The Racing Pigeon Loft Part 1


The Racing Pigeon Loft Part 1

Irrespective of its geography, shape, size or structure, the loft must provide the pigeons with:

  • Sunlight during the day.
  • A secure place to rest at night.

Sunlight and the elevated flight
Sunlight is a basic requirement for all birds and it is easy to see the positive effect that the sun has on the health and well being of our pigeons. On sunny days the birds look so much brighter and more alert than on overcast or wet days when the birds look depressed and disinterested.

It is known that direct sunlight provides birds with the vitamin D, that is so necessary for bone, feather and reproductive health, but it must have other positive effects on the metabolism and immune system, because the birds look so strong when they have access to direct sunlight. For this reason, it is recommended that every bird in the loft has access to direct sunlight. This is best achieved by an elevated flight.

The elevated flight is ideal for baths, protecting the loft from wetness and the race birds from potentially harmful ground germs associated with free lofting. The elevated flight is usually opened directly to the breeding loft, whereas the flight of the race loft must be closed off at night from the rest of the loft during the race season. The flight quickly becomes a favourite rest and recreation area for both the breeding and race birds, playing an important part in strengthening the loft bonding process of pigeons.

Security and rest at night
The special attention that is given to providing the pigeons with a loft that promotes complete rest at night will reward the fancier with a healthier flock and more consistent race results. Both the breeding and race lofts must protect the birds from moisture, temperature extremes, too little or too much air movement, predators, noise, fumes, light and other disturbances, so that the birds can rest, especially at night. Proper rest is a major pre-requisite for continuing pigeon health and race performance.

The breeding loft
The design requirements of the breeding loft are simple compared to the race loft. The best breeding loft is very open, because breeding takes place during the warmer months. At night the birds usually rest comfortably in their nest boxes and during the day a large open flight provides the adults and babies in the nest with the health benefits of direct sunlight. The open breeding loft improves the circulation of fresh air and promotes a drier loft, which in turn improves the breeding performance. Breeding is far less stressful to the pigeon than racing and maintaining their health is so much easier, because the birds are not exposed to the outside diseases and hardships of the race basket.

The race loft
The race birds are exposed to many more stresses than the breeders and require much more rest to remain healthy. Consequently, the requirements for a successful race loft are more exacting and complicated than for the breeding loft and must provide the race team with the necessary rest to recover from their strenuous physical exertions. The darkness of night provides the pigeon with the time to rest and the conditions in the loft at night are of the utmost importance if the pigeon is to fully recover from the exertions of the previous day.

The conditions inside the race loft which promote restful sleep at night are:

No rapid fluctuations of humidity and temperature.
Good ventilation (i.e. the air circulation is good, the air is fresh, not heavy or stuffy, no drafts and no dust).
The pigeons numbers are controlled i.e. no overcrowding.
There is no wetness in the loft.
The loft is clean.

Temperature and humidity control
To protect the fit racing pigeon from losing form, the temperature in the loft must be above 10 and below 30 degrees Celsius, and the humidity kept below 65%. These are the conditions that favour continuing health and known as the thermo-neutral zone for the pigeon.

In most lofts, it is the humidity, more than the temperature, which determines whether the birds rest or not at night. Humidity measures the amount of moisture in the air, irrespective of the air temperature, but it is the high humidity (greater than 65%) associated with a temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius that most affects the pigeons ability to rest. The pigeon loses form and becomes susceptible to illness when it does not to get adequate rest.

The droppings in the loft are the best indication of the humidity levels. In the healthy loft, a low humidity (less than 55%) gives a consistently nutty brown dropping, whereas a higher humidity (greater than 65%) will produce green watery droppings. At night-time, when the pigeons need to rest, there is always a rise in the humidity, because as the temperature drops the humidity rises. This explains the droppings turning wet and green the morning after a cold humid night, but which then turn nutty brown by the afternoon as the day warms up and the humidity drops. No two lofts, even if they are identical, will have the same humidity levels, because the humidity inside the loft relates directly to the humidity outside the loft. The controlling factor of humidity is the location (or geography) of the loft. Often fanciers will re-create their previously successful loft design when they move from one house to another but find that they are no longer successful flyers. The only difference is the location of the loft.

High humidity risk lofts:

  • Lofts near water (ocean, lakes, rivers, waterways, drainage channels, swim pools).
  • Lofts adjacent to large open low lying areas (grassy areas, foggy areas).
  • Lofts without sunshine to dry the ground (under trees, in valleys, on the wrong side of the hill and no sun until late in the afternoon).
  • Lofts in high rainfall areas.

These lofts require a loft design that stops the outside humidity (moisture) entering the loft.

Insulation is the first step to controlling fluctuating temperatures and high humidity inside the loft. It is the moisture drops of condensation appearing on the inside of uninsulated walls and ceilings that increase the humidity inside the loft to the very high levels that predispose the race birds to restlessness and respiratory illnesses. The insulation of the walls and ceiling will stop this condensation and allow you to control respiratory diseases with the minimal use of medicines.

In high humidity areas, shutting the loft up at night or when it is raining is a good method of controlling the humidity inside the loft (louvres are commonly used), but the air circulation and the air quality inside the loft must not be compromised. Too often the loft is completely shut up with no thought about air circulation. The resulting stale loft makes the race birds lethargic due to lack of oxygen.

Heaters at night are beneficial for the race team. The healthy team remains in top form when the loft is closed at night by keeping it warm and dry. However, it is better to have a very open loft in flocks recovering from respiratory disease to prevent the “respiratory” germs accumulating inside the loft from re-infecting the race birds.

Oil based bar heaters are safe and effective to use when the temperature drops below 12 degrees Celsius and are used to prevent a loss of form by keeping the air and dry. Dehumidifying machines are also available, but the noise may prevent the birds from full rest.

Hygrometers can be installed to monitor the humidity within the loft, but often the salts in the grit or mineral powder are equally effective in monitoring humidity above 65%. These salts attract moisture. For example, F-vite darkens and becomes granular when the humidity is too high and grits become dark and wet with moisture.

The Racing Pigeon Loft Part 2

The Racing Pigeon Loft Part 1 by Dr. Rob Marshall

Learn the champions secret winning pigeon racing formula

Pigeon Racing Pigeons

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  1. #1 by ronald frazier on March 22, 2011 - 1:04 pm

    chris my loft is 42 feet long in the top of my barn chris i never medicate my birds there throut sign is pretty good the curtain meets tight and i cant rember the last time i had a sick bird but one i do fine on i kill it i only put down 3 birds in 10 years i am going two start raceing my birds i have a breeding pen a young bird pen and a old bird pen chris i do give my birds honey garlic and apple cider vingar from time two time and my air flow in the loft is very good with roof vents and open ends with flight pens on bothe ends i have one problem up here in winter its very cold here in the catskill mountains and bringing water out there all winter is a pain iam thinking a bout makeing a new loft inside my chicken barn i can put 3 10 by 10 pens in there with no problems and i wont a have two carry 5 gal water cans up the stairs and the part one loft looks good

  2. #2 by ronaldsoriano on February 25, 2011 - 6:23 pm

    thank! very informative and timely. i am building my new loft for the coming season

  3. #3 by ronaldsoriano on February 25, 2011 - 6:21 pm

    thanks for the info, very informative and timely as ai am preparing to build my new loft.

  4. #4 by fou lee on February 22, 2011 - 12:16 pm

    Good read. These articles can only help. Thanks for posting!

  5. #5 by ric michael on February 16, 2011 - 4:42 pm

    i’m lucky to sign up bec. i got lots of information and technique. thank you for providing us such good information.

  6. #6 by Rafał on December 29, 2010 - 2:22 pm

    That is great information, This web site the best of all. Thank you!

  7. #7 by John Haines on December 15, 2010 - 4:20 pm

    Great information, Being a new to the sport I find this most helpful

  8. #8 by Imran on December 9, 2010 - 10:19 pm

    Hey Chris,

    I glad to have information like how to care the birds and their suitable climates,I my self enjoyed a lot through your website chris,this is a fabulous site for information and guidance in right path.

  9. #9 by Susan Good on November 12, 2010 - 5:46 pm

    This is a fabulous site for information! I have gleaned much over the last few days with regard to pigeon keeping and look forward to learning more. I’m very glad that someone hooked me up to this site as it’s proving to be most interesting and useful. I in turn, will pass on this site to other wildlife rehabilitators and those interested in keeping pigeons. Many thanks for offering this, it’s a great place to learn and enjoy a new hobby.

  10. #10 by Russell on October 12, 2010 - 10:27 am

    You have focused on just one aspect of a good loft which is humidity, (which is I suppose linked into ventilation) but not mentioned how many birds per square metre or foot, which in turn very much affects ventilation and potential bad air. If practising the darkness system then ventilation becomes even more important in ‘darkness’ hours. If widowhood ~ then a loft will be closed-in and again ventilation and potentially extraction is important. Security from vermin is paramount………but most of all a DRY loft is absolutely essential and thus I would never have a pigeon bath in a position where water can splash inside

  11. #11 by chris on October 6, 2010 - 2:15 pm

    i have to problems in my garden 1 is a great big tree over hangs and 2 is theres no sunlight lol

  12. #12 by Pigeon.lt on September 27, 2010 - 3:24 pm

    It is very good article for news racing pigeons fanciers. It is about background. We never thing about details. But details is very important for racing pigeons sport. If racing pigeon can’t rest in his loft then that pigeon can’t fly very well and etc. Nice article.

  13. #13 by TONY G. on September 22, 2010 - 8:49 pm

    I WOULD LIKE TO RAISE AND FLY RACING PIGIEONS WITH A SMALL TEAM I USE TO FLY PIGEON WHEN I WAS MUCH YOUNGER I HAVE JUST A LITTLE EXPERIENCE BUT OPEN TO LEARN MORE, ANY SUGGESTION.

  14. #14 by jensen on September 21, 2010 - 4:45 am

    Thank you for the information i learned from your article it really helps us beginners. Looking forward for more educating facts regarding pigeon raising.

  15. #15 by willie on August 14, 2010 - 8:47 pm

    very useful for everyone that read this article.You support the lovely sport or hobby. Willie

  16. #16 by Whitney on August 11, 2010 - 5:03 pm

    This was a great article. I had no idea that humidity played such a role in the loft. I will recommend this article to my flying buddies! This is a great site!

  17. #17 by lesgilbert on August 10, 2010 - 1:36 pm

    i first started with roller pigeons when i was twelve years old.started with racing pigeons at sixteen.still racing now at fifty six and still find that there is allways something new to learn in pigeon racing.

  18. #18 by lesgilbert on August 10, 2010 - 1:16 pm

    very good article on loft design.

  19. #19 by ajit on July 31, 2010 - 3:20 am

    good job

  20. #20 by Michael Spiegelberg on July 30, 2010 - 6:57 pm

    Beautiful Information …. Looking forward to the next steps to help , as I also am Building a new Loft and will keep this stuff in mind when doing so , Thanks

  21. #21 by berni on July 25, 2010 - 8:59 am

    very good info, logical and scientific. this coming north race is my first time to join. October is the proper race. Training was started already, but i did not join because birds are crowded on the first four days of training.

  22. #22 by RAY BROWER on July 19, 2010 - 9:42 am

    VERY INTERESTING I USED CORN COB GROUND IN 1/4 INCH KERNALS ON THE FLOOR 4 INCHES DEEP
    RAY

  23. #23 by bryan omandam on July 17, 2010 - 2:04 am

    ithink this loft very expensive but its good in racing pigeon for motivating them to always come back home in any distance races and soon i will try it to make that to my racing pigeon

  24. #24 by hamed iran on July 12, 2010 - 6:51 am

    hello

    it is so good information for me tanks.iwish you have good time.

  25. #25 by AL V. LIWAG on May 19, 2010 - 8:44 am

    where can ipurchase the book The racing pigeon loft 1,thank you

  26. #26 by uriel g. orteza jr on May 10, 2010 - 11:29 am

    very informative and just in time because i’m planning to build a new loft. tnx

  27. #27 by rey arceo on April 22, 2010 - 1:12 am

    i’ve learn so much about it,i’m sure there’s a lot more to come.very imformative.great job!

  28. #28 by Tony Harte on April 9, 2010 - 2:11 am

    Extremely interesting, BUT? I live in Malta and surrounded by sea, the humidity levels outside are often 80% +. Inside my house the humidity can be the same 80 or 90%. I have insulated my pigeon loft with 2 inch polystyrene and used 3/4 inch marine plywod. The humidity is still around 80%. In the day when it is sunny I open the windows and the humidity can drop to around 60%, as the loft is situated on the roof of the house and facing the sun. Can anyone advise what else I can do other than instal electric heaters?

    Thanks

    Tony Harte

  29. #29 by John Cline on March 27, 2010 - 2:08 am

    For years I wanted a “How to” informational book and now you have succeeded in fulfilling my dream.. This channel of information not only stimulates my thought processes but flashs me back to my younger days when I was mistified at what I did not know. You have enlightened me mentally and emotionally to improve my knowledge of the Racing Pigeon hobby and Sport. Thank You ….Thank You. J. Cline

  30. #30 by Anthony on March 24, 2010 - 9:12 pm

    I just wanted to say how well put and informative I found this article on Loft design and construction.

    After a couple of years absents, I now have the resources to re-enter the sport and not only do I enjoy this website, but also find it very informative.

    Thanks once again.

  31. #31 by Nick Demas on March 21, 2010 - 5:59 pm

    My brother and I got first became interested in pigeons when we were about 12 or 13 years old. We use to watch a man a few blocks away fly about a hundred tiplets and rollers. My uncle built our first two-bird cage. A few months later our father, God bless him, with our help built the 2nd coop in the upper part of our garage. It housed 25 birds. From there we graduated to our first loft built by my grandfather and painted by another uncle. It seems my whole family got involed when it came to the birds and brought us closer together. Ahh the good old days. Reading these articles reminded me of the great times we had with family and friends.

    Thanks for the great thoughts,
    Nick Demas
    P.S. I do believe I can here those birds landing and cooing on the landind board.

  32. #32 by Ali on March 21, 2010 - 11:36 am

    Any internal details of the model that we see here
    Internal details as possible from the inside?
    How are the internal divisions??
    thanks.

  33. #33 by Ali on March 21, 2010 - 11:25 am

    It’s a nice idea and very good and professional work and health,
    I hope to own this thing here in Iraq.
    Is it possible to tell me the nearest place for me to sell it

  34. #34 by RAY BROWER on March 16, 2010 - 12:23 pm

    VERY NICELY DONE VERY HELPFUL WOULD LIKE TO READ MORE

    RAY BROWER

  35. #35 by ARTEM on March 15, 2010 - 4:12 am

    Very good informatin and helpfull.

    Thank you.

  36. #36 by Ron Osgood on March 14, 2010 - 8:13 am

    One of the best things I did was place wheat straw in my loft. I used to be a clean freak, I cleaned twice a day. One must turn the wheat straw at least twice a week, by turning I mean take a fork and lift the straw around to loosen it up again as it looked the first time you put it in, take out any big chuncks of waste that may accumulate, the birds love the wheat straw. The youngsters cuddel in it. The old birds roll in it. The wheat straw (Not regular straw) keeps the loft dry, humidity free and warm. I couldn’t believe it when I first tried it. When the straw breaks down to shorter pieces it’s time to change. All the dust and drying waste goes to the bottom of the floor. You’ll be amazed at how dry it in in the loft. Absolutely no bugs or mice have I found in any of the four lofts that I have.

  37. #37 by Mike on March 13, 2010 - 10:40 pm

    It is very good,and I am planing to build newloft.I dont need
    to go furder to look for ideas.

  38. #38 by chandan on March 8, 2010 - 2:39 am

    very good information thank u

  39. #39 by Arief on March 1, 2010 - 10:28 pm

    good reference.. thx

  40. #40 by Craig poido on February 28, 2010 - 6:12 am

    i became interested in racing pigeons at about age 14 and now at the grand old age of 46 am still hooked on our great sport of racing pigeons once again all the very best to all flyers for the 2010 world wide season poido

  41. #41 by Craig poido on February 27, 2010 - 10:33 pm

    regarding closing the front right at night with my loft my loft is elavated at least 1 meter off the ground so ihave complete air flow under my loft also to help keep respitory disease to a minumin inside my loft is lined with 3ply water proof timber also i white wash before race season starts as well also i have shade cloth which i drop down of a night time but take note i can walk between the front ofthe loft and the shade cloth the beauty of the shade cloth is it has tiny holes in it which allows air to still circulate not causing any stale air anyway i hope i have given you some food for thought yours in pigeon racing craig poido

  42. #42 by danilo phantom cruz on February 27, 2010 - 6:35 am

    MY LOFT IS ON THE FLOOR BUT ALWAYS CLEAN IT TWICE A DAY.BUT I FOUND FEW OF MY BIRDS ARE HAVING A DIARHEA WHAT SHOULD I DO

  43. #43 by Clifton on February 16, 2010 - 2:33 pm

    A very good and well informed information. I found it very interesting. Can you tell me what can I do to buy your book please??

  44. #44 by PigeonMaster on February 7, 2010 - 10:15 am

    I love this site. Very informative and I will always tune in for more info. Please keep them coming!

  45. #45 by ENRIQUE DOCTOR on February 3, 2010 - 11:03 am

    MY LOFT IS TOO BIG THE SHAPE IS RECTANGLE THE SIZE IS 12FT X 8FT AND THE HEIGHT IS 6FT AND MADE OF ALL STEEL MATTING AND BOTH SIDE ARE COVERED BY SHEET METAL 2FT BOTH SIDE AND THE FLOORING IS STEEL MATTING ONE LOFT FOR HEN AND ONE LOFT FOR COCK AND THEY SEE EACH OTHER FOR THE WHOLE DAY AND I PUT MY LOFT IN MY ROOF TOP IS IT OK FOR MY PIGEON

  46. #46 by Michel Vanlint on January 18, 2010 - 2:27 pm

    Dear,

    Very interesting material. Is there any way that I can make an out-print of this article because reading from a computer is not comfortable.

    Thanks for your support

    Michel Vanlint

  47. #47 by terry , area13loft on December 29, 2009 - 7:41 pm

    what about cleanlness can a loft be over cleaned ,i clean every day aroun 5 pm. could i be over dueing it . i do tattoos ,and i use mat-a-side ,a hospital bio-steiliser spray ,for 2 yrs. never sick ,runs, watery dropings,nothing .i spray every thing;; floor ,nest area walls every thing .and i never have used any meds ,besides a canker pill.

  48. #48 by PigeonRacingFan on December 28, 2009 - 10:41 pm

    Hey Bill and Eduardo thanks for your purchases yea the book did lack some content but it is currently being revised and all previous customers will get access to the revised addition as well of course at no charge. In the mean time I hope you enjoy the site. Thanks again

  49. #49 by eduardo cua on December 28, 2009 - 10:30 pm

    ok, nice information very vital in winning races. but just like Mr. Shamblin didn’t i pay for a book worth $ 37.00. or this is all i get for the package or are you going to send me the book. for clarification.

  50. #50 by Bill Shamblin on December 28, 2009 - 8:48 pm

    Excellent information, and just what a newby like me needs. But didn’t I just pay you for a package that includes this very text? And the paid for package didn’t even include those nice illustrations?

  51. #51 by Robert Hegarty on December 24, 2009 - 11:42 am

    I have a flight like the above. It really is very useful especially for young birds, the only thing is we don’t get very much sunshine here in Ireland.
    happy Christmas to everyone.

    Robert

  52. #52 by Gille on December 20, 2009 - 3:17 pm

    First time I’ve heard what good and bad humidity levels are. Very good information to have. I’d wondered insulating. I’ll have to watch the humidity levels to seeif it’s needed here. Thanks!

  53. #53 by ritchie arenas on December 20, 2009 - 8:33 am

    this site is very helpful to those people who are new in the racing pigeon world…keep up the good work…more power!

    • #54 by jim on July 29, 2010 - 6:18 pm

      It’s not helpful at all, I would like to get involved in it but don’t know where to begin!!

  1. Dr. Rob Marshall « Pigeon Racing Pigeons
  2. The Racing Pigeon Loft Part 2 « Pigeon Racing Pigeons

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