free range pigeon loft

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by nicktide, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. nicktide

    nicktide In the Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2008
    Boonsboro, MD
    I once found directions on how to build a loft that had an entrance for free ranging the birds. It was designed to allow the pigeons to fly in easily and escape a hawk that was hot on it's tail. It also was designed to keep raccoons and possum out. If anyone has info please let me know. Or if you can think of a more appropriate term other than "free range" that I could search, please let me know.

    I am being given some pigeons that a few generations ago where feral. I know that I will loose some birds to hawks but after free ranging my chickens and ducks, I feel that the benefits of great diet and exercise out way the risks. My layers out perform my neighbors by far, even though he has what should be better layers plus I have no egg eaters and no diseases. Plus if they are eating bugs and weeds, they are easier on the environment (less farmland for bird feed = more feral land and less pesticides and fertilizers making their way into rivers and streams). In the fall when the hawks are migrating through, I may cut their free hours back. When I go on vacation, I want to let them fly so they won't be an additional burden to whoever is watching our other animals.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Tide
     
  2. Dingo

    Dingo Songster

    When I had my birds I let them out during the day, most of the time they flew onto the roof of my house and watched for hawks.
    I think you'll be hard pressed to find a predator proof trap and door. You could probly make one small enough so a full grown or juvi coon can't fit in, but then you'll have cats, mustelids and rodents.
    For an exit you could make a backward Belgium trap.
     
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    If I were to free loft my pigeons from September to May, I would not have a bird left. May through August (in a good year) I can do some free lofting. My birds are whistle trained, hawk savvy and still a high percentage get killed each year. When I actively flew Birmingham rollers, I lost 50-60% of my young birds each year. I now fly homer crosses, and they are stronger and more hawk smart. They are also more willing to leave the kit and fly to the loft as singles. You are not that far from NJ, and I think that you would have the same problems during the fall hawk migration. Once a Coopers feeds on one of your pigeons, it will stay in the area for up to a week. During the winter, I have them hanging on the outside of my aviaries. Until I smartened up I even had them enter my lofts through the bobs on two occasions. Year round free ranging of pigeons just doesn't work like when I was a kid.
     
  4. ThiefPouter06

    ThiefPouter06 Songster

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    Sep 3, 2008
    green co. KY
    I agree with Sourland. Total free range= hawk food. I let mine out when I get in from work (5:00) until dark, all day on the weekend and never after a rainy day. If you dont mind breeding them to replace the hawk food. I will tell you also that hawks love your favorite pigeons. It doesnt matter what birds you like the hawk knows....and he will eat them and leave you with the duds. I have some orange eyed catalonians I dont want to breed from, orange eyes eaten=0, pearl eyes eaten=3.
     

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