Good to know (4)
Quite a few people suffer from pigeon dust. Now I don"t want to frighten people, you have to be susceptible to it, some live to be 90 while they spend three quarters of their life in pigeon lofts, but ... there are those who can"t tolerate it and these people almost certainly get to hear from their doctor how important it is to wear a cap when in contact with pigeons. The minuscule dust particles get into your hair and that isn"t only bad for you but also for your family. And I can"t see you washing your scalp every time you have been among the pigeons, so wearing a cap makes sense. Don"t wear other clothes and certainly not STRIPED clothing when the pigeons return from a race, these frighten the birds off and you don"t want that. If you spend a lot of time in the lofts, different clothes don"t matter much. Many fanciers wear an overall in the lofts. Which is good, especially if it has pockets in which you can carry a bit of grit, a few peanuts or candy seed, so that every time you are among your pigeons, you"ll have a treat for them. It"s surprising how quick they get to know that and it will increase their attachment to the loft and the fancier. For that matter, shaking a feed container has the same effect. I owe this dropper of mine many firsts.
You sometimes hear that pigeons don"t like peanuts. Nonsense: all pigeons like peanuts, only some pigeons won"t eat something they don"t know. I put peanuts on the landing board when they return from a flight. They know that very quickly and will land sooner to peck a bit. With the added effect that other incoming pigeons from that race drop down easier as well, because "pigeons attract pigeons". In that respect it has to be mentioned that "we in Holland" have our electronic timing antennas outside the loft, which is forbidden in Belgium. When a pigeon gets back from a race and landed on the board/antenna I just do not want it to enter the loft. They will attract other home coming birds to land faster.
Some only release their pigeons when they are 10 weeks old, and they seldom lose any of them. There are others who send pigeons of that age away to foreign countries for one loft races, and these won"t be lost there either but often dominate a race. Because they are older and more mature maybe? These 10 weeks are in sharp contrast with what some fanciers in Taiwan do. Believe it or not, these start training their young when they are 10 weeks old. In Holland and Belgium there are also people who start training the pigeons when they are still very young, end of March, together with the old ones. There"s nothing against it, by then they are three months old and from that age you can go on the road with them, but I would advise to wait another month. That it"s better not to train your youngsters in very bright weather is a well known fact. When they have a bit more experience you can even release them in between rain showers.
In Holland antennas may be placed outside the loft. In Belgium this is forbidden.
It happens to every fancier that squeakers that have just started to exercise, are missing in the evening. With a long face you sit in your garden, thinking that every bird that goes over is one of your young pigeons. Do you know what increases your chances of getting them back? Leaving older pigeons outside so that the squeakers sitting on roofs in the vicinity will see them fly. The chances are that they will join them. Something else you can do is leave an old pigeon that you "can afford to lose" outside for the night. Possibly you may have some of your youngsters back in the morning. Or you can put an old couple in the young bird loft. Having an aviary against the loft can also help to limit your losses. If it"s a springtime with lots of bad weather, many will keep their youngsters inside, with the effect that they will see little of the outside world. If you have an aviary then they can explore the area from inside there, even in adverse weather. This will strengthen their ability to orientate. An aviary is also useful now that birds of prey are becoming more and more of a problem in many areas.
I owe this dropper of mine many firsts.
Because pigeons attract each other, you can make use of enticers when pigeons come back from a flight. I used to have a very old pigeon that had difficulty flying, just for that. Some make an enticer out of a pigeon "that isn"t worth much" by clipping a few flights or by taping them together. But both methods are not very animal friendly and don"t look very nice. I have small fancy pigeons that prefer to be inside the loft. With a head wind or without any wind at all I don"t need them, then my pigeons will storm into the loft. But with a tail wind, when they are flying very high, I make good use of them. Those mini pigeons have given me several earlier places on the result list and even a few victories. When I am waiting for the pigeons to return I have them ready in a basket, and when a pigeon appears very high in the sky, I will release such an enticer. You won"t believe the effect that has on incoming pigeons. They fold their wings even tighter to drop down faster and to dive into the loft, sometimes right on the tail of the enticer!