Newbie Questions

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by Dirk Chesterfield, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. Dirk Chesterfield

    Dirk Chesterfield Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi. First time post here and I have a few questions.
    I've always been interested in pigeons because it's the only hobby where you can watch your pets majestically fly over the tree tops and they invariably come home (2nd generation). I don't plan on showing or racing but I will train any Homers that I get just for personal enjoyment.

    My newbie questions:

    1. What is the life expectancy of the typical pigeon?

    2. I understand that pigeons are prolific breeders with a ratio of about 5:1 annually. What do you do to keep your flock size from outgrowing your loft?

    3. What strategies do you use to keep your flock from becoming inbred?

    4. How much does an average pigeon eat per day, with and without young?

    Thank You.
     
  2. Lofty Dreams

    Lofty Dreams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 9, 2010
    Minnesota
    [​IMG]

    1. Some pigeons will live up to age 18 most live for 7 years

    2. fake eggs

    3. keep good records and introdue new birds every couple of years

    4. feed rollers for 10 minutes two times a day [ I wouldn't know for hommers]
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2011
  3. Mary Of Exeter

    Mary Of Exeter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2009
    Rowan County, NC
    1. What is the life expectancy of the typical pigeon?
    - 15 years, for healthy, well taken care of pigeons. They can live much longer - the oldest being 33 I believe. If you let them out to fly of course, they may not live quite as long simply because the hawks will catch up with them.

    2. I understand that pigeons are prolific breeders with a ratio of about 5:1 annually. What do you do to keep your flock size from outgrowing your loft?
    - There are two ways of preventing them from breeding. First, you can set a few months of the year just for breeding - aka breeding season. Then once you've raised as many babies as you plan to have for the year, separate your breeders. This is easier if you have a breeder loft and flier loft separate OR just sections for each in the same building. You can have a section for males, females, and fliers (which can also be broken down into young and old, or male and female). Just depends on your situation, if you have the room, money, or time to have that many sections/lofts. Secondly, if you can't separate them, or when your fliers get old enough to lay....dummy eggs!! Pigeon supply stores sell plastic, wooden, and sometimes ceramic eggs that you can replace the real ones with. They'll incubate them for the 18 days, which allows them to rest (egg laying can take a lot out of the hens), then they'll abandon the nest once they figure out they won't hatch...and lay again. You can also replace their eggs with chicken and quail eggs. I've hatched both out from under pigeons [​IMG] Cheaper than buying wooden or plastic eggs.

    3. What strategies do you use to keep your flock from becoming inbred?
    - If you have brothers and sisters that just happen to pair up, then you can repair them with unrelated birds by separating them from the flock into their own cages for a while. They'll bond with their new mates and then you can put them back with the flock. A little bit of inbreeding is fine - you won't have any defects. However, you don't want it to happen to often. Too many inbred generations without outcrossing to other bloodlines can start giving you inferior birds. Again, if you can't separate anyone, you can always put dummy eggs under them.

    4. How much does an average pigeon eat per day, with and without young?
    My flying birds I give roughly 1 tablespoon per bird, twice a day. In the winter I feed them 1 tbs in the morning, and 2 at night. My breeders have food all the time when they have babies. Another method of feeding the birds is putting all the food they want for 10-20 minutes, and then taking it away. Do that twice a day. They shouldn't be too fat or too skinny, and breeding birds should have plenty of time to feed the babies and themselves in that amount of time. I prefer to have food with my breeders 24/7 though. I do let my flying birds raise a few babies, but I have to limit their food so they don't sit outside all day and attract hawks.
     
  4. Dirk Chesterfield

    Dirk Chesterfield Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you both for the informative answers. I appreciate it.
     

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