Randy, I'm sure Brian will chime in too, I haven't seen him on the forum since the day before yesterday, he must be swamped!!! Beautiful day in this great life, Cindi
Sorry, I've been fighting a chronic sinusitis that has now eroded the bone plate between sinus cavity and upper jaw--now I get an abscessed tooth along with the sinusitis which also makes my asthma act up, gives me a touch of bronchitis and a splitting headache to boot. I've been under the weather for a week and seeing doctor, dentist, or x-ray specialist almost every day.
As for the pigeons.
1. If a young bird is removed from the nest prior to having been let out of its loft it will imprint on the location it's let out to fly as home. I was just given 10 birds, kept them penned for a week, let them out and they stayed--I'm now training them along with my other young birds for racing.
2. A hen, if taken to a new loft, mated and on eggs will run a 50/50 chance of staying with the eggs. A male will always go back to it's original home--the one it first flew from.
3. Pigeons can be kept in rabbit sized pens, if necessary, and often are for breeding purposes or showing. For larger areas a partial wind break is nice with wire but be sure the top is covered with either poultry netting or a roof. My 1st loft was a 3X3 foot corner of a shed with a small fly pen attached that was about 3X6.
4. Pigeons are grain eaters. They will eat a variety of grains. Most pigeon feeds are a mix of Wheat, Peas, Corn, Barley, and Vetch or Milo. In a pinch wild bird seed mixed with cracked corn will work. If raising racing pigeons you want Type A or type B pigeon feed: Type A usually uses pop corn (smaller Kernel) and Type B has large Yellow Kernels. Then their is Dove mix which should be used for the smaller breeds of pigeons such as rollers, owls, etc. Utility breeds should be feed the Type B mix as they are meant to be eaten.
5. Always fly your birds hungry. Full craws slows their flight and loses to hawks will soar. A hungry bird always comes home to eat. I train my to return to the loft when I call--they know when I call that it's feeding time. If my birds are out and I see a hawk all I have to do is call them and they come right into the loft.
6. Colors: Whited splotched head is called Pied. Interlaced white feathers throughout the birds plumage is referred to as Grizzel. The most common colors are Blue Check and Blue Bar--blue and gray feathers the bar has 2 blue bars on gray wings. Red Checks and Silvers (aka Mealy or Red Bar) have red and silver makings just like the Blues. Birds of all 1 solid color are called Self, i.e. Self Red, Self Black, Self Brown, etc.
saddled birds have wings of 1 or 2 colors with different body colors, i.e. blue bar wings and a white body. There are also a lot of tint differences in coloring that go by names such as chocolate, yellow, orange, violet, lavender, etc.
One of the best ways to get real good birds is to get some inexpensive scrubs and then find a breeder of the type of pigeon you want and get his unwanted eggs. Most pigeons racers don't want young hatching after 1 April at the latest as they are then too immature to fly for racing so they just throw the eggs away. Get those eggs and you can get some very good stock for nothing.