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Hi guys,

I'm 22 years old and want to start raising and racing pigeons (my granddad used to talk about owning them as a boy so I'd like to follow in his footsteps!) I've bought a tonne of books that I'm reading through but there's a few questions I've got that have been bugging me and I wondered if people could help me please? Sorry if there really stupid questions, I just want to have everything planned before I purchase my birds because I don't want to risk hurting my pigeons when I buy them!

I've been reading about the mating cycle and I wondered if there's a time when birds shouldn't be raced or loft flown? How often should they be loft flown and how often should they be "trained" (which I understand to mean tossing them at further intervals over time)?

In the widowhood system how long and when are the cocks and hens allowed together? Is it only the day before races? Does that mean the hen has to sit on the egg the whole time on her own?

With the widowhood method do you need a loft for cocks, a loft for hens and one for the young? Where do the young birds go when the next batch of young birds come around?

Thank you very much! Sorry, I'm finding it hard to get straight, clear information from the books I've bought: they're either too detailed or gloss over all the beginner stuff :)

(I'm very glad I found this forum!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Peculiar questions for a beginner...I think you should focus on building a proper loft, health management, and nutrition before you dive into widowhood and motivation methods.

"Where do the young birds go when the next batch of young birds come around?" -They go to the young bird loft.
haha, sorry, I've basically bought about 20 books on pigeons and I've been reading them all whilst I'm at work trying to get my head around the whole thing before I start (I work in a quiet pub in England so I have a lot of free time on my hands!)

If the young birds go the young bird loft, then where do the birds that were originally in the young bird loft go? I mean, surely you'll start having hundreds of pigeons in a short space of time? Or do you have to be quite hard about getting rid of those that aren't good so that there's no overcrowding? ( :/ )

Thanks, sky tx, on your advice I have sent an email to my local club asking if I could go and see a loft in action! I'm excited!

This is probably another weird question for a beginner, but today I've been reading about good record keeping, which makes sense to me. I read in one book that even the best pairs of pigeons can produce the odd bad one. I was just wondering if there was some sort of ratio I should look for (you know, like number of good offspring / number of bad offspring) for my breeding pairs to try and work out what the good ones are and which need changing?

Sorry, I recently graduated from university doing a physics degree so I think I might think about things in a weird way: I like to know as much as absolutely possible before I start something, haha!

Cheers, Yx
 

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haha, sorry, I've basically bought about 20 books on pigeons and I've been reading them all whilst I'm at work trying to get my head around the whole thing before I start (I work in a quiet pub in England so I have a lot of free time on my hands!)

If the young birds go the young bird loft, then where do the birds that were originally in the young bird loft go? I mean, surely you'll start having hundreds of pigeons in a short space of time? Or do you have to be quite hard about getting rid of those that aren't good so that there's no overcrowding? ( :/ )

Thanks, sky tx, on your advice I have sent an email to my local club asking if I could go and see a loft in action! I'm excited!

This is probably another weird question for a beginner, but today I've been reading about good record keeping, which makes sense to me. I read in one book that even the best pairs of pigeons can produce the odd bad one. I was just wondering if there was some sort of ratio I should look for (you know, like number of good offspring / number of bad offspring) for my breeding pairs to try and work out what the good ones are and which need changing?

Sorry, I recently graduated from university doing a physics degree so I think I might think about things in a weird way: I like to know as much as absolutely possible before I start something, haha!

Cheers, Yx
We do not discuss lethal culling here. The loft can have three sections. one for breeding, one for young birds in training, and one for your team of older birds. so when the young are trained they can go in with the older birds. you would not breed more young than your loft could handle to stay healthy, which is about 2 sqaure ft per bird.. The birds will nest and mate even if you do not want to hatch anymore, so then you would use your wooden or fake eggs. just replace them for the real ones, they should be used IMO for widowhood as if you loose a cock from racing him, the hen would be left alone to feed babies and that does not work well for them as the cock does most of it in the end. It may be better to start off racing doing it natural and get into widowhood later. If you have extra birds that you do not want, you can adopt them out to responsible caring homes. the point in widowhood is for the cock to fly fast and direct back to his nest and hen as an incentive.(he would not know his eggs were wooden).so you would have to have a loft with nest boxes and a trap door to that part of the loft. When you want to breed or let them hatch some young, then the parent birds should not be let out just in case something happens to them (preditor, injury) and they or one could not return to raise the babies or sit the eggs.
 

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Find a Mentor not a pile of books....

....Sorry, I recently graduated from university doing a physics degree so I think I might think about things in a weird way: I like to know as much as absolutely possible before I start something, haha!

Cheers, Yx
Well.....IMHO, you would be starting out with a handicap. The layman's term we sometimes use is "College Boy"....typically what that means is that you are predisposed to place way to much confidence in books. Now days, it's not just books, it could be articles or blogs. Every fancier and his brother will have thoughts about any and every subject concerning pigeons, and just because it was published in a book, or placed into a DVD, or published as an article or placed onto a web site, does not make it so. And if you started out with 20 different books on the subject (you should provide us a list I don't think there were 20 published as a hard back) then you might be really messed up already.

Often the "College Boys" also are hard to teach, because while you are attempting to teach the basic's they are always thinking "Teach me something new" before they have even mastered the basic core stuff. Bottom line IMHO, this is not an art you learn from a book, any more then you can become a Karate Master from reading a book. First you find a Jedi Master you must, and clear your mind of all the rubbish.....he teach...you listen....you do....once you master basic's then maybe for fun, you might be allowed for entertainment purposes only to read books.
 

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I love how you talk to the beginners and you set the record straight and I figure that if this person has good pigeon person qualities he will be back and listen because he or she is new but if they don't have good pigeon person qualities and are just trying to do some type of research paper for english in school then he or she might say something but I sure do love to see the communications here even if I can't really contribute much in the way of racing...Its fun to read....Smithfamily Loft ,
From c.hert
 

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Yes Warren--You tell it Like it is. You and I try to tell new pigeon people a thing or 2 about pigeons and then they tell us what they read and we ARE wrong. Well in my opinion let them learn the same way we did--lots of mistakes. When they come back with MORE questions Tell them " they need to read more books ". I can't tell them WHY it works for pigeons-I just know it does help/work for pigeons. I guess after 30 plus years Racing I still don't know what I'm doing. Maybe I need to start reading MORE--But at 74 years old I really don't care to read anymore or care what other pigeon people think.
My wife was a very good flyer and I am sure Karen is also but these New flyers do not like to listen to Women.
My wife won 6 club Races and 1 combine race--the remarks she had to listen to were Unreal and she stopped flying but when they needed more flyers they asked her to join the club again---Well she told them where they could "stuff" their pigeons--one feather at a time.
 

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I love how you talk to the beginners and you set the record straight and I figure that if this person has good pigeon person qualities he will be back and listen because he or she is new but if they don't have good pigeon person qualities and are just trying to do some type of research paper for english in school then he or she might say something but I sure do love to see the communications here even if I can't really contribute much in the way of racing...Its fun to read....Smithfamily Loft ,
From c.hert
and.....


Yes Warren--You tell it Like it is. You and I try to tell new pigeon people a thing or 2 about pigeons and then they tell us what they read and we ARE wrong. Well in my opinion let them learn the same way we did--lots of mistakes. When they come back with MORE questions Tell them " they need to read more books ". I can't tell them WHY it works for pigeons-I just know it does help/work for pigeons. I guess after 30 plus years Racing I still don't know what I'm doing. Maybe I need to start reading MORE--But at 74 years old I really don't care to read anymore or care what other pigeon people think.
My wife was a very good flyer and I am sure Karen is also but these New flyers do not like to listen to Women.
My wife won 6 club Races and 1 combine race--the remarks she had to listen to were Unreal and she stopped flying but when they needed more flyers they asked her to join the club again---Well she told them where they could "stuff" their pigeons--one feather at a time.
Of course you are both so correct. I do also want to add that I was one of those "College Boys" so when I use that term, I don't want anyone who went to school to get offended.

No matter how one attempts to sugar coat it, or attempt to say it in a very soft way, the really is, if one attempts to learn the pigeon craft, by attempting to read everything that ever has been written about pigeons, like a typical college educated student might be trained to do, you might be able to then write an entertaining paper on pigeon fanciers and their pigeons. On the other hand, if you were trying to learn how to best race pigeons as a hobby or for profit, my guess is that you will end up in your Dr's office being prescribed some sort of medications as you drive yourself towards some form of insanity.

And you are so right Sky Tx, you end up debating with authors who are not present, and in some cases that I personally know of, these authors write many articles, but have yet to Master the Sport.

The key is to find some local guy, perhaps like a Sky Tx, who has decades of actual hands on experience, and learn first how to raise healthy pigeons and get them back on race day. Once you have mastered some of the very basic fundamental rules, then you may be at a place where you can read and discern various viewpoints, without being like a dog who runs after his tail.

For some unknown reason, a fair number of new fanciers, will drop what their mentor is advising them in favor of the newest article they read somewhere....perhaps the following week or month....that will be dropped in favor of whatever was read on some blog or overhead at a club meeting.

And before I write a book here....typically somewhere between six months and two years, the new fancier becomes an "Expert" and is no longer capable of being taught anymore. I am reminded of a local friend who is something of walking encyclopedia, the result of reading thousands of articles over about a 10 year period. He didn't race pigeons during this time, he kept them in his back yard, while he "researched" the sport more thoroughly. I'm telling you, it was kind of freaky....name any strain, or any book, or any article or theory, and I swear to God, he had read about, and most likely retained more of the article then if you had just read it yourself. He had a wealth...no I will say a mountain of such material in his brain.....he still does.

I finally twisted his arms to get him out of his back yard and into the real pigeon world, and out of his pigeon books. These last two years on the club level, he may have clocked three birds in the last 2 years and 18 races. Most of the time, if he did have a bird home, he was last. Many of the races he was fearful of entering because "The birds aren't ready". So, it is from this unusual situation and perception, that I share my thinking on the subject. This is not a sport you study from the sidelines until you are ready to get into the game. No....this is a sport, where you must put your helmet on, and get into the game in order to learn how it is played !! And rather then study dozens of play books or how to manuals, to start, all you really need in a good coach !! ;)
 

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Peculiar questions for a beginner...I think you should focus on building a proper loft, health management, and nutrition before you dive into widowhood and motivation methods.

"Where do the young birds go when the next batch of young birds come around?" -They go to the old bird loft.
I agree, if you are serious about the hobby, start with a few pairs and concentrate on the basic steps first, then you can sure take the next step to raising, training and different systems.

Do try to find a mentor and do use your pile of books, that is what I would suggest. I never had a true mentor and I feel I could have learned fast if there was a mentor :)
 
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