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Pigeon coup design and placement

Pigeon coup design and placement

Postby Nebraska » Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:51 pm

I'd like to build a new pigeon coup for keeping homers & shooters for training and would like some input on the design and where to locate the loft.

We have fenced in backyard (chain-link) and I'd like to put the loft in the corner of our yard so it's away from the house and was wondering if this would be a problem for A) the birds due to the elements (out in the open) or B) for my pup (getting used to the smell).

We back up to a creek and have decent neighbors so I could probably place the loft right outside the fence in the common area if I had too but I'd rather have it in our yard if at all possible.

Any experience/input on the loft design and placement would be much appreciated.....and thanks in advance!
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Postby Rick Hall » Fri Apr 18, 2008 4:57 am

Sharing a yard with your loft should have no influence your dog's reaction to the birds outside their loft. (I've had a loft in my yard for years, and my dogs' kennels at the lodge are all of thirty feet from our preserve bird pens.)

As for dealing with the elements, pigeons are hardy birds, but the loft shown below was designed for South Louisiana, and if I went with something similar in the North, I'd want removeable shutters over most of the wire in winter. The Redrose type lofts found at link I've included might roast birds here, but are apparently fine in cooler climates.

In any event, here are a couple of my posts on loft design from another board:

I'm the Goldilocks of pigeon lofts.

My first (the corner of a livestock shed) was much too big, and I fed a whole lot more homers than necessary, did a whole lot more clean-up than necessary, had a whole lot more trouble catching the particular birds I wanted than necessary, and took a whole lot more health risk than necessary.

So I downsized my second loft dramatically to a small walk-in accommodating six breeding pairs with just a 4'x4' footprint. It was designed with ease of maintenance in mind and had a grated floor, which needed shoveled out from under just a couple times a year and was a big step up from shoveling, sweeping and shoveling the first one every little whip-stitch. And I no longer needed to chase a particular bird I wanted, as all could be reached with little movement. But it didn't comfortably house as many reserve birds as I might wish to keep, took pains to get in and out of without letting birds slip out, and raised concerns about the health risk of breathing the "dust" the birds and routine cleaning kicked up in that small, relatively confined space.

Loft three, which I find "just right," is another walk-in with a grated floor and that's also designed to accommodate six breeding pairs, but I increased the footprint to 4'x6', which holds more birds, gives them plenty room to move away from the door when I enter and exit, and affords much more ventilation, while still offering sufficient shelter from the elements and allowing easy capture of any particular bird I wish. And it was built of treated lumber and metal siding, so rather than stirring potentially hazardous "dust' while cleaning, I can simply hose all but the nest boxes out. Aside from periodically emptying those next boxes, maintenance is down to hosing out the loft and shoveling the droppings out from under it just twice a year.

Please know I am not trying to suggest that my loft should or would suit anyone else's needs, but am only presenting some considerations I've found important. Be back in a while to post some pics and speak to some small refinements I've found useful, but in the meantime, here is a link showing a very popular loft design, how to build it and lofts a number of others have built beginning with that basic design: PIGEON LOFT LINK


and:

Round two, some photos and "Why?s":

Under construction:

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Aside from showing the raised grate floor, hose-proof framing and nest box design, the most important thing this shot shows is the placement of the loft's return trap. It is too far from portions of the loft varmints (and pets) can climb for them to reach and enter it, and it is on a side of the loft that shields it from the view of prey birds perched in the large oaks overlooking the loft. Hawks and owls most definitely do sit and study the birds through the loft's ventilation wire, but none, to date, has solved the riddle of getting at them in the loft.

Here's the highly sophisticated locking system for the trap's hinged outside perch/door, an inverted sliding bolt:

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There's also an inside lock for the trap's bobs provided by a rod that can be run through holes near the bottom of the doors frame or through holes near its top to hold the bobs up, as shown here:

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A front view during construction:

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And the finished loft:

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This one shows how the loft is ventilated (maybe not such a good thing in cold climates but great down here) and the small door that allows access to the area under the nesting boxes that can be used to service feeders, waterers and the nesting material bin without disturbing the rest of the loft.



The nesting area:

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Since one of my goals is maximum reproduction from a minimum of breeding pairs, I make it as easy as possible for the highly territorial birds to almost always have two sets of young (squabs and new eggs) going at the same time by providing well divided, easily defensible duplex nest boxes that eliminate time and effort otherwise wasted squabbling over nest sites.



One of the "duplexes":

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This shot shows my drop-down-for-cleaning nest box fronts. The bottom of each clean box is lined with a double layer of waxed paper (that doesn't trap moisture like some materials) topped with a paper plate to keep the birds from tearing it up. That lets me lift virtually all of the two or three crap-cemented nests that are taken out with each cleaning free of the box in one lump that leaves little behind.




Our nesting material bin:

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Pine needles are the best nesting material I've found, and a simple wire bin such as this lets the birds get what they need without as much waste as other methods of offering it might create.




Inverted "V" perches help keep 'em from crapping on each other:

Image



Again, what works for me may not suit the next person's needs at all, but after ten years of having pigeons and three years with this last loft, I'm not anxious to change a thing. Think I finally got it right.
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Postby brittfans » Fri Apr 18, 2008 3:55 pm

living in omaha you might consider keeping it close to a power source.In the winter its nice to to keep the waterer on a heater.My coop also sits on a concret pad if not my dogs would wear a hole to china trying to get a peak at the birds.
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Postby ohiogsp » Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:01 pm

The red rose lofts are soem of the bst small lofts out there. Here is a link to some post I made about mine. There is a link to the red rose site on the first link of mine.

http://www.gundogforum.com/forum/viewto ... highlight=

http://www.gundogforum.com/forum/viewto ... highlight=
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Postby Nebraska » Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:22 am

As usual....great responses!! I appreciate the info and links and will take a look at my back yard to see where the coop would work best this weekend.

Also, we get some pretty good snow and thunderstorms around here. How do these coops hold up in strong wind? Other than a heater on the water, is there anything else I should consider? Would it be beneficial to have some kind of storm cover for the front mesh area or will the blowing snow/rain not be an issue?

BTW - ohiogsp, that is one sharp lookin' GSP in your avatar!! What's his story??
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Postby Rick Hall » Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:20 am

Though I'd not mentioned it above, my loft is, in fact, anchored - and survived Hurricane Rita, which a lot of area structures didn't. (Was a family joke that we should evacuate to the pigeon loft.)

The birds love rain in decent weather, and will crowd the wire to bask in it, and the nesting boxes have never, to my knowledge gotten wet. But, as noted above, I'd want to add removable panels over most of the wire if harsh winters were a concern.
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Postby ezzy333 » Sat Apr 19, 2008 7:59 am

Here in the North I would have it enclosed in the winter. My loft is totally enclosed with 4 south facing windows that can be opened and then I usean outdoor avary for the summer months. I do have the ridge roll vents and 4 closeable vents at floor level.

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Postby luke0927 » Sat Apr 19, 2008 11:52 pm

I need to place my johnny house converted to a pigeon coop....i used to keep it on the edge of one of my training fields but the everytime we are at the field they want to go to it and have peak(at least when the quail were in it)....i have open places on my property to put it and wooded places i would think out in the open would be better as it would give them more protection from hawks sitting on a limb just waiting to swoop one up...thoughts?
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Postby Rick Hall » Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:20 am

Before I got a handle on avoiding hawk losses, the great majority of mine took place under large trees.
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Postby ohiogsp » Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:37 am

Yes, the more open the better for hawks. You can make a fold open door on the front of my style loft. I usually cover the front section of mine with plastic in the winter. I also put 2x4's to the ground from the aviaryies of mine cause I had one flip one time. This has stoped it so far. The dog in my avatar is my dog B.A. he is a very nice dog. He has a Senior hunter title. He got that title in 4 of 5 runs. He had a very bad call in the one he failed. I am sure I could get a master on him now but havent been doing any tests for a long time. He comes from local hunting lines but one of the best NSTRA dogs in the county come from some of those same lines. He is awelsome on wild birds and probably the best dog I will ever own.
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Postby smackerquacker » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:21 am

Here is my bird pen that I worked on over the weekend.

3000 gallon capacity, about 9' tall and 8' diameter. I have not done anything with the interior yet, or put in the trap door. I am open to suggestions. I thought about dividing it a little and having some quail in there as well. I will need to get some interior photos. Obviously this may be an eyesore if I lived in town. I drilled about 10 1" holes in the bottom for any water to drain out and am thinking about a trap door or something so I can just hose it out. There are 5 of those windows, 9" x 18" and the fill hole on top is about 18" in diameter to allow ventilation. I save the cutouts and could easily put in a few in cold weather.

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Postby sjohnny » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:55 am

Rick Hall wrote:Sharing a yard with your loft should have no influence your dog's reaction to the birds outside their loft. (I've had a loft in my yard for years, and my dogs' kennels at the lodge are all of thirty feet from our preserve bird pens.)


Wish I'd read this before I relocated a 7'x7' garden shed to the other side of my property last week. I'm planning to convert it into a bird house and didn't want it in a side yard to which the dog has access. Oh well, you live and learn.

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Postby Nebraska » Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:58 pm

Is there an ideal direction to face a coop here in the midwest??

Ideally, I'd like to face the coop SW so the birds would be facing the field behind our house but this would get the brunt of our thunderstorms as well....
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Re: Pigeon coup design and placement

Postby brittfans » Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:51 pm

The birds like the most sun they can get.South to south east would be better but they are a tough bird and they should addapt.
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Re: Pigeon coup design and placement

Postby Nebraska » Fri Apr 25, 2008 10:30 pm

Thanks. If you're coop's working out well, would you mind if I took a peek??
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