May 1994



Part 2.   Housing, feeding, exercise

Freedom for Flight Policy

The Pigeon "Loft"

The Ideal "Loft"



"Loft" Cleaning

Feed and Water

The Pigeon Racing Federation of W.A. (Incorporated)
The Independent Pigeon Racing Federation (Incorporated)

ISBN No. 0 95866 771 3    Set 0 95866 770 5


Under the broad umbrella of pigeon welfare, the Federations identify certain aspects and practices which are inherent to the operation of this Code of Practice.

The Racing Pigeon is a domestic animal and occupies a rightful place within the general community.

Notwithstanding the need for adequate exercise, for the pigeon's welfare, as a domestic animal the Racing Pigeon has to be regulated, sufficient, to ensure its continuity within the community.

On this basis, certain over-riding factors are evident:

     a)   The Racing Pigeon should be exercised daily, sufficient to ensure its fitness for the purpose intended.

      *  Free-flight exercise is to be on a planned basis, with duration time typically from 30 to 90 minutes and performed to a maximum of twice daily.

      *  Other than for pigeons returning from racing and training, daily times for free-flight exercise are to be on a planned basis, typically from daylight and concluding by 0900 hours and between 1530 hours and 1900 hours with adjustment according to the annual calendar for available daylight. Application to the Federation/s for planned exercise outside the typical hours should be made.

      *  Free non-flight time, at any time, is to be conducted under close supervision by the owner.

      *  Other than for planned free flight and non-flight times, all racing pigeons are to be confined within their home "Loft".

      *  Persistent fielding and or roof sitting habits are prohibited.

     b)   The Racing Pigeon should be housed within a "Loft", both complying with the Pigeon Keeping and Pigeon Racing Code of Practice and the requirements of Local Authorities.

      *  Inherently, all racing pigeon "Lofts" should be constructed in such a manner as to maintain the public dignity and image sought by the Pigeon Racing fraternity.



Freedom for flight


Living Quarters

Racing "Loft"
Minimum height
Box Perches
Minimum space per pigeon

Stock Loft
Living Quarters







10.0        THE PIGEON "LOFT"

10.1        Dimensions.

The Federations recognise that pigeon "Lofts" are constructed in many sizes to suit or fit individual circumstances, such as available space within a conventional residential block, and it is not intended to interfere with this freedom.  Instead, the Federations set minimum space requirements per pigeon as follows:

10.2        Living Quarters

10.2.1     Racing "Loft"

10.2.2     Height.  The minimum common average, floor to ceiling height, for all "Lofts" will be 165cm.

10.2.3     Box Perches.  The space occupied by wall mounted box perches with minimum dimensions 24cm (Height) x 24cm (Width) x 8cm (Depth) and the number of box perches exceeds the number of pigeons by a minimum of 10%. The box perch configuration represents the highest density for acceptable and adequate housing method for racing pigeons and is the standard adopted for the Code of Practice. The Code does not preclude other means of perch configuration but all configurations must contain a plus10% surplus ratio between perch space and pigeon numbers allowable within the Living Quarters.

10.2.4     Minimum Space per Pigeon. Where all space is occupied by the pigeons, only, and excludes provision for feeding and or owner occupancy and utensils, as otherwise provided by passageways, trapping and feeding centres, the minimum space per pigeon is 92000cm3 or 0.092m3 or (0.45m)3 Where feeding is carried out in the occupied space, the minimum space per pigeon is 0.132m3. In calculating minimum dimensions, no side of the loft can be more than four times the length of the other.

10.2.5     An example of maximum permissible pigeons and minimum box perches per occupied space in the Living Quarters is described as follows:

            "Loft" dimension 180cm (Width) x 210cm (Length) x 180cm (Height) = 6804000cm3 divided by 92000cm3 = maximum 74 pigeons and minimum 81 box perches, where feeding is performed elsewhere and there are no utensils within the living quarters.

            For "Lofts" where feeding is performed in the Living Quarters, the maximum number of pigeons is calculated as 180cm (W) x 210cm (L) x 180cm (H) = 6804000cm3 divided by 132000cm3 = maximum 52 pigeons and minimum 57 box perches.

10.2.6     Stock "Loft"

The Stock "Loft" is used for housing the breeding pigeons of the "Loft" and because of their value and invariable background of racing from some other inter or intra state lofts, are not able to be freed for exercise. These pigeons require extended space for their good health and well-being.

10.2.7     Living Quarters

The Stock "Loft" shall generally be of similar configuration as the Racing "Loft" except, in the place of Box Perches, that breeding compartments are provided. Typical dimensions for breeding compartments are 55cm (Width) x 45cm (Height) x 50cm (Depth).

Adequate space to maintain health and well-being of pigeons, within the Breeding "Loft", shall be calculated as two and one half (2.5) times the provision, as minimum space, per pigeon, in Living Quarters where feeding is provided externally, and owner occupancy and utensils are excluded.

The Maximum allowable number is calculated from the above example as follows:

"Loft" dimension 180cm (Width) x 210 cm (Length) x 180cm (Height) = 6804000cm3 divided by (92000cm3 x 2.5) = 30 pigeons (or 15 mated pairs of pigeons) for the space provided.

10.3        THE IDEAL "LOFT"

The following is provided only a guide but reasonably reflects the hallmarks of a well organised and well constructed pigeon racing loft.

There are a number of essential elements that make up the building of a "Loft". It needs to be dry and warm over the winter months and therefore needs to be built for that period of time. For the summer heat it also needs to have ventilation modifications, such as flaps and ventilators that can be adjusted and closed off as the winter approaches. It needs to be configured for ease of cleaning and for the comfort of the pigeons and box type perches are most suitable for both. Where practical it needs to be sited on the Lot so that the front of the "Loft" faces North East, in Western Australia, and to face away from the prevailing winter winds and rain, whilst taking full advantage of the morning winter sun.

10.4        Ventilation.

There needs to be adequate air exchange within a pigeon racing "Loft" without causing drafts. Under and over floor ventilation promotes essential dryness required for a healthy "Loft".

Gabled type roofs are encouraged to cater for adequate air displacement. Where a gabled roof is not provided, an opening at ceiling height at the rear to the outside, of no less than 10cm along the full length of the Loft, is to be provided. Alternatively, a "Witches Hat" type chimney or similar ventilator should be placed centrally within the roof to effect the required air exchange and to promote good health and comfort for the pigeons.

10.5        Construction.

The Federations recognise that existing pigeon "Lofts" have been constructed to a number of standards and designs and it is not intended for these "Lofts" to conform to the Code of Practice, while they continue to be utilised in their present configuration. Instead, the Federations set basic standards for all new, changed, extended or upgraded "Lofts" taking place after January 1 1995. It is also recognised that in some municipalities regulations exist for construction of pigeon "Lofts" and where these regulations are in conflict with the Pigeon Keeping and Pigeon Racing Code of Practice, the Federations will make appropriate representation to those authorities, seeking their cooperation and assistance in the interests of conformity of regulations.

10.5.1     Off-Ground. All new "Lofts" shall be constructed off-ground with minimum height from ground to floor level of 20cm, allowing for free flow of air under floor.

10.5.2     Floor areas may be either of two configurations:

     1)   Trafficable mesh grating floor, allowing for droppings to pass through for collection from below floor level.

     2)   Trafficable timber floor with suitable moisture absorptive qualities, and for regular ease of scrape cleaning. e.g. chipboard, plywood.

     3)   For the health of the pigeons, external open aviaries and or "sun yards" which are exposed to the elements are to be constructed off ground typically by using trafficable mesh floor for under-floor cleaning, or other suitable floor materials.

10.5.3     Insulation

For the welfare and comfort of the pigeons, where external cladding of a "Loft" consists of brick or metal such lofts shall be internally lined with plywood, or chipboard, or other heat retaining materials. For prevention of condensation dampness, all metal type roofs shall be insulated.

10.6        "LOFT CLEANING"

Where above floor compartment droppings remain permanently dry, compacted and unfriable, and are of 2cm thickness or less, and are used as part of the pigeon racing incentive, these are not considered a health hazard to either pigeons or humans.

10.6.1     Deep Litter , unless of a substance/s approved by the Federations, is not permitted.

10.6.2      "Loft" floors are to be cleaned on a minimum basis of once per week.

11.0        FEED AND WATER

11.1        Feed

The Federations recognise that there are many successful methods for feeding of racing pigeons and it is not intended to regulate this activity other than to document normal feeds and feed practice.

Essentially, racing pigeons thrive quite effectively on most grains and legumes, with wheat being the base staple. It is usual to supplement a wheat based diet to varying percentages with field peas, maize, sorghum, oats, rice, barley, certain pellet preparations and other small grains. The normal feed regime for racing pigeons is twice daily and given after exercise.

11.2        Water

Clean water in the home "Loft", available at all times, with and without additives, is essential. Water is to be changed twice daily and more frequently in summer months, especially in the Stock Loft.

ISBN No. 0 95866 771 3       Set 0 95866 770 5