"The following was prepared by Mr Turley in reply to questions from myself asking for information on training my Racing Homers and the notes retain his copyright."
The care for racing pigeons is very much the same as for any other pigeons. If you breed youngsters from the race birds you received, they need to be shown the outside at about 5 weeks of age before they are strong enough to take to the air and perhaps get lost because they don't know the surroundings. You need to have some type of open carry box to sit them in a few feet away from the loft to look back and recognise when they are free to try their wings. The old birds you receive to start with will quite likely go back to where they came from, depending on how far away they came from, but this is not absolute. Sometimes, if you provide a nice comfortable place to live and you are able to release them carefully, breaking them into your loft is possible. You need to pick the time carefully. Let them have one round of youngsters and then later, possibly at some stage during the next nest release just one and see what happens. The best time for cocks is when they are driving the hen for the next nest, but you need to be careful because at this time also they may be feeding youngsters and the cock can feed without the hen, but often the hen will not feed without the cock. The best time to release the hen is a few days after she has laid her eggs. If the birds live close enough from where they originally came from, a few test runs will not hurt too much to try. If you are successful, all well and good, they will still remember their old home and may later visit it, especially between nests, but depending how well you look after them in your own loft - most of them are not stupid - they can see a good thing and usually stay. Training of young pigeons happens in stages. Firstly you need to put them out inside the basket as mentioned for a day or so and then after say 3 days, open the lid and let them hop out and return to the loft themselves. Once they do this you need to just let them out each day so they can learn to fly, which will be about 3 weeks. After that they need to learn their surroundings well and the first training flight for them (not knowing how much territory they have covered themselves)in about 3 months would be half a kilometre (1/4 mile) and keep extending the distance for the first 4 or 5 flights by this much until they have properly learned the drill. After that you should be able to take them a few miles away any time you want. There is a lot more than this in pigeon training and racing and takes experience and you would do well observing any local racing fancier on his feed and training methods.
http://www.nw.com.au/~lturley/Coralbay1.htm http://www.nw.com.au/~lturley/STEWARDS.HTM http://www.nw.com.au/~lturley/Marshall1.htm http://www.nw.com.au/~lturley/lives.htm http://www.nw.com.au/~lturley/Code.htm http://www.nw.com.au/~lturley/health.htm There is also much more on the site if you want to follow it through.
http://www.nw.com.au/~lturley/Shanregal.htm my Grandson Kurt, son of my second daughter is also a pigeon fancier see http://www.nw.com.au/~lturley/kurt1.htm and his new loft we built see http://www.nw.com.au/~lturley/kurtloft.htm so you can see I am a lucky person.