Getting my first Pigeons, advice?

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by PaintedFeathers, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. PaintedFeathers

    PaintedFeathers Songster

    Mar 4, 2013
    Weare, New Hampshire
    Hi there, i'm getting a pair of Jacobin squabs =) These will be my first pigeons, and any advice is appreciated! What do they eat? Should I bother buying a pre-made feed or can I mix my own? The feed store near me has a bunch of bulk seeds. What can they or can't they eat? What i their lifespan and when are they sexually mature? How do I tell sex? She thinks they are a male/female pair but she isn't positive. Any special grooming required? I have silkies so i'm no stranger to pampered birds LOL. Any other advice I need to know about Jacobins? Thank you!

  2. Curtiejlee

    Curtiejlee Chirping

    May 17, 2013
    Eastern Washington
    I feed mine chicken layer pellets, so I'd just feed them what you're feeding your silkies. Pigeons can live off many foods an adapt to alot of different foods (just look at the city birds!). Don't feed chocolate, avocados, apple seeds, caffeine or alcohol. Look up other things online! They can live 16 years and are sexually mature at 6 months but most breed at one year. Males coo, bob their head, and drag their tail when courting. Most males have a lot more iridescent feathers on their throat. Females can coo but usually only when you mess with them on the nest. No special grooming required, they spend hours doing that themselves. Give them a 2in deep pan of water occasionally as they will use it to bathe. Indoor our outdoor? I personally don't know much about jacobins as I've never had any!
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
  3. PaintedFeathers

    PaintedFeathers Songster

    Mar 4, 2013
    Weare, New Hampshire
    Thanks =) Outdoor
  4. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Crowing

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    I live in Canada and am subject to -40º weather.
    Here is a quick peak at my set up.
    Pigeons basically fall into 4 categories Show or Ornamental, Performance, Utility, and Homing.
    I would suggest starting with "Young" homing pigeons that have "Never" been flown.
    I fly white homers. At least the parents of all my birds are snow white homers. My birds have a Belgium blood line.
    My point is not all pigeons will orientate to a loft when kept in captivity for 2 weeks.
    This is what one bird accomplished after being kept prisoner for nearly a year. This pigeon was mated and had raised numerous clutches of eggs in that time. It was a happy reunion when he came home to his original mate:

    I make my nest boxes the size of a feed bag. Line the nest box with a feed bag when it gets soiled fold it up and pop a new one in EASY PEASY.

    This is what I use for nest bowls approximately 10" in diameter available at the Dollar Store.
    (It is wise to have 2 nest boxes for each breeding pair)

    Nesting material can very from pine needles, twigs, grass, hay, and wood chips. My loft is a converted baby barn.


    There are many types of trapping systems this is mine. Top is window hinged and doubles as roof, floor is hinged doubles as shutter for window in winter, Landing ramp doubles as door forming a small aviary to train pigeons to go through a bob wire trapping system.



    Here is a recount of a memorable day.

    My grand daughter's hand-raised, orphaned-homer failed to return on a 20 mile toss. It was one of the few times she did not accompany me on a release. She suffered tears and heartache when I told her of the loss.

    Amazingly when I went to close up the loft at dusk what should come flying in but (her pigeon) Piper!

    I checked him over and he was tore open from his neck to his tail feathers.

    My first instinct was to put him out of his misery. I however brought him into the house for a better look. My wife flushed out the wound with a saline solution and I glued him back together with crazy glue. He was good to go in about 5 days

    This is him incubating eggs after his ordeal. .

    My grand daughter was On The MOON when I told her of Pippers return. Grand daughter has experienced love, loss, heartache. first aid, joy, responsibility, and kinship with yours truly. She has also developed special bonds with some of our doves who prefer her company over mine when she comes into the loft with me.

    It has given her a good subject for presentation at school as well.

    We also are starting up a small enterprise with white dove releases (Pippers parents were both solid snow white just for the record).


    Pippers Parents

    Grand daughter did her first dove release at a wedding last fall also another release for an anti bulling campaign at her grade school.

    With the aid of the Internet she has also become somewhat of an authority on homing pigeons. She definitely knows more than the average 12 year old on the subject and can talk your ear off.

    This was relayed to me by her teacher after she was forced to cut off a presentation she made when the question period looked like it was not going to end.

    She would rather hang out with Hokum (her name for me since she was one) then any of her friends or parents (for that matter).


    Picture of Back Yard

    However she will be entering her teens next year (make-up and boys will probably soon shove me aside).

    I know however that these birds have made her a better person regardless what comes in the future.

    Plus I have another grand daughter who is only turned 3 and calls me Coco (since she was one).

    I am subject to -40º temperatures in Canada I house an assortment of birds in this baby barn (¼ inch veneer plywood between birds and elements) no heat no light no problems.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013

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