Pigeons have an uncanny homing instinct. In fact, they were used as mail carriers as far back as 5000 years ago. In the early 1800's, a sport has been developed using these magnificent creatures as racing animals. The pigeon's disposition to fly home even after long flights has made the sport a favorite hobby among pigeon lovers. Pigeon racing competitions abound all over the world, with most of them involving big money.
Being a successful pigeon racer requires discipline, constant care and a penchant eye for detail. Here are some important tips that will help you become a winner in this sport:
1. Set up a loft in your backyard and ensure that the pigeon is basket trained as soon as it learns how to fly. Pigeons have a deep sense of home. Once they recognize the loft as their humble abode, they will be attached to it for life. Despite long flights, a pigeon has a specialized mechanism that allows them to track the coordinates and be able to fly back to their home.
2. Observe proper feeding as you raise the pigeons. It's also very important that the pigeons be fed at home in order for them to get attached to their loft. Doing this can increase the motivation of your pigeons to fly home as quickly as possible and as a result improve your chances of winning the competitions.
3. Set up a training loft and always keep it open during training sessions. Also, ensure that there's sufficient space for the pigeons to enhance their flight skills. Everything else comes easy once this is done since the bird themselves are always eager to flex their flight muscles. Remember that the loft they were raised in is not the same as the training loft, but it's completely acceptable to set a single loft that can serve as both.
4. A pigeon trap can be set up to enable the owner to record behavioral patterns and tally the amount of time a pigeon takes to fly home. Placing treats inside the pigeon trap will also encourage the pigeons to always return to it. This should make training much easier.
5. As with the pigeon trap, treats can be used in training the pigeons to enter the release basket. This basket is where the pigeons are placed and released at the start of a racing competition.
6. This is where the training proper starts, not to mention that it's the fun part. Train your racing pigeons to fly home from a long distance by placing them at a definite spot. Just make sure to make an estimate of the distance before doing this since it's recommendable that you tally a graphical data in order to monitor performance and trends. The first training usually sets the distance from the home at a mile or two.
7. Increase the distance from home at reasonable increments during the course of the training program. At its peak, a racing pigeon should be able to fly home efficiently at a distance of 20 miles or more.