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.


Edith Hope said...

Dear Randy and Mike, Definitely not rats with wings. I have never understood why quite so many people, whose lives are completely unaffected by pigeons, have such a down on them. They are, I feel, simply another part of nature and apart from where their large numbers, such as in St. Mark's Square, Venice, might cause problems, what is all the fuss about? In London they have been trying to eliminate them completely from Trafalgar Square and it is now, I believe, against the law to feed them.

Yours look lovely and I do hope that they breed successfully.

Tracey said...

Hello stranger! I love being shit on by the pigeons in Venice. They're cute....xxxxx

Little Messy Missy said...

Very cute pigeons. My neighbor raises all white ones and lets them go at weddings and funerals. He makes pretty good $ for a weekend job.

Chicken Boys said...

Tracey, that's what you get for going to Venice without me!


LindaG said...

Good luck with your pigeons! :)

Becca's Dirt said...

Hey Randy - I'll cook you and Mike a blueberry cobbler and give you berries too. Too bad you aren't close to me. I don't know much about pigeons except they can be annoying. Good luck with yours. Hope the babies will be OK. Have a good day. Becca

Donna said...

Lots of poop...lots. But Definitely, they have personalities...I had one as a pet. Loved him and he always wanted to ride IN our car when we went to town...Dovey was his name.
Happy night friend!

LemonyRenee' said...

I'm so glad to learn more about your pigeons. It sounds like they have paired off. Is that right? I know doves are supposed to mate for life, but often wonder about when they all live in such close proximity.

We raised a baby pigeon when we were kids. That thing had a look all its own and whined and whined, but somehow we took to him, eventually. Demanding thing, he was.

What kind of pellets do you feed them? I can't find any pigeon feed around me. People look at me like I'm nuts when I ask for it.

I'm sorry so many of yours left. I never let my two white ones fly loose anymore. That's how I came to have them. They were lost -- probably released at some ceremony that thought they were too important for rice. But they have a big enough flight cage that I think they are happy. I talked to a pigeon guy one time and he said the only way to make sure your pigeons to return is to wait until they have a squab to return for. I don't know. I'll never try it, because my two have already blown it once; I would be devastated if they didn't come back.

Thanks, Randy.

houndini said...

Pigeons too? Wow you guys are like...Dr Doolittle, ...Noah...or one of those fictional characters anyhow! ;-)

Glad all is well - and a great kilt pic on your other post! ;-)

Jabacue said...

I used to have a pair of pigeons when I was a kid. They were supposed to be `homing``pigeons......they weren`t. As soon as I let them out to fly, they were never seen again.
Now I know more about them. Thanks Randy.

Cat said...

(Ok, I am commenting on pigeons, and my word verification is NESTr? That's cool.) Anyway, I like pigeons, but haven't raised them. Just fed them when they come by the house, or at the coast. They get run off by seagulls a lot... That's the extent of my expertise...


farmlady said...

I like pigeons. My uncle use to have hundreds in the hay loft of his barn. I can still hear them.
...one in particular, always flew
"..with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty "Hi-Yo Silver! Away!" Must have been one of the Lone Rangers relatives.

Chicken Boys said...

Well, I have two pairs. One pair has a squab to come back to. The other pair is taking turns on an egg. Fingers crossed. Renee, I feed mine scratch grains and layer pellets. I know, it's chicken feed. But when they fly out, the like to land by the bird feeder and eat seeds, too.


Chickens in the Basement said...

They're beautiful!

bad penny said...

Pidgeons shit on hubby's car & seagulls shit on his boat..he calls them shite hawks...but I like them.
However, he did feed our babies with bottled milk & get up in the night & change nappies so did do his bit for his own brood !

Forlan said...

nice bird. I had a pair of pigeon. I had the hybrid pigeon too. It is very easy to raise pigeon. see my blog http://backyardpen.blogspot.com