by M. Price [For PDF version Click Here]
I part my birds from their parents at 25 days old and from then on I put them out on top of the loft for an hour or so, weather permitting, most afternoons along with a couple of hen droppers. Before they are old enough to fly, I switch the lights on for half an hour most days so the get used to the lights on and have no fear of them. As they get older, I split them into teams of about six and put them on barley and water once a day.
I only have a small loft, 8ft. x 8ft. and breed from six pair of stock birds. I usually get about 10-12 youngsters in the first round. Once the youngsters are on the wing and kitting, I box them up. By the time they are 7 weeks old, each team is doing about 3 to 4 hours every other day. I never have them out in the morning always afternoons, timing it so that they are do drop about an hour before dark; the lights are always on when I drop them. I stand out by the loft when I’m dropping them and scattering a few grains of barley about the top of the loft until its’ quite dark and then get them in and feed them.
Each time I have them out I let them fly a little bit later until eventually they go right into the dark. One tip I have when flying any birds to lights is to have my dogs out there with me. I have two Jack Russell Terriers. The birds are used to them and the keep the cats away, having a cat jump up onto the back of the loft will undue all the hard work you’ve put into the birds.
Most of my birds are badges or are white flighted. I didn’t plan this; it is just the way they came out. I find this very useful when flying in the dark, they stand out on the darkest nights.
All my breeding hens are related, being mother, daughters and granddaughters, I find that most of the youngsters bred from these birds are similar in size and type and fly in the same style.