Can you free range pigeons?

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by awesomefowl, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. awesomefowl

    awesomefowl Argues with Goats

    As in, let them have the run of the barn, but provide a nest for them. I mean squabbing pigeons, not show/racing types.
    Anybody do this? Thx.
  2. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    From what I understand...... the pigeons will not stay until they start breeding. You will probably at least have to confine them until they start a small flock I would think. But, I don't own any pigeons yet..... so hopefully someone will have more/better info for you [​IMG]
  3. adubsroit

    adubsroit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    I have hear of people doing Dovecotes for their squab birds. There is a great book on this its "Pigeons, Doves" and Dovecotes" by M.D.L. Roberts and V.E. Gale. Its part of The Golden Cockerel Series. My basic thought on letting them utilize the barn and this is based on growing up on an Organic Dairy is that pigeons in a barn are a pest. What is your barn used for? you don't want them leaving their droppings all over your hay or in your animal feed. Also what are your neighbors like? You don't want the farmer down the road using them as target practice, as many of them do when they show up in their fields.
  4. awesomefowl

    awesomefowl Argues with Goats

    Neighbors are far away; only chickens in one part of an mostly unused, very small barn.
  5. Mary Of Exeter

    Mary Of Exeter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    Rowan County, NC
    Yes you can, once you keep them locked in for about a month (to get adjusted to everything). But good luck keeping them alive. Hawks, coons, and opossums will learn your house is a bed and breakfast [​IMG] And of course squabbing birds aren't much good if the parents get killed. Utility birds are also usually bigger and slower.
    You can let them out everyday to roam around and lock them up in the afternoon. That'll keep the risk down a bit. Pigeons don't eat grass, so the only thing they'll be freeranging for is grit and little wild seeds. Keep them wormed so they can feed the babies more.
  6. awesomefowl

    awesomefowl Argues with Goats

  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    At one time free lofting, the pigeon equivalent of free ranging, was the common way to keep pigeons. With the restrictions on DDT use and the migratory bird act the hawk population has burgeoned so that it is impossible to free loft. This year I was able to free loft from May through September. I lost a few dumb young birds to redtails. The hawk migration started early here this year, and the Coopers hawks arrived in early Sept. If I fly my pigeons now, I'm almost guaranteed to lose at least one each flight. So, my pigeons that love to fly and perform are locked in their lofts.[​IMG]
  8. Sumatra503

    Sumatra503 Kozy Orchard Farms

    Sep 24, 2010
    My pigeons are feelofted pigeons. The key is to keep a good eye out for hawks. This is the main problem I have had, though only during the wild bird migration seasons.

    Young pigeons are very often the ones that disappear. Keeping the loft closed while the young birds learn to fly will prevent many of the losses.

    The birds will return to the loft every night and the loft should be secure in order to control predators, such as coons. It helps to feed them only in the evening to encourage them to return to the loft. If you provide a good nesting area they will nest in the loft as well.

    My pigeons eat grass on occasion and also a few wild seeds and small berries. Mostly free lofting helps to build the muscle in the Racing birds. Also I just love watching my pigeons fly.

    Pigeons don't have be just cage birds. They can be raised outside of cages with just as much success what ever your purpose for them is.

    I have had a great deal of success with free lofting, you just have to keep an eye out. My pigeons see a hawk and instantly go into an evasive manuver or land in a tree or the top of my house. They know how to avoid hawks. I have lost very few. It helps to have one or two birds in your flock that are better flyers to give the others an idea of what to do.
  9. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Here in New Jersey landing on the house or in a tree is a guarantee that you will be eaten if you are a pigeon. Once a Cooper's hawk locates your loft, it will not leave as long as you provide a pigeon buffet. Sumatra503 may be able to outbreed the hawk population because his pigeons cycle more frequently than the average bird, and he is able to raise more young birds. When I was attempting to develop a competition kit of Birmingham rollers, I used to raise 80 or more young birds a year. My birds were only flown while supervised, they were whistle trained and would return to the loft when called. With all of these precautions I still lost upto 60% of the young birds that I raised each year. Homer fliers who raise a stronger flying more elusive bird have serious problems with hawk losses. I don't understand how anyone who actually flies their pigeons can say that free lofting does not result in the loss of significant numbers of pigeons?
  10. seedcorn

    seedcorn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    NE. IN
    Hawks--exact reason I got rid of my pigeons. Had an excellent kit of rollers but hawks just took the fun out of it.

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