Squeaker training underway--any advice appreciated

LamarshFish

Crowing
8 Years
Mar 26, 2015
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Now that my 6 squeakers have been living in my loft for a few weeks and are settling in, I have begun training. They originally always had access to the large aviary on the left side of my loft, but are unable to get a view of what is out front. So, in order to give them a view of the front, as well as teach them how to go in and out of the trap door (bobs up for now), I just fixed a cage over the bob door using bungee cords. The first time I did this, I closed off the hole leading to their original aviary so they would be forced to scope out the training aviary. That was yesterday--today when I went out to fix the training aviary on, I opened back up the opening to their other aviary, so they have both now, but they are still mostly using the training aviary, but have both options.

I am going to do this for about 3 or 4 days, then I plan on placing all 6 in the training aviary with half the bobs down, so they are forced to enter the bob door with some bobs down. Then I will move to all bobs down, and so on.

At about the 35 day mark (of the birds being in my loft), I plan on imply opening the bob door, withe bobs up, so they can get out and explore on their own, in the yard, etc. Once they are all out, I will flip the bobs down so when they re-enter to eat they cannot get back out.

What do you guys think? Anything I should be doing differently?



 
Nice cage! Sounds like a good plan. I don't think you have to do the half-way step with the bobs though. Bobs are no where near as scary as human hands LOL
 
Hi Lamarsh
Your coop looks great!!! I want to make a suggestion...
Don't wait too long to put your birds out. There are trees around your coop and a fence. When you let the birds out make sure there is a board to go in and out of the coop. Sit back quietly and let them come out on their own. Don't startle them. Personally I would put a large board under the door and the trap opening. Since it's your first time , I would let them out hungry and keep a can of feed next to you. Throw a little bit of feed by the door but sit back when they come out. I would do this in the late afternoon and I would leave the light on in the coop. you should be shaking the can every time you feed them. Let them get use to that sound and your whistle. If the birds come out for a bit then all go back in( your lucky) close the doors and feed them up.. tomorrow is another day. If you can't get all the birds in.. put some feed on the board as it gets dark and they will see the light on.
Btw it's a hard question to answer... just don't get discouraged if one takes off. It's happened to all of us. I'm sure some on the forum may have a different opinion. Take their advice as well and give it a shot :) this is the exciting part. Let us know how you make out... good luck
 
Anything I should be doing differently? Sounds to me like you are on the right track. The above post really covered all of the basics. My tips are only relevant if things should go terribly wrong "Murphy's Law".

The old adage goes "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". As has been stated fly your birds hungry for the first few release. First and foremost "NEVER" fly a bird you are"NOT" willing to loose. Always protect your main breeding pairs if your flock should suddenly suffer a severe loss. Plus I would only fly one or at most two birds at a time. I fly my overachievers first the ones that are adventurous and quick to learn the secrets of the bob trap. They go a long way serving as mentors for the rest of your flock.

If a bird should loose it way and you somehow have to trap it out of the immediate area having a loft mate or two to draw on goes a long way in attracting a disoriented bird into custody.
Pigeons have superhuman hearing and it serves as a compass should they get spooked. They can hear remaining birds in the loft over a large area. That is why I suggest you have some birds housed in your loft should they get disoriented on their first few tastes of freedom.


This is even more a priority where you loft is a new venture and is on none of your birds radar yet.

After your birds have proven they know the ropes start flying them in larger groups. A simple thing like a predator attack could cause undo losses if you release your whole chorus of birds at once with little homing training and experience to draw on. The first casualties are usually victims to poor flying ability, cars, hawks, or cats. I would not begin distance training your homers until they can free fly as a flock around the neighbourhood and are gone for at least a ½ hour.
When raising squabs hatched in your loft this usually happens around 6 to 8 weeks depending on their genetics.


I also have a few tips that worked well for me if and when you start distance training.
 
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Hi Lamarsh
Your coop looks great!!! Thanks! I built it myself, it was a huge pain, but sort of fun and worth it now. I want to make a suggestion...
Don't wait too long to put your birds out. I got them at about a month of age, and that was about two weeks ago. I plan on waiting until they have been in my loft for about 30 days before letting them out. Should I not do that? There are trees around your coop and a fence. When you let the birds out make sure there is a board to go in and out of the coop. My bob door has a predator door on it, which acts as a landing board when it is open. It looks small, but, believe it or not, I have seen all 6 of my pigeons sitting on it comfortably lol.
Sit back quietly and let them come out on their own. Don't startle them. Personally I would put a large board under the door and the trap opening. Since it's your first time , I would let them out hungry and keep a can of feed next to you. Throw a little bit of feed by the door but sit back when they come out. I would do this in the late afternoon and I would leave the light on in the coop. you should be shaking the can every time you feed them. Let them get use to that sound and your whistle. If the birds come out for a bit then all go back in( your lucky) close the doors and feed them up.. tomorrow is another day. If you can't get all the birds in.. put some feed on the board as it gets dark and they will see the light on. This is the plan I have! I have been shaking the can and whistling every time I feed them. At first I gave them enough food such that they weren't finishing it, but now I know how much to put out to keep them a bit hungry each time, and wanting to eat right away. Before I let them out, I was thinking at least 1 day of no food, maybe even 2 just to be safe. I do not have a light in my loft, but I own a few battery LED lanterns--would those work?
Btw it's a hard question to answer... just don't get discouraged if one takes off. It's happened to all of us. I will be a bit upset if that happens, but I understand it is part of the game, and I also know that if that happens that bird was likely not worth having in the loft in any event--and there are tons of ferals around my neighborhood, so I'd know they have a good place to go with plenty of buddies and potential mates lol. I'm sure some on the forum may have a different opinion. Take their advice as well and give it a shot
smile.png
this is the exciting part. Let us know how you make out... good luck
 
Regarding only flying one or two at first--does that apply to letting them out around the coop, on the roof, and yard, or does that only apply to actually flying them / tossing them? When I first let them out of the loft to have a look around, can I let all of them out? Maybe keep one or two of my six in the loft just in case I need them to lure others back in? Also, I do own a pigeon trap that i could use....

Thanks for the help!
 
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