Homing Pigeons that don't come home?

Chicken Hugger!

In the Brooder
10 Years
Nov 14, 2009
Northwest Ohio
I have had my homers for almost a year. They were happy and well fed. And also Breeding like crazy. Because of some time/money issues we just now got a relese door in and working last night. So I let them out to fly and they circled about 4 times and I haven't seen them since. It got dark last night and I expected them to come home but they didn't. Figured they might come home this morning. Only one did because they hatched squab yesterday. They guy I bought them off of told me he never flew them before, but I am beginning to wonder... Nothing like throwing $60 out the window!
There's a good chance they had been flown before, or were too old when you got them.
Another possibility is that something happened called a fly-away. It isn't always because the birds are too old and go to their previous home. You can get birds as young ones, or even breed them yourself, but if they aren't allowed to come out and get accustomed to the area while they are still small and not flying much, then when they do finally get freedom...they may burst out of the loft and accidentally fly too much and too far, getting lost. Just because they had to much energy built up and not enough experience. Hawks are a big contributor to fly-aways. He might have scared them off and they flew off in an opposite direction until they got lost. Since they hadn't been out before, it could have also been that they were out of shape for flying that much, landed somewhere, and been exposed to all kinds of nocturnal predators.

Now on a more positive note, it is still very possible they'll all be home by tonight!
Did you use a settling cage so that they could view the area surrounding your loft? Older birds are always more difficult to settle than young birds. They are strong on the wing and just get carried away with the love of flying. My settling cage is 3' wide by 3' deep by 4' high. Birds are able to come out on the landing platform, fly to the roof of the loft where they can get a 360 degree view of the property. Since using such a settling cage I have greatly reduced my losses, and I am dealing with Birmingham rollers- not known for great homing instincts. Hopefully more will return.
Chicken Hugger,

I wasn't clear from your message if you were trying to fly the older birds or their offspring (you mention "breeding like crazy"). I bought some adult birds to start of my team of flyers and have no intention of letting them fly, following the advice given me by the pigeon-guy that I got them from. So they are "just" breeders... it's the young only that I fly.

To touch on one of Becky's comments... I had the case of a hawk scare turned runaway bird. It was only 2 months old, but I got a call from a guy roughly 100 miles away... on the other side of a large body of water. I was able to get the bird back, but it had a great big gash just above the tail.

Finally... losses are sadly also part of flying pigeons.... sometimes weather related, sometimes predator-related and yes, sometimes even "pigeon-keeper related"... I released my homers for what I thought was a routine flight on Jan. 4, from a drop from a spot I'd released them from twice before and over which they'd flown 2 other times as well.... in the summer/fall. In Jan. however, the ground was snow covered, there's recently been a snowstorm (so wind currents were still in flux although calm)... and predatory birds are hungrier at that time of year & so more aggressive. All but 1 of my 2010 team was lost that day. A hard lesson to learn, but all part of it.

Glad your birds came back to roost!
my guess they got lost, yes they need to know what the outside looks like, plus old birds if good one will try to fly back to their old home.
How long did it take your pigeon to come back?

My homing pigeon has been gone 3 days now. I am broken hearted!


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