The sport of pigeon racing depends on the innate ability of the pigeon to find its home. To train your pigeon, take the pigeon progressively further away and allow it to fly home. Daily flight near the coop helps build a pigeon's stamina, too. Open flight doors on a pigeon coop allow the birds free access to the outdoors, but makes it hard to get them all back inside at the same time. A one-way trap door keeps them in the coop once they re-enter. When held open the trap door allows two-way flight, but when closed it only allows entrance into the coop.
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Things you need
- Circular saw
- Measuring tape
- Wood boards, 2.5 cm by 10 cm (1 inch by 4 inches)
- 4 L-brackets, 5 cm (2 inch)
- Aluminium tubing, 2.25 m by 6 mm (7 1/2 feet by 1/4 inch)
- Pipe cutter
- Drill with 6 mm (1/4 inch) bit
- Wood screws, 3.7 cm (1 1/2 inches)
- 16 wood screws, 1.2 cm (1/2 inch)
- 2 360-degree hinges
- 12 hinge screws, 1.2 cm (1/2 inch)
Cut a 20 cm by 60 cm (8 inch by 24 inch) hole in the side of the pigeon coop with the circular saw. Cut the hole from inside the coop and put the hole within 2.5 or 5 cm (1 or 2 inches) of the ceiling.
Cut a 5 cm by 63.7 (2 inch by 25 1/2 inch) rectangle from the wood board. Cut two 2.5 cm by 20 cm (1 inch by 8 inch) rectangles from the board. Cut a 8.1 cm by 63.7 cm (3 1/4 inch by 25 1/2 inch) rectangle from the board.
Cut five 45 cm (18 inch) pieces of tubing with the pipe cutter. Bend the tube so that the pigeons can't sit on it from below. Shape the tubing like half a coat hanger without the hook at the top. Leave the first 5cm (2 inches) of the tube straight, then bend the next 25 cm (10 inches) out at a 45 degree angle. Bend the next 10 cm (4 inch) back in, forming a shape similar to the profile of a nose, then bend the last 5 cm (2 inches) so they are parallel to the first 5 cm (2 inches).
Lay the rectangular pieces out to form a frame around a central open space. The 9.3 cm (3 3/4 inch) wide board is the top board. Drill five holes evenly spaced on the long, narrow edge of the top board. Drill five holes in the long, narrow edge of the bottom board in the same positions.
Insert the least bent end of one piece of the tubing into a hole in the wider board. Repeat for the other four pieces of tubing. Insert the more curved ends of the tubing into the holes in the narrow board.
Complete the frame with the short 8-inch pieces of wood. Secure the frame together by screwing a 5 cm (2 inch) L-bracket at each corner.
Measure and cut two 22.5 cm by 27.5 cm (9 inch by 11 inch) right-angled triangles from the board. Attach the 27.5 cm (11 inch) side of the triangles inside the coop, pointing inward, to either side of the opening that was cut in the coop in Step 1. The 22.5 cm (9 inch) side will be against the ceiling. The trap door will lie against the hypotenuse when closed. Insert a screw from the exterior of the coop, through the wall and into the edge of the triangle.
Install two hinges on the wide side of the trap frame you created. Put a hinge 20 cm (8 inches) from either side. Align the hinges so the axle pin lies along the top edge of the frame and one hinge-plate lays flat on the frame. Screw the hinges to the frame.
Hold the trap frame up against the two triangles you installed next to the entrance hole, hinge-side up and facing you. Screw the outside plate of the hinges to the ceiling.
Cut two 2.5 cm (1 inch) square pieces of wood to act as a latch. Hold the trap door closed and nail the piece of wood loosely just below the trap frame. Align the latch so that when the piece of wood is turned at angle to the trap, one corner catches the frame and holds it closed, and when the latch is parallel to the trap frame it allows the frame to move freely. Repeat for the ceiling latch. If necessary, add a second block of wood between the latch square and the ceiling to bring it low enough to catch the trap frame.
Paint all the raw wood.
Tips and warnings
- To cut a cleaner hole, use the circular saw on the straight sides but stop before reaching the corner and finish with a hand saw.
- Another way to visualise the finished shape of the bent tubes is to imagine the outline of a horse's face from the tip of one ear to partway down its chest.
- If you have difficulty hand bending the tubing, use a pole or table leg to pull the tubing around.
- To make tubing softer, heat slightly in the oven at 37.8 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) for several minutes.
- Frame the outside of the hole you cut to give the work a more finished look.
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