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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When we first took in Chauncey, the rescued and lost racing pigeon, our intent was to foster him until we found him a wonderful aviary with other pigeon folk. My husband and I are still open to the idea that if a big, happy pigeon home opens up for Chauncey nearby, we'd consider it -- if it's in his best interest. But it seems that we may have him long-term and we'd love to get some more feedback on how "happy" a homing pigeon can be indoors, in our apartment.

In spite of my posts here, I apologize for not yet having a full grasp on homing-pigeon happiness. :) Thanks for indulging this line of inquiry.

He is a senior (at least 10 years old). We know these are his retirement years, but he's still energetic, an amazing flyer and (according to his rescuer) did some fancy aerobatics over her house for days before she took him to my rehabber friend.

We've been letting him out of his cage for several hours most days -- except for the night we couldn't get him back into the cage in which case he got a full day and night perched on our bookshelf. :) He pretty much stays perched on one of our book shelves, but occasionally flits from perch to perch.

We know they are social animals and muscular souls, and we're wondering if we would be doing him a serious disservice if we can't find him a better home than ours. (It would have to be better before we'd part with our new friend. We genuinely love Chauncey and would only do right by him.)

And -- if we end up keeping him for good, would he be happier if we manage to find a female about his age? (We'd want to give a home to a rescue bird if we adopted another one.)

Any feedback or experience appreciated. We've heard a few times that homers don't make the best indoor mates, and yet we've also heard the opposite. He's not a cuddler by any stretch. But he doesn't seem to mind us, either. He digs our singing. And as long as we keep our hands away from him, he's reasonably content as far as we can tell.
 

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I will tell you this, pigeons love their routine no matter where it is, all the better in your house with company, he would love a mate. IMO I do not think he "misses" being a race bird and being in a loft, he could never be flown anyway, he would have to be a prisoner in a loft situation...so I say he would and is happy as a pigeon can be...if they have food and water and company that is all they really care about, and I think he is in the best place a pigeon could be. I really do not think they sit around thinking about the "good ol days" per say flying around, they just want to be fed and have some interation.....yes a mate for him and a cozy apartment with special people who care for him is the ultimate for him...
 

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I agree.... and to be 100% honest-- I do think that you should just commit to keeping him, you care so much for him... it is wonderful to see someone who care's so much... SO KUDOS to that. Im not sure if a //"better"// home could ever be found. You have countless hours caring for him now and a great story to go along with it... and I think he'd love to call this his forever home. I for one am going to plead the case that he came into your life for a reason...apartment or not... he couldn't have found a better place to live out his age! YOUR PERFECT! So on behalf of Chauncey...:D Its nice to be home....:D

Now..... Onto having an indoor homer. I have one. And she is totally content. Like Spirit said, they don't really ponder the past, they live in the here and now..... At one point ours was an only child..:rolleyes:so to say....lol... now she has many siblings... and she gets along with them all.... she loves to go visit their cages ...but she loves to sit with me too. Looking back on the times when she was the only one...she didn't act much different than she does now.

Im sure Chauncey would love to have a friend to "coo" to .. .. BUT... if your uneasy about adopting another- BY all means; he is fine with just you ...provided you spend time with him daily. He will soon condsider you his mate...which is the ultimate compliment...lol ....find some toys for Chauncey to play with... and give him different things to see if he collects them... Willow will collect little trinkets and take them back to her nest... like shes harboring gold! ... offer a nest ..... stuffed toys.... cupcake papers...hay, or straw... torn paper towel....etc... and a BIG Mirror by his cage. You'll soon be skipping TV to watch the Chauncey show... if your not already!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both so much~! We do love Chauncey already. He makes us laugh. And I really, really feel for him!

Right now, he's definitely his own man, not yet bonded with us. He shows the most affection toward us when we sing. He coos and coos but he doesn't want us too near. He just wants to communicate.

He likes us (as far as we can tell) but he has no attachment whatsoever to the "home" we've set up for him, he isn't cooperating with my clicker training (lol), he's sitting on my highest bookshelf as I type, refusing to go to bed (I know -- he shouldn't be up this late, it's an unusual situation tonight with my work and his stubbornness).

He doesn't want me too near him, he will go hungry in the evening rather than return to his cage for food at the risk of having that door close for the night. I can't catch him, for all of my tactical tries. And I hate leaving him out all night . . . I don't sleep because I worry he'll fly into something in the office while I'm sleeping. Yes, I guess I'm hopelessly bonded to a bull-headed pigeon. :)

If we keep him -- and it's looking like we probably will -- we will definitely get him a companion. I work at home a lot, but it devastates me when I have to be away for work, and leave him in his cage alone. I'd love for him to have someone. He's even anxious to bond with our cat (he has no fear and coos when she comes into the room) but I realize that's not a good idea, even if she seems blasé about him. (No worries -- we NEVER leave him with the kitty, ever.)

FloridaLuv: What types of toys are safe for him? What should I avoid? I've read the safety sheets posted here. We don't own teflon, thank goodness. But we still have much to learn. What types of stuffed animals are non-toxic and safe for him? I hadn't thought of cupcake papers, will try that. We haven't yet mastered the perfect nest. We got him a wooden bowl but it's too slippery (even with the stuffing inside). I ordered a clay nesting bowl and have been looking into baskets, too, hoping to find something he likes.
 

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I really admire your care and concerns for Chauncey. :)
Pigeon life is simple, they need food, water, perch and sun. Mate is welcomed but with humans they do well too. He may be 10 years old, but keep in mind that indoor pigeons may live up to 25 and sometimes even 35 years with the good care. If you decide to get him mate, age difference is of no concern, it can be young bird.
Pigeons do not fly because they love to fly. Surely they love to flap their wings, take a short flights etc. Feral pigeons in my garden spend most of the day on the roof of my house. They come down to eat, fly back to the roof and take their daily portion of sun.
Yes they look gracious and beautiful in the air, but they are good flyers just because they are prey for plenty predators. Humans do exploit their fast flying and homing instinct, but no pigeon in the world will choose to travel long distances unless forced. Only known migratory pigeon is extinct so that covers my statement.
If you give him away to someone with more birds, he will need to compete for territory (perch, box etc.) and mate with younger and stronger cocks. This would not be fair.
When one has one or two birds, more time can be dedicated for them. I have 40 something birds, how much time can I spend with each and every during the day?
 

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Hi Valeri...

I was in almost the same situation when I first found Mr. Squeaks, a racing homing pigeon. I, too, live in an apartment (1 bdrm). I wrote his story, which is buried here somewhere in the archives.

Squeaks had a badly broken wing that wasn't healing. He was only about a month old and not friendly - at all! I thought he would never warm up to me, but once half his wing was amputated and he healed, he became a changed bird! I found him in 2003 and had him for a couple of year before getting 3 more non-releaseables.

Squeaks chose me as his mate and has never warmed up to the other three. Actually, he considers them intruders! He has always ruled me and my cats (4 when I found him, now down to 2) with an iron beak!

The three others get flight time out in my bedroom in the mornings and Squeaks and the cats are with me in the living room/dining/kitchen combo area. By closing the bedroom door, I essentially divide the apartment in half and everyone has room.

Squeaks will stay out day and night when in daddy mode sitting in his nest but spends nights in his home when in mate mode...mostly because he likes the bathroom and I don't want him chasing the cats away from their litter box!

Anyway, there, in a nutshell, is another version of living with fur and feathers!

ALL THE BEST WITH CHAUNCEY...WE SEND GREETINGS WITH LOVE, HUGS AND SCRITCHES

Shi/Mr. Squeaks/Dom/Gimie/WoeBeGone :)
 

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just a tip for getting him in his cage, this is what i do when i give my feral youngsters run of the rehab room for the day.
when it's dark out, shut off all the lights, wait for your eyes to adjust and go pick him up, we can see much better in the dark than them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
just a tip for getting him in his cage, this is what i do when i give my feral youngsters run of the rehab room for the day.
when it's dark out, shut off all the lights, wait for your eyes to adjust and go pick him up, we can see much better in the dark than them.
I've thought about doing that since this is how we catch escaped birds at the wildlife hospital. But if he senses me -- and it's dark -- will he go flying into some object he can't see, in a panic? He really dislikes my hands and that's my one concern.

Thanks!
 

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there are no guarantees he won't but mine never do, and i will even grab one that's right next to the other one, the other one will perk up but they still don't see me coming, lol
 

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FloridaLuv: What types of toys are safe for him? What should I avoid? I've read the safety sheets posted here. We don't own teflon, thank goodness. But we still have much to learn. What types of stuffed animals are non-toxic and safe for him? I hadn't thought of cupcake papers, will try that. We haven't yet mastered the perfect nest. We got him a wooden bowl but it's too slippery (even with the stuffing inside). I ordered a clay nesting bowl and have been looking into baskets, too, hoping to find something he likes.
Gosh... I have a lot of kitten toys. The balls with the bells in them. I give ours the stuffed McDonalds toys from happy meals... Journey carries his puppy everywhere he goes. (its a MacDonalds toy) A few other ideas... twigs...that he can carry...torn paper towel... parakeet toys...toilet paper rolls with no tissue on it... stuffed with hay, If it is safe for puppies and kittens .. its safe for pijies. They are not agressive with toys at all. some like the toys and some just plainely act like its an offence! lol...

I use baskets from Hobby Lobby, Michaels etc... for my nests.... I stuff them with hay...and put a pile on the ground, so they can rummage through it and pick the "perfect" twigs out of it, that they like.

Really its like Plamen said... they are very simple... if he never had any of the things mentioned and just had you he'd be fine.

Don't worry so much about holding him. If he doesnt like it.... love him from a far. I have a few I have to do that with too. I think we ALL do.

and most of all.... relax... caring for a pigeon is easy, thats the one of the beauties of them... they are very go with the flow kinda birds.... so trust that you are doing all the right things... Soon you'll realize that it may not be a physical connection he has with you, but a mental...one... and thats Awesome!;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, everyone, for the great advice! I'm running out to a job -- will write again later this evening. Wanted to say "thanks" first and then (yep) one more question:

For those of you with indoor pigeons, how do you get them their proper sun? Do you have a second crate in the sun? Or do you move their cage around? Or let them perch in a sunny window?

We have one sunny alcove in our living room but Chauncey goes absolutely bonkers if he sees the window open, seeing the activity outside. I don't blame him -- it's more fun than indoors. When I've had him out of the cage, I've made sure to close the blind because I'm afraid he'll fly right into it. Head injury is the last thing I want. :)

We have Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks that frequent our neighborhood so I'm nervous to put him outdoors on the small balcony in any kind of a cage.

We'll figure out something. But if you have ingenious ideas, would love to hear them.
 

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They make special lights....they are costly.

People that have severe depression use them and people that have starlings,squirrels, pigeons as companions have them.

I use them as well...they last a long while so I'll have to find the link to the website i used. Some pet shops also sell them.

They work as the sun does, and gives the birds that same stuff they would get from the sun...

-Hilly
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you. I'll look into getting one of those lamps. I think I saw a couple of choices in a pet catalog, but there must be many varieties.

I let Chauncey fly a bit farther in the apartment today, thinking he might go perch near the sunny window. But I almost freaked myself out. The sunny window was closed with blinds down (I didn't want him flying into it). But the brightness of the covered window seemed to still confuse him enough, he did a few turns mid-air, couldn't find the places to land (even though there were some nearby) and I thought he'd have a flying accident. I guess I'll keep him comfortable in the room he knows, for now. He has his favorite perches there. There's daylight all day long in that room, just no direct sun.

I appreciate the many responses. I realize all new people have questions -- and I do regularly search the forums for my answers. That you've all taken the time to answer my many queries personally means a great deal to me, to my husband and (I'm sure) to Chauncey.

p.s. We added some new toys and explorations to his enclosure today. He's showing no interest but we'll keep at it.
 

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Don't worry about the question..I have had pigeons for three years and I STILL ask questions. Learning is just part of animal owning...you can't do the learning without asking questions.

Also, you asking questions gives others more courage to do so.

Have you tried a beanie baby type toy?? They like to beat them up :).
They also like the different color rings to milk and juice containers.
Different scrap paper..

-Hilly
 

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I have often thought about a bird's happiness. When we had Dovey for 3 years, and he was bonded to us, I began to think he needed a whole 'life' since he was so tame and people orientated. Eventually, I got a hen tumbler from a friend whose father raced homers. She wasn't tame, but she bonded with Dovey, and in no time, they had a family.
Dovey was a little clumsy at first, but he become a devoted pigeon daddy. Our big indoor cage had to go outside when my husband became allergic to the feather dust. After many trips to Home Depot, we built an outside aviary that provides plenty of sun, and exercise. I even adopted a pigeon with a splay leg. So far everybody gets along...
I agree pigeon life is simple: loafing, eatting, preening and cooing...
best of luck! You will have years of joy with your pigeon.
 

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I have a pigeon named Tooter that encountered a hawk a few years ago and presumed dead. About 8 months later he made his way back to us and has been happily back with us since then.

Another pigeon named Clayton has been with us since birth escaped over a year ago and was gone for 5 days and came back. The few times he has been allowed out of the coop or aviary, he has refused to fly away.

Two other rescues, Matilda and Ruby were given the opportunity to leave and decided they liked their lives here at our place we call Tooterville. Matilda actually was gone for about 3 days and this brown beauty came back, clawing at the coop door trying to get in. Ruby was gone for 10 minutes.

They DO like routine and know that they are loved and cared for.

We now have 9...maybe 10 if my latest rescue does not regain its flight capability.
 

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I think they know where they are safe and cared for Victor. Your pigeons know they have a good thing. They're pretty smart birds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
We're enjoying watching Chauncey get more comfortable with us. I haven't man-handled him in a few days, that probably helps. :) My hands have only been used to bring treats. But my husband does a funny impersonation of Chauncey's grunting "no, no" when my hands come too near.

He's starting to trust me more, and even dozed just two feet away from me this morning, watching me work on the Mac. And he walked on my keyboard when I was away from it, had a bit of fun with that.

He still hates my hands. But he's getting used to these two silly humans. My husband says he's a "dear, sweet presence" in our household. When we let him out of the cage, he pretty much perches on our bookshelf and watches us work. He does seem to show an anxiousness to be with us. If I leave the room, he coos like crazy when I come back.

I can't get him to take a bath. His last bath was last week when I put the plastic container in his cage. He loved it then. But he doesn't have any desire since, no matter where I put it. I know it's good for him to bathe and get rid of some of that dander, etc, so we'll keep trying. Maybe if we get one of those avian UV lights and place it over the bath . . .

Kitty has mixed feelings. She seems annoyed at times. At other times, she ignores him. Once in a while, she actually seems happy to watch him. And we give her lots of extra attention around Chauncey so she doesn't feel slighted. But, of course, she is always, always supervised when she's in our office where Chauncey hangs out. She leaves the room with me when I leave the room. And Chauncey stays high, hasn't once landed on the floor. (His cage is on top of a table where kitty can't get to.)

We're still looking for the best cleaners and disinfectants for his cage and perches. I took a whiff of "Poop Off" at the bird store and couldn't stand the fragrance. I've got Nolvasan on order, arriving soon. I've soaked things in vinegar and water, don't know if that's the best. Can any of the natural, unscented, health-food-store dishwashing detergents be used? We tend to use all non-toxic and low-fragrance products around here. But I know "non-toxic" for us, isn't the same as non-toxic for birds.

Thanks so much for helping us on this endeavor. I honestly don't know what we would have done without the information and kind guidance at this site! It's a lifesaver . . . for pigeons, and for us. :)
 
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