peetso wrote:Motherfucking Mustelids
Heero, were those wild caught or pen raised birds?
They are homers, well bred (for the most part - some mongrel genetics in there). All of them were born in one of my lofts and most have flown home from 100 miles away and with many tosses beneath an angry chicken, to boot. They would beat me home from that distance most of the time, also - release them 100 miles away, hop in car, see if I can make it back before them, and, nope, there they are sitting on the loft or gone back in.
That is my flier loft (they breed some in there, too), my breeder/prisoner loft is still ok. Ill get 12-15 more young to train this summer, I would guess, maybe more. My chickener friends are all helping me out - we have all been thru setbacks nd help when we can - so I have around another 20 or so young birds to train to home to my loft that I'll pick up next week, along with a few more in a couple months. There is always attrition - they dont come back, they get killed, etc. - but for the first time in a few years I had a solid loft full of solid fliers, all capable of flying under angry chickens for training, with some additional, solid, young birds homing 10-15 miles in the beginning of training.
Now I am back to starting over. It really stinks. Luckily, I am starting a new chicken this year. The last one would kill inexperienced pigeons with ease. She would refuse perfect grouse flushes hoping for pigeons. My fault (not entirely, maybe not mostly -- stupid hand-me-downs, never again) in training. New chicken, new pigeons - they will develop together.
I see you are training a new pointing dog in the dog topic. Homers are the way to go. They are reusable. You are behind the curve, tho, as even if you can build a loft today, get some squeakers that you can imprint on your loft tomorrow, you are still looking at a minimum of a few months before you have reliable fliers that you can put to sleep or put in a bird launcher anywhere other than your yard or very close and expect to get them back.
Your best bet, in addition to getting a homer loft going, if you want to really train your pointer is to find a source of feral barn pigeons. Either by purchasing them or by knocking on the owner's door of every barn where you see pigeons hanging out around to ask if you can trap the pigeons in the barn. This is how I get my kill birds, for shooting or for tossing under angry chickens to reward good position and flying. They are not reusable, even if you are not using them as kill birds, but they do fly better than most game farm game birds - especially the chukars - and the last thing you want is your dog catching the birds that it is supposed to be pointing because they dont fly.
Short of training hard with pigeons, your pointer will figure it out if you just show him enough wild game. Things will speed up if you take him out with other, steady dogs. They learn. It will be slower and longer before you get a steady, reliable hunter going this way IMO without A LOT of wild birds and successes and learning.
I am on the list for another litter that should be ready to come home in early Sept. The dog that fell thru I would have been training this winter and I *think* might have been out towards the end of the chickening doing actual hunting with my older mongrel. The pup from this new litter will really only start serious training toward the end of the chickening season - no real chance of serious of hunting . I am more excited about this new litter, tho, so maybe it was for the best. Plus my pigeon situation is gunna be rough this year. Le sigh.