March 02, 2011
Build a Pigeon Coop and Create a Training-Bird Factory
By Chad Love
I love pigeons. No, really, I truly adore the little skyrats. They are the perfect training bird. They’re hardy, common and free, if you can find a place to trap them. Back when I was in college and only slightly poorer than I am now, finding birds was my main dog-training problem. I couldn't afford to buy gamebirds, so I convinced the manager of a local fast-food joint to let me place a pigeon trap on the roof of his restaurant. I never caught many pigeons, certainly not as many as these guys but it was enough to keep me in training birds.
Yes, it was a hassle, but I'm convinced it was well worth the effort. Ask any trainer, especially pointing dog trainers, and they'll tell you the most important thing you can do for a young dog is birds, birds and more birds. The problem is, of course, finding and keeping a steady supply of training birds on hand. That's why I'm planning on building a small pigeon coop this spring. There are an infinite number of plans to be found online, they take up very little space and can be constructed at very little cost. No matter how small your back yard is, if you've got a few square feet, you've got plenty of room to house all the pigeons you'll need for your pup's training.
Give them a little food, clean water, keep the coop clean and pretty soon you'll even have your own little pigeon factory. I even know some trainers who raise homing pigeons that have the courtesy to return home after training sessions.
This is, however, a first for me. I've kept pigeons for fairly long periods of time in temporary pens, but I've never before tried raising them year-round. Plus, when it comes to carpentry I'm more Tim Allen "Tool Time" than the "This Old House" dude, so I'm considering a coop much like the one in the picture, small and simple. Has anyone else ever built their own pigeon coop? Any pointers? Things to look out for? I'm all ears...