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Dead medium: Military Pigeoneers of World War Two: Pigeon Lofts; Loft Routines; Pigeon Banding Codes
From: (Bruce Sterling)

Source(s): War Department Technical Manual TM-11-410, "The Homing Pigeon." War Department, U. S. Government Printing Office, January 1945

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"17. Loft

"Pigeons are housed in lofts which may be buildings or vehicles designed and equipped for that purpose. The loft includes all the equipment, accessories and utilities necessary for the care of pigeons (figs 6, 7, and 8). Perches are placed on the sides of loft walls. When a pigeon is 'settled' to a loft, that loft becomes its home.

"a. An *aviary* is the part of the loft where pigeons can be given sunlight. It is usually built with wire netting on the sides and roof.

"b. The *trap* is a specially constructed opening which permits the pigeon to enter but not to leave the loft. When the pigeon enters the loft this way, is is said to have 'trapped.' A trap which permits the pigeons to open and leave at will is called an 'open trap.' A landing board is placed in front of the trap upon which pigeons alight when about to enter the loft.

"c. A *settling cage* of wire which is built to fit over the roof and landing board of the loft, is used to aid in settling and training pigeons to trap."


"19. Receipt of Pigeons at Loft

"To receive pigeons at a loft, proceed as follows:

"a. Immediately upon their arrival transfer the birds to the loft from the crates or baskets in which they were transported. The pigeons may have completed a lengthy trip and be in comparatively poor condition because of delays in travel or lack of proper care and attention.

"b. Immediately after the birds have been transferred to the loft, carefully examine and handle each pigeon, separating the healthy from the sickly. Place the healthy birds in a compartment where they can obtain plenty of fresh drinking water, and feed them sparingly. Isolate the birds which appear sick until they are fully recovered.

"c. It is imperative that the pigeons be vaccinated against pigeon pox if they were not vaccinated prior to shipment. (...)"

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"25. Routine

"A pigeoneer in charge of a loft can best care for his pigeons by observing the following daily routine in loft management:

"a. Upon entering the loft, make a general inspection to see that everything is in order.

"b. Sweep or scrape all sand and droppings and sift through a fine screen. Add new sand and spread in a thin layer.

"c. Provide fresh drinking water.

"d. Provide bath water.

"e. Conduct prescribed exercise and other training for pigeons according to schedule. This may include all types of flights.

"f. Post loft records.

"g. Prepare daily quantity of feed and give prescribed portions.

"h. Inspect all pigeons as to condition, health, mating, breeding, etc., whenever required.

"i. Carry out any special instructions given for the day."

page 29

"27. Records and Reports

"The records and reports required for each pigeon unit are Breeding Card, Pigeon Breeding Record, Pigeon Flight Record, Pigeon Pedigree, and Monthly Pigeon Loft Report."

page 37

"28. Banding

"a. Each breeding loft is furnished with identifying metal leg bands to be used in the banding of all youngsters. These bands, PG-16, are manufactured in pairs. Each pair bears the pigeon's serial number.

"(1) One of the pair of bands bears a marking which includes U*S, the last two figures of the calendar year the bird was hatched, the letters SC or AAF, and a serial number. This band is placed on the left leg and indicates that the pigeon was bred by the United States Army. It should not be removed as it serves to identify the pigeon with its breeding record.

"(2) The other band of the pair bears marking identical to that in (1) above except that in place of the 'U*S' it bears the letters 'USA.' This band is placed on the right leg, and it means that the pigeon was bred and is the property of the United States Army. This band is removed whenever the pigeon ceases to remain the property of the United States Army.

"(3) Characteristic markings of leg bands now used are as follows:

"(a) Right leg, USA 44 SC 15. Left leg, U*S 44 SC 15

"(b) Right leg, U*S 44 AAF 407. Left leg, U*S 44 AAF407.

"(4) The following designations were used prior to 1944:

"FtM. ............ Fort Monmouth

"4CA ............. 4th Corps Area

"4th SC .......... 4th Service Command

"7th SC .......... 7th Service Command

"8CA ............ 8th Corps Area

"8th SC .......... 8th Service Command

"9th SC. ....... 9th Service Command

"CZ ............. Canal Zone

"HT .............. Territory of Hawaii

"PI .............. Philippine Islands

"ML .............. Mobile Loft

"C .............. Combat

"PR ............. Puerto Rico

"SC .............. Signal Corps

"TH .............. Territory of Hawaii

"b. In addition to the banded pigeons bred and owned by the United States Army, there are those of the United States Navy, and two large national associations of civilian pigeon fanciers, the American Racing Pigeon Union and the International Federation of American Homing Pigeon Fanciers, as well as those of numerous smaller organizations."

Bruce Sterling (