General Pigeon Information for Beginners
Keeping pigeons can be an exciting and satisfying hobby. As with all new adventures, reading and researching ahead of ordering and receiving pigeons is the best plan for success. We have a variety of books on managing pigeons geared toward the hobbyist. The books are listed in the catalog and on the website. (View our Pigeon & Dove Books Section)
There are 3 fundamental groupings of pigeons: performance breeds, fancy breeds and utility breeds. Additional management techniques may vary based on the type of pigeon you order.
Housing for pigeons can vary. Understanding pigeon behavior will enable you to construct your own loft or modify an existing structure. There is no single loft plan. This is why additional reading and reference books are essential. Housing structures for racing birds will be different than those for the fancy and utility birds.
Well designed lofts include a secure building with a floor and protection from predators; interior nest boxes/aviary space; exterior landing board & trap; ventilation system and storage space for feed & equipment. Loft size varies based on the number of birds you plan to keep. In general, allow 8-10 cubic feet of air space for each pair. You may want to have separate interior aviary space for young birds, breeding birds and older birds. These following books, available in our catalog or on the website will have additional information you need to plan a loft and manage your birds. #PGS Guide to Raising Pigeons, #PG The Pigeon Guide, #WTP The Will to Prepare, #PPL Pigeons for Pleasure and Profit and #PDD Pigeons, Doves and Dovecotes.
Commercial pigeon feed contains whole grains. In general, the birds should eat their feed within 20 minutes. Pick up uneaten feed. Clean water daily is a must. There are many styles of founts available. Offer grit, optimally containing trace minerals if available in your area. Provide oyster shell. Store feed in rodent proof containers. (View Our Pigeon & Dove Supply Page for appropriate feeders, waterers and other supplies)
Always house new arrivals in a quiet area away from your other birds for about 2 weeks. Your birds will need time to recover from the stress of shipping. Your birds have been de-wormed prior to shipping with a broad spectrum de-wormer. Pigeons are sent Express Mail via the US Postal service.
Our pigeons are banded. The fancy and utility breeds will be banded with a sealed pigeon band from the National Pigeon Association. The race teams will be banded with an American Racing Union. We send young, non-mated and un-flown birds. (We carry Pigeon Bands too)
The photos online and in the catalog are of our pigeons. There is always variation in color reproduction and more importantly not every bird hatched is an exact replica of a general picture. Young bird plumage is often different than adult plumage. Keep these factors in mind when ordering and receiving young birds.
Pigeons are becoming an increasingly popular hobby. In addition to the books we offer, there are reliable websites by many pigeon organizations where you can find additional information.
One of the most common beginner questions
is how to sex pigeons. Behavior is the clue, although
even the experts can be fooled. The male is usually
larger and heavier than the hen.
Both sexes coo and set on eggs. In general, the male sets on eggs morning to mid afternoon, the hen the remainder of the day. The male bows and scrapes: bowing his head toward the ground, while scraping his tail feathers on the ground. Observing mating is another way to determine male and female.
Another common question is about the performance behavior. Spinning/rolling involve backwards somersaults with a vertical drop. Tumbling is turning sideways at the same altitude. Young birds have the genetic propensity to perform but need opportunity to practice and increase their skill.
We cannot emphasize this enough. Reading and preparation on the part of the hobbyist is going to make this a successful hobby. We rely on you to be ready to care and enjoy these birds upon their arrival.