Learning the joys of raising chickens...and navigating the roads of life
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Pigeons? Or Rats With Wings?
I like our pigeons. We've lost more than we've kept. Quite a few flew off and never came back. I truly believe that they went right back to the man we bought them from. Of course, we asked. He said he'd keep an eye out for them, but we heard nothing back. Now, I'm convinced he's gotten my money and the birds. I only paid $5 USD a piece for them. Some I got for free. So I really shouldn't complain too much. But we were down to five birds. We had two females and three males. After being cooped up all winter and most of the spring, Mike thought it was time to let them fly. I knew that extra male wouldn't return. He would scrap with the other males on occasion, though nothing serious. He was more of a picked-on loner, really. I can't say I blame him for not coming back. On my drives to and from work I often see the power lines by the overpasses holding the weight of 20, 30, or more pigeons. There are even a few that hang around my work. I've I were a lone bachelor like him, I'd have done the same thing. Why hang around, when you can find the life you really want is out there waiting for you.
That left us with two pairs; one dark pair and one light pair. I haven't really named them, though I'm sure they will not end up on a dinner plate. I have flirted with a few names, but I haven't really stuck with anything. Somehow, I don't think they really care. As long as I keep giving them cracked grains and pellets.
I guess you are wondering if I've had any babies? Well, we have. The light pair started laying first.
This is the white pair. That's the female on the perch. The male is behind her in the nest box. He's more gray with brown bars on his wings. She's layed eggs three times. The first time she layed three. One got broken, one was pea sized, and the other she sat on, but nothing came of it. I thought it was still a bit early in the year, but then I thought of the pigeons in New York. The second set she sat on for a bit, but those two didn't hatch either. She is currently sitting on her third set of two eggs. I'm hoping it works out for her, as they are both dilligent parents. They take turns sitting on the eggs. You can tell from here, as the male is sitting on the eggs.
Then I have the dark pair. She sat on two eggs, and hatched out two babies. But one of them died. We had a few cool nights with rain early in the spring. I think the poor thing got too cold.
This is moma sitting on her baby. She puffed all up when I got too close. The baby was the ugliest little baby bird I had ever seen! At one point I thought something was wrong with it. It's neck was all puffed out. But it turned out his moma was just feeding him quite well. (I'm assuming it's a him. I can't tell them apart except for their cooing). Unfortunately, I don't have any pics of the baby. I just never got any. He's most grown up now, except for a few scraggly feathers on top of his heard. She and the male, both look pretty much the same, also take turns with the eggs.
They are in a new coop then last year. This one is sturdier. Some of you may remember, last year I lost a couple of pigeons to an owl attack. It was a very large owl with a four feet wing span. We built a stronger coop with a better area for nesting. Just before we did we had a Cooper's Hawk try to attack, but it was just about the time I was leaving for work. A shot from the .22 rifle sent him flying, and we haven't seen him since. The owl will never be returning.
Here's the five before our lone ranger left. That's him in the front.