Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Outdoor Industries/Pigeon Raising
|Skill Level 2|
|Year of Introduction: 1944|
The Pigeon Raising Honor is a component of the Farming Master Award .
1. Describe the proper type of pigeon house or loft, perch, trap, and nest box to use for pigeon raising. List the needed interior equipment for a loft.
Houses for pigeons are generally called lofts. Pigeon houses are also sometimes referred to as "coops" although the word seems to have originally applied to the breeding pens inside the housing. There are as many different kinds of enclosures used to house pigeons in as there are pigeon fanciers. There are no real constraints on the design of housing for pigeons but there are some things that most fanciers find desirable.
Many pigeon fanciers build their pigeon loft with at least two pens. This allows a few positive outcomes for the pigeon fancier:
- They are able to separate their males from females in order to control breeding.
- They are able to separate young, unmated pigeons from mated and settled pairs. This allows the mated and settled pairs to breed better.
Most fanciers have at least two pens for their pigeons and often you'll encounter fanciers with more than two pens or possibly multiple pigeon lofts. Extra pens allow for the keeping of spare, unmated females and males which can be useful to replace existing pigeons which might perish from disease or predation. Because it can be difficult to determine the sex of a young pigeon it is also handy to have extra pens for pigeons that have been weaned but which have not given external indications of their sex yet.
For those pigeon fanciers that fly their pigeons (not all pigeon fanciers allow their pigeons to fly freely outside of their aviary) the pigeons need a means of egress to the loft. A trap or at least bobs and landing board allows the pigeon to get back into their home when they are ready to do so. There are different variations of trap and bobs used. Racing pigeons are commonly trapped home using a bob wired trapping arrangement that the birds push against the bob wires to gain access, but are restricted by the wires when trying to get back outside. Another form of trap typically called a Sputnik trap (pictured) uses an openings set on an angle which are just wide enough for one bird to gain access by dropping through into the loft.
Sometimes pigeon fanciers cannot allow their birds complete liberty due to complaints of neighbors or the presence of raptors. However, pigeons have much better health and seem to be in much better spirits when they're given room to fly. So most fanciers, including those that let their birds fly, will build a large enclosed area free of obstacles where the pigeons can fly as freely as they wish. This is usually referred to as a flypen.
Pigeon fanciers will often provide their mated pairs with nest boxes in which to build their nests. Because pigeons are quite territorial about their nesting area pigeons co-exist much more harmoniously when each mated pair has two nest boxes of their own.
Again, pigeon fanciers will often provide their birds (both mated and unmated pigeons) with more perches than the birds need. Because pigeons are also quite territorial about their perch it is best to insure that every pigeon in the loft has lots of places to perch.
Pigeon fanciers often have their pigeon lofts in suitably modified garden sheds. In Glasgow and other areas of Scotland there has been a tradition of pigeon keepers building their own freestanding urban pigeon lofts, or doocots, standing about 4m high in areas of waste ground close to housing estates. In New York City, pigeon fanciers often build pigeon lofts on the roof of the building.
2. Know a good formula for seeds, grain, and grit to be used for feed and in what proportions they should be mixed. Why should less corn be used in warm climates?
3. What is the importance of the different parts of the pigeon's wing, especially the primary and secondary flight feathers?
4. What is the importance of proper molting? How can the molting season be controlled?
5. Raise at least two pairs of pigeons. If homing pigeons, train them to return to their loft from a distance of 25 miles (40 km). If fancy or show pigeons, prepare them for exhibition and exhibit them in a fair or show.
6. Submit a brief report, covering your experience in the care and training of the above pigeons, including sanitation, avoiding disease, lice, mites, rats, mice, and other vermin.
Note: From information obtained, it was learned that pigeons can carry as many as 14 kinds of diseases. Most are not fatal, but some could be if not treated properly. Before working on this honor, participants should contact agencies in their locality and get the safety information concerning the raising and housing of pigeons.