How to Raise Carrier Pigeons

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Carrier pigeons are heroic birds that have carried messages over enemy lines in battle for thousands of years. Though true carrier pigeons are a relatively rare breed, homing pigeons carry messages for today's hobbyists. You can raise homing pigeons or carrier pigeons with the same basic approach.

  • Cultivate a love of pigeons as a whole and a love of your individual birds. Pigeons are fascinating birds and can be quite affectionate if you spend time with them.

  • Provide suitable housing for your carrier or homing pigeons. An airy, but not drafty, loft is required for pigeons' health. An elevated loft is more recognizable to birds you are training to be carrier and homing pigeons as they can easily see it from the air.

  • Start training in your carrier or homing pigeons' first year by acclimating your pigeons to the basket or crate that you will transport them in. Leave them in it for 1 to 2 hours at a time until they are familiar with it and it causes them no alarm.

  • Take your pigeons a mile from home for the first training flight. Release them and then return to the loft to await their arrival. Reward them with food when they get to the loft.

  • Gradually increase the distance of the training flights, adding a mile for each flight. When your pigeons' training flight is more than 10 miles, begin releasing the pigeons singly or in pairs rather than in groups.

  • Increase the distance until you reach 70 miles, which is a good distance for a young pigeon to travel. Some races can be hundreds of miles long, but they must be carefully prepared for.

  • Attach a message to your carrier pigeon by affixing it to the pigeon's leg is a small capsule if you want him to carry a message home.

Tips & Warnings

  • Though raising pigeons can be a competitive hobby, keep the birds' interests in mind as you raise them.
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