Author: Dr. John Abbass
CAN YOU FREE RANGE PIGEONS? AN INTRODUCTION
Pigeons are considered as one of the most intelligent and smart birds on this planet. They have keen eyes and unique perceptions. It is surprising to know that pigeons can fly over 90 miles per hour and have the ability to find their homes from thousands of miles away.
Pigeons have been kept as domestic birds for about thousands of years by humans. They are lovely and friendly birds and can be kept for aesthetic, satisfaction, and entertainment purposes.
All along with that, pigeons have also been proved well in controlling insects and dispersing seeds over larger surfaces of land.
There are many methods of the housing of pigeons; here we will mainly focus on free-ranging housing systems and their usefulness for pigeons on the basis of previous experience and scientific literature.
HOW TRADITIONALLY PIGEONS ARE REARED?
This must be clear that pigeons have the instinct to stay happy and calm when they are free. Actually, they are not cage birds and love to live free. But as pigeon owners show concerns to know about the issues and complications which arise due to free-range rearing of pigeons.
Conventionally, pigeons are raised in dovecote and allowed to fly free. Actually, this method of pigeon rearing is not encouraged anymore because this isn’t ethical to spoil other’s property as free-flying pigeons can throw droppings anywhere they want.
So, basically this is considered as a low maintenance method of keeping pigeons nowadays.
Other rearing approaches include cages and colony dovecotes. The two most common ways of raising Pigeons now are in cages, or in a larger Colony dovecote. Either one may also be referred to as a Pigeon Loft, or one of several other names. Breeders of sport and show birds are more likely to call it a Loft.
ARE CAGES GOOD FOR PIGEONS?
Cages allow you to carefully control breeding, and to carefully control feed. Usually, for meat Pigeons, this is less critical than with sport or show birds. Cages are still a good option for small spaces, and for selective breeding for overall improvement of the breed lines.
The disadvantage of cages is that the birds do not have room to fly. While they can be raised well without flying, they are generally happier and healthier if they can.
Cages are often used for Commercial meat birds for the reason that it is simply easier to automate and track some things in a cage environment without having to read leg bands.
WHAT IS COLONY DOVECOTE?
A colony dovecote or loft is possibly the most popular way of raising Pigeons for meat production on a farm. Dovecotes range from small ones holding just a few pairs, up to those that hold hundreds of pairs.
It is often stated that more than about 30 pairs are not as manageable, so most small farm facilities have 30 or fewer pairs.
Colony rearing is simply less costly, and daily management is a little less tedious. Productivity can be tracked on banded birds.
The third way that works as a nice compromise between cages and Colony rearing is to combine the two.
You can do this any number of ways, but it usually involves either using a Colony with a few individual cages for selective breeding and isolating birds when needed for other purposes, or using cages that are connected to a common flight pen, so that nesting and night accommodations are separated, but daytime flight areas are shared.
Either of these options allows you to use the advantages of cages, with the advantages of colony rearing, while minimizing the negatives for each option.
Very often, the way we end up doing things is less a matter of what we feel is ideal, than it is the closest we could get to that ideal given our circumstances. Available land, materials, and funds will often affect the end results in more than what we really wanted or thought was best. Reality often requires compromise.
However you choose to design your Pigeon space, be as generous as you can with your birds, and you’ll gain more in productivity, health, and enjoyment.
$ 400,000 Paid for Pair Racing Pigeons
HOW CAN YOU DESIGN FREE RANGE GARDEN FOR PIGEONS?
The relationship between keeping pigeons and planting a forest garden is a symbiotic one, the former provides richer compost for trees, fruits, and vegetables. They also carry out very valuable pest control.
The garden provides them with shelter and food and most importantly, a safe environment below a canopy of trees and bushes, which is the very essence of the forest garden. You can arrange your garden in such a way as to provide clearings, in which the poultry can sunbathe and in the case of pigeons add a birdbath.
WHY BATHING IS ESSENTIAL FOR PIGEONS?
Bathing is an integral part of a pigeon’s life and it is one of the times at which it is at its most vulnerable, as logically with its feathers dampened, it can’t easily escape by flight. There is also a social side to a birdbath. It’s something therefore you need to provide for but you should equally be aware of the dangers it entails to a free-ranging flock.
There must be some thick trees or preferably some barriers. These barriers will help them to stay protected from the predators and also help in blocking their flight to escape.
HOW CAN YOU LIMIT THE ENTRY OF PREDATOR?
When free-ranging fantails you cannot protect against every eventuality. Dogs, cats, rats, birds of prey, and martens are opportunists. Dogs can be restrained by physical barriers and the others, in my experience, prefer easy pickings. The more difficult you make it for them to succeed, the less you leave your pigeons open to attack.
WHAT ARE OTHER IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS?
In short, pigeons will love free raging arrangements and feel calm and happy to spend some part of the time freely in a day. But again, it is also important to keep in mind that, while free-ranging pigeons, all the essential arrangements should be done such as management of proper feeding
, Restriction of predators and safe them from hawks and other aerial attackers by adopting an effective technique, taking care of baby pigeons, providing them with shelter and all basic necessities including health monitoring and regular observation.
Always try to rear pigeons in pairs and keep an eye on their living environment.
Take immediate action, if you find anything wrong with their health or overall behavior.
If you do all these things and train your pigeons gradually to stay with you, like give them feed call and fly them at a defined time to make them habitual of it. Doing, this can give you nice outcomes. Remember, always use an effective strategy and planning to make free-range housing ideal for your pigeons.
Pigeon Breeder Associations
|National Pigeon Association||USA||NPA|
|American Pigeon Racing Union||USA||APRU|
|Midwest Homing Pigeon Association||USA||MHPA|
|Royal Pigeon Racing Association||UK||RPRA|
|Royal Pigeon Racing Association||UK & Ireland||RPRA|
Levi, W. M. 1957. The Pigeon. Published by-Levi Publishing Company. Inc. Sumter, S. C. USA.
KEY WORDS (PIGEON’S HOUSING) (PIGEON’S FLIGHT) (FREERANGE PIGEONS) (PIGEON FARMING) (PIGEON DISEASES)