- Mar 26, 2015
Their nest is FULL of poop. We were thinking of taking them out, cleaning it out and putting new straw/sticks in there?
When owning pigeons you have to make the difficult ethical decision as to whether to keep them in a cage (a nice one with an aviary, of course) and never give them the freedom of flight, or whether to permit freedom of flight. On one hand, keeping them in the loft at all times prevents them from being killed by a hawk, yet they never will have the freedom of flying, something pigeons love.Could you let some show pigeons walk/fly around your yard while you're out there or would they be easy prey? Any recommendations on pretty show pigeons?
The risk of hawks is always present. The simple fact is that domesticated pigeons are just not wired to be wary enough of avian predators, and when they are out flying they are naive and ignorant to avian threats and will eventually loiter on a roof or something similar, and end up being an easy target no matter how you look at it. So unfortunately, it's just a dice roll when you let them out, plain and simple. And, at least where I live in Michigan, when the hawks migrate it's so bad that I don't let them out at all from about mid October through the end of February.
That being said, picking a breed can change the risk, but not eliminate it. Tumblers/rollers are notorious for being easy targets, as their rolling and tumbling naturally attracts predators. Homers are super fast flyers and can easily out fly a hawk, but are no match for a hawk or falcon that targets them loitering on a roof and dives on them. Ornamental breeds like fantails IMO are a great choice because they rarely fly much farther away from your yard, and hawks rarely will encroach on your yard with you present or a dog present. If you opt for a fantail, I would strongly consider the garden variety that is not so altered in physique that it cannot fly (i.e., retains it's natural bird shape to some degree so it actually can fly a bit), but rather is just a homer shaped pigeon with a fan tail. This type of fantail should be somewhat easy to find.
Another way to reduce the likelihood of losses is to keep common and drab colors. For one reason or another, the blue bars and blue checks with white rumps (common homer, common feral type) are targeted less than some of the obscure and cool colors. All white pigeons are the easiest targets. There has been some research that avian predators will seek out and target off colored pigeons in a flock, i.e., a flock of mostly blues will have its few reds or white birds targeted more easily.