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Discussion Starter #1
well folks im training my new griff this summer and i got the itch to do some live bird training. we are not going to be national champs or anything close and the cost of always going to the pay to play hunts is too high for this guy. the dog broke the bank. so i got an extra bird coop..and a little bit of habitat and was wondering about finding some pigeons, or raising a few quail or pheasants. not a large number, just some to train with. i know their are rules to follow but other than that what would be ideal for a backyard trainer to keep a few birds on hand? any suggestions or ideas to reuse the birds? i know i can make a call back pen for quial...or pigeons but not sure if its worth the hassle. thanks for any input
 

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I've used johnny house/recall pen for quail with very good success. I've heard chukar will recall but I don't have any experience with them or pigeons. You can't shoot quail unless it is during the open season or you have a permit. You can shoot chukar and pigeons year round if you need to. I've enjoyed working the dogs on quail and they have done well after releasing them in the fall and closing up the recall pen. I wouldn't use pheasants because they won't recall and they eat more/cost more to keep. Pheasants are good if you plan to hunt them shortly after releasing them.

I got the johnny house plans from Lion Country and made my own water/feeder stations from PVC pipes. It isn't too bad to get done and the birds are mostly on their own once you have everything set up.

Good luck.
 

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I have kept pigeons for a number of years. They are strong flyers so the dog can't catch them as easily as quail.

Once the pigeons are acclimated, they will home. Till then, you can hobble them. Lion Country Supply has hobbles and wing straps. The birds will fly but not very far.

It adds extra pressure on a dog when a bird is hobbled. The dog may want to break and chase when the bird lands close by. You have to keep the dog from doing that.

Lion Country Supply also has bird launchers. You can get automatic ones that work with a remote control or manual ones that you pull a string to launch the bird. Both are good to let you handle the dog and still get the bird to fly. Otherwise it is tough for one person to do.

If you have the right layout for the coup, the birds will breed. You can end up with a lot of birds. Like bwire said, you can shoot pigeons all year.

I can't afford a pro trainer but I have done OK with my training. My dog will not win a field trial but she hunts like a champ for my brothers and I.

Have fun. Good luck.
 

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Good info guys. I didn't start raising pigeons (as was my original plan) this spring because it seemed like a fairly steep learning curve, especially since I was already facing the L. curve of a new ES pup, my first. Pup is going to a pro for July and maybe August so would it be worth doing for the fall and next year maybe?
IS the learning curve steep? I have the room and even a shed I can convert. How long would I have to keep birds enclosed before they'll home? Any other advice would be nice too, so thanks in advance!
 

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go with the pigeons. Good flyers and as others have said will return to the coup. Quail don't fly very well most of the summer.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
trap some pigeons from a farm or buy them..any particular kind of just some farm pigeons..thanks guys. how far away will a pigeon home?
 

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They can home from hundreds of miles but you have to build them up to that. If they have never been left to fly where they were born, after a while they will accept their coup as home. Let them out and they will fly around and then go back in coup. You need bobs so they can get in but not out. Once the are comfortable with that setup, you can drive them further away and let them out. It takes time.
 

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Find some local pigeon racers and get some young pigeons from them. Old pigeons will not home well at a new location, they want to go home 😃. The young pigeons are called "wet under the wings.". They are old enough to leave their mother but young enough to home to your new location. I bought an 8x10 garden shed from Home Depot and turned it into a loft. Be careful, once you get them going they won't stop multiplying.
 

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Aces'nEights said:
Good info guys. I didn't start raising pigeons (as was my original plan) this spring because it seemed like a fairly steep learning curve, especially since I was already facing the L. curve of a new ES pup, my first. Pup is going to a pro for July and maybe August so would it be worth doing for the fall and next year maybe?
IS the learning curve steep? I have the room and even a shed I can convert. How long would I have to keep birds enclosed before they'll home? Any other advice would be nice too, so thanks in advance!
I've had pigeons for three weeks, this is what I've learned so far...

You want an open floor (at least) under the perches so you don't spend 2 hours a week scraping up pigeon crap. 1/2" hardware cloth will let most of it through. Pigeons poop a lot.

It's best if the aviary or big windows face southeast, this helps the birds figure out where they live.

You want to keep young (never flown) birds at least a month before flying them. Older birds may need 3 months.

Always fly them hungry. Fly at sunrise and sunset to reduce exposure and losses to hawks.

Feed twice a day, what the birds will eat in one minute- you want your birds to be very food motivated.

My $0.02
 

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Aces'nEights said:
Good info guys. I didn't start raising pigeons (as was my original plan) this spring because it seemed like a fairly steep learning curve, especially since I was already facing the L. curve of a new ES pup, my first. Pup is going to a pro for July and maybe August so would it be worth doing for the fall and next year maybe?
IS the learning curve steep? I have the room and even a shed I can convert. How long would I have to keep birds enclosed before they'll home? Any other advice would be nice too, so thanks in advance!
It's about as easy as keeping aquarium fish.

I'd keep them penned for at least 4 weeks,older birds need to be penned several times longer. When you first start to fly them, do it in the evening right before dark. That way they'll look to come back in soon for cover as night approaches. Follow Urban *******'s advice and you'll be fine.
 
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