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Old 01/02/11, 04:16 PM
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Question Pigeons and free ranging?

We acquired a group of white Homing pigeons. How do I know when it's safe to let them out to free range? How long till they won't try to make it back to their original home?
We also have a pair of Archangel pigeons. Will they stick around like Homing pigeons or are they not like that?

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Old 01/02/11, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by 6e View Post
We acquired a group of white Homing pigeons. How do I know when it's safe to let them out to free range? How long till they won't try to make it back to their original home?
We also have a pair of Archangel pigeons. Will they stick around like Homing pigeons or are they not like that?
You might get lucky and have the homers stay around after they have raised a few babies. If they are released before then they will usually leave. The archangels, if penned with the homers will try to stay with them.

It is best to keep the young homers and eat or sell the older ones. Before releasing pigeons take a good look around at the number of predators. Some places you can free fly them but in some places there is just too many predators.
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Old 01/02/11, 04:42 PM
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I kept my 20 King pigeons confined for 2 months , and the first time I turned them out, half flew away.

Do like Pancho said and wait until they have raised some replacements and MAYBE they will stick around

I now let mine free range all the time, and I have 40-50.

I lose a few to hawks, and some will leave, but most tend to stick around

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Old 01/02/11, 04:44 PM
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I love birds ... homing pigeons would be sooooo neato.

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Old 01/02/11, 05:06 PM
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Adult homers purchased from different lofts are often referred to as "Prisoners" because they need to be penned forever if you want to keep them. I have had some prisoners that were caged get loose and go home after being penned at my place for close to four years. The best bet is too wait till you have enough babies out of them that you won't mind if the prisoners fly away or not. I am assuming these are just run of the mill white "homers" with no pedigrees. Most white homers are not the best homing pigeons to begin with and if they have not been flown much they may indeed just be white fancy pigeon and settle into your loft.

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Old 01/02/11, 07:14 PM
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Thanks for the answers. They're not fancy with pedigrees or anything and I don't really mind keeping them penned up. We used to have a pair of frill backs that stuck around here until they left with some wild pigeons one day, but we never penned them up. They just stuck around. LOL I don't mind if they have to be permanently penned up. We do have A LOT of hawks around here.

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Old 01/02/11, 07:18 PM
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Is it cruel to the pigeons to leave them penned up permanently? What they're in right now is a chicken house and a large covered chicken pen. The only thing that worries me is the chicken pen is made out of 2x4 welded wire and then the whole pen is covered with flight netting. I'm HOPING they can't get out of that. They haven't seemed to so far. I'm trying to get DH to build a small pigeon loft with a flight area out of smaller wire. Would it be wise to just lock them up totally in the chicken house? Will they get out of the welded wire?

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Old 01/02/11, 08:04 PM
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Will they get out of the welded wire?
Small "squeakers" can get through, but not adults.

You could put hardware cloth around the bottom to stop them.

It's good to have a flight pen, or at least an outside area where they can get some Sun

And build them lots of nest boxes up high so they won't nest on the floor, or you'll lose lots of babies to mice .

They are tiny when they first hatch
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Old 01/02/11, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Bearfootfarm View Post
Small "squeakers" can get through, but not adults.

You could put hardware cloth around the bottom to stop them.

It's good to have a flight pen, or at least an outside area where they can get some Sun

And build them lots of nest boxes up high so they won't nest on the floor, or you'll lose lots of babies to mice .

They are tiny when they first hatch
Thank you. We sort of happened into these birds before we were quite ready, but you make do. :-)
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Old 01/03/11, 12:49 AM
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if they are true homers and are adult and have been flown before they will never stay of their own free will, you will have to keep them pened, the set up you discribed is fine, i kept mine that way for five years, no problem,

ALL pigeons have homing ability and instinkt but the HOMER breed have been BRED to do that regardless, the other breeds can be settled into a new home with varying success depending on the breed and the time spent settling them in,

are there chickens in the coop with the pigeons? if there are thats compleatly fine but you will need to provide nest boxes high enough the chickens cant use them and squash the babies, also you will need to provide at least two nest boxes PER breeding PAIR, as they will start a new clutch when the first is half grown,

pigeons breed fast, it wont be long and you will have a whole new flock of pigeons to free fly at your house and then you can go ahead and sell or eat the adults if you want,

white pigeons free flying look amazing both to us and to passing hawks, a good flying kit will be able to out fly most hawks but it takes time to get them to that point, archangels are a beutiful breed and CAN fly well if given the chance but i would NOT fly the adult pair untill after you have several rounds of young off them, fly the young ones with the young homers and they will be able to keep up and be part of the flock,

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Old 01/03/11, 09:58 AM
 
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What kind of "training" does it take to fly them? Do you just let them take off?

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Old 01/03/11, 10:44 AM
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all young birds given the opprotunity will fly around to varying degrees, young homers need to be flown as a group and taken away from home in short incriments slowly expanding out, this gives them a bigger view of the world, even if you are not going to race, once you have them trained out as far as your wanting to go they will fly out in wider and wider loops on their own, if you fly the young archangels with the young homers at the house they will learn to keep up, they will all build up endurance, and as hawks come through and try and grab a meal they will learn what to avoid, homers and even some Rollers will fly up above the hawk and circle watching it untill it leaves, yes some will be caught by the hawks but the ones left will learn and have better chance of survival,

if you get into the flying clubs for differint breeds, they have their own science as to what works best for each breed and flying style,

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Old 01/03/11, 10:52 AM
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Thanks for the tips. :-) They're kind of interesting to watch. The Homing pigeons fly around that pen almost constantly, but the Archangel pigeons stay on the ground and rarely go outside.

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Old 01/03/11, 10:58 AM
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Oh and no there's no chickens in with the pigeons. That's what I was going to do originally, but the chickens kept poofing up and trying to peck the pigeons, so we just ran the chickens out. I think we're going to build a separate loft just for the pigeons. :-)

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Old 01/03/11, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
I think we're going to build a separate loft just for the pigeons. :-)
That's a good plan.
Pigeons are messy and would most likely be roosting above the chickens.

Mine are a "meat" breed, and seldom fly more than 1/4 mile from the barn
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