My journey into pigeons began in May 2018. It all started finding a stray racing pigeon. I managed to contact the owner through the details on its ring and he advised me on how best to care for it and when to release it for it to return to his loft. I had this pigeon living in a 18"x24" cage in my garage! Well after a couple of failed attempts to let the pigeon fly back to him, it appeared she wanted to stay with me and the chickens! I had a broody hen in the garage and she kept returning and ending up sat next to her in the broody cage!
This all happened over the space of about 10 days. I contacted the owner and he agreed that I could keep her as she was happy here and wouldn't return to him. I had the perfect name for her 'Boomer' (as in boomerang!). So now I needed to make somewhere for her to live on a more permanent basis rather than the small cage she had been in for the past two weeks.
I luckily found a loft someone was selling about half an hour from me for £60. But I needed to dismantle it first.
It wasn't the best of lofts but it was cheap and local. It measured 3 1/2' x 6' x 6'. Not the biggest but as a temporary solution it will do. It was made from 2X2 lengths and plyboard sheets. The roof was a clear heavy duty polycarbonate panel. The sides were plyboard covered in roofing felt! It looked like it had been thrown together. All the lengths were out and some of the uprights had a nice bend in it! So off I went with a bag full of tools and my kids to dismantle and collect Boomers new home!
Alot of dismantling but atleast the guy I bought it of was a willing helper! The kids were good runners, taking everything to the trailer!
All dismantled, in the trailer and ready to go!
Once home I had to remember how to put it back together!
There was alot of wood! I had taken some photos when we dismantled it but it was easier to build the framework and make it all level and straight.
It is coming together nicely but it was time consuming as the loft wasn't originally built level so I had to level it up but I was building it on unlevel ground! Nothing like making it easy for myself! But it was now sturdy, straight and level!
I made the floor from wire mesh to make it easier to clean.
I put two ledges up for nesting areas.
I put the perches up. I only had four so I had to buy another six. They were cheap at only £1.58 each!
It needed a bobwire fitting. The guy I bought it from gave me one he bought but never used. He had roller pigeons and just used to open the doors. I have a racer pigeon so I needed to fit it.
Nearly finished! I still want to clad it in shiplap. The felt just wasn't very good. So I have some old shed side panels that I dismantled and used the panels for the sides and front.
Looking good with a coat of preservative.
Boomer needed some company. So I found 5 racing pigeons for sale for £40.
I also got some feed bowls, nest bowls, drinkers and a carrier basket for an extra £20!
It's looking quite busy in there now! My extra perches arrived just in time!
I needed to fit a trap on the front of the loft to let them fly and return safely. So I made on from some 1"x1 1/2" timber and wire mesh. I made it with a drop down front so I can close the bobwires and open the front when they are out. Then I can close the front, open the bobwires and they can use it when they are in!
Ready for takeoff!
The bottom of the trap is made from 5mm recycled plastic Stockboard sheeting.
It's great, in the rain the pigeons love to go outside and have a shower!
The last thing I needed to build was a poop tray to go underneath the loft to catch the droppings. This was made from 2x1" timber and more of the recycled plastic sheet.
It slides in and out for easy cleaning.
Inevitably one thing leads to another, birds and the bees and all that, we had our first eggs!
I had two pairs of pigeons and boomer just had a friend! So I had two nest bowls each with two eggs in. No need for an incubator now! Just leave them to it. Then 19 days later...
I have had 3/4 eggs hatch. Unfortunately one wasn't fertile.
At 5-4 days they need banding. The band is permanent so has to be fitted whilst the feet are still small enough to fit through it.
I also lost 1 of the adult pigeons. He never returned from a flight. All in all this loft cost me no more than £70. I spent an extra £40 on 5 adults and £20 for accessories like nest bowls, feeders, perches and a carrier basket. It took me just over a week to build but alot of it was done in the evening after work and over two weekends. So I now have 5 adults and 3 squabs all living in relative harmony in my rather hastily erected loft!