Pigeon housing (dovecote) design

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by dyllos, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. dyllos

    dyllos Junior Member

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    Hi all

    Am getting pigeons next week and thought I would see if anyone on here has built them successful housing? I want them to forage during the day and return to roost. Also, of course to breed. So, in making a list of their needs:

    - clean water
    - roosting places (height? diameter? will they huddle together like chickens?)
    - nesting boxes (size? litter? entry hole size?)
    - supplementary food
    - dry
    - warm
    - rodent/predator proof
    - oriented entrance to East?
    - arrival landing place?
    - nearby 'safe' perch to check cage is safe?

    Please post any more that I have not thought of and details if you know them

    Thank you :)
     
  2. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hi dyllos,

    Pigeons like to nest on high rock ledges away from any draughts, they make a shallow saucer nest mainly from old feathers, manure and grass bits etc. The ledge needs to be about 300 mm wide with a shallow 25mm lip along the outside edge. Make sure that the birds you get are already paired so you don't end up with 10 boys chasing one hen. They pair for life and usually claim a nesting spot for themselves. If no suitable cock bird is available two girls will often mate up. You can tell because instead of laying a two egg clutch they lay four which never hatch. The roosts can be upside down V shaped bits of wood screwed to the back wall not above another so the ones below don't cop it. They must be locked up for a couple of months at your place or they will just fly straight back to whence they came. They need a roosting area and a flight exposed to the morning sun. I feed mine a mix of sunflower, millet, wheat, canary and cracked corn with a tablespoon of shell grit. I plant the sunflower (white striped giant) in the early summer and harvest in late march, millet and corn at the same time. Wheat and winter cereals I plant in at Mabon ( autumn equinox) and harvest in late September. They also get fennel seed, mustard seed, globe artichoke seed and anything else I find to spruce up the variety. They tend to leave sorghum grain here.One kg in the morning amongst 20 adult birds before I let them out to fly and forage and another an hour before sunset to bring them home again, so I lock them in. When you first get them a rule of thumb is too give them enough so that they eat the lot in about 30 minutes. Any more and you only attract rodents.You can make a one way door so they can return and not get out again. I have terracotta bowls for them to water and bathe in which must be cleaned out every morning and refilled. I have 3x2 litre bowls for 20 adults. My 10 pairs breed about 30-40 squabs each year which you must leg ID'd so they can be separated to prevent inbreeding if you are going to keep them. I replace my breeders about every three years, but hawks get some, cats, carpet snakes and rats take their toll too.
    Face the pen to the North here with a flight on the Eastern and Northern sides. My prevailing wind is from the SE, with warm Northerlies in summer and cold, dry SW in late winter and spring. The entry flight doors need a landing pad about 300mm square too. I have a skillion roof with large rocks on top so they can duck below swooping prey birds. The floor is concreted with a sloping floor to drain out the door when I hose it out for a spring clean. If I built it again I would make the southern and western walls thick stone, with the northern wall half panelled with the top open mesh with an external shutter and the personal entry door, and the eastern wall the same sans door. The roost and nest ledges along the western and southern walls, with the flight pen separate along the Eastern wall.
    There is for sale on a well known internet sales sight a CD of a heap of old pigeon books for $8.00 posted from Victoria. Old stuff but good info.

    As for parasites I insecticide dust the pen and the birds after removing all manure, dirt etc. in the spring, worming solution in the water every three months and have sawdust on the floor of the pen where they roost which collects the manure and moist stuff which I change about three times a year and put in the compost heap or on top of the ginger plants to prevent nematodes.
    Make sure that you get a good meat type bird, with good mothering abilities if you grow them for food. We consume them here when the squabs are about six weeks old. 10 pairs of breeders give us about 25x500 gram carcasses to eat each through the spring, summer and autumn with enough replacements left over to replace those lost.
     
  3. briansworms

    briansworms Junior Member

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    I raised pigeons as a kid. I learnt my lesson about letting them out too soon. I bought the same black bird several times at 20 cents each time. Yes I think I have got smarter since. I used to have some really nice birds and often got other birds to raise their eggs. The good ones would then breed again and I let them raise the second lot of eggs. This is a good idea if you raise show birds. I took some birds for a trip once and one hen took 8 months to come home. She paired back up with her old mate.

    I would put the food out then hunt them out for their flight twice a day. The food encouraged them to come back in and not sit on the roof all day as we had tank water. They love to bath sp make sure you give then a tub to do this.

    I used to sell them to my grandmother for 20 cents a bird dressed. She loved them and it helped me pay for seed. Enjoy them
     
  4. dyllos

    dyllos Junior Member

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    Hi, great details there - wish I had seen your message earlier (not sure why this site doesn't send me a notification - a setting somewhere?), although we had no internet for several of those days too...
    Just to check about the nest - do you basically mean they will nest on a 300mmx25mm rectangle area? 25mm seems soooo small... that they would fall off..,? Also, about the feeding - I have read that pigeons can/should largely self forage (with minimum grains in the evening) - is it like that when they are free roaming (after the 8 week homing period) or is the 2kg a day even with them going out and getting their own food?

    Thanks
     
  5. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    I am keeping an eye here. Pigeons are awesome, but my neighbor doesn't think so. He'll shoot blanks at them to scare them off the bird feeders. They then roost at my house for 1/2 an hour and go back.

    I would love to see free flocks of pigeons in the US again.
     
  6. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Climate:
    Sub-tropical to temperate 2000mm rain, elevated 350-475m
    Dyllos,
    the ledge is 300 mm wide with a 25mm lip on the outer edge. You can partition it any way you want. eg. into 250mm wide spaces on the 300 mm ledge, you can even add shallow nesting bowls if you like but here they don't seem to make any better babies or more of them with my birds.
    2 kg per day grain feeds 20 adult birds, 5-10 growers and and 10-15 squabs which is really approx. 40 birds getting 50 grams a day each. These are large Carneau X King X Modena birds of about 800-1100 grams each which don't really fly far at all to forage. I keep new birds in at least 4 months, especially if they were not paired when they arrived and/or came from close by, within 50 km. Aniseed( the real stuff) rubbed on perches keeps them from straying as well as white stripe sunflower seeds to eat. Don't forget they need a source of sharp grit to digest their food as well.
     
  7. dyllos

    dyllos Junior Member

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    ah okay I get it now, 300mm from the wall outwards with a lip going up (parallel to wall) so they don't fall off so easily? that makes sense and is about the size of the boxes I have made, although some were quite high inside..

    with regards to their food, I don't think mine are nearly that heavy - I might try and weigh one tomorrow. Do you have a photo of one of birds - interested to see what these X X are like..

    I am growing licorice plants recently - would that substitute the aniseed? and how often do you rub it on the perches?

    Is shell grit good to use?

    Thanks for all your pointers, I will post some photos on my website very soon, cheers
     
  8. dyllos

    dyllos Junior Member

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  9. floot

    floot Junior Member

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    hey dyllos,


    You are on the right track.... a couple of things.



    Pigeons and pig share the same parasites, largely. So make sure you worm your pigeons too.
    Never rely on an ekspert that has obviously found some shit about 'pigeons' off the net. Aussies have had pigeons for millennia, we now have foreign pigeons too but we generally are not used to eating them. Pigeons are great eating, fabulous.

    I would say that pigeons do best with an individual perch ... ie a stick, a vee, a post etc. When it comes to nesting they prefer a decent size that both parents can inhabit. The other way to go is to build a ledge 400m high and put 'ledges' in it every 400mm... bah humbug.

    Check out what the racing pigeon guys do... it is economical, efficient and works.

    Lastly, eat pigeons, do a dozen at a time. They are brilliant food but you may have to feed them, they are efficient at this anyway.

    cheers,

    a
     

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