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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I am new to pigeon keeping and new to Pigeon Talk. My questions may have been variously answered before and in other forums (I have been reading a lot) but I thought it would be fun to get involved in this forum and get some help from the experts. Apologies in advance for my long winded post.

I bought a bonded pair for my daughter from a fancier almost a month ago. The cock (Caspar) is pure white and the hen (Chook) is a saddleback. They are in a breeding cage and I am building a new loft as I want to keep up to four birds only. I made them a platform and nesting box and the hen has laid one egg and they take turns sitting on it.

The birds are around 12 months old and had never previously been flown outside their original owners' loft. After around 4 days we taped their wings and let them peck around outside their cage and I started to train them to "trap" back in. I continued this for another two weeks. Then I took the tape off and released Caspar after not feeding him for almost 12 hours. He flew on to our roof, stayed there for about 20 minutes, then to the roof of the house next door and then shot off like a rocket!! About 20 minutes later he returned looking very pleased with himself and trapped back in for his food.

Two days later I did the same but this time letting the hen out too. They flew on to our roof then both took off and disappeared. About 30 minutes later Caspar returned but no sign of Chook. I thought she was lost forever. Then, about 90 minutes later she returned and trapped back in for her food.

My questions are: Was I lucky to get our pigeons back? Now that they have flown and shown they can find their way back, will they continue to return or was I just lucky? My daughter wants to keep flying them but I have told her it is risky. I have heard various stories about the dangers of flying older birds that have been relocated but we really want them to be able to fly locally once a day if we can. We live in Melbourne, Australia and hawks and other birds of prey are not common in our area.

Cheers
 

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Yes, you were lucky. And hawks are everywhere. What breed are they? Two pigeons aren't safe flying outside alone, that is why they live in flocks. And they could have taken off and gotten lost. You also don't fly birds on eggs or babies. If one gets lost, or for whatever reason doesn't come back, the other bird will probably not raise babies alone. Then you are stuck with orphans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, you were lucky. And hawks are everywhere. What breed are they? Two pigeons aren't safe flying outside alone, that is why they live in flocks. And they could have taken off and gotten lost. You also don't fly birds on eggs or babies. If one gets lost, or for whatever reason doesn't come back, the other bird will probably not raise babies alone. Then you are stuck with orphans.
Maybe there are hawks but I have never seen one in our area. I don't know about the breed, but I believe the hen is a saddleback - she is white with black wings and the cock is a white homer.
So bottom line, I shouldn't be flying these birds even after they have raised the squab? (I am not sure if the egg is any good. It is their first one but I will know after about another week). What is the minimum amount of birds that you can safely fly?
 

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Can you post a picture of them? Maybe we can tell you what breed she is. A saddleback is her markings.
The hawks are so bad today that even small flocks aren't safe to fly, but should probably have 8 to 10 anyway. You may not see them, but believe me, they will see your birds. And then they will be around. They normally have 2 eggs. If you want to keep them safe, you can build an aviary for them to go out in. If you feel you must fly them, then that is up to you, but fly more than the 2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've uploaded a few pics. The cock is the white bird. They seem o.k. with finding their way home but I am nervous about letting them out again especially since it is only the two of them.
 

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Sorry, the pics are not really clear enough to tell what they are.
 

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I'm really not sure. Maybe some kind of roller? If so, they don't have great homing ability and could get lost. They aren't homers anyway. Homers would be more adept at finding their way home. Can you ask the breeder what they are? If you have different breeds that you just fly around your yard in a small flock they may be safe, unless a hawk or something hits. That could scatter them and they could easily get lost and not make it home. Homers are safer to fly, but you need to get them very young and train them. Hawks can still get them, as you will learn if you read some of the posts on here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don't think they are rollers. Well, I did not see them tumble when they flew!! The breeder simply told me they are homers. They had never left their original loft.

I figured they must be homers as they have both been out and come back. The cock twice and the hen once. The second time they were out for a long time but still came back, so they know where to go, right? However, the hen arrived back about 45 minutes after the cock, which I thought was strange...

I am still nervous about flying them. They belong to my daughter so I'm leaving the decision to her.
 

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Those aren't homers. If they didn't go far, many breeds would find their way back home. They may be a mixed breed. Maybe mixed with homer, hard to say. If you fly 2 alone, you will eventually lose them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You are correct, they are not homers! The breeder finally got back to me and said they are turbits. I had a look on google images and that is definitely what mine are. You can see the much shorter beak than the homers.
I guess the best thing for them would be to put them in as big an aviary as I can afford to buy or build.

They are beautiful birds but ideally I would also like to get half a dozen or so homers that I could just keep and fly locally.

Thanks for helping me out with my questions :)
 

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They're very pretty. If you get homers and let them out, be careful these 2 don't get out with them. I had that happen to a friend, who had 2 Wests in with her homers. They got out along with the homers and she never saw them again.
 

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Unrelated to the flying question, Caspar, but since you're new to pigeons and in Melbourne, I thought I'd link you to Melbourne Bird Vet. I'm new to pigeons as well, and this site - and the vet practice itself - has been a huge help to me.
 

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Good link. Dr Colin Walker is known all over and has many good articles you can read online. He has his own racers as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Great, thanks for the link chocky, looks like a good site. We also have a budgie and a green cheeked conure as well as the pigeons, so that could come in handy. I'm in Doncaster. Where are you based and what sort of pigeons are you keeping?

Jay, regarding flying the turbits with homers, I'm thinking of just keeping with turbits only. If this breeding pair can raise between 4 and 6 more birds then I would love to be able to fly them all together, just turbits, similar to the guy on this video. Would love to have a small flock that just fly locally and return.

https://youtu.be/t3ZkEhJr6S4
 

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We're in Ringwood and I'll be honest, I'm not totally sure what the birds are!
The birds kind of found me, rather than the other way around, so I'm hoping when I have time to take them to the vet I might be able to get some insight into their breed and ages. The one thing I know for sure is that they are a mated pair.

Here is a picture of my three week old baby with her parents.
 

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Hi, you can start your own thread on this. I'll PM you on how.
 

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No worries, Jay, just answering Caspar's question. ;)

Caspar, if you find any other places (online or local) that you think are useful, be sure to let me know. I'm sure there are other Aussies around who might appreciate more relevant info. Perhaps I'll start a thread with what I've found out myself.

Good luck with your new pigeons, and I hope you and your daughter get to fly them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Your birds look healthy, whatever they are!! Do you really need to waste money taking them to the vet??

If you start up a new thread please include a link so we can keep in touch :)
 

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chockymousse, it's smart to try and find a vet that is experienced with birds before they get sick. You never know when you will need one. But they are expensive also, so if they are looking and acting healthy, then I wouldn't worry about getting them to one. They won't be able to tell you their age really, and they don't usually know the breed, unless it is something obvious. Sometimes they are a mix. The pic wasn't clear of the background birds, but the one on the left kinda looked like a homer. Can you post pics of the parents? The baby is very cute BTW.

How did they find you?
 
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