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Catching my birds?

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Spike
(@spike)
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Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

Hey,

I am having trouble catching and holding my birds. I watch the old timers do it and it looks so effortless. A bit embarrassed to ask them how to do it. I see them just reach in and lift a bird out and hold it and the bird just chills. Any help appreciated. 

Thanks in advance.


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Andy123
(@andy123)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 12526
 

Hi Spike, welcome to the site. It all comes from experience. The birds will pick up on your anxiety and inexperience and try to escape. 

Is it taking them out of the basket that you have trouble with or catching them in your loft? Catching birds in a basket can be difficult to start with. If in the loft, then just get their confidence first. Go into the loft in the dark and gently lift them off the perch and hold them for a few seconds before placing them back on the perch. Never chase them around trying to catch them. When holding them place the birds feet between your first and second finger with your thumb across the base of the birds tail. You will in time just be able to hold them like that especially if the pigeon isn’t a big pigeon and you have good sized hands. Until then with your other hand just cup it around the chest of the pigeon so that it doesn’t fall forward. 

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Spike
(@spike)
New Member
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

@andy123

Thanks Andy,

Appreciate the reply. Been chasing them round like a mad man.  Holding them I seem to have okay. It's getting the hold of them is the problem.

I will give it a go in the dark like you say. 

Many thanks.

(Also called Andy 😂) Strong name 💪


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Murray
(@murray)
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Hi Spike.

Welcome!

The first question is, why do you want to catch them? Unless you need to handle them, the less you catch them the happier they are. Not many pigeons are happy about being handled. They get used to it, but most don't like it.

I have pigeons that are getting on for a year old, which have probably been handled 3 or 4 times in their lives. I can, but I don't. It annoys them. 

I suggest you spend a lot of time being around them, scraping out and pottering about without trying to touch them. They will get used to you scraping around their feet and won't even move off the perch. When they get quiet you can gently pick one up and put him down again. Mine are so laid back that I have to step over them because they won't even get out of the way. 

Take it quietly, stop chasing them and they will come right. 

Have fun with them!

I am good! They aren't firing rubber bullets at me. Yet.
Welcome to Victoria, 2021.


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Andy123
(@andy123)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 12526
 

@spike Andy, great name lol. Sounds like you have been making things worse for yourself and your birds. Just a bit of inexperience and frustration on your part. I hate wild pigeons and some are naturally more timid/wild than others. You just need to be calm around you as Murray says. I used to be like you and if a pigeon kept avoiding me I would go mad trying to catch it. All this does is not only winds you up and frightens the bird, your actions also upset the others in the loft. Now if one eludes me I just leave it along and would try again later. 

I do like to regularly handle mine though. Not all of them every time but will often just pick up the odd ones when in the loft. When I have youngsters in the nest from about 14 days I will pick them up most days. This will get them used to being handled. 

The other thing to do to keep them calm is when feeding them sit in the loft with them, if they don’t come down to feed when your there take the food away. To start with I would stop trying to catch them for a few days and just let things calm down. 

You will find old birds much easier to catch than youngsters once they have a nest box.

Finally I was discussing this with George/Rainbow when he was down the other weekend. He asked why I had a partition in my young bird loft. I told him that not only does it give me the option of having 2 sections, because the sections are only 4 foot wide and all the perches, apart from half a dozen V perches, are on the back wall, it makes it easy for me to catch them as I am in front of them and they can’t get past me very easily. Also have deep perches as they then tend to go back into the perch rather than try to fly out. 

 

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Murray
(@murray)
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@andy123, that is another example of doing things slightly differently, to get the same result. 

I have a small loft, as you know, and they are never more than a few feet away from me. They are cleaned out and fed twice a day. In the morning they learn that I come in, say very little, scrape all around and go out again. Then I go back in with their breakfast, and call them quietly, (it is 6.45 am, after all), and feed them. 

They know the routine, and if I pick a pigeon up, look him over and quietly put him down again, he carries on eating as if nothing has happened.

I agree with your advice to stop trying to catch them for a few days. It sounds like they are a bit gun shy. Every time someone turns up, they are likely to be chased. 

It is the big learning curve!

 

I am good! They aren't firing rubber bullets at me. Yet.
Welcome to Victoria, 2021.


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George & Morgan
(@george-morgan)
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good morning Spike as you approach the bird the one thing that will scare it is your thumbs sticking up try keeping them down  inside the palm  of your hands and move slowly towards the bird 


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Murray
(@murray)
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I used to sit in the loft with my pigeons when they were eating. There were a couple of reasons why I desisted. 

First, the pigeons don't like it. Imagine sitting down to a nice dinner, with friends and family. In the corner sits a bloke, just watching you. 

After a week of that, you would get bloody sick of it. It is the same with the birds. The shed is their home. They don't want some great lump watching them eating. Some of the less bold ones will not eat well.

Second, my wife was less than impressed. 

There may have been some discussion about me preferring the company of the pigeons. 

So, I spend some quality time with the birds, and a lot more quality time with my wife. That way, the birds are happy, and I don't end up with another divorce. 

That's got to be a win all round!

 

I am good! They aren't firing rubber bullets at me. Yet.
Welcome to Victoria, 2021.


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Murray
(@murray)
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@rainbow, that's assuming you have two hands. 

Many years ago I lost 3 fingers and half of the palm off my right hand. I still have the thumb and forefinger, so I count myself lucky. 

I have to pick them up, literally, with my left hand. 

I cannot catch a pigeon. They have to let me pick them up.  

I am good! They aren't firing rubber bullets at me. Yet.
Welcome to Victoria, 2021.


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Andy123
(@andy123)
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Joined: 5 years ago
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Posted by: @murray

@rainbow, that's assuming you have two hands. 

Many years ago I lost 3 fingers and half of the palm off my right hand. I still have the thumb and forefinger, so I count myself lucky. 

I have to pick them up, literally, with my left hand. 

I cannot catch a pigeon. They have to let me pick them up.  

We had a fancier in the Worthing club years ago who lost a hand on a live rail track as a boy. He always had to pick up the birds with one hand. Still a good and successful fancier. Then of course one of my mentors, the late Jed Jackson who was blind but still had great control of his birds and won many races including the Pau National. 

This post was modified 5 months ago by Andy123

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Andy123
(@andy123)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 12526
 
Posted by: @murray

I used to sit in the loft with my pigeons when they were eating. There were a couple of reasons why I desisted. 

First, the pigeons don't like it. Imagine sitting down to a nice dinner, with friends and family. In the corner sits a bloke, just watching you. 

After a week of that, you would get bloody sick of it. It is the same with the birds. The shed is their home. They don't want some great lump watching them eating. Some of the less bold ones will not eat well.

Second, my wife was less than impressed. 

There may have been some discussion about me preferring the company of the pigeons. 

So, I spend some quality time with the birds, and a lot more quality time with my wife. That way, the birds are happy, and I don't end up with another divorce. 

That's got to be a win all round!

 

As you say Murray many different ways of doing things. I know you have pigeons sitting on your shoulder. I permanently have pigeons sat on me when in the loft. 

 

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49564895 97DA 414D 92AF 5A12368DEE97
8DC077E1 D16F 4637 8640 90DB1362D4BF
A2D9844E 1059 4B26 B12F 82B64FD30E4D

Home of the ukpigeonracing test loft.


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Spike
(@spike)
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Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

Thanks so much for the advice everyone. It seems I just need some patience and to spend some quiet time with them. 

The birds are new to me and me to them so I guess time will tell.

At least they come back when I let them out which is a bonus!! 😂


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killer
(@killer)
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Joined: 10 years ago
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How big are your sections ,they may be to big ,mine are 4 ft wide ,which makes it easy to catch the birds ,


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George & Morgan
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one other thing that may be the problem that is your perches are too narrow if you can have them say 10" deep the bird is inclined to go back in the perch rather than come forward my loft is wide inside so I have the same problem but I have a flight were I will drive the birds into then catch the one I want one other thing I have found with some of my grizzles they will let me catch them most times so may be some families are tamer than others will put have you box or V perches


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Murray
(@murray)
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killer and rainbow both raise very good points. 

Sections in a loft wider than you can spread your arms can make a problem. In my case, that is about 3 feet! LOL!

I agree with what rainbow said about some strains being tamer than others. My blue family are very quiet, as a rule. The black chequers, off the Van Wanrooy x Van de Wegen, are not wild, at all, but prefer to keep their distance. There is something in that, I think.

 

I am good! They aren't firing rubber bullets at me. Yet.
Welcome to Victoria, 2021.


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