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Brought home my first pair and I love them - but I have SO many questions

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi there everybody! I brought home a beautiful pair of Fantails two days ago, and I'm already crazy in love with them,. I can already tell this project is gonna get out of hand before long - I had this same feeling when I brought home my first Shamo hen, and those have turned into my favorite chicken breed.

 

So, I've noticed a few things about Norma and Norman. First off, wow, lots of noises! I have no idea what they are trying to say, though. Norma (who according to the seller was female) makes a growling sort of noise when I go to pick her up. Norman (supposed to be a boy) makes a similar noise, but much squeakier. I'm not sure about the ages except that they are juveniles, "at least 3 months". I've also heard the "coo, coo" noise a couple times. Good? Bad?

 

The other thing was that they did fight a bit. They wacked each other with their wings a few times and Norman has picked at Norma's head once or twice. Most of this happened during the ride home, and they haven't done much more fighting since they were put in their quarantine cage.

 

Secondly, I'm not sure about what feed to get! Right now I have them on a mixture of Bar Ale 22% Turkey Grow crumble, and Bar Ale Rojo Grande Rooster Mix (trapper peas, sunflower seed, corn, other grains, mixed with a 16% mini-pellet - was pretty similar to the pigeon feeds I saw available). My feed brand offers four different kinds of pigeon feed - a 12% maintenance pigeon, a 14% breeder pigeon, a 16% MC Racing Pigeon, and a 18% pigeon pellet. The first three are various whole grains, and the fourth is a typical wheat-based pellet. What should I be feeding them now, as juveniles? When should I switch them to an adult feed? When/if they have babies, what should they be eating then? Any supplements they should have? My other question regarding feeding is, should I free-feed or give them meals? A lot of places seem to suggest giving a limited amount to prevent spoilage. I was planning on free-feeding from a 3-pound hanging feeder, but I can ration if it's better for them.

 

Third, if they are male and female like the seller said (he said was pretty sure, but if he was wrong I could come back to get another pair later), when can I expect them to pair? When will they mate and lay their first eggs? Is there anything I need to do for the babies or will they do all the work?

 

I've got about a thousand other nit-picky questions, but those are my big ones. Thanks for all the help y'all have already given me!

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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post #2 of 5

Hi, I also keep pigeons, you can see some  pix in my albums.  Let me tackle your questions one by one.

Being 3 months old , it is difficult to distinguish gender at that age.   You mentioned that there was some fighting..  You may have 2 Normans.   Females do not fight,  and male - female combos also do not fight.   ( at least that is how it is in my loft. ) Also there is a common occurrence that 2 of the same gender pair up to be buddies, and not fight each other.  Obviously, no offspring's from those. 

 

Feeding....   The first 2  you stated should be fine.   The third is formulated for racing, which your pigeons wont be doing, and the pellets,  is a science diet that is like processed chicken feed.   Sure your pigeons will eat and live, But what a bland life.   Free feeding is best   (easiest)  but  avoid giving large amounts in a feeder.   Your pigeons will pick out the choice seeds and leave the less desired scattered  on floor.    If you give smaller amounts, same will happen, but then they will eat the seeds that are left over in their next meals.  There are some seeds  that my pigeons just don't care for.???   They just get left behind.  I just sweep them out every so often and throw them into the garden.  There is also a mineral grit that is good to give alongside food.  

 

In about 6 to 8 months, your pigeons may decide to lay eggs.   Some of the first efforts, the eggs will not be fertile, therefore nothing will hatch after 18 days.  When you do get some to hatch, both parents feed the babies.   First its just the crop milk, and then it is regurgitated seeds.  Somewhere near 30 days of feeding, the squabs will start to eat on their own.  They will still bother dad for some meals though. 

 

If you have any other ?? then just ask. WISHING YOU BEST :thumbsup

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cavemanrich View Post
 

Hi, I also keep pigeons, you can see some  pix in my albums.  Let me tackle your questions one by one.

Being 3 months old , it is difficult to distinguish gender at that age.   You mentioned that there was some fighting..  You may have 2 Normans.   Females do not fight,  and male - female combos also do not fight.   ( at least that is how it is in my loft. ) Also there is a common occurrence that 2 of the same gender pair up to be buddies, and not fight each other.  Obviously, no offspring's from those. 

 

Feeding....   The first 2  you stated should be fine.   The third is formulated for racing, which your pigeons wont be doing, and the pellets,  is a science diet that is like processed chicken feed.   Sure your pigeons will eat and live, But what a bland life.   Free feeding is best   (easiest)  but  avoid giving large amounts in a feeder.   Your pigeons will pick out the choice seeds and leave the less desired scattered  on floor.    If you give smaller amounts, same will happen, but then they will eat the seeds that are left over in their next meals.  There are some seeds  that my pigeons just don't care for.???   They just get left behind.  I just sweep them out every so often and throw them into the garden.  There is also a mineral grit that is good to give alongside food.  

 

In about 6 to 8 months, your pigeons may decide to lay eggs.   Some of the first efforts, the eggs will not be fertile, therefore nothing will hatch after 18 days.  When you do get some to hatch, both parents feed the babies.   First its just the crop milk, and then it is regurgitated seeds.  Somewhere near 30 days of feeding, the squabs will start to eat on their own.  They will still bother dad for some meals though. 

 

If you have any other ?? then just ask. WISHING YOU BEST :thumbsup

 

 

Wow! Well, I can't say I'd mind two males too much. It'd be an good excuse to get more! I'm not super impatient to breed them, but I do eventually want babies. What age will I be able to better sex them? Are there any tricks or tips to it?

 

Alright, I was thinking I would probably get a couple bags of each 12% and 14%, so that should work well. I should be able to get them in in about 2 weeks, I work at a feed dealer and that's when we order next. I have enough of the rooster mix until then, which they seem to be enjoying and from my research is pretty close to pigeon feed, so it should be adequate until then. Also, about how much will they eat? The bags should be either 40# or 50#. We only order every 1 or 1 1/2 months, but pigeon feed is a specialty item so we'll only get it if I ask for it, and I'm not sure how to estimate how much feed they'll be consuming.

 

No worries about feed waste! I'll be keeping them with a small flock of partridge, and those guys love grain, so they should clean up after the pigeons pretty well.

 

If the eggs don't hatch, when will it be safe to remove them? Should I remove on day 19 or 20 or even later? I don't want to upset the parents, but I don't want old eggs staying in there too long either...

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

Reply

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

Reply
post #4 of 5

 It is easiest to sex them by observing their behavior.   When they do this ritual like puffing and dancing,  you know you have a male.   If both are doing it simultaneously, then they are competing against each other, therefore both males.    If they are engaging each other with their beaks in a mild manner,  then its boyfriend - girlfriend smooching. LOL  I have had experienced pigeon keepers make mistakes about the gender of pigeons. They had large flocks and were trying to make the right picks.   Obviously if you only have a few, you will know who is what.   One time at the place where I purchased pigeons, the person showed me how to determine the gender by feeling their pelvic bones.  If there was a small gap, then it was a female. If no gap, than most likely a male.  This was not 100% foolproof, but pretty close.  He showed me hands on how to check.   It is hard for me to explain  how to do it without hands on.   NOTEWORTHY.  The place is a live poultry store.  They also sell rabbits, ducks, turkeys, partridge, quail. as well as pigeons that fanciers no longer want to keep.  They process these for you to take home and eat.  You can take any you want home live. Just bring your own cage.  I guess after processing  so many pigeons, he was able to see the difference between the males and females.   Knew how to feel the little difference in a live bird.  None of the other pigeon keepers  (that I hang with) were aware of this.


 

The amount of feed you get sure will go a long way.  Pigeons are not like chickens that eat much to produce eggs regularly.   Keep the seeds dry and they will last very long.  Obviously if  they got wet, mold would set in , just like any other feed, dog, cat, chicken pellets.   I also give my pigeons as well as chickens wild bird seeds.  They eat the sunflower seeds first.   There are those here on our forum that may claim that it is no good to do such.   I have been keeping chickens for about 18 years now. (only as pets). and my chickens live long lives.   My longest living silver seabrite went after 13 years.  I currently have a  9 1/2 year old Easter Egger.  I guess that, the wild bird seeds are not killing them.   From an economical viewpoint,  YES it is not good.   If I had a large scale egg production  facility, and feeding the way I do...  YES I would be operating in THE RED.

 

When your pigeons lay eggs, it will usually be 2.  about 2 days apart.   Count the days after second one is laid and the pigeons  start to sit on them.   Both mom and dad take turns sitting.   After about 20 days, (which is 2 days past due)  if no hatching happens, then candle eggs quickly with a flashlight.  If clear, you know there is no hope.  Usually the pigeons know when there is no life inside and will abandon the eggs themselves.   I  just leave it to nature. sometimes only one of the two hatches.  Not always do both survive to maturity.

Hope this answers some of your questions.  Ask anything else you need to know. :)

post #5 of 5

I agree that if they are displaying they are usually males however one of my females does it also so it is not 100% (but that female is a little "off" lol so hard to tell if other females would display also).

 

This picture is of a pigeon egg candled at about 5 days. I usually just hold them up to sunlight at around a week to check if they are developing.

17+ pigeons, about 20 coturnix quail, 10 chickens and 2 angora rabbits
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17+ pigeons, about 20 coturnix quail, 10 chickens and 2 angora rabbits
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