My poor lazy (or stupid) homing pigeons


In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 5, 2011
Or perhaps I am just the worst trainer in the world.

I am befuddled by my young birds, who seem completely uninterested in flying.

I have had a small flock of homing doves for three years. I have had steady breeding success, but also steady attrition from mostly hawks. However, all of them have always homed fine, easily coming home 20-50 miles in decent (not racing) time. In a nasty storm, I lost four of five birds, leaving me with one three year old and two squeakers. I decided to buy a larger flock and get up to a eleven birds. I bought eight young birds. I release them every evening with fresh good food when they return (there is chicken food available all day, but high quality seed in the evening. This is their favorite and it is gone by the morning.)

I started training and released them two blocks from my house. The one oldster was home in a minute. The youngsters flew into the trees and sat there. The others took three days to all return.

I let them out a tiny bit further. Three home the first night. Most home the next day. Three never returned and went feral I am fairly sure.

Better flight the next day - another direction and all home within a few hours.

I release them, they sit on a roof and stare at me. I have NEVER seen pigeons act like this.

Yesterday I released five of them a mile away in beautiful weather. Again - roof sitting. Oldster home in short order. The others were there for several hours and now gone. No returns of youngsters.

They certainly know where 'home' is. We have lots of obvious landmarks near us. I've never had problems like this before. The new birds are from two in-state lofts and I doubt that they slipped non-homers in to me. Two of my youngsters are from my own stock and I know both of the parents home well. They are well fed, not fat, and have a really nice, uncrowded loft with lots of perching room.

I have another bird who doesn't like to come in at night and sleeps on the roof of the loft under a safe overhang.

These birds don't come back and I'm going to turn my loft into a chicken coop. I honestly don't get this.


On a good note . . . one of the my neighbors knocked to tell me that there was an injured white pigeon at the end of the street where I had lost my youngsters. I assumed it was one of the lost birds. But no. The bird had been hit by a hawk with a nasty torn up wing and injuries to throat and head. I was worried about gangrene at one point. But antibiotics saved her and she is healing well and it looks like she'll fly again. It was one of the original lost birds that had been gone for two months and set me off to buy the newbies.
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Always fly your birds hungry when training especially on short flights.
Take away their food for 12 hours before tossing.

Food is your only ace in the hole when training young birds.

Leave only enough food for your birds to feed half the flock on return.
You will find your response time increasing also they will trap instantly when they know their is food awaiting their arrival.

It will not take long before you know who your best fliers are!!!

Try not to feed your birds 24/7. Feed only twice a day morning and evening what they can eat in 10 minutes (you do not want fat lazy homers) You may make exceptions when they are with young.

As the birds mature food is still the primary motivator.
When they take a mate you will find the companion becomes even more of a motivator.

All my birds are supposed to be snow white according to their parents!

My bob wire trap for my homers; Window closes for winter storms and floor hinges for easy cleaning.Landing ramp closes to form small aviary to aid in trap training young birds.

A feral pigeon trapped into my coop.

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Thank you. I will have to fly them hungry - I am becoming averse to tossing than - and what's the point of that!

They do have a nice loft and the birds who return have learned the best food is there for those who return first.

But, as I say, I have never had this kind of problem before. I also need a better trap with a landing spot so that I can let them out on the pigeon porch with door shut and not have them escape. Ah well. I am off to toss my oldster in the hope the others see her and follow her home. It worked the other day.
All of the problems your encountering are from training or lack of, not the birds themselves. Get them on a diet and a training regime, they sound out of shape and over fed. Once you have them in condition and they are routing, then you start tossing them.

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