Q: I have a problem with Feral pigeons perching on my balcony. I don't want to harm the pigeons but don't want them there. Is there anything I can do? A: Yes. I'd recommend putting "Crisco" or any cooking oil where they are perching. Feral pigeons generally fly in groups and being an "intelligent bird" they'll get the message after a few times slipping around. Some breeders use this method when they want to get their pigeons bred earlier and put the oil on the perches.
Q: I'd like to ship pigeons but don't know anything about it. Could you please give me some information? A: Yes. You can ship pigeons anytime of the year but the main concern is the temperature. If the temperature is above 78F or 80F "high" for the day you're shipping then the postoffice won't allow it. The container must be approved by the postoffice to meet their specifications. There are a few different shipping containers for birds that meet the postal specifications and range in price from about $10 to $25 depending on the company and size of container. It's cheaper to ship 4 or more birds (in the long run) than one or two pigeons. The price of shipping depends on the weight and the distance. It's best to ship Mon. thru Thu. during the week and in the morning after they have been fed. I would not recommend shipping pigeons less than 3 months old. What I'm telling you is "in general", check with your local postoffice for full details. Also of note, shipping and receiving pigeons from Europe is very expensive (two to three hundred dollars)!
Q: I have a pair of pigeons that have laid eggs. Can you tell me how long it will take for the eggs to hatch? A: Yes. The gestation period for eggs to hatch is usually 18 to 20 days, give or take a day.
Q: I have a pair of pigeons and have had several clutches but the eggs never hatch. Can you tell me what's wrong? A: Yes. There could be a sterility problem with either the hen or cock, or both. Also they could both be hen's! Hen pigeons (like chickens) will lay eggs but the eggs will be infertile as there is no cock pigeon to fertilize the eggs.
Q: Can I breed brother and sister pigeons? Will they have defects and will the eggs hatch? A: Yes. The eggs will hatch but they could be infertile, as many pigeons occasionally have "infertile eggs". I've had a few brother-sister matings over the years but I don't recommend it! You are taking a big chance. I was lucky in that the young were not deformed. Also, these offspring, I never bred back to any lines from any on the maternal or fraternal sides. A first time brother-sister mating might not be too bad but a remating with any "same blood line" would greatly increase your chances of getting deformed birds!
Q: How do I know if my pigeon is male or female? A: There are many "old wives tales" as to differentiating hen and cock pigeons. There is really only one proven method. Wait until your pigeon is about 4 months old and put him/her in a cage alone with a known male(cock)pigeon. If the cock pigeon dances around and bows and coo's (without any signs of "open aggression") than you bird is most likely a "hen"! If they both bow and start dancing around and then start fighting than your pigeon is most likely a male(cock)pigeon. Both hen and cock pigeons will do a dance and strut and bow but the cock is much more demonstrative in this respect. Also you must test with a cock as a hen is too passive
. Q: Is it absolutely necessary to use "grit"? A: There is much debate in this area. I do use grit (to be on the safe side). You can either mix it in with the feed of put a couple of tablespoons in a separate dish or on top of the feed. Pigeons (like all birds and fowl) have a "gizzard" that aids in grinding up the seed. Some grits are fortified with certain vitamins and minerals. No, it's not absolutely necessary as countless birds have lived long healthy lives without it. But I still think it's a good idea.
Q: I'm new to pigeons. Can you please tell me what a Racing Homer is? A: Yes. A Racing Homer is a Homer that is noted much more for it's "speed" than distance, however distances are involved from 100-500 miles or more. At a race the birds have a band on their leg and upon arrival the band is read into a timer (clock) that registers the pertinent information. Homer's, though can travel very great distantces (up to 3,000 miles!) but time is not of the essence, while the homing ability is! The English Carrier is the "grandfather" of the original "homing pigeon" and "ALL" Racing Homers and Homers have some English Carrier blood in them! As now the English Carrier is used for show purposes.
Q: I just got some pigeons. Is it safe to let them out? Or should I wait? A: I'd keep them penned in for 2-3 months and then let them out. You must be sure that there are no stray cats or other animals that would be a threat to your pigeons. I'd advise about an hour before dusk to let out your pigeons and wait until they return. That way, if there is a cat (in the mean-time) you can scare the cat away.
Q: I notice you have English Carriers. Are they very hard to raise? A: No. This is my "favorite variety of pigeon" and had raised them for several years. Although a large pigeon in size, they tend to be rather docile in nature. They are moderate producers and generally good parents. You can expect to pay $100 to $500 per pair for some good quality pigeons. Remember they are a rather large pigeon that requires more loft space. I highly recommend this breed to any fancier that has had some experience with pigeons!
Q: I've heard of pedigreed pigeons. What does this mean? A: A pedigree shows you the lines (offspring) between the "sire's" males and "dam's" females. Pedigree's are especially important in regards to Racing Homers! Although many breeders of "fancy pigeons" use them also. In essence, It's a way to see that the pigeons were bred "true to form"! To make up a pedigree you have to know the following: greatgrand dam and greatgrand sire, grand dam and grand sire, dam and sire, your most recent pigeon. Note: Dam=hen, Sire=cock.
Q: How long do pigeons live? A: Usually the average age of a pigeon is 10-12 years. I had this old red Racing Homer that lived to be 15 years old. There have been documented cases of pigeons living into their 20's and 30's.
Q: I have problems with pigeons fighting in my cage. Can I do something about this? A: Yes. I don't know the size of your cage or how many pigeons you have in the cage. Nevertheless, if you allow one square foot per bird and put in a perch compartment in that all your pigeons will have their separate "perching areas" than this would eliminate a lot of the fighting. Pigeons are a "social" bird, however they need their "own space" (so to speak). If this doesn't work, then I'd put the pigeon and mate in a separate cage. Good luck!
Q: I'd like to raise pigeons. Is it very expensive? A: No, not really. You can build a fairly decent loft for $30-$50. A decent pair of fancy pigeons, Roller or Homers from $20-$50 per pair. Feed and grit run me about $12 per week but I've got 30 pigeons to feed. I would recommend starting out with no more than 3 pairs of pigeons as you're going to have young and before you know it you'll have "too many"! You'll need nest boxes. I recently bought a few plastic boxes (like re-cycle type). I use pine shavings for nesting material. You need a perch or two and I find old broom stick handles are perfect for this. In pigeondom you can get started very economically or you can go into several thousands of dollars! To me, though, spending $100-$200 to get into this wonderful field is "money well spent"!