The old saying is that you can't train bird dogs without birds and then two previous installments involved bird scents and where to put them in training. Of course, living birds that can fly as vigorously as possible are important to the process. So an important part of training involves the upkeep and care of birds.
Pigeons are quite easy to keep, and their unfortunate status as a pest in many places testifies to their adaptability. People have lofts in cities and a bird dog friend who lives smack in the middle of a large town in northwest, PA has a small loft built in to the top of his garage. While quail do recall most times of the year, and
Chukars do too, pigeons are largely made to recall. Plans for a small backyard loft are available from Lion Country Supply. We use pigeons to start puppies, train derbies and rehearse with older dogs. We use them in backing drills and stop-to-flush work. They help us train dogs at every step of the process and training a dog would much more expensive and more difficult without them. Most pigeons are also quite hardy, but they are also quite messy.
I well remember having to rinse out and refill the pigeon water several times a day, every day, this time of the year because the water would be soiled almost within minutes after the changing. I also remember thinking "allelujah!" several hours after I set up Belgian pigeon waterer in the pen for the first time, and saw that the
Water was still clean as a whistle. As long as you don't set it directly under where birds are roosting, the water stays very clean. About eight or nine drops of Clorox per gallon of water, helps keep the water even better, though it will still need to be changed every three or four days.
-Ryan Frame, LCS Elite Staff