Thanks for your interest in my web site on homing pigeons. Please note
that I do have some pigeon books and related materials for sale online at
my "online store" at http://interbug.com/pigeon/store. This store is in
association with Amazon.com, so you're assured the best possible prices and
highest quality service.
The first and foremost thing you need to consider is how much time you have
available to put into the hobby. Keeping pigeons is a 365 days a year
activity. The birds will require feed and water every single day.
Cleaning your loft, the shed-like building which most people provide for
pigeons, will also take a fair amount of time. If you choose to go down
the racing path, you will also need the time and resources available to
properly train them. This typically involves getting up early and driving
your birds out into the country, releasing them and then driving back home
in time to call them inside the loft.
If, considering this, you've decided that you do indeed have what it takes
to become a pigeon fancier, then the next thing you will want to do is
learn as much about the hobby as you can before building a loft or buying
any birds. Visit your local library and borrow as many books as you can on
the subject. Don't worry that all you may be able to find are old books.
Even the antique pigeon books contain useful information. If you're lucky,
your library might have a video or two on the subject. "Marathon In The
Sky," narrated by Michael Landon is a great introduction to the world of
I would also recommend that you visit the American Racing Pigeon Union's
web page at http://www.pigeon.org and request their free information kit.
They will send you some introductory information, plans for a simple loft,
and the names of some fanciers near you.
Books are a great way to learn, but the best thing I can recommend is for
you to visit pigeon fanciers local to you. Visiting someone's loft,
talking about the sport and viewing their birds is by far the best way to
experience what's involved.
At my web site, I have an interactive database of pigeon fanciers. Search
that list for people near you and send them an email or give them a
telephone call. Maybe you'll find someone local to you willing to show
you around their loft. Also visit the ARPU home page at
http://www.pigeon.org and view their band's list. There you will find a
list of all the ARPU clubs in the U.S. Give one of the clubs a call and
tell them you are interested in learning more about homing pigeons. Most
clubs are eager to recruit new members.
When you're done learning how pigeons are raised, trained and raced, then
you will want to build a loft in which the birds will live. To be honest,
pigeons don't care much about where they live. The loft is more for your
own comfort than for the birds. The most important consideration is that a
loft needs to dry and free from draft. A loft needs a window from which
you can release the birds for excercise. You will also need a "trap," a
one-way device that lets the birds come back inside the loft, but not back
Most people use a design similar to a garden shed. Plan on about two
square feet of floor space for each bird you want to house. A typical loft
can be anywhere from 8 by 8 feet of floor space, up to 8 by 32 feet. There
are entire books devoted to loft design, but again, the best way to see
what works best in your area is to visit flyers local to you and observe
how they do it.
After your loft is built, you will want to stock it wth birds. Don't worry
too much at first about buying the most expensive birds you can afford.
Most respectable racing clubs contain members who are eager to get new
members in the club. These people will more than likely be glad to assist
you in stocking your loft with good birds. No one is going to give you
their best breeders or young birds for free, but you're likely to get
decent birds with which to get a good start. After you've been flying for a
couple of years, and you know you can care for them, then consider buying
some quality stock.
The birds will take care of breeding on their own, but as with loft
buiding, there are entire volumes of books written on the art and science
of breeding pigeons. Keep good records and breed out of the best and
you'll do fine.
You will need to make sure you are feeding your birds only the highest
quality feed. You can buy some good stuff from your local farmer's "feed
and seed" store. I pay about $18 for a 50 pound bag of high quality mix.
Oyster shell grit, about $8 for a 50 pound bag, is also required. You can
buy supplies like medications, vitamins, drinking vessels, feeders, etc,
from any of a number of mail order pigeon supply houses. View the online
catalog of Global Pigeon Supply at http://www.globalpigeon.com to get an
idea of what all is out there.
I've tried to give you a fair idea of what's involved in keeping racing
pigeons without going into boring details, but also without being overly
simplistic. If you have any other questions about pigeons which I did not
answer here, please don't hesitate to send me another email. I am by no
means an expert, but I will do my best to help you find your answers.
Best of luck in your new adventure!
Scott H Redd