Kevin came in from feeding the flocks this morning, and said, "We have a pigeon egg!".
After investing quite a bit of money into getting Utility Pigeon breeding stock last fall, this is good news. The first sign that the pigeons would do anything other than be expensive investments, and eat and eat and eat! They eat more than bantam chickens do (and POOP a lot more too!), but they are also supposed to be more productive. This is the first evidence of that!
When we got our first Quail egg, I brought it in, and fried it sunny side up. I placed it on the top of a dish of hash browns and sausage, and took a picture and posted it on my Frumpy Haus Frau blog. Quail don't brood their own eggs. Pigeons do. So the Pigeon egg stays in the coop!
We have Brown Kings, and Texas Pioneers. The Browns are more productive than the Pioneers, since the bloodlines on that breed have been better maintained for production than the Texans have been. Too many Texans bred for show, since they are an auto-sexing breed. Meant to be practical, hijacked for pretty.
True to their reputations, the Browns are the ones that have produced the first egg. They don't even have the cushiest apartment, the Texans got the better accommodations because they are bigger than the Browns.
We have two sets of racing pigeons also, chosen for colors that have the dilute gene in them, so we can use them for cross breeding experiments. They are about half the size of the Kings, so we will have to do a lot of selecting for size on the crosses, but we need the genetic diversity and hybrid qualities for where we want to go long term with these birds.
Utility pigeons are surprisingly expensive. They are also very rare (except White Kings). It can be really hard to find them, and afford them. And once you have them, you can build a flock, but you have to have containment for them all. Since we are doing 100% selective breeding, we have them in large cages. Not our preference. But resources are limited and we cannot afford a coop for every pair!
Once your pigeons start to produce, they are either meat producers, or you expand your flock, or sell breeding pairs. Whatever you choose to do, you have to have MORE CAGES! Or a grow-out coop. Or something. And that is not cheap either!
So while we now have our base stock (we do still need a few additional birds that we'll have to buy), we have begun the never ending process of building cages and coops to expand our flocks.
Today marks an important milestone in the process though, and lets us know that the rolls of wire in the basement will not be left there much longer!