also I may need vents in the bottom too to create flow? Just worried I may end up with too much air flow and they get ill.
 

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That is what his "previous" owner told me. He said to keep him, and gave me the breeders number to call and arrange for a "lady friend", which I have done. He also said to use the future offspring as the homers. Amazing how one day my life totally changed and I became the proud owner of a pigeon! He is a beautiful bird though, so it is worth it. :)


Some of you have vents close to the bottom of your lofts, are those necessary or are the ones in the rafters enough?
And how much light needs to get in the loft? I wasn't planning on puting any windows, just never thought of it until now. They would be in their flight aviary all day and only in the loft at nights or on cold, windy, snowy, rainy days which here in NV can be counted on one hand. Should I put in a decent window?

Also, have decided to go with 8 long x 6 deep x 6 high in the back & 5 high in the front. Figured it would be plenty for 10 birds, plus the 8 x 8 aviary.[/QUOTE]

Make the inside just taller than you. Easier to catch birds if you can stand up and reach up.

Tony
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi, Big T

The 6' height in the back is taller than me, I planned on puting the nest boxes on that wall, with a few perches. The front 5' side will be the perches. I am female, only 5'4", so should work well for me. Read not to go too high because then it is difficult to catch them? Plus don't want it to go over the height of the fence and tick off the neighbor.

So it correct then, put a vent at the bottom of the wall too. Can the rafter vents & bottom vent be on the same wall? Or rafters on 8' long west wall and floor vent on 6' wide south wall?

Plan on starting construction next weekend (Oct. 10th) want to make sure I do this right! So, if anyone has input or if there is something I am overlooking, feel free to chime in!
 
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