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Genetic tendencies and psychological predispositions

If homing pigeons are not the "racing pigeon school", they are in the wild - even if the pigeon fancier calls it a pigeon shoot. If homing pigeons are not in constant (at least) daily contact with pigeon fanciers (we are not just talking about 5 minutes of feeding) then they are growing up in a "natural" or "wild" psychological environment. Like all animals, pigeons are born with genetic codes that control their psychological tendencies. Most pigeons' psychological tendencies are not entirely compatible with the domesticated conditions found in a homing pigeon coop. The instincts of all pigeons, including domesticated homing pigeons, are clearly biased towards the "wild". Our pigeons are "naturally" suspicious, shy and fearful of anything other than other pigeons or homing pigeons. Humans are strangers they should instinctively fear. It takes a lot of time, dedication, patience and positive reinforcement from knowledgeable and fearful pigeon fanciers to help pigeons overcome these "natural" genetic tendencies and psychological predispositions.

Once the young birds have hatched and opened their eyes, they should experience some kind of conscious "racing pigeon school". Without experiencing the presence of human interaction, young birds develop and grow up following their natural genetic tendencies and psychological predispositions alone. Domesticating, teaching and training homing pigeons to take to competition easily is a process that is in direct opposition to their "natural" tendencies and dispositions. The pigeons do not hatch automatically or naturally knowing anything about the socially constructed racing program that pigeon fanciers all over the world have devised. Pigeons hatch only by a natural tendency to preserve themselves. These tendencies include the basic components of survival such as eating, drinking, seeking shelter, using fear and breeding. Fear is a very important part of successful survival in wild and domesticated animals. Responding successfully to fear is the success story of most pigeons. Fear is a survival tool. In wild pigeons, the appearance of fear is the first measure of success. The appearance of confidence is the first measure of success in champion racing pigeons.

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A "racing pigeon school" is to overcome and eliminate the "natural" fear that is present in the survival mentality of both wild and domestic pigeons. Pigeons must be taught and trained to trust the pigeon fancier. Consequently, the "pigeon school" is to reduce and eliminate fear and to replace natural fear with learned confidence. What is "racing pigeon school"? Racing pigeon school is a daily process during which pigeon fanciers train and train their pigeons to get to the top of the racing results in races. Racing pigeon school should start immediately after hatching.

The chicks should be handled with care, taking every opportunity to smell and touch the breeder and to hear her voice. When feeding their parents in the nest or in the coop, pigeon fanciers should use vocal cues or some other artificial means to signal feeding time, such as a whistle. In the Wild West, wagon trains or ranch cooks used a rattle or clanging signal to let farm workers know it was time for a meal. When the dinner bell sounded, the cattlemen would hurry to the dinner table. It was the same with racing pigeons. The pigeons learn to "come" to feed. The natural tendency of our pigeons is to move away from their pigeon fancier when they meet him in or outside the coop. By using feeding as a lure, pigeons can be taught to move closer to their pigeon fancier rather than away from it out of fear and because they trust it,

A "racing pigeon school" can be different for each pigeon fancier, i.e. based on each pigeon fancier's preferred and disliked methods. This is one of the great beauties and allure of the sport of racing pigeon. Each pigeon fancier can develop his own management system based on the social situation in which he lives, such as family expectations, financial constraints, time constraints, workplace expectations, building codes, city regulations, relationships with neighbors, etc. Regardless of the system a pigeon fancier develops and uses, pigeons must experience it every day of their lives because animals and pigeons optimally learn through daily practice. Repeating the same routine day after day will reinforce the essential components of the system. Consistency and repetition develops confidence. Pigeons learn to trust when their expectations are met every day.

Unfortunately, many pigeon fanciers try to train or train their pigeons in an inconsistent way - only during certain critical periods.

Many pigeon fanciers do not pay attention to their young until they are faced with the next critical period:

  1. marking or ringing;
  2. separation;
  3. for training, gathering only before the young birds start their racing season,

There are pigeon fanciers who say that they use races to teach their young birds how to find a home and get used to the stress.

The aim of this article is to propose a more proactive and thoughtful "racing pigeon school" for the period while young birds are learning the basics of a selective dock management system for the everyday life of their young. This is a more advanced teaching method than waiting to house or train young birds until they reach a critical period or two in the first year or two of their lives. Many pigeon fanciers postpone training and schooling because they drastically underestimate the true intelligence of their pigeons. These pigeon fanciers do not see the danger or disadvantage of not starting to train their young birds until sometime in the future. However, good homing pigeons are incredibly clever birds. They can remember and understand much more information than many pigeon fanciers think. One negative action can ruin weeks or months of positive training. Why? Once again, because pigeons are wild creatures of nature. They expect to be frightened. Consequently, when they are really scared their natural fears are activated and amplified. To rectify the negative actions needed to regain the pigeons' trust requires an enormous amount of time and patience.

For those pigeon fanciers who are rearing winter youngsters, the racing pigeon school is just the thing. Please don't wait until weaning to receive your young birds;

  • to teach them to come when they are called;
  • to teach them to eat independently;
  • to sense you by smell, touch, sight and sound.

By the time young birds are weaned, they should already know how to eat independently and how to come when called; although they cannot respond correctly to every feeding, as they are only children - not adults. Weaned birds should know who you are. They must have experienced your care and fear in the nest with all their senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell. They are wonderful, intelligent birds that need to be taught and trained by a formal pigeon school that you have developed based on best management practices to eliminate their natural tendencies fostered by fear.