1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Please help/some questions on racing homer pigeons

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by pringle, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. pringle

    pringle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2009
    Pepperell,MA
    My dad use to have pigeons when he was little and he loved them,he raced them took care of them and that got me thinking on me wanting to get a pair.I want to attach a 4by2ft box to the chicken coop up high as there house.And I would love to take them some distance and let them go and come back to there house.But I do have some questions.I plan on getting them from strombergs as adults obviously.But will they fly back to were they were raised?What if I keep them in the small coop for a week will they learn that thats there new home?What should I feed them?How are tumbler-roller pigeons like?Do you let your fly around and they return to coop at night?What would be an overall good pigeon for a begginer?
     
  2. pringle

    pringle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2009
    Pepperell,MA
    anyone?
     
  3. chickensioux

    chickensioux Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,229
    20
    241
    Feb 12, 2009
    Western North Carolina
    Hey, sorry I can't help you but I know someone will. Sometimes it takes a while for them to get back to you. Probably at work and stuff. Lots of folks on here to help you tho'. Good luck
     
  4. Mary Of Exeter

    Mary Of Exeter Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,607
    23
    201
    Apr 10, 2009
    Rowan County, NC
    First of all I strongly advise you not to get them from Stromberg's. They are seriously overpriced. Best to find a breeder. Also, if you get adults you cannot train them from your house. You'd have to use 6+ month-olds as breeders and 'prisoners' (can't let them out). If you get young birds (1-3 months), they are very easy to settle and fly/train from your house.

    Rollers do backflips while flying. Almost all tumbler breeds today have lost their tumbling ability, but are still used for kit (flock) flying. Rollers and tumblers can be settled to a new home within 2-3 weeks.

    Regardless of what breed you get, it's best to get them used to a feeding schedule if you plan to let them out to fly. I feed mine twice a day, one tablespoon per bird in the morning and 2 per bird in the afternoon. Another way to do it is just let them eat all they want for 20 minutes, then take the food away until next feeding time.
    Get them used to a feed call as well. This can be as simple as a whistle or the sound of the food rattling in the can/container you use. Just make the sound everytime you feed, and they'll learn that sound means food time.
    SO, when you finally let them out, make sure they are hungry. Doesn't mean starving, just means you let them out for exercise before you feed them. Once they are done, or you are ready to go inside, call them back in and give them some food.
    I loft fly mine twice a day, and my homers may fly anywhere from 5 minutes to 2+ hours, depending on the weather, if hawks have visited, and time of day.

    As far as what to feed them, they can eat just about anything chickens do. Pellets, scratch grain and wild bird seed mixed, or pigeon grain mixes are probably best. I feed mine a mix made just for pigeons, by a company called Brown's. Not everywhere carries pigeon feed, so you do what you can. Either way, just make sure you provide them with grit. If the chicken (or pigeon) grit you find only has crushed granite, see if you can find some crushed oystershell to mix in too so they can get some calcium.

    Sounds like a lot of trouble, but really they aren't! My first pigeons were two pairs of Utility Kings (meat production breed). Then I ended up with homers, rollers, west of england tumblers, and indian fantails. Since then I've also had lahores, nuns, runts, carneau (similar to Kings), and domestic flying flights.
    Lots and lots of breeds to choose from! But I would say for beginners who want flying birds, homers or rollers are best. Not only because of the ease of care, but because they're fun to watch and very common breeds to find.
     
  5. pringle

    pringle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2009
    Pepperell,MA
    Thank you very much for the info!!I think I might actually settle for a meat bird.Get 2 pairs or so and breed them.Should I let them out every day?And how far do they fly away?
     
  6. Mary Of Exeter

    Mary Of Exeter Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,607
    23
    201
    Apr 10, 2009
    Rowan County, NC
    Well if it's meat birds you want, there's two guys here to contact. Yardbird (I think) in Texas has Auto-sexing Texan Pioneers. Basically a big meat bird who can be sexed from the time they get their feathers by the color.
    Deerman (again, not good with remembering usernames, haha) has Kings like I had.

    If it's a flying breed you want, letting them out everyday is good, or whenever you can really. They aren't required to come out everyday. Homers may 'route' (fly away from the loft) for long periods of time, and no telling how far they may get in their exercising. Many times you will notice them go out of sight. A lot depends on how many trees you have and how far you can see, LOL. Rollers will stay within sight of the loft, although they may get pretty high up in the air.

    With meat birds, you may not want to let them out every single day. Hawks will learn where the food is, and utility birds are slower and easier meals for them. If you let them out, be outside so if something happens or the chickens alarm ya, you'll know.
     
  7. Worn

    Worn Out Of The Brooder

    64
    0
    29
    Aug 24, 2009
    Chelan
    I have a friend who raises homing pigeons. He pays big money for birds from all over the world. He is willing to give young birds away to anyone who wants to get in the hobby of racing. I just got six from him last week. He told me that these birds need to be confined until spring or after they start setting on eggs. Otherwise they will go back to his place. He has birds that he's gotten as adults from Holland, Florida and other places and they are "breeders". He said he will never be able to let them out or they will fly back to where they came from. It's amazing how smart these birds are. He races these birds and wins thousands of dollars a year. However you have to pay to enter these races, so he really never makes money.

    I personally would go with rollers/tumblers unless you want to race, or unless you are in an area with a lot of hawks. I think homers are better avoiding the hawks. The nice thing about the rollers or tumbles is that they don't need as much confined time to adapt to a new home, and the tumbling is so fun to watch. I just live in an area with quite a few hawks, so I can only imagine these birds doing their tricks only to get caught by a hawk!

    Good luck with whatever you decide. Pigeons are fun and very easy to raise.
     
  8. nick77

    nick77 Out Of The Brooder

    61
    0
    39
    May 12, 2009
    new hampshire
    There are way to many "Racing people" out there willing to promote the hobby of racing pigeons to spend the kind of money you will at Strombergs. A good pigeon man will set you up with birds cheap, answer your questions, and will give you an in depth history of a given birds lineage and/or race history. Just ask around and be patient.
     
  9. Mary Of Exeter

    Mary Of Exeter Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,607
    23
    201
    Apr 10, 2009
    Rowan County, NC
    Quote:Amen. Although those feather merchants may have good blood (because many of them have enough money to actually import proven birds), I'm really turned away when all you ever see is for sale signs and no race sheets proving the birds they've bought and selling from, are actually doing squat around HERE.


    Also, I think I only have three breeders in my loft that I actually bought. A pair for $100 and a hen for $25. All the rest are great birds that were given to me when I started or just for the heck of it more recently.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
  10. chicken farmer

    chicken farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,505
    74
    174
    Feb 7, 2012
    Southern,Ohio
    The tumblers aren't good because they are vulnerable to trees and hawks because they were bred over many years to drop like that and it isn't natural at all....they aren't a good choice. I have never raised pigeons but REALLY want to get some and I know a little bit about them right now
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by