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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently found out how homing pigeons could help me train my hunting retreiver and I am really excited to get started. Not only am I a hunter but I am a big animal lover and think these homing pigeons will be alot of fun. So, I am about to build a homing pigeon loft and get some birds to train my duck hunting retreiver. I was going to build about a 3(wide)x4(tall)x8(long) loft with a 2 x 2 screened in area connected for the birds to get air/sun/rain. These deminsions are based mostly on the shed I have in the backyard that I'll be building the loft under. I have been searching for about 2 days now and am finding it hard to find some information (the search option isn't working for me on this site). So some questions...
1. If I get a pair of homing pigeons to breed, I don't let them out, so I have a section of the loft for them and any other breeding pairs, correct?
2. If they breed like crazy and have a bunch of youngsters, (I'll need about 12-15) will the youngsters start inbreeding or does it matter?
3. When do you seperate the youngsters from the breeding area to the area for the young birds that you fly?
4. How many birds would my loft hold at those deminsions?
Any other tips and information for a beginner would be greatly apprecitated, I will be getting my dog soon and want to try and get this mostly figured out before I get him.

Thank You
Michael
 

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Most of the members -me inculded-do not approve of using pigeons to train dogs--pigeon shoots --only for racing or showing
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I will not be shooting the pigeons and I never said anything like that. You should ask before you assume. I will be releasing the birds from bags in front of my dog and require him to remain steady at my side. It's training for steadiness.

*No birds will be harmed during this training*
 

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Sorry Birds-my mistake--but most dog trainers use pigeons to --train to retrieve the bird. catch it -bring it back --Tape the wings where they can't fly
 

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I'm glad you're interested in homers and you won't be harming the birds during training :) We've just gotten to where we automatically put abusing birds with dog training, simply because that's all that we've heard of from those who come through here.

Now to your questions:
1. Yes, it's good to keep your breeders as 'prisoners', so that you don't end up having the hawks eat up all your birds before you can get any babies. Also, older birds wouldn't be releasable anyway.
2. The babies would eventually pair up and start breeding. Inbreeding isn't bad, as long as you don't over do it. Once you get the amount of birds you want, you can start replacing the eggs with fake ones. Or one chicken egg would work (I have a few pairs incubating quail and standard sized chicken eggs at the moment :)). You could also take their eggs, hardboil them, and put them back under them. Either way, they'll incubate the eggs until their natural cycle is up, and they lay new eggs again. The reason it's better to let them take their course, rather than just throw the eggs out immediately, is so that they have time to recoup after laying. Eggs can really take a lot out of a hen!
3. You can wean the babies as soon as they start eating and drinking on their own, which is usually 25-30 days old. Or if you're in no hurry, you can always go by the rule of thumb that when the quills under the wings open up into feathers, you can take them away from mom and dad.
4. Typically you want at least a square foot of space per bird, and the more room, the better. The most important thing is that each bird has at least one perch to roost on.
 

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I will not be shooting the pigeons and I never said anything like that. You should ask before you assume. I will be releasing the birds from bags in front of my dog and require him to remain steady at my side. It's training for steadiness.

*No birds will be harming during this training*
Thank you for that explanation

However, you should explain before we came to those conclusions.
 

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Birds4mypup, I hope you have a rehabber or bird rescue center close by. I personally feel you are putting your birds in harms way. I admire you for wanting to raise pigeons, but for the wrong reasons. I think you user name will be just that, birds 4 your pup. I don't think any pigeon released from a bag and staring into the eyes of a hunting dog will ever be happy or feel secure! Randy :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
skytx -- I can respect the fact that racing or showing pigeons is your passion and you don't want people disrespecting the sport or the birds. I feel the same way about duck hunting! I don't intend to put the birds in harms way because I want to get into the homing pigeons like I am duck hunting and have a flock take flight around my house. Also I like to train and I believe the birds will be interesting to train. Maybe I have mislead you guys with my screen name but I saw a video with a trainer using pigeons (without harming them) to steady his dog. My hunting retriever who has recently come up missing had a be problem with steadiness (i think the birds could have helped him). However, there shouldn't be assumptions made about how I will be using the birds when I ask about information. It's kinda like my grandad has always said "If you ask someone, hey can I borrow $20?" They say "well what do you need it for?" He would reply, "I didn't say what I wanted it for, I just asked if I could borrow it!" It's really no one's business what you are going to do with the money. Likewise, there's no need for explaination of simply question's I have about raising pigeons just because my screen name is Birds4MyPup. It's also disrespectful to assume that the pigeon's will be harmed by being released in front of my dog by me a duck hunter. I don't beleive I have disrespected anyone by making this post. I would like to be shown the same respect as a duck hunter and new racing pigeon enthusiast.

Two birds Up rririe!!!
 

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Birds---My wife was a very good Duck Hunter-and YES we had some very good Retrievers. we also had Dogs for hunting Squirrels-Racoons-running foxes. She married into a Hunting family.-In fact she was on the cover of 2-3 hunting Magazine's-back in the 1950's and 1960's. Next month we will be married 54 years and raced Pigeons for 31 of those years.
We were raised in the Mississippi Delta- a hunters Paradise
 

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my Dad trained his bird dogs too, but he used feathers(where he got it I do not know) tied to a fishing pole to train his dog to hold the point by his side and flicked the pole to move the feathers... you do not need to scare the begesus out of live birds to train a dog... think of how stressful a life would be if you thought you were going to go to the after life as bait to some predator... thats how the pigeon would see it I would think....
 

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To each their own, I have seen pointers trained in my past and I believe him. Why go to the point of building a loft and learning about the birds if he didn't care about the birds. Also, I have a lab that doesn't bother my birds and my birds have gotten use to her. She even jumps into the loft with me most days and the birds just hang out. They are less scared of her than me, (she doen't catch them I do).

Now that said, with a name like Birds4MyPup be ready to explain your position from time to time because of what other bird dog trainers do. Also, some people just will not agree with your training, "just because." Just agree to disagree.

Tony
 

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I don't believe that anyone disrespected you. Normally the way people train their dogs, that you hear of, is by letting them catch them. They are scared to death, and very possibly hurt or killed in the bargain. So when you come in and say you want them for the purpose of training your dog, I think it natural to think you are doing the same thing. This is a pigeon forum, and we don't believe in harming pigeons, so I think it was up to you to explain it when you started your post. The responses you got should have been expected. I still don't think that putting them in a bag and using them that way is fair to the birds. It certainly wouldn't be enjoyable to them. Don't think birds should be kept and bred to train a dog. You have come onto a forum where people love their birds, and are going to react to what you are doing. If you didn't want to have to deal with that, then maybe you should have bought a book on pigeon keeping instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It is hard for me to believe that people without any knowledge other than a brief explanation of the training presume to know what will and will not happen to the birds I will be using. If I wanted to harm the pigeons then why wouldn't I just buy a few of them and half way take care of them and throw them in a wire cage til I bring them out to shoot them over my dog. I am interested in keeping these pigeons, also my dad had some when he was a kid. He has sparked an interest in it himself and we are going around ideas of building the loft together. These are the kind of rediculous responses that you have to deal with on forums. Should I really have to go into all this detail to ask a simple questions about my interest in homing pigeons? People who have no business responding to the posts and injecting their opinion when it has nothing to do with the subject of the post are the one's who respond the most. Thank you for highjacking my post with your overly conservative and unjustifible assumptions.
*If you don't have anything constuctive to add to the subject don't post*
P.S. - I am undating my profile to include a full background check.
This is the last I will comment on these posts.
 

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Ok guys cut the kid some slack he did say he was a big animal lover. We have a man in our club that trains dogs and to my knoledge he has never hurt a bird. Birds can get used to a bag we put them in a box for shiping and we have them in the box longer. Thursday afternoon for a Saterday release. JMO
Dave
 

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I don't believe that anyone disrespected you. Normally the way people train their dogs, that you hear of, is by letting them catch them. They are scared to death, and very possibly hurt or killed in the bargain. So when you come in and say you want them for the purpose of training your dog, I think it natural to think you are doing the same thing. This is a pigeon forum, and we don't believe in harming pigeons, so I think it was up to you to explain it when you started your post. The responses you got should have been expected. I still don't think that putting them in a bag and using them that way is fair to the birds. It certainly wouldn't be enjoyable to them. Don't think birds should be kept and bred to train a dog. You have come onto a forum where people love their birds, and are going to react to what you are doing. If you didn't want to have to deal with that, then maybe you should have bought a book on pigeon keeping instead.
The guy has taken an interest in raising pigeons with no intention in harming them and you jump down his throat, way to help a new guy out, if we run everyone off all the time there will be no one else around to enjoy the hobby.JMO
 

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Not to jump in the blender here, but...

I know a number of people who keep pigeons for dog training, and never lose a bird, except to hawks- which every person here who flies their birds risks... If your birds are pets, and never flown, that's a different deal. They will never know the "fear" of a predator chasing them.

Many trainers consider pigeons "off-game." The don't want their dogs retrieving pigeons... they will buy quail, or pheasants to use for retrieving drills, as that is the game the dog will see in the field.

I'm sure there's more than a few folks who got a few training birds, and wound up falling in love with a new hobby.

FWIW,

Don
 

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The guy has taken an interest in raising pigeons with no intention in harming them and you jump down his throat, way to help a new guy out, if we run everyone off all the time there will be no one else around to enjoy the hobby.JMO
I didn't jump down his throat. I was explaining why he got the initial response from different people. It was up to him to explain in the first place. If he can't see that, or you can't, well then your being very one sided. And giving an opinion is not jumping down his throat, so chill.
 

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Perhaps I should just move on to another thread....but I was wondering how some of these owners of these bird dog retrivers would feel, if I wanted information about these dogs in order to train some of my pet lions. I tie the dog into a sack with just his head sticking out, and then my lion's come up to him and very gently bring him back to me. Now, he won't hurt the dogs, it has happened I admit, but that's not what I want. When me and my hunting buddies go out to kill stuff, we only want the lions to bring the stuff we kill back to us. I use to pay the neighbor to borrow his kids, but I ran into some trouble with children's services. Something about not being allowed to tie them up in sacks and stuff.

So, if a bird dog owner, does not have a problem letting me use his kids to train my pet lions, then perhaps I won't have a problem with him using some of my babies to train his dogs.

Problem is, I am a bird lover. I have issues right at the start, because "dog trainers" kill birds for fun. Second, they want to use pigeons to facilate their killing hobby. I just can't see myself providing pointers to someone who intends to stick them in a sack to train a dog. In order to help them kill birds for fun.

Every once in awhile, a guy will call me asking to buy my "culls", so he can use them for dog training. There are other more sick and twisted things that people can legally do, but don't ask me for your help. These same "sportsmen" are some of the same folks that come into Penna. to attend live pigeon shoots. So from my perspective, I don't want to hear how humane your dog training methods are, and just because you want to put a loft in your back yard, does not mean I have any duty or obligation to assist you.

(PS. Please "thank" some of your hunting buddies for the buck shot that some of my birds have come home with) :mad: ( PS. PS. might as well thank your buddies who also have their dogs do it on my lawn and fail to clean it up also) my cats had me throw that last one in there.....:rolleyes:
 

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Thank you Warren and Karen, As I said before, live pigeons and dog training don't mix, the idea of the birds being released from a bag or sack turned my stomach. I can only feel myself peeking out of a bag only to see a hunting dog ready to pounce. Then if the bird survives just put it back in the loft to be used another session. I'm sorry doesnt' work for me. Randy
 
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