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 adding more pigeons to the pigeon palace

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SquirrelTickler



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Location : Melbourne, Australia

PostSubject: adding more pigeons to the pigeon palace   Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:05 pm

Hi pigeon angels,

I was hoping you could provide me with some advice as to how easy it is to introduce other rescued pigeons to my existing pair.

I work in the field of animal advocacy so I regularly receive calls from people who have found squeakers and injured pigeons. Sadly, as you know, vets won't treat 'feral' pigeons and so usually I'm unable to provide any helpful advice.

I'd be open to taking on some of these birds myself but I'm not sure how easy it would be to do with my settled pair ( one male - Des, one female - Rita)

Any suggestions as to the best way to go about doing this would be great.

Also, if I were to take on juveniles, is it likely that Des (who is very dominant) would attack them/make them feel unwelcome?

Oh, and one more query - where can I/can I get pigeon contraceptives? Des won't leave Rita alone and I worry about the strain all the egg producing is doing on her body.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions :-)
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: adding more pigeons to the pigeon palace   Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:57 pm

Hi there, nice to hear from you again! Hi there/Bye Happy

It was great to hear about Des and Rita, last time he wasn't too keen on her presence, but I see now he can't have enough of her! Laughing

I'm not the best person to advise you on keeping pigeons together in an aviary, as mine are kept in cages -- side by side mostly, or stacked -- but the pigeons are in pairs or by themselves, they only exercise together, and I always supervise them then as my Hercules is very bossy.
Cindy has her pigeons in a communal aviary, but they're related, and I'm sure different rules will apply when you add rescues to your existing ones.
One thing to bear in mind is that an aviary containing several pigeons would have to be big enough for all of them (as overcrowding causes stress, disease and aggression) and they would all need their own nesting areas, with the king and queen of the aviary being given first choice of nesting box (usually they choose the highest).
Jay would know all there is to know about introducing pigeons and keeping them together. I'll send her a message and hope she may have the time to reply.

One thing to remember about adding new pigeons to your existing ones is always quarentine them for a couple of weeks, to be on the safe side! Especially considering the drama that's been going on in there with the PMV outbreak!

About contraceptives for pigeons, there are contraceptive injections for the hens, but I believe they're only used if the hen's life is in danger should she lay more eggs.
What we do is replace the eggs by plastic or wooden ones as soon as the second egg is laid, and let the pigeons sit on them -- that will give the hen a restful time while she's sitting on them, and a decent break between layings.
Remember to provide plenty of calcium, in the form of grit AND oyster shell. If they don't get much direct sunshine (which I don't think is the case with your set-up) they will also need a calcium+vitamin D3 supplement. There are now some "pecking blocks" for pigeons on sale in pet shops, and they're really very good, with all sorts of mineral supplements. My pigeons love them!

Give Des and Rita a kiss from me! Tickled Pink
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SquirrelTickler



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PostSubject: Re: adding more pigeons to the pigeon palace   Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:32 pm

Thanks Teresa :-)

Yes, Desi adores Rita, and I think Rita is very tolerant of her very extroverted and chatty mate - they make such a cute couple!

I have been replacing the real eggs with fakes but Des seems to get on her straight after she rejects the eggs and within two days she's laid another pair. I guess it works out to be every 6 weeks that she seems to lay - do you think this will give her body sufficient time to rest?

I'm really tempted to let them have a couple of little ones but not sure of what the relationship dynamic in the aviary would be like afterwards.

When I'm home I usually leave the aviary door open for them to go in and out as they please with the dogs acting as their shepherd in case there are any cats around who have pigeon pie on the brain! Rita likes waddling around the yard and collecting home wares for the nest, and Des enjoys picking up things for the collection too although he flies around the yard. Do fantail pigeons have trouble flying as Rita rarely attempts it? She hovers briefly but mostly enjoys walking. When Rita came to us she had had her wings clipped so I guess that has hampered her ability to fly properly :-(

Thanks again for all your helpful suggestions Teresa and for getting back to me so quickly :-)

How are your pigeon couples going?? Any new photos??
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: adding more pigeons to the pigeon palace   Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:00 pm

What you described about the egg laying cycle is just what happens with Piper and Hercules -- she also lays two eggs every 6-8 weeks, and I also worry it's tiring for her, but she seems alright. She gets lots of grit AND supplements too. Fingers crossed

If you're planning on adding more pigeons to your aviary, Des would be VERY defensive if he had babies to protect... my guess is he might attack the others...

As Rita had her wings clipped before, she probably got so used to walking that she continues to do it out of habit. Also, the less she flies, the less developed her flight muscles will be. It can be a vicious circle, but maybe as time passes she will become more interested in using her wings.
However, when you add rescues, this freedom will be curtailed, unless you can provide them with a netted flight area -- Des is a resident, and he wouldn't stray; Rita is his mate, so she wouldn't either; but the others would, adults raised elsewhere might try to return to their former territories if they were allowed to fly free...
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: adding more pigeons to the pigeon palace   Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:05 pm

PS. Most of mine are doing really well, except for sickly Halo who always needs extra care. I keep her near me all the time, as she's given me plenty of scares before. My most demanding resident is a young swift, the only one who overwintered in Europe, lol! I've been feeding him every 2 hours since mid-July! nutter But he's a darling!
I haven't posted any new photos for AGES!! Sorry I just never seem to find the time! (I'll have to clone myself...)
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NiteOwl
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PostSubject: Re: adding more pigeons to the pigeon palace   Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:06 pm

Hello. Nice to hear of someone willing to take in rescues. As Teresa has already mentioned, your setup would have to be large enough for them. How large is your setup? I have seen a pic of your aviary. Do you cover it for the winter? And does the pair you now have have a nest box? I started with 6 baby ferals I brought home when an old porch was torn down. Babies all over the yard. Long story short, we built a loft and aviary for them, and now I have 31.

You should always quarantine, as Teresa also mentioned. I quarantine for 30 days, just to give any illness they might be carrying, time to show itself. I also worm them before putting them in the loft. And treat for any illness. There should be more perches than you have birds, and also a nest box for each male or pair. I don't put very young birds in with the others. I keep them inside with us till they are old enough to fly well and protect themselves. I always bring them into the loft and stay with them to see how everyone is going to react. I do this a few times before leaving them out there. Another good thing to do is to put them in a cage in the loft where they can all see each other for several days. This way they get used to each other. When you let them out, just watch for a bit. Usually the males will give newcomers a bit of a hard time at first, especially if the newcomer is a male. They just want to let them know that they were there first. Don't let this upset you. They will work it out. In a loft with pairs, things do run more smoothly. But when you do rescues, this is seldom the case. You either have more females or more males. Having more males is a bit harder, as they all want mates. You just hope that maybe the next one may be a female, and they'll find each other. It really isn't all that hard to bring others in, it's just doing it slowly and letting them get used to each other. Where you have had your pair for a while, they will think of the whole place as belonging to them, and will have to get used to the idea of new birds coming in. But with a little patience, and going slow so they have time to adjust to each other, it works out.
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: adding more pigeons to the pigeon palace   Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:10 pm

Thank you SO MUCH, Jay! Thank You
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NiteOwl
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PostSubject: Re: adding more pigeons to the pigeon palace   Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:13 pm

SquirrelTickler wrote:
Thanks Teresa :-)

Yes, Desi adores Rita, and I think Rita is very tolerant of her very extroverted and chatty mate - they make such a cute couple!

I have been replacing the real eggs with fakes but Des seems to get on her straight after she rejects the eggs and within two days she's laid another pair. I guess it works out to be every 6 weeks that she seems to lay - do you think this will give her body sufficient time to rest?

I'm really tempted to let them have a couple of little ones but not sure of what the relationship dynamic in the aviary would be like afterwards.

When I'm home I usually leave the aviary door open for them to go in and out as they please with the dogs acting as their shepherd in case there are any cats around who have pigeon pie on the brain! Rita likes waddling around the yard and collecting home wares for the nest, and Des enjoys picking up things for the collection too although he flies around the yard. Do fantail pigeons have trouble flying as Rita rarely attempts it? She hovers briefly but mostly enjoys walking. When Rita came to us she had had her wings clipped so I guess that has hampered her ability to fly properly :-(

Thanks again for all your helpful suggestions Teresa and for getting back to me so quickly :-)

How are your pigeon couples going?? Any new photos??



Fantails aren't great fliers to begin with. They are easy for hawks or other predators to catch, so I'd be careful about letting them out freely. As Teresa has mentioned, rescues would probably take off if let out. And if they are rescues because of injuries, then they would also be easier for predators to catch. Having a closed loft, with an aviary where they can exercise is a good idea.
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NiteOwl
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PostSubject: Re: adding more pigeons to the pigeon palace   Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:24 pm

Teresa wrote:
Thank you SO MUCH, Jay! Thank You

Your welcome, but don't know how much I helped. I can answer questions that might come up. I know I had no idea when I brought home my original 6 babies, that a few years later we would have this little flock, but I love and enjoy them all. And it's nice knowing that you made a difference.
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SquirrelTickler



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PostSubject: Des and Rita made a baby!   Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:44 am

Much to my surprise, on Sunday I discovered that Rita and Des have a little bub of their own. This was something I had hoped to avoid but I'm happy for them :-)

I do wonder though what the dynamics in the aviary are likely to be down the track eg. if it's a girl, when she is mature, will Des see her as a possible mate? If it's a boy, when he's older, will Des feel threatened, will the male see Rita as a potential partner. I hope it doesn't become all incestuous!
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: adding more pigeons to the pigeon palace   Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:14 pm

SquirrelTickler wrote:
Much to my surprise, on Sunday I discovered that Rita and Des have a little bub of their own. This was something I had hoped to avoid but I'm happy for them :-)

Awww, a 'whoops' baby!!! Still a blessing, after all... we try to avoid them because of the logistics of ending up with too many, but when the parents side-step us and produce a baby, we can but congratulate them! Laughing

Quote :
I do wonder though what the dynamics in the aviary are likely to be down the track eg. if it's a girl, when she is mature, will Des see her as a possible mate? If it's a boy, when he's older, will Des feel threatened, will the male see Rita as a potential partner. I hope it doesn't become all incestuous!
LOL It might, you know... especially where fathers and daughters are concerned. Cindy would be able to advise you best, as she's had different generations of the same pigeon family living together.

And you can guess what I'm going to say next... Picture(s)/video (big hint, lol!!!)
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AZWhitefeather
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PostSubject: Re: adding more pigeons to the pigeon palace   Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:28 am

SquirrelTickler wrote:

Much to my surprise, on Sunday I discovered that Rita and Des have a little bub of their own. This was something I had hoped to avoid but I'm happy for them :-)

I do wonder though what the dynamics in the aviary are likely to be down the track eg. if it's a girl, when she is mature, will Des see her as a possible mate? If it's a boy, when he's older, will Des feel threatened, will the male see Rita as a potential partner. I hope it doesn't become all incestuous!

Every situation is unique.

Our first and forth rescues were, Mikko and Pijette.
Mikko was a white Old Dutch Capuchine 'show pigeon' who had somehow found himself wandering the busy streets of Phoenix. Pijette could have been a feral, however was not the usual blue bar or checker. She was white with symmetrical black markings on her wings and had a black tail and very young. We suspect she was the victim of a BB gun incident. Unfortunately her injury went untreated prior to being brought to me and although she is doing great today (she will be 10 this year) she is unable to use her wing well enough to fly properly.
They became a mated pair and gifting us with two beautiful daughters.

Inaddition to Pijette being Mikko's originaly mate, he also took Samantha under his wing as a mate. The three got along wonderfully. Mikko and Sadie never had any little ones.

I have heard that it's OK for a father to become mates with a daughter and a mother to become mates with a son.

We later acquired another white Capuchine and he ultimately became Sadie's mate. She was Mikko and Pijette's other daughter. With that union two 'oops' babies arrived.
Dolly (the male) is also a white Capuchine and Dumpling although not having the Capuchine qualities is white.
Interestingly enough, they have become mates. I see nothing wrong with this. As long as they are happy, that's what counts. I do watch their nest like a hawk for eggs though. If I find any, they get replaced immediately.

Sadly, we lost Mikko just a year ago. He was 11.

The rest of the 'family' still lives in their aviary home together and doing great.

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Cindy

A Pigeon's Prayer
Please watch over us while we fly,
Keeping us safe from the predators that share the sky.

If we become ill or injured in any way,
Please lead us to safety where we are welcome to stay.
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SquirrelTickler



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PostSubject: Re: adding more pigeons to the pigeon palace   Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:49 am

Thanks Teresa, Nite Owl and Cindy for all your helpful advice! I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have you to refer to for all my pigeon conundrums.

The squeaker is now 2 weeks old and seems well. For the last few days Rita and Des haven't been sitting on the squeaker to keep him/her warm though but I suppose that is due to the squeaker being too big to sit on comfortably?

Yesterday Des and Rita made a nest and laid an egg which I thought was highly irresponsible! I removed the egg about an hour ago as they seem to have been neglecting the squeaker. Hopefully by doing this it will refocus their attention on their baby?

At what age should the baby start to feed itself seed? He's able to move around a little, waddling from one side of the aviary to the other.

Sorry to always be asking questions of you all!









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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: adding more pigeons to the pigeon palace   Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:33 pm

It's very common for pigeons to lay eggs while their young are still very small, and they can in fact neglect them a bit.
I've heard other members say that, when they think a youngster is being neglected, they separate the father and squeaker from the nesting mother, to force the father to concentrate on the son and feed him.
It's the father's duty to look after the young when the mother is sitting on a new batch of eggs, and if you think Des is not pulling his weight, best to confine him and his son to a part of the aviary, separate from Rita, at least for a couple of days.
I can see why you say that laying more eggs now is irresponsible, but they just breed as much as possible, and as fast as possible, while conditions are favourable. Usually they manage OK, but parental neglect leads to youngsters falling or even being pushed off the nest before they're ready to fend for themselves, which is at 3-4 weeks.
NB. Don't forget to replace the second egg too, it should be laid 2 days after the first.
Please keep us posted! Universal hug
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