The Hatching of an Idea? February 23, 2018
May 14, 2018
You've Got to Love the Weather!
The thing about this job is you've got to love the weather, ... all weather because you'll be working in it everyday no matter what. Extreme heat, extreme cold, rain, winds, doesn't matter because the doves depend on you for their care and feed. In the winter keeping their water clean and defrosted is challenging and needs constant attention even with the aid of water heaters. Their shelter must be wind resistant enough so they don't freeze in the lowest temperatures and fully ventilated in the summer months so they don't collapse from heat exhaustion. Some pigeon fanciers scowl at the idea of cooling my doves in a kiddie pool in the summer for fear that they may share diseases and so keeping them inoculated against these potential vulnerabilities is a constant concern but doves love to be clean. They thoroughly enjoy the water and will choose to sit out in the pouring rain to get a good shower rather than hide inside away from the elements.
Medications and vitamins to improve their health and immune systems provide protection from contact with other birds, animals, and people as well as sanitizing the humans that come in contact with them and I will save the topic of predators for another blog. We take all precautions we can to keep our doves healthy at all times. The reality is these doves are not toys. This is Nature and there is a cycle to life and as with all lives these too shall pass in their own time and this takes some getting used to. As we enter into springtime our lofts are filled with new life. Squabs are being born and nests are full of squeaking pink and yellow babies hoping to get their parents attention for something to eat and drink. We band our doves when they are young by slipping a numbered ring over their foot and onto their leg where it will remain the rest of their lives to ensure a safe return home should they ever get lost and found by someone helpful.
"Lessons are valuable when one has been creative because you become a Master at what not to do."
When we built our Breeder's Loft I did a lot of research to try to avoid costly mistakes however inexperience creates an opportunity for experience. As much as we would have loved to have started off with the perfect loft that would have been very costly and so we modified. Lessons are valuable when one has been creative because you become a Master at what not to do. The problems we encountered with our first loft were removed with our Free-Flyers Loft and we created new problems. Life is a journey though, right? The other problematic restriction was only one of us new how to use tools, my husband, and so I toughened up and asked him to teach me how to build. I am from a generation of women who were not permitted to take shop courses when we were young and I had had it drilled into my head from actual educators and self-professed educators throughout childhood that I would get hurt if I tried to learn. That didn't always stop me. This was hard for my husband to comprehend, that I didn't know how to use tools, and I had to keep retrieving his help because I simply didn't know the basics of building having never been exposed to the simplest of tool tasks beyond the screwdriver and hammer ... oh yes and a drillpress and a paper cutter from when I worked at a newspaper. I took my first shop class in grade 12. It was an electricity course. I figured I would one day own a house and should know how to fix it, at least a little, and so I began with trying to understand electricity.
Once Ken got me qualified enough I became comfortable with tools and there was no stopping me! Everything I built was based on similar principles I'd learn in home economics classes, like quilting, jewelry making, and pattern design. It was just on a bigger scale. I began to make a couple of birdhouses to get comfortable with the process and then leapt into building the Free-Flyers Aviary. Ken corrected me on some errors I had made and let me loose again. This time I decided to build a rabbit hutch for my New Zealand White Rabbits. Lots of mistakes on that construction but it turned out pretty good considering how little experience I've had and I did it mostly unsupervised. Currently I'm trying to build an enclosed rabbit grow-out area that the little bunnies can use as a rabbit colony to run and play in. This way when friends come to visit we don't have to worry about the bunnies hopping out of little hands.
The beauty of building all of this has been being able to work outside. Sometimes it's freezing cold, windy, baking hot, it doesn't matter because the job has to get done. The rabbits grow and need room. The doves deserve a safe place to fly freely, and so I work, all throughout the day and sometimes through the night if their safety requires it. I love my job! I love my life in the loft because it's all worth it!