1 Dry Loft
January in Britain is often windy and wet therefore I recommend that you check that no rain or snow is being driven into your loft. A wet loft makes pigeons lose form and is a ideal habitat for diseases to multiply. If necessary put temporary covers over the openings, I personally attach some wooden batten which I have sawn tapering from 2″ to 1/4″ to a transparent sheet and fix this to the loft opening with the 2″ at the bottom, this enables a breeze to hit the side of the loft and enter the 2″ opening at the bottom of the sheet effectively ventilating the loft whilst keeping out any moisture.
January is a favourite month for many Fanciers to ‘Pair Up’ their Stock or Racing Pigeons. I have in the ‘Pigeon Racing Thoughts; section written a more lengthy explanation but I will precise here a few ideas:
Light is a strong motivation for pigeons to mate – therefore extending the daylight hours by leaving a light on in the loft for an hour or so at the end of the day will encourage pigeons to pair up.
New Pairings can be encouraged by ‘Pre Pairing’ this is the practice of putting the new paring together in advance of the date you wish to pair so they can become acquainted. Use an enclosure that will enable the hen to escape the over amorous attentions of the cock so she does not come to any harm. I use a spare compartment or aviary and put them together a few times for an hour or so during December until the hen positively responds to the cock. Then at mating time I put the hen in the cocks box, but separated by a divider until I am confident of the outcome and then remove the divider so they can continue their courtship.
I have written at length on Diet in the Pigeon Racing Thoughts section however briefly in January I increase the protein content of the food and add some Vitamin E (Wheat Germ Oil) to the diet once a week to increase the fertility of the prospective parents.
Many Fanciers have kept their pigeons in the loft over Winter and then let them out to exercise during January.
I like my pigeons to exercise as I feel fitter pigeons are healthier parents, however this must be tempered with common sense by all means let your pigeons out it will enable the hens and cocks to a lesser extent to lose a bit of weight which is essential for breeding. Do not let them out in high winds, very cold days, heavy rain or fog these environments could cause injury or set your pigeons health back.