All about Homing Pigeons
Homing Pigeons have been around for ever. In the old days they were used in the army now not so much as technology has taken over the world. In our home we spend a very good portion of our free time tending, caring, loving and training the pigeons. All though I am just a helper to my hubby as they are his pigeons I have learned a lot. Back in the old days my father flew pigeons. When he did it things were different. He lived in the Bronx and they had a little coop on top of a building. There was not much to do but feed them and fly them. He mostly had flights and fancies. My hubby is a whole other story. He races. He breeds he spends an enormous amount of time and energy caring for his pigeons. He is in the process of expanding one of his lofts right now. So what I have learned is mostly from him but I read a lot also.
Some of the things that I have learned along the way are:
Keep everything clean
Keep it quite in the loft during breeding season
Make sure the proper feed is given.( this will change during breeding, racing and training seasons)
Keep plenty of fresh water
Learn the proper medications and treat them regularly
Pigeons can get many sicknesses. It is so important to learn the different diseases and pre-treat them to avoid sickness in your loft.
Don't let people come in your loft if they came from theirs. (on their shoes is their germs)this can be brought into your loft and then you can get different sickness.
Baths should be given regularly( a good healthy bird will bath even in the cold)
If you race your pigeons then of course you need to train, train train!!!
a pigeon release video I found
Racer or Flyer?
Are you a Racer or just a Flyer?
Pigeon racing is the sport of releasing trained racing pigeons, which then return to their homes over a measured distance. The time it takes the pigeon to cover the distance is measured and the bird's rate of travel is calculated and compared with all of the other pigeons in the race to determine which animal returned at the highest speed.
Each Flyer has a clock in their loft. This clock's the bird's time and speed once it crosses the board which is specially placed at the entrance of your loft. Once the pigeon crosses through the board you will hear a soft beep. This will let you know that the clock recognized the bird. When your baby pigeons are born after just a few days they will start getting big. At this time when they are about 10 days old you will want to band your pigeons so that they can race for you. If you don't band them when they are this small you won't be able to get the band over their foot. There are special racing bands that have chips in them that get programmed to be read by your clock. There are also other bands that are just for identification so make sure you know what you need. Most clubs are part of the AU( American Racing Pigeon Union) They have their own bands.
After a race all of the club members need to bring their clocks to their club house so they can calculate all the racers and then some one will be declared the winner. There are some races that are just for points and prestige and others that are for money. There are also other races that are for fundraising for different causes. My husband's club does not have a charity but they do have a charity. Each week the crates need to be cleaned. Each season my husband bids for this job. They have a choice of using the money for different things. He uses this money to donate to our daughters pediatric dialysis unit to be used for the holiday party each year. So all though they don't have a specific race to raise funds they do this each season and it makes for some extra money for the party and it keeps him focused on what is truly important in this world.
During race season before they ship we always go to the loft look through and inspect each pigeon to see who will be shipped off to the races. Once we select who is going we make sure they are clean ,fed have plenty of water and in the carrier they go. In the club they prepare all the pigeons for racing and they get put in the crates to go where ever they are going anywhere from 75-600 miles away.
On Race day we get up early check the computer for a release time and weather and then we calculate when we believe the pigeons should start coming home. Then we sit out side and wait.
Waiting on the races is one of my favorite things to do. I love seeing a pigeon drop out of the sky and fly straight into their loft. It is truly amazing. No matter how many times I see them come home I find it amazing as the very first time I saw it.