January 25, 2014

Homing pigeons

Yesterday we went and picked up about 16 homing pigeons.

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Some people, when reading that we are “off-grid”, make the assumption that we are living primitively. That is not the case. We have full access to internet, technological advancements, modern medicine, etc. That said, there’s no reason why some of the older stuff wouldn’t appeal to us, as the newest addition to our family would suggest.

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A friend of ours was recently gifted 16 homing pigeons. He called us to see if we’d be interested in having some of them. We each gave a pretty quick affirmitive reply.

Abe, who only reads non-fiction and is especially interested in any kind of self-sufficient animal as a possible inclusion in our Food Web was instantly thinking of all the possibilities that pigeons represent. They hardly need any kind of care, are very territorial (so will always come home to roost even if they wander off to gather their food elsewhere), are very efficient in general, and are apparently delicious.

I, on the other hand, love the real world and all its intricacies, but when I read, I like things like fantasy, sci-fi, and non-modern historical fiction. So for me, I had visions of setting up a local network of messenger birds. Each person takes a pair from someone else. That pair can be released at any time and they will return to the place that they were born and raised, with a message attached to their leg. However, any babies that that pair have will be bonded to the new location, so can be given to someone else as a way of contacting them.


Whether as a source of food or as a “primitive” communication system, the bottom line is that we now have a bunch of pigeons in the old rabbit barn. If we decide that they are something we want to keep, we will build them a different setup, closer to the barn, from where the babies born here can come and go. For now, they have a sheltered area that they can fly around, nest boxes, perches, food, water.

We’ll let you know how it turns out and what we learn. In the meantime, the kids are utterly thrilled and want to spend all their time watching the pigeons – sure does make the house more peaceful!

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