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Homer's or ferals

Homer's or ferals

Postby DonF » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:14 am

I read a number of time's that many people train with homer's and use ferals for kill birds. Having used both I have a preference for training with ferals unless distance home become a factor! Homer's are big and reasonably quiet bird. Now and then a homer come's out of the trap and sit's right back down on the ground. Great for an advanced dog, create.s a problem with a newer dog. Because of their size, homer's are harder to plant. Having a hold of a homer is a hand full and if your tucking their head, they are quite a bit harder to tuck than ferals. Then if your using a trap, the basket's on the older traps were simply to small for homer's. I've had a good number of healthy homer's die in the trap in warmer weather. My homer's are out of three hundred mile racing birds. If I actually spent the time and gas to train them out there, Taking birds to a training area 300 mi away would be great! Truth is that I seldom train more than about 50 rd miles from home and I have had ferals come back from 100 road miles. I talked to a guy that had a pigeon he'd paid something like $100 for! I guess it doesn't really matter the cost unless of course your training a couple hundred miles from home. Pigeon seem's to be a favorite of hawks! Hate the thought of some hawk eating my $100 pigeon!

Homer's can be had from just a few dollars up if your lucky. Ferals can be had for free if your willing to put in the time to learn to catch them and then actually catch them. With adult birds, both feral and homer, it is a lot easier to re-home a feral. You get adult ferals and re-home them, you just can't be sure if they are really re-homed or not. The beauty of both is that it's really not necessary to re-home either. Keep them locked up till they have produced a few nest's and they can become shooting birds while their off spring only know one home, your's! For the overwhelmingly vast number of people training with them either will work but ferals are easier to work with! And within reason will home just as far as homer's. The down side of both is to get reliable homing birds they do need trained!

I lived about 200 mi from here about 30 yrs ago and I caught every pigeon I had. Moved over here and brought all of them with me. Re-homed them here and have never needed to catch or buy a pigeon again. That's from 30 yrs ago!

These days I sell off a lot of birds, feral and homer. Either one I get $7 each for. for less than that, I can shoot them myself. if you are into training dog's all year round you will never ever get a better deal on training birds than feral pigeons, catch your own. Next best training bird, hands down is the homing pigeon!
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Re: Homer's or ferals

Postby averageguy » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:00 am

I have had no such problems with my Homing pigeons and they are always ready to train, whereas when I get a new shipment of Ferals in, it will be awhile before they are ready to home short distances back to the Coop. Without my Homers if my training at the time is releasing birds but not shooting them, I would run through a lot of released Ferals and have to run down more of them more often. Having both Homers and Ferals around keeps me ready to train on all subjects at all times. Guess it depends on how many shooter birds a guy is running through and how big of an inventory he can handle at any given time.
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Re: Homer's or ferals

Postby DonF » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:10 am

If you have trouble re-homing ferals, your turning then loose to soon. They home just as good as any homer but from shorter distances. The homer's that work well for you are likely one's you raised there. Bring a homer home and turn it loose in a few days and it will head for home and your place is not it. I always lose a few ferals every year that I fly. Did the re-home somewhere else? I doubt it but could have. More likely is the were caught by hawk's. i would guess you got your homer's as squeaker's, young birds that can fly, eat and drink, but have never been out of the loft you got them from.
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Re: Homer's or ferals

Postby averageguy » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:03 am

That was my point Don. You have a time lag where you have to keep new shipment of Feral shooter pigoens locked up in their new home before they will fly back when released (assuming you want them to which depends on what you are training on at the time). I am not having problems or interruptions in my training because I have Homing pigeons around to use while I am waiting for a new batch of Ferals to acclimate to the new coop.

If I am training on Steady to WSF and therefore releasing a lot of birds which are not getting shot, if all I have at the time is a new batch of Ferals which are yet trained to rehome then I am going to release a bunch of pigeons I will never see again, or I am otherwise dead in the water on continuing to train. And yes my Homers are acquired as young birds which have never flown from the coop they were hatched in and thus learned to home to my coop. And many subsequent generations of homers bred, raised and flown from my Homer coop since.

Going the route of all Ferals will require an ability to sort and or separate them between those that are new and will not rehome and those that have been around long enough to reliably fly back to my coop, assuming a guy is not ok with loosing every bird they turn loose in training. Seems easier and more efficient to have a coop for Feral/Shooters and another for Homers. Which is what I do.

Perhaps simpler to state the crux of my approach is to have two coops. One is for pigeons which will fly home to the coop and the other is for pigeons I plan to shoot and therefore I do not have to worry about how long they have been around and whether they will rehome or not. I have used Ferals for that coop and Homers for the former. I bought 10 young homers originally and they have kept me in more pigeons than I can house every since. I sell or give away the extra inventory so others can start their coops as I did.

As I posted a good deal of the advantages and disadvantages of one approach vs the other will depend on how large of an inventory a guy can lay into and how many birds they are shooting vs just releasing and hoping to get them back to train with again. I have had no problems with Homing pigeons and therefore see a distinct advantage to having some of both around at all times.
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Re: Homer's or ferals

Postby DonF » Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:47 am

You are right. The re-homing take's a bit of time with ferals. I've got about 50 every one of them hatched here. Hard to get ferals as squeakers, not many people raise them homer's out here right now and have never had to buy any. They do re-home better than most homer's. Two reasons I prefer my ferals for training is because of theit size they are easier to handle and they are spooker than homer's. Never have had a feral sit arounf on the ground from a foot trap and never one come out of a remote and land next to the trap. I do sell a lot more homer's than ferals. For most people ferals are harder to find than homer's and there seem's to be a belief that ferals won't home. They home very well just not near as far as homer's do.

People are usually able to get ferals a lot less expensive too. I suspect it's because they don't want to give them time to home so it's convenient to use the cheap birds for shooter's for shooter's. Most people that sell them catch them in big lot's and sell them cheap, pretty easy to do! Homer's are going to cost more but I'm not so sure you can find squeaker's that inexpensively. The adult birds that don't cut the race, breeder's like to dispose of. Some homer racer's may give them away but they don't want them back, they are culls for racer, culls for fear they will come back. So I suspect that a lot of racer's won't sell you their culls which will probably go home when released.

If the average guy wanting pigeon's for training had even a smaller loft to hold maybe 20 bird's it would reach a point in a year or so that he would have to either sell or shoot the extra for being over run. But if you train over about 50 road miles from home, homers are then the way to go, even with the drawbacks!
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Re: Homer's or ferals

Postby bustingcover » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:08 am

Homers are not necessarily bigger than ferals depends on the strain of birds you have. Some lines are bigger and bred for hardier races while others are smaller. I keep both and prefer the smaller birds but if you breed too many small birds together you lose durability. I prefer tiny hens and medium sized cock birds. Keep a few large cock birds on hand who have proven to be great producers but I will always breed them to a small line.

It’s also a very good idea to do as AG does and separate the ferals from the homers. Wild birds can introduce disease into your flock.

If you’re having homers not instantly get up after being released from a trap then they may be too full or not properly trained or both. When loft flying the homers I like to use a flag or ball to get the pigeons who want to land off the ground/perch. When those birds are released they need to fly. A bird that sits around is not going to win many races. If you train your birds with that in mind they will get up and out every time they are tossed or released. Another idea would be to take one of each pair sitting on chicks training. These birds will be incentivized to get home quicker and not peck around.
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Re: Homer's or ferals

Postby ezzy333 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:24 pm

I have never seen homers as small as commies. It is true, some lines are smaller such as the Gordons, that have been bred for years as long distance flyers. Smaller birds handle long distance better that bigger birds that do well at shorter distances. I do think that how you feed Don, may have a lot to do with the birds sitting on the ground, but I have never had that happen.

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Re: Homer's or ferals

Postby greg jacobs » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:22 am

Mine free fly a lot of the time. So my homers and ferals have interbred. They were white homers so have a lot of white in the birds. The ferals I got from work and brought home all the odd colored ones. So have quite a variety of colors. They work for everything I need. They have learned to forage for most of there food too.
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Re: Homer's or ferals

Postby Urban_Redneck » Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:05 am

Due to early losses, I ended up mixing a few feral birds in with my few remaining homers, they have been reliable to 60 miles. I still can't consistently plant a pigeon so I use launchers and a Higgins releaser.
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Re: Homer's or ferals

Postby DonF » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:21 am

I keep my homer's and ferals separated by a long way, couple hundred yard's. Out free flying I have never seen them get together, always in their own group. I suppose you could teach the birds not to land back on the ground as some do, but I found it was a great exercise for finished dog's. As for size, I don't have any homer's as small as the ferals. And the ferals I have a hard time figuring out male from female and been using them over thirty years. I do like them better as they are much easier for me to handle but they don't come back as far as the homer's. Not all that big a deal unless I go somewhere far away to train, I don't! I've got ferals with a lot of white on them, pretty birds. Have one red bar homer that is almost pure white but the bar are there but very faint. I have some that are tri color, really nice birds. The rare color birds I don't fly far, worried a hawk will get them.

The biggest misconception I find is that ferals are no good for homing! Couldn't be farther from the truth, they just don't do it anywhere near as far but, I have had a few I sold, come back 80 miles, the exception! I did have a feral go into the homer loft one time, really obvious the size difference when that happens. I don't know if they will cross breed, never had them together to find out. As for the white birds, I've always heard them called kings, big birds? But not normally a lot of white on any of my homer's, lot on the ferals.
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Re: Homer's or ferals

Postby averageguy » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:48 pm

I am not at all deep into my Homers linage as I know the racing folks are, but they are pretty much the same size as the Ferals I have. Some time ago my Homer coop got too crowded about the same time my shooter feral coop was getting low, so I moved some of my squeaker Homers into the Feral coop and they have been mixing in that coop ever since. I train pretty close to home and they will home back to their respective coops. My main issue is I need some to shoot and don't want to shoot my Homers which I have had around for awhile so I use the Ferals for that. I have been selecting the ones with white to keep around and the standard grey ones get shooting lessons. Some of my Homers must have had some roller pigeon in them as they will do some pretty cool stuff in the air. They are entertaining to watch when I let them out each morning.
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Re: Homer's or ferals

Postby DonF » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:56 am

I've only had homer's a relatively short time, 5 or 6 yrs. I got mine from a racer and have no idea the blood line but, they are noticeably larger than ferals. Pick up one of each and it is really obvious! Much calmer birds that my ferals. Got my start birds with wild one I caught in the valley over 30 yrs ago. If you can get homer's the same size as ferals, that would change things. I wonder if these ferals that are the same size as homer's are crossed with homer's? I have never had big ferals. I have a small milk crate I turned into a bot for planting birds. I can get 6 homer's in it but they are awfully crowded. Six ferals and I could add a couple more. Bigger ferals could be the result of lost homer's getting in with a wild bunch of ferals I suppose. I did have a feral get into my homer pen a few years ago. Absolutely no doubt about which one it was! Looked like a midget sitting in there with the homer's!
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Re: Homer's or ferals

Postby CDN_Cocker » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:46 pm

Yes homers are typically bigger than ferals. Although I do have one family that's smaller like a feral.
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Re: Homer's or ferals

Postby DonF » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:46 am

I have a few smaller homer's in my loft but to tell what it is I just need to pick them up. Grab a feral in one hand and a homer in the other and, with my birds, no doubt about which is which.
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Re: Homer's or ferals

Postby CDN_Cocker » Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:53 pm

DonF wrote:I have a few smaller homer's in my loft but to tell what it is I just need to pick them up. Grab a feral in one hand and a homer in the other and, with my birds, no doubt about which is which.


Truer words were never spoke
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