I must admit, I’m not much of a carpenter. Give me a hammer and nails, a circular saw and a pile of lumber, and I’ll give you…firewood studded with bent nails, and maybe a lost digit or two. I’m also something of a procrastinator. You may recall a blog I wrote last spring lamenting my lack of a semi-permanent abode for my training pigeons, which, up to that point, I had been keeping in a few large wire cages until needed. In that blog I also, optimistically proclaimed that I was going to build a coop “this spring.”

OK, so maybe last year’s “this spring” turned into this year’s “mid-summer.” Nevertheless, a few weeks ago I decided it was time. I had eight new birds that needed a home and a young pup that needed those birds. So I took one last look at my fingers, tried to decide which ones I could probably live without, crossed said fingers, whispered a prayer and then fired up the saw. The result is this masterpiece of wavy cuts, rusty wire, hopelessly out-of-square corners and sagging doors. And it only cost me $6,000 in materials, 500 man-hours of labor and a right pinky that I never really used, anyway.*

It’s six feet long, three feet high, and two-and-a-half feet wide, with a covered top and doors at both ends. I thought about building legs for it, but eventually decided to simply put it on sawhorses in case I needed to change locations. You can’t see them in the picture, but I also screwed a couple large castors on one end of the cage. They look a bit goofy, but if I need to move it I can simply pick up one end and roll it wherever I need to. I figure it can house eight to 10 pigeons fairly comfortably.

I’m not completely finished with it. It still needs a few perches, ledges and nest boxes, and eventually I’d like to expand it a bit into a true loft, but it’ll do for now. Eventually, after I get the pigeons “homed” to the pen and raising a few young ones, I’ll be able to grab a few pigeons, drive them to a nearby training area, use them, and then have them fly back to the coop to be used again. That’s the plan, anyway. Right now, the pigeons are still dealing with some embarrassment issues over their new digs, and if I let them out they’d simply give a little pigeon cheer and then fly somewhere else, fast.

I know several readers have also professed their need and/or intentions to build a training pigeon coop. Did any of you actually do it? How did the experience turn out for you? Lose any appendages in the process? Please share the experience, or, if you’re already a pigeon pro, any tips, tricks, advice or criticism.

*OK, so that’s a lie. It actually took about 60 bucks worth of lumber and door hardware and a weekend to slap together. I already had the wire lying around so if you’re looking to build something similar, your costs may be a bit higher…