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Out with the Old

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by Lofty Dreams, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. Lofty Dreams

    Lofty Dreams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 9, 2010
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    I used to have pigeons but, decided that I would rather focus on chickens so I have since them sold all of my pigeons and much of their supplies; their loft has been taken over by chickens and although I miss watching my rollers fly, I feel I have made the right choice. I would like to go into the commercial poultry industry where I would not be able to have birds. As I had Birmingham Rollers, I would have wanted to fly them for longer and see how they continually performed, preferably into their second year, and would have wanted to work on a better performing line then on "dual-purpose" rollers. In addition my favorite two birds have disappeared, one of which was a nice Almond cock bird. Granted, I still have my pigeon breeding boxes which will likely be used for bantams and holding roosters and whatever else I pick up in place of my pigeons to show at the county fair. And my books, which I am not parting with.

    I just thought I should share some pictures of them versus just letting the images sit on my computer.
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    I did have a few which would eat out of my hands and some that would just land on me at the end.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I raised and really enjoyed Birmingham rollers, but the hawks put me out of business. Most of my best birds were killed prior to their second year. The hardest performing birds were the most tired upon returning to the loft and were the easiest targets. I still miss my pigeons.
     
  3. Lofty Dreams

    Lofty Dreams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's a bummer, there are usually enough crows around where I live (they seem just as noisy as my roosters) that seem to deter the hawks, plus there are a few pairs of Eagles around (they haven't touched my chickens yet). It always seems as if any favorites have a target on them.

    My rollers would sometimes sneak out through the traps and sometimes fly or lounge about all day once spring came. Here is another phone picture of some more of my birds; the first hen (blue check) was called Eclipse, the middle hen was from Plona's line and the third was my almond boy (and my favorite), Cookies and Cream.
    [​IMG]



    These birds went to man with children in 4-H who has a few other rollers and homers, hopefully they will behave for him.
     
  4. happyfrenchman

    happyfrenchman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am getting going with rollers. I had racing homers for years when I was young. My Dad had tiplets and rollers when he was young....My Dad passed away and I got a couple of his birds.... I have 30 now and am building a better coop. You are right about the hawks.... they ambush my birds routinely. Usually when they are sitting around on the roof. I have taken steps to fight back but they are as thick as thieves around here. I do find that the chickens are a handy hawk alert system. When a hawk is sitting out in a tree waiting, the chickens usually know it and sound the alarm. Sometimes if I can see them..... but they are hard to see when just sitting. After an attack, the pigeons will land high in the trees. the Hawk, if he missed, will still be hanging around. I have to wait til almost dark when the birds then swoop down and into the coop while I stand guard. It is not at all an ideal situation with all the trees. But I love my pigeons and I will be ****** if I don't fly them. The Coopers Hawks are the main problem. Some of them sit right in the tree oblivious to me standing there. (Usually young ones). Some are quite smart and know better. They are protected which I think is ridiculous as they seem more numerous than crows here. They are worse than buzzards as far as I am concerned.
     
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    My yard is surrounded on 3 sides by 50' trees. When the birds come in they have to make 3 or 4 circles of the backyard as they decrease altitude. Just as they were about to land the hawks would attack from above. The year that I quit I had raised around 90 young birds and by November had 20 + left - mostly the stiffs and strong fliers. The kitting instinct is so strong in these birds that they will not leave the flock and trap in singly. When I flew homers they would come in one or two at a time, hit the landing platform and dash through the bobs. My rollers never figured that out, and I got tired of sacrificing them.

    Fly your birds hungry and train them to come in to a whistle or shaking feed can so that they trap rapidly and do not loaf around on the loft. I used settling cages for my young birds. They would get accustomed to the hawks hitting the cages and learned to rapidly enter the loft once they reached the landing platform. Reaching the landing platform was the problem.
     
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  6. happyfrenchman

    happyfrenchman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have trees all around also....big hardwood woods out the front of the coop. Not a good situation. The hawks come out of nowhere when they are on the roof. . My birds have been landing high in the trees and waiting til it is almost dark before they all drop down and in. they are very wary. I don't want to give up but I know what you mean. My father used to say the same thing... My chickens are very helpful because they vocalize an alert when the hawk is out there. It is always the cooper hawks... They are bushwackers. If they don't get them the first try they go and sit in the tree while they fly which is when I have my opportunity. If I cannot see where they went, they are **** near invisible to spot. My father and I never had such problems with our homers..... (back in the 70s.) I miss the good old days of DDT. LOL. Now they are as thick as crows. That is a good idea with the setting cage. I am in the process of building the new coop. I have built three screeners on the front and I can incorporate the cage on the top. I am building a drop in trap on one screener that I can isolate from the coop with an inside door.
     
  7. laughingdog

    laughingdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My rollers etc know dogs protect them, along with Muscovy ducks (mostly drakes), and bantam Americana (wish could a got bid of one battle by gamey hen leader), killing the hawks. I know no law against that! Muscovy can attract goshawks, which will kill any raptor around and was heaven my when had one for a year (neighbors dump mallard and wood ducks in pond).

    I w
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    S an apprentice falcaner, and love them, but the sharp shinned coopers chicken hawks etc names of smaller ones, besides kesterals and peregrine falcanes, are a nuisance like weasels n foxes are to other stock, n should be delt with same and humanely, allowed by local gives when seen threat.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
  8. happyfrenchman

    happyfrenchman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LaughingDog...Yeah I love all birds... but the Coopers and the Sharpies are to the point that I really dread to let my birds out. I have to sit there with them the whole time which is probably pointless.... but I have broken up attacks before. I have heard that large owls are natural predators of them but I would not get my hopes up for enough of that to happen. I see falcons on occasion... I have never seen one go for the birds but if they did there would be nothing I could do about that..... they are high altitude Air to Air operators. The Coopers and the Sharpies are more like fighter attack airplanes.... Air to Ground.... I would think the Goshawks would go for the pigeons too...
     
  9. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Coopers put me out of business. One year I raised 90 + Birmingham rollers and lost all but 20 of the hard flying stiffs to the Coopers hawks, Needless to say the best performers went first. I no longer can justify flying birds, and if I can't fly them I won't have them. I'm thinking of getting some homers as they are far more 'hawk proof'. Chickens and crows are great at warning of the hawk presence, but my yard is not 'roller friendly' given their strong kitting instinct.
     
  10. happyfrenchman

    happyfrenchman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hear ya.... If I get rid of the rollers I would just give up the pigeons. I went 25 years since I had the homers and I have chickens too so I would probably just give it up. I hate to quit. But my yard offers every advantage to the bushwacking hawks.
     

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