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When my dog was bored, the trainer had me teach him tricks to keep his mind occupied (roll over, play dead, crawl, find objects, pray, etc.).

I have a 2 month old hand-raised, formerly injured homing pigeon that spends days in our school classroom (weekends he comes home and spends in the pigeon coop). He is no longer satisfied to just sit around in his 'cage' -an open crate-like cage that he can hop out of at will. He is getting into trouble -walking out into the hall, pecking keyboard keys at inopportune moments, being a distraction... generally doing what a teenage pigeon does, but not necessarily what he ought to be doing in school. He has just become strong enough to fly a bit (he was damaged falling out of a nest when he was a few weeks old), which is good for him- but giving him more opportunity to get into trouble.:eek:

I would like to teach him some tricks to keep him occupied and to entertain the children as they care for him. I can put him into a cage for part of the day, but I really abhor caging animals in a small cage, and a flight cage is not an option at school.

Anyone with experience teaching a pigeon tricks?
 

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I love your post. It conjures up all sorts of interesting images.
Teenage Pigeons are hard to be around...just like human teenagers, they are exploring and separating emotionally. They just kind of need to go through it.
Have you thought about bringing in a larger cage that he can't jump out of at will and maybe offering him a mirror so he can admire himself? That often helps some. Perhaps some twigs to play with and arrange would be helpful.
 

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Hi,

I have a "house pigeon" also. I haven't taught her "tricks" per se, but I have worked with her on getting her to fly to me when i tap my forearm as a perch. Of course, the first few times I tried it, she looked at me as if I had gone nuts. This is where the safflower and hemp seeds came in VERY handy.

First, I got her to understand where the seeds came from, a small plastic container. Now, all I have to do is shake the container and she will fly instantly to me no matter where I am.

But, I wanted the illiusion--at least--that she was flying to me out of love, so i kept putting seeds in my hand, and leaving her on either a dresser or other take off point, then stopping, turning around, holding out my arm and tapping my forearm. Very quickly, she got the idea that flying to me would get her some seeds. After praising her and kissing her for being such a good girl, I would walk her back to the perching place and repeat the activity. Now, it is one of her favorite things to do. Of course, she does it because she loves me and not because of the seeds. Really. :D

Hope this helps.

Bill B.
 

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Thank you both!

Yes, I may have to get a cage for him... before parents begin frowning at pigeon poop in odd places:eek:.

Twigs are a good idea- I also like the idea of teaching him to come at a rattle... something that the children could do as well as me. I have not found anything that he really likes to eat- but all I have been feeding him is pigeon food and chicken scratch. He does not like peas or milo, and prefers wheat and corn. I will try safflower and hemp... any other suggestions? I tend to feed my animals a boring diet of store-bought feed, but the others all like treats, so I suppose pigeons like treats also- never really thought about it before!

We did discover this morning that he likes to play 'soccer'- pecking at a small wiffle ball when it is rolled to him. The kids were teaching the class dog to jump through a hoop this morning- perhaps we can get a mini-hoop to get Pidgee to go through:p
 

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You can try the potty training for birds on him, you could also get a pigeon diaper (pidgwear).

I suggest making him a place, a high perch with a water cup and some seeds attatched, and a tray under it, would keep poops confined. Pigeons like being up high so much, he might spend all his time up there just as if he were in a cage, but able to come and go from the perch at will. Pigeons are territorial. Mine spend almost all their time on their favorite perches when they aren't bathing or doing yoga.
 

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Brooklyn (my hand raised feral) has a cage full of stuffed animals, small cat toys, balls, bells, an abacus (he likes to slide the wood keys across the bars), and a whole bunch of parakeet "Activitoys" and "Nature's Instinct" toys that are very interactive.

One has a little red ring on a chain and three pegs, he will spend an hour sitting there grabbing the ring and shaking it then placing it on a peg. Others have parts he can twist, turn, slide, pull, and move. They keep him very busy. He also likes pulling toilet paper out of a toilet paper tube, and carrying around a small plastic cat jingle ball (the plastic-wire type, he easily grabs onto it and flies around with it or walks around with it). He's crazy about his stuffies - the favorite is a yellow bunny (too big for him to carry around). If its on the bed and it's bedtime or he wants it in the cage he will go back and forth between it and the cage until I get the message and put it back in his nest bowl for him. The others are tiny cat stuffies.

He's also got some other parrot toys in his cage, some with dice, keys, bells, beads, string, and leather strips.

Pigeons seem to love to investigate and peck at stuff. I think yours could benefit from some fun toys in his cage!

Teaching him to come when called (Brook learned this on his own, but I've been trying to reinforce with safflower seeds since once in a while he gets ornery and won't come off the roof) is fun too, but I think you can help him stay out of trouble and keep busy with fun toys.

Best,
Kari Jo
 

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Kari Jo,
This is fantastic to learn.... Willow loves his stuffies too..she has a monkey that she snuggles with and a pelican that she pulls its tail...LOL... but I have never even thought of kittie toys... Hmmmm.. a trip to the pets store might be in tha air today! and the toilet paper roll... marvelous. I'm always looking for ways to keep her busy... Thanks For this info. It is very helpful... anymore ideas... please PM me! I have been woking on the fly to me thing... and she isn't getting it all. But Were trying! Thanks fro all this! Great stuff!
 

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IF you have a petco near you I would check there.
Most of them have a clearance table with all kinds of pet toys and so on really cheap
 

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Neither of my pigeons seem to really go nuts over safflower, sunflower, or hemp :rolleyes: Can't figure why. But they love Kaytee Jumbo Treat Spray - Natural ****** sprays. It's sold at Petco and PetSmart - looks kind of like millet sprays (which the pijis also adore). I put this in a bird toy (similar to the picture below - except mine are stars with no bell) and hang it on the side of the cage. The love attacking it! Even after all the seeds are gone which is kind of funny to watch. But they really love the seeds. If your having trouble finding something your piji really goes for give the Jumbo Treat spray a try.

Keep us posted too! Oh - and we'd love to see some photos :D
 
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