Necessary elements of a champion pigeon racing loft.
For those fanciers that intend to allow their birds to fly outside, traps or bobs are a must. No loft should be without a set. The Belgians have developed a new kind of trap, but most American fliers still use the traditional aluminum bobs. Once the birds have come into the loft, they cannot leave again. Pigeons should either be out exercising, or inside the loft. If they are outside all day, they get into bad habits. As soon as they are finished flying, they should be called into the loft. There are times when you want to allow them the extra time to take a both or pick on the ground around the loft, but those should not be daily activities. When your birds are out all day, they pick up bad habits such as sitting on other peoples houses and telephone wires. They may also leave for a while to feed or mix with common pigeons. All of these are evils. Neighbors get angry by having pigeons sitting on their property. They don not like the messes the pigeons leave behind. When your birds feed with common pigeons, it exposes them to bad feed or poisons that could make them sick, or even worse, it could kill them. The common pigeons may also carry diseases that your birds do not need or want. If your birds are continually outside all day, you will not be able to catch them for training purposes. If you race your pigeons, they will not come into the loft when they return from a race. They will stay outside, because that’s what you taught them by allowing them to stay outside all day long.
Train them at an early age to enter the loft as soon as they are finished flying and you will be happier. It your birds land on your neighbors house or sit on telephone wires, throw something soft at them, such as a tennis ball. This will teach them that the only place to land is on your own property. Your neighbors will be happier, and the sport of pigeon flying will improve its good name. As we said, they should either be exercising or inside the loft. Traps are an important part in controlling your pigeons. They can be purchased from any pigeon supply company.
There is an exception to the rule of throwing tennis balls at your pigeons when they land on your neighbor’s house. Do not throw the ball at your birds until they know where home is. If they land on your neighbor’s house on their first few trips outside, you could force them to fly away be throwing the ball at them.
The landing board is placed in front of the traps. This is the landing and taking of pad that the birds use as they enter and leave the loft. It should be large enough for the birds to land and take off easily. If it is too small the birds will not be able to enter the loft easily, and they will not be as willing to come into the loft when you call them. It should also be large enough for your youngsters to sit and look at their surroundings.
An aviary or fly cage can be added to your loft. They are particularly helpful when it comes to caring for birds that are always kept in their loft. The aviary allows the birds to go outside and get some fresh air and sunshine. Some fanciers make the top of the aviary from wood or shingles. This is helpful in keeping droppings from sparrows or starlings out of your loft. These droppings could have some serious diseases that you would not want your pigeons to catch. Other fanciers take the risk and make their aviary top from wire. They feel that the advantage of allowing the pigeons outside in an open top aviary allows rain and sunshine to enter all the parts of the aviary, which makes it possible for the birds to take rain an sun baths.
Paint is a great tool in being a good Ambassador for the sport of racing pigeons. It’s surprising what a pint job does. There is no excuse for having a sloppy looking loft. Paint is not that expensive. It makes the loft look fresh and clean. It impresses people when they look at it . It is good for the sport. At this time it might also be helpful to remind yourself to keep the area around the loft cleaned up. This discourages rats, mice , and other pests. It also helps keep good relations with the neighbors. Take pride in your loft and pigeons. Take pride yourself. Keep your loft painted!
No pigeon loft should be without a lock. Over the years, a number of American fanciers have had their lofts vandalized. Their pigeons were either stolen or killed. A lock is not very expensive. A lock is a good investment and it should be on every loft.
There are several types of perches that you can build or buy. They are important parts of your pigeon’s lives. This is especially true for youngsters. This is their home inside their home. Once they have selected their perch, they will fight to keep it. They will drive all others from it. If you have more birds than perches, you have trouble. Those birds without perches will feel left out. They will have no sense of worth and no desire to come home. They are often the first to be lost because they do not have the desire to come back to a loft where they are left out. They will go some place else where they will be happier. That perch is important indeed. It is a magnet that draws pigeons home.
V perches are easy to build. They are also cheap. Cleaning them is very easy. They do have some drawbacks. It is easy for them to soil the pigeons below them if you make them too short. It also makes catching the birds a little more difficult.
Box perches are more difficult to build, and they cost more. They are excellent for controlling pigeons, because the birds cannot jump from one perch to another perch when you want to catch them. It is also harder for them to soil the other birds below with their droppings. Box perches are usually 9″ by 9″. If they are much larger than that, the pigeons often get their own droppings on their own perches.
Nests are to old birds as perches are to youngsters. They are a big reason why old birds want to come home. It is their home within a home. Once they select a nest they will fight to keep it. For this very reason, it is very useful to have fronts on your nests. It helps keep other pairs out.
Homing pigeons have nest boxes approximately 1 foot high, 1 foot wide, and 2 feet long. Good nest boxes have fronts that go on or off easily. Since the nests should be cleaned after each round of youngsters, it is helpful to have a good nest front. It makes cleaning the nest easier. A front can also be a big help when it is time to lock up the pairs during the mate selection process at the beginning of the breeding season. Good nest fronts are also helpful in keeping your pairs out of the nests when the breeding season is over.