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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

My basic problem is that it turns out that I recently adopted 3 new male non-releasable pigeons and 1 new female non-releasable pigeon (we’ve done DNA tests). I already have a flock of 3 male and 2 female non-releasable pigeons. I think that the new female would be an ideal wife for one my long-time resident males (Bird-Bird), who was recently widowed by the loss of his wife (Mary). But I am afraid to introduce the new males to my main flock before they have wives, as I’m afraid that they will fight and perhaps try to break up the existing couples. I am very worried, however, about being able to find three female non-releasable pigeons any time soon.

I am especially concerned about what might happen to Philly and NuNu, who are an extremely close married couple and who I think are becoming a bit elderly. I am especially concerned about one of the newly adopted males, George, who is large, outgoing, and has significant flying ability (just not good enough to be released – he is also very imprinted on humans), who might be especially prone to bother Philly and NuNu. Philly and NuNu completely lack flying ability, and keep their territory on the ground, separated by a baby gate from my other pigeon who lacks flying ability (Bird-Bird, a male), with whom Philly used to fight badly. But because of George’s significant flying ability I don’t think there will be any way to keep him from intruding into Philly and NuNu’s territory. George was the first new non-releasable pigeon I adopted, and I thought that it would be best if I could find George a wife before he went in with my main flock – ideally one with some flying ability like himself, so they could make their territory up high and be less likely to bother Philly and NuNu.

I sent messages around to the three other people around me who I know rescue pigeons asking about female non-relesables (ideally with some flying ability). One had been involved in caring for a group of pigeons who were victims of a recent attack, and had three non-releasable ones who needed a home. They all looked like girls, and two had some flying ability like George. But it turned out that the two with flying ability are actually boys, and only the one without flying ability (Alice) is a girl. I think that my recently widowed pigeon with no flying ability, Bird-Bird, would be a great husband for Alice. But I’m thus in a situation where Bird-Bird could marry Alice, but that would leave me with three bachelor males, including George. George could in principle marry Alice, but I think that would make the territorial situation more complicated, and it looks like there is no way for me to avoid having two bachelor males (who are pretty young and harmless for now, but will of course grow up) until I can find more non-releasable females who need homes.

I was just wondering if anyone had any advice or suggestions about what I can do. Are bachelor males typically likely to fight with other males (that was my experience with Bird-Bird and Philly before they found wives)? Will they even try to break up married couples? Does anyone know of any female non-releasable pigeons – ideally but not necessarily with some flying ability – who need a loving forever home, as I would be very happy to adopt three such girls? My large pigeon room is over 424 square feet, and I’ve been assured by the other rescuers that I can easily adopt more birds. I would be most grateful for any help anyone might have.

Thanks so much,
Howard
 

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Hi Howard. You are in a pickle. For the longest time, in my loft, which is a rescue loft, I had more females than males. That too creates problems, but nothing like having more males than females. Which is what I have had for a while now. Yes, the males will sometimes try to steal mates, but more often, they are after their nest box, so make sure you have enough boxes for every male to have his own. There were 2 particular males that were driving us nuts, and I finally ended up putting them out in another pen I have outside, just to get them out of the loft. The problem is that it is getting very cold outside now, and I heat my loft, but that extra pen doesn't have heat, so it's pretty cold in there. I still haven't decided what to do with them. I hate to bring them back in, as it has been so nice and quiet without them. If yours have enough boxes then it may remain fairly quiet for a while till you can find a couple of females.

Can you run a thin curtain over the baby gate so that George can't fly over the gate for now? Something that hangs all the way to the floor?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Jay3,

Thanks very much for the extremely helpful response!

Do your bachelor boys get along well together in the other pen? Do you know how large a space the boys need to get along? What I was thinking of doing in the mean time (as soon as everyone is finished getting treated for the feather mites that some of the new birds came in with) is put the new boys together in a separate space from my main flock, while I go about trying to find them wives. Unfortunately the only separate territory I have is the basement bathroom (in which one of the new boys is currently staying). The bathroom is about 60 inches by 104.5 inches (or about 43.5 square feet), and the ceiling is probably about 7 feet high. It isn’t ideal I know but I’ve been told that it’s bigger than a lot of the flight pens that people around here use for rehabbing pigeons for release. Do you think that the boys could all get along in there?

As to nest boxes, what my birds have usually used to nest in are small plastic dog/cat carriers (each of my birds has his or her own, for purposes of going to the vet). The new birds also each have plastic dog kennels which I think measure about 3 feet by 2 feet by 1.5 feet. I’m not sure how easy it will be to fit both 3 carriers and 3 dog kennels into the bathroom, but it might work (it currently only has 1 carrier and 1 kennel for the one bird in there, but I do think that I can fit more stuff in there, especially in the base of the shower, where that boy likes to hang out anyway).

Hanging a curtain across the baby gate is a possibility but it would have the effect of (i) cutting Philly and NuNu off from the window (which is on Bird-Bird and his kids’ side of the room), (ii) making it more difficult for me to access Philly and NuNu’s territory and monitor them, and (iii) making it impossible for Bird-Bird’s kids to visit with Philly and NuNu, which I’m not sure is a bad thing, but I was hoping that they were coming to enjoy each others company to an extent, even if Philly does chase them off the ground if they land and he’s nearby (at the very least I wonder if that's good to keep him active as he gets up there in years...). As such I’d like to avoid it if I can. Philly and NuNu’s territory is actually comprised of about a third of the main room and an isolatable room adjacent to it (their “nest room,” where they typically make their nests in and around their carriers on the floor, the door to which I always keep open, and they go back and forth between it and their part of the main room). I was thinking that I could alternatively try to put the bachelor boys in the nest room and put a screen door across it so they couldn’t bother the rest of the flock. The nest room is 92 inches by 128 inches, or about 82 square feet (and about 7.5 feet high), so it’s just a bit less than twice as big as the bathroom. But I would really hate to take Philly and NuNu’s nest room away from them.

I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties with the heat for your bachelor boys. I take it that there’s no way to heat the pen that the bachelor boys have been living in? If you were looking to get them married so you could move them in with your main flock, I think that you have more options than I do because you live in the US. Palomacy in the Bay Area sometimes facilitates long-distance adoptions in the US (http://www.pigeonrescue.org/faqs-2/i-live-outside-the-bay-area-can-i-still-adopt/), although (i) when last I checked they didn’t seem to have many single girls for adoption - although they may have had as many as 2, and (ii) I saw something about it being too cold for pigeons to travel by air this time of year. But Palomacy has a map with links to pigeon friendly rescues and such in the US, some of which may be within driving distance from your area (http://www.pigeonrescue.org/resources/some-pigeon-dove-friendly-rescues-in-the-us/). They did happen to list just a few in British Columbia that could have been relevant to me (living as I do in Alberta, Canada), but I looked at their websites and it didn’t look like they had any pigeons available for adoption.

Thanks again!
Howard
 

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Hi Jay3,

Thanks very much for the extremely helpful response!

Do your bachelor boys get along well together in the other pen? Do you know how large a space the boys need to get along? What I was thinking of doing in the mean time (as soon as everyone is finished getting treated for the feather mites that some of the new birds came in with) is put the new boys together in a separate space from my main flock, while I go about trying to find them wives. Unfortunately the only separate territory I have is the basement bathroom (in which one of the new boys is currently staying). The bathroom is about 60 inches by 104.5 inches (or about 43.5 square feet), and the ceiling is probably about 7 feet high. It isn’t ideal I know but I’ve been told that it’s bigger than a lot of the flight pens that people around here use for rehabbing pigeons for release. Do you think that the boys could all get along in there?

My two get along really well for the most part. They don't have much choice. And it isn't as though I have moved one into the others territory. They went in together. So I don't think you would have too much trouble keeping them in together for a while. They may establish a pecking order, and then settle down. Not like it is putting new birds in anothers territory.

As to nest boxes, what my birds have usually used to nest in are small plastic dog/cat carriers (each of my birds has his or her own, for purposes of going to the vet). The new birds also each have plastic dog kennels which I think measure about 3 feet by 2 feet by 1.5 feet. I’m not sure how easy it will be to fit both 3 carriers and 3 dog kennels into the bathroom, but it might work (it currently only has 1 carrier and 1 kennel for the one bird in there, but I do think that I can fit more stuff in there, especially in the base of the shower, where that boy likes to hang out anyway).

The carriers make good nest boxes actually.

Hanging a curtain across the baby gate is a possibility but it would have the effect of (i) cutting Philly and NuNu off from the window (which is on Bird-Bird and his kids’ side of the room), (ii) making it more difficult for me to access Philly and NuNu’s territory and monitor them, and (iii) making it impossible for Bird-Bird’s kids to visit with Philly and NuNu, which I’m not sure is a bad thing, but I was hoping that they were coming to enjoy each others company to an extent, even if Philly does chase them off the ground if they land and he’s nearby (at the very least I wonder if that's good to keep him active as he gets up there in years...). As such I’d like to avoid it if I can.

If you did hang a curtain, you would have to make it a sheer curtain, that you can see through and the sunlight would shine through. I can see though why you may not want to do that.
Philly and NuNu’s territory is actually comprised of about a third of the main room and an isolatable room adjacent to it (their “nest room,” where they typically make their nests in and around their carriers on the floor, the door to which I always keep open, and they go back and forth between it and their part of the main room). I was thinking that I could alternatively try to put the bachelor boys in the nest room and put a screen door across it so they couldn’t bother the rest of the flock. The nest room is 92 inches by 128 inches, or about 82 square feet (and about 7.5 feet high), so it’s just a bit less than twice as big as the bathroom. But I would really hate to take Philly and NuNu’s nest room away from them.

That nest room would make a nice extra room for when you have these problems. I do understand not wanting to take their nesting room, but you could probably make it nice for them without it, and it would come in handy to have a screen door and make it separate. We worry so much about their having what they need and being comfortable.

I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties with the heat for your bachelor boys. I take it that there’s no way to heat the pen that the bachelor boys have been living in? If you were looking to get them married so you could move them in with your main flock, I think that you have more options than I do because you live in the US. Palomacy in the Bay Area sometimes facilitates long-distance adoptions in the US (http://www.pigeonrescue.org/faqs-2/i-live-outside-the-bay-area-can-i-still-adopt/), although (i) when last I checked they didn’t seem to have many single girls for adoption - although they may have had as many as 2, and (ii) I saw something about it being too cold for pigeons to travel by air this time of year. But Palomacy has a map with links to pigeon friendly rescues and such in the US, some of which may be within driving distance from your area (http://www.pigeonrescue.org/resources/some-pigeon-dove-friendly-rescues-in-the-us/). They did happen to list just a few in British Columbia that could have been relevant to me (living as I do in Alberta, Canada), but I looked at their websites and it didn’t look like they had any pigeons available for adoption.

They have a pigeon show about 45 minutes from here in Dec, but last time I got 3 females, it ended up being a male and 2 females. So I ended up with an extra pair I didn't need, and one female. LOL. :) I'm probably going to cave and bring those 2 birds in again and see how they do. They've been out of the loft for a couple of months, so they may behave better when I bring them back in. Sometimes that helps as it knocks them down a peg. It was very cold out 2 days and their water froze. It really bothers me leaving them outside where it is so cold. I have it open during the day, then pull the plastic down and tie it up at night. Keeps the cold wind out. They will probably be back in tomorrow. Wish me luck!
Hope you can figure it out. May need to use that bathroom for now. Good luck!
Thanks again!
Howard
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Howard, where do you live? If you are in northern CA there us Palomacy and in Southern CA there is Terry Whatley who always have pigeons needing homes, and they know males from females. :) i dont like male pigeons, myself...we have two males and four females. Males are kind of a pain. I have bitemarks all over my arms from one of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi cwebster,

Thanks so much! Unfortunately I live in Edmonton, AB, Canada. I am, however, willing to do anything I can for my boys, including drive to California and back in order to find them wives if necessary. I am 24 hours by car from San Francisco and 25 hours by car from Los Angeles. I did look into Palomacy, and my understanding was (i) that they do not do international adoptions (although perhaps if I was driving to get the girls and driving them back that would be different?), (ii) they do not have that many single females available for adoption; it's mostly married couples looking for homes (although I think that they may have had as many as 2 single girls looking for homes). But it sounds from what you say as though Terry Whatley has girls looking for homes - if so and we can arrange it (and I can't find anyone closer to me any time soon, which is looking increasingly unlikely) I would be very happy to adopt as many as three of the girls. I think I saw something on one of these forums saying that it is too cold for pigeons to travel by airplane by this time of year; I would in any event be reluctant to let pigeons go into the cargo area (as I have been with cats; although would I be allowed to keep the pigeons in a carrier in the cabin with me under my seat if I arrange it with the airline head of time - as I have done with cats? [I've flown with one by air from Chicago to Edmonton and one by air from Edmonton to Chicago]). But again, if the only way I can find wives for my boys and let everyone go in with the main flock is to drive to California and back, I will definitely do that if it will work.

I do not know (i) if I would be legally allowed to bring any girls I adopt across the US-Canadian border (although might I be? Do pigeon racers and pigeon fanciers bring their pigeons across international borders?), and (ii) whether there are hotels in which we can stay (although I suppose that I could simply not tell the staff, and the girls would be in their kennels in the hotel room anyway). Does anyone have any experience with this? I'd be most grateful for any input anyone might have.

Thanks so much,
Howard

PS. Yes, my first adopted pigeon boy, Bird-Bird, does tend to bite me from time to time, and my newly adopted boy George has a tendency to do so as well. Bird-Bird and I have worked out a system where I can get him to stop by re-arranging his position when he perches on me, and I've been working on trying to teach George to reduce his biting (a combination of praise / saying his name in baby-talk when he perches on me without biting, and distraction by circling a finger around his head when he bites, which seems reasonably effective). I also have to wear socks in the main pigeon room, or Bird-Bird will bite my feet. Since we've worked out a manageable arrangement, and the bites are pretty soft, I really don't mind the occasional bites from Bird-Bird (what gives me marks isn't so much the bites as Bird-Bird's toenails / talons when he climbs up my leg while I'm sitting down, but they aren't serious, and he lacks flying ability so he needs to climb up on me to get on my lap and perch on my shoulder, so I don't really mind them either. In the past I've avoided the scratches by wearing long pants in the bird room, but that tends to get too hot, so I don't both with it). My vet tells me that Bird-Bird thinks that I'm his mate, and he's keeping me in line :). I think that he may just know that I'm his adoptive dad, and scuffles with me the way that his son, Secundus, scuffles with him from time to time. I'm just grateful that Bird-Bird has never tried to get me to sit on a nest in which I can't fit, as I heard someone else on one of these forums had happen with their male bird (exactly like that Simpsons episode where Mr. Burns goes crazy and turns into Howard Hughes, and tires to force Smithers to get into a tiny model airplane at gunpoint!).
 

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Please posr a request in Palomacys facebook page. They have supporters everywhere. Also, have you trued tge local animal shelters there? I will PM you Terry Whatleys info but she is a long way from you. She might know a rescue in your area who can help. Can a local vet let you know about any rescued females? You are such a kind person. I hope you can find appropriate birds soon. What about a local breeder or racing club? Ebay?
 
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