Keeping Training Birds

Pointing, retrieving, flushing, tracking, behavioral issues, puppy training, etc.

Moderator: Moderator Pack

Keeping Training Birds

Postby ForTheBirds84 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:33 pm

I will be getting a puppy this spring. I would like to use live birds eventually as part of the training I have planned. I am specifically looking at using quail and/or pigeons. I know where I can get the birds. But, I don't really want to keep them for more than a couple days. I live in a neighborhood and don't want to deal with them other than for training. Is this common? What do you guys do for live bird exposure in the off season?
ForTheBirds84
Pup
Pup
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:58 am

Re: Keeping Training Birds

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:12 pm

I have a pigeon house , they are not a lot of trouble. Forrest
Drahthaar1108
Senior Poster
Senior Poster
 
Posts: 168
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:44 pm

Re: Keeping Training Birds

Postby orhunter » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:27 pm

Depending on where you live and what you hunt, you may not need them till after the pup’s first year of hunting when you’ll be dealing with steadiness. Don’t get in too big of hurry, your pup will have a lot of growing up to do.
SARCASM, one of the many free services I offer
orhunter
Champion Poster
Champion Poster
 
Posts: 7812
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2002 12:29 am
Location: nw oregon

Re: Keeping Training Birds

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:50 am

A long time ago I trained some puppies with close to zero use of training birds. I was able to get the pups exposure to wild bobwhites and pheasants often enough to let their Natural Ability takeover. As the wild bird populations where I lived dwindled I moved to using strong flying pigeons. Their use did little to make those pups better at hunting for and finding wild birds but it did help those pups do a better job of pointing and holding their points on the first wild birds they found so that I could shoot them. And the pigeons have been essential at training the higher obedience subjects of steadiness to WSF.

A small coop housing a dozen or less homing pigeons can be tremendously beneficial to your training. Before I built my coops I used feral pigeons that would fly away and never be recovered. At $4-5 a piece it was not insurmountable when training just one dog. During that era I housed those pigeons in a large size wire dog crate wrapped with chicken wire. They have a pull out plastic tray in the bottom so easy to clean. A couple of dowel rods through the sides for perches. Feral pigeons would remain strong for the month it took me to use up my inventory. I set the crates on saw horses in my machine shed and there is some mess around the crate.

More recently I have built two pigeon coops one for homers and one for feral shooters. I also bought a small welded wire dog kennel from Tractor Supply with a cover top and set it on 18 inch square concrete blocks and would buy and keep a dozen mallards at a time when I was using ducks in my training. They are messy but I live on a farm the setup was next to the horse corral so it works out ok.

Maybe something in this will be the right fit for you. Best of luck with your pup. Joining a NAVHDA chapter will likely yield some options that may work for you especially if you were lucky enough to find a training partner.
AverageGuy
Champion Poster
Champion Poster
 
Posts: 2136
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:05 am

Re: Keeping Training Birds

Postby Dmog » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:58 am

I trap feral Pigeons as needed a few days before training weekends. I am fortunate as I my work has grain bin access. I just put the trap on top of the grain bin where they are landing with some bait wheat in the trap and a high probability of having some birds for training. I will also buy in order of preference 1)Chukars 2)Pheasants 3) Quail when training upland. Will also buys Ducks when training water work. Ducks are harder to find for my area.

Also as important if not the most important is getting the pup out in bird habitat to let them sort that stuff out on their own. Plenty of exposure to wild birds is the best training method.
You never have to tell a dog what time to be home, give them the keys, and they never ask for money.
User avatar
Dmog
Senior Poster
Senior Poster
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:58 pm
Location: Pratt, KS

Re: Keeping Training Birds

Postby bhennessy » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:27 am

Pigeons are great, homing even better if you can keep them. But..

After learning the hard way with my first Griff, i agree with Orhunter and Averageguy in that training birds can be overdone, especially in the first year or so, and might not be necessary if you can get your dog into wild birds in good numbers and frequency. Of course this opinion is based on you wanting to hunt your dog and not focus primarily on trialing it. Beyond a breeder agreement to NA test my Stonyridge pup, I have zero interest in trialing.

I have taken a more hands off approach to pen raised birds with my younger griff. I kept a small number of homers just to introduce the dog to its “job”, and help it get really excited about birds and therefore start to think about search, etc. These homers were then shot over him in the final stages of conditioning him to gunfire by 5 or 6 months old or so. This also helped him understand the concept of rewarding him with feathers in his mouth. Once these 6 or 7 birds were gone, it’s been wild birds only, with the exception of a few months in Iowa with His Stonyridge breeder getting him ready for NA. Karl made sure he got into lots of wild birds there too.

I am happier so far with this approach. My older griff I think came to rely on pigeons as an easy game for him to play and would get frustrated with the work required for wild birds, which are anything but easy. As Jay says, “you make all your mistakes on your first dog”.

The little one will need to be steadied up, at least to fall because he’s a driven, relentless little monster so I will need to incorporate some more pigeons at some point. Especially because I like to hunt the two dogs together and they are quite competitive...but I’m in less of a hurry this time around.

At any rate, homers are dirty nasty creatures that concentrate on eating, breeding and pooping. Having reusable birds though makes up for the down sides. PM me if you’d like my advice on keeping them.
bhennessy
Senior Poster
Senior Poster
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:20 pm

Re: Keeping Training Birds

Postby orhunter » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:51 am

I drove back to Wisconsin and visited with Griffman a couple of days and one day he was out training with another fellow. I took on a whole new attitude about training pups. Some geographic locations simply don’t allow a person to work a youngster on wild birds and Wisconsin for the most part is one of those locations. Sometimes ya gotta just do it.

One important thing first time dog owners need to know is how little wild bird exposure a six to eight month old pup actually needs prior to the fall hunting seasons. If you have a good dog, it’ll show without all the training some are forced to go through. Most of what a pup needs to learn can be accomplished by having wide open spaces to run free, smell everything, develop independence, range, confidence and on occasion, find a bird type that will later be hunted. Sometimes ya gotta improvise.
SARCASM, one of the many free services I offer
orhunter
Champion Poster
Champion Poster
 
Posts: 7812
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2002 12:29 am
Location: nw oregon

Re: Keeping Training Birds

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:15 am

it appears to be getting harder and harder to find wild birds even in the wild. Having exposure to domestic or feral pigeons is helpful IMO
User avatar
Bruce Schwartz
Champion Poster
Champion Poster
 
Posts: 1201
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 4:52 pm
Location: Alaska

Re: Keeping Training Birds

Postby Kiger2 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:03 pm

Orhunter,
It good to see you finally caught on that not all people can get wild birds and pups dont need all that much exposure to birds before they hunt. Ive been telling you this for years!!
Kiger2
Champion Poster
Champion Poster
 
Posts: 1075
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:34 pm


Return to Training

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests