Jump to content

Pigeon Coop - Bob Traps?


Recommended Posts

OutlawTorn

I converted my old Johnny House into a pigeon coop, adding a landing patio/perches/bob trap door with a swinging door to close over the bob at night (predators)…also removed/covered the hole for the quail funnel.  I acquired 10 ferals in May and kept them locked up until August.  One died almost immediately, but the other 9 seemed fine - began using them for training in August and 2 flew away without looking back first use...I seem to have 7 "residents".

 

Over a couple weeks of testing, I've found that 5 will use the bob traps and come back in every night (sometimes within 20 minutes of letting them out) but the last two refuse unless I prop open the bobs - although they stick around.  They sit on the patio or roof of the coop all day, only disappear at roosting time. 

 

So my question is - do I even need the bobs?  If I remove them, I could open the door covering the bobs when I want them to fly, and close it after they've roosted…although I suppose if I pull three birds for training it means everyone can get out.

 

Thanks!

 

Added pic below for reference.

784EF431-7A9C-49FC-A9F9-E86C4064FAB6.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

I never trained any of mine to use the bobs, they all just seemed to figure out how they worked. I made sure that I put feed in for them when I would fly them, that seemed to motivate them to come back in and eat. 

I wasn't successful in leaving the bobs open, and allowing my birds to free fly. Some of them got to where they wouldn't come in at night, so I made sure to always use the bobs.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you remove the bobs the birds will leave when you try to catch them if .the night door isnt closed. ' And they may not be there when you want them.  Without bobs they will continue to recall but predation will be more of a problem.   You can usually teach birds to bump the bobs by repeatedly gently pushing them thru decreasing the force of the push gradually.  

 

Bobs will cause many hawks to hesitate at gate.   Once a hawk or owl learns to bump the bobs you need to kill it or it will return

Link to post
Share on other sites
BIRDDOG 307

I usually leave all the bobs down but one till the new birds figure it out. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have a trap or something to cage them in, take a couple bungie cords and place the cage with the birds in it up on that perch you built in front of the bob.  Let em sit there for a bit then feed the others inside.  If you can, gently push em thru the bob and into the loft, or better, find a way to hold the cage open so they have to go into the bob.  They'll hear the others eating from outside.  You can train them easily by doing this a few times for a week or so.  

 

  After they're bobbing on their own from the cage, next step, set them out away from the loft a bit and open the cage you've trained them in.  They'll walk out then eventually go to the perch and thru the bob.  A week or two and they'll be bobbing back in with no effort from you.

Link to post
Share on other sites
OutlawTorn

Sounds like no bobs is a no-go due to predation/too much freedom.  

 

I'll prop open a couple bobs to see if I can capture these two rogues, if I can then I'll do some bob training with them and hope for the best.

 

As long as I have your attention, two other questions:

  • With winter approaching, I plan to make some covers for the aviary wire with a wood frame and clear plastic - but leave some ventilation at the top...will that (with what is pictured) be sufficient for MN winter?  I don't want to shovel snow out of it and I think they need wind protection...but also good ventilation.
  • I used a chicken drinker (one of the galvanized deals with a couple gallons in a covered tank that gravity feeds into an open basin).  It was fine for quail, but these pigeons make a mess of their water quickly.  I also need to think about a heated water source for winter.  Any recommendations?

Thanks everyone!

 

PS - I'm amazed by these stupid birds.  Trapped 100 miles away, locked up for months in a small cage, put into a small metal catapult box, thrown into the air with a dog on them - and then they just recall shortly after getting freedom.  I actually kind of enjoy watching them fly around and I've become more invested than I thought I'd be about making sure I have everyone at night.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh I love watching them fly. When I started keeping them it was really only for training the dog.  But I found I loved raising these things.  Just wait til you become a papaw!

 

  I use some plexiglass across my wire fronts.  Glued a couple big magnets on the glass then use another on the other side of the wire to hold it. 

 

  Invest in an actual pigeon drinker.  Those that have a hood over the drinking area.  A couple of the hunting dog supply stores have them, as do all the pigeon supply stores.  

 

  In the winter, you'll probably have to change the water every day due to it freezing.  I have 2 drinkers,  and I swap them out daily in the wintertime.  Even here in Ohio, they'll freeze solid on some nights.  I'll run them a fresh one out to the loft before work and recheck it when I feed them that eve. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
OutlawTorn
17 minutes ago, Richie B said:

Oh I love watching them fly. When I started keeping them it was really only for training the dog.  But I found I loved raising these things.  Just wait til you become a papaw!

 

  I use some plexiglass across my wire fronts.  Glued a couple big magnets on the glass then use another on the other side of the wire to hold it. 

 

  Invest in an actual pigeon drinker.  Those that have a hood over the drinking area.  A couple of the hunting dog supply stores have them, as do all the pigeon supply stores.  

 

  In the winter, you'll probably have to change the water every day due to it freezing.  I have 2 drinkers,  and I swap them out daily in the wintertime.  Even here in Ohio, they'll freeze solid on some nights.  I'll run them a fresh one out to the loft before work and recheck it when I feed them that eve. 

 

Thank you for the info...probably basic questions, but all new to me!

 

I plan to build new or expand this coop next spring, a few key things it's lacking - little extra space, no nesting boxes, no quarantine for sick/new birds, etc.  If I make major renovations and/or move it a couple hundred feet, will the birds need time to re-home and they should be locked up again?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good question.   A couple hundred feet...I'd probably keep them locked up for a few weeks then re-bob them a few times from the cage just to be sure.   These birds are pretty intelligent. 

 

  Mine had babies essentially all winter.  They slowed down a bit in Nov and Dec, but I had nests in February.  So if you can get it moved by then and let them settle, you may be better off.  The babies should always home to your loft.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I let my birds fly free, most of the time. If I have a hawk problem, I lock them in for 3 wks and the hawk goes elsewhere looking for an easy meal. I have rigged my entrance, which is high up in the second story of my coop building, so I can open and close the bobs and the predator door from the ground level. I leave the bobs open all the time and just close the predator door at night or early in the morning, when I am going to capture some birds for training. I have had a Coopers hawk go through the bobs and get trapped in the coop. So the bobs will not stop all hawk incursions.

 

I recently talked with an experienced pigeon racer and he told me his birds only get to feed in the coop/loft. He said people in Europe that race their birds for long distances, like 1500 miles, feed their birds every other day. That way the birds learn to forage for water and food on their own, because they can not return to the coop on the same day they were released. The birds develop their loyalty to the coop because that is where they get food and water.  He also told me this interesting bit: pigeons are one of the few bird (even animal) species that can recognize themselves in a mirror. If you place a mirror at an angle above the entrance, the pigeon will see its reflection and accept it. In contrast, a hawk will see another hawk in the mirror and be frightened off.

 

I think the suggestions above will help your reluctant birds accept the bobs. Although if you have a predator door, you would not really need the bobs.

 

If I have to lock my birds in, for hawk trouble for example. I supply water in a plastic or galvanized chicken waterer (on a heating pan during the winter). I run an extension cord to the building. If you do use a chicken type waterer, a tip I was given by Dale Hackett in New Brunswick, is to take a 5 gal bucket, cut a slot/window in the rim about 6 inches wide x 3 inches, and cover the waterer with it. This gives the birds access to the water, but keeps them from landing on top and soiling the water with their feces.

 

You should provide a wind break for the winter in MN.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Richie B said:

If you have a trap or something to cage them in, take a couple bungie cords and place the cage with the birds in it up on that perch you built in front of the bob.  Let em sit there for a bit then feed the others inside.  If you can, gently push em thru the bob and into the loft, or better, find a way to hold the cage open so they have to go into the bob.  They'll hear the others eating from outside.  You can train them easily by doing this a few times for a week or so.  

 

  After they're bobbing on their own from the cage, next step, set them out away from the loft a bit and open the cage you've trained them in.  They'll walk out then eventually go to the perch and thru the bob.  A week or two and they'll be bobbing back in with no effort from you.

I agree with this.  Or build a settling box.  I built a settling box I can quickly attach or remove with a few bungie cords.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Look up Belgium drop trap for pigeons. I built a simple one for my loft, it works very well. Young pigeons learn to go in quickly. It takes my young pigeons about 3 times going through to not even give it a second thought. I've never had one that seemed scared by it. You can sort of see mine in this video.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Chief Paduke

8-F2-C04-C9-EC9-A-49-F3-A0-B4-424-ED3-AB
This is a removable settling box of sorts, built over the ledge of the entrance with bobs. When the birds are in the settling box, just close the bobs, and the birds learn their way back inside. Fast learners at feeding time. I can remove the cage and free fly the birds, or close the bobs when training. The ledge folds to close the hole for predator control. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
OutlawTorn

Thanks for the additional ideas, folks.

 

Couple of updates in my situation.  One of my birds was killed by something around dusk, possibly even one of our own barn cats - I just saw the site and a ton of feathers.  

 

The good news is that the remaining 6 are all using the bobs - but in both directions, which I didn't expect.  They get their heads through and have learned to pull a bob backwards and then wiggle their way past the rest so they can get out on their own at will unless the predator door is closed.  And two of them, the two who previously refused to use the bobs, often spend the night under one of the horse shelters - just come back for food during the day.

Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, OutlawTorn said:

They get their heads through and have learned to pull a bob backwards and then wiggle their way past the rest so they can get out on their own at will unless the predator door is closed.

 

Need to remove what they're standing on to break out, as per my post in this thread https://uplandjournal.ipbhost.com/topic/82508-pigeon-bobs-the-best-design/?tab=comments#comment-1486400

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...