Young bird racing (part 3) (02-01-23)
Dealing and playing with youngsters (part 3)
Seats in a young pigeon loft should also be seats. In some lofts you can still see those so called chapels. Beautiful next to and under each other. I don't think it's good. At least if performance is the norm.
Chapels make the escape route for the pigeon too easy if you want to grab them. They do not offer an opportunity to put some sweets or grit on it. They do not offer opportunities for courtship. Seats (perches) are better; Preferably a little deeper and not too little! If all places are occupied, that may be a beautiful view, but the atmosphere does not get any better. If a pigeon has to make an effort to get a place, this will not be conducive to the attachment to the loft. In a loft for young, provide more seats than pigeons.
The young pigeon specialist has no message about sentiments. Such a 'sentiment' is, for example, feeding. A powerful weapon in the hands of the craftsman but also cause of a lot of misery for others. Mostly because they are too mild! Many complaints about pigeons that do not listen are a result of the fact that those young guys always find food in the loft.
Actually, there should never be feed in a young pigeon loft. Feed is the means par excellence for spawning animals.
Horses, dogs, dolphins and... Pigeons! For example, I think that dog trainers would be guaranteed to have willing pigeons. For the beautiful eyes of the boss, pigeons really do not attach themselves to him.
You do not have to starve them but the boss with his feeder should always be a welcome appearance, a signal: A signal to go into the loft, in the week and... after the flight! You will always find a single stubborn one who refuses to listen. And it is very easy to turn them into undisciplined pigeons for the rest of their lives. What you should do to make them a pain in the ass: Reward them with feed if they come in too late !!
However, it is also very easy to change those initial stubborn pigeons into domestic willing pigeons.
What to do? Instead of rewarding them after poor entry, they should be given a lesson: No food! More concretely: Do you have 50 young of which 47 respond when you call them, give those three misfits nothing. Not a grain! Already the next day they often know their lesson.
I have a kind of box for the young pigeon lofts that acts as a sputnik and super trap. Behind it is a window. It happens that people are surprised when they see a pigeon in that 'box' in the evening. That was not negligence, I knew very well that 'there was another one outside'. That pigeon had punishment!
What do I do? When the pigeons are inside, the window behind that 'box' closes and that is no longer opened. The few who did not walk in line are allowed to sleep outside for a night. Hard? Nope. From a night of sleeping outside, no one has ever gotten sick.
In pigeons there should be discipline. You should not adapt to their behavior, but they should conform to you. You are the general, they are the soldiers. And a soldier who is not drilled is not a good soldier. Drilling belongs to every cultivated animal.
And drilling often means: 'Whoever does not want to hear must feel.' I know fanciers who, when they are in the loft, always have a stick in their hand. They are almost literally general. They are all good fanciers.
Application of discipline should start early but not too early! Until they are about ten weeks old, they get a lot of food and a lot of freedom here.
They can explore the area at will. This way you run less risk of losing them if, for example, they are startled by something.
The disadvantage is that those young curious kids who are free all day long have to touch everything with their mouths. Like a child initially explores the world with his mouth. They are pecking at everything and fidgeting. With all the adverse consequences that entails if you have gutters, flat roofs and so on nearby. But that freedom in the first few weeks is important.
If you immediately start releasing them in a limited way, you will be busy teaching them manners early on, but they will be lost more easily.
After that period of a lot of freedom, the next phase begins: 'Dressage.’
I proceed as follows: For about a week the pigeons get so little feed that they come towards me when they see me. They do not suffer from this, on the contrary. A kind of hunger cure is more likely to have a beneficial effect.
There are good players who make a habit of it because it is claimed to be 'a fine purge'. This temporary hunger regime serves to make it clear to them once and for all who is in charge.
It will be an instructive time for youngsters.
They want to fill the stomach but there is no feed. And... they will soon find that they are completely dependent on you for this. That's something they'll remember well, at least, if you don't fall into the mistake of feeding too generously afterwards.
After dressage it changes. Feeding means enough but not one grain too much. The pigeons are never really hungry but are always just a bit.
No lingering outside any more. Pigeons may only be roofers for the first few months of life. Roofs are the domain of city pigeons. Not from racing pigeons! From now on it is: Flying or in the loft.
And always entering should be rewarded with feed or sweets. Even if it is still so little. Some fanciers always have feed in the bags of their dust coats. The pigeons get some of that every time they come to the loft. Those people have got the message.
I have never believed that the composition of the feed is as close as one would have you believe. You can make mistakes, of course. Feed can be too heavy (too many peas for example) or too one-sided. But no one tells me that it comes down to a few percent less or more of a certain type of grain.
Too many good fanciers feed too differently to believe that there is such a thing as 'an ideal composition'.
Maybe my way of feeding is not the best but given the results a good one. After weaning no barley yet and no so called purification.
The disadvantage of many 'purification mixtures' is that there are too many small seeds in them and immediately after weaning I do not like them.
Very young pigeons are inclined to peck those small seeds first, so they have to make too much effort to fill the crop. They get that 'heavier' mixture without purification until they are about three months old. So until dressage. Then they will get ‘lighter’ food. By feeding 'lighter' pigeons get whiter bodies and... more lust to fly! (to be continued).
End Part 3