Loft Cleaning Routine
One of the most often overlooked aspects of pigeon racing is the hygiene of the birds. In this article we’ll look at a pretty standard pigeon loft cleaning routine. The aim of this is to be a starting point, feel free to plan your own routine and add/change things to suit your loft’s needs.
1. Let the birds out
Let the birds out for a fly and close trap to stop them coming back in while you’re cleaning.
2. Scrape and clean out each nest box from top to bottom
Don’t take any shortcuts with this, disease-causing organisms breed in here as well as your pigeons!
Be sure to take out the nest bowls/cups and put them to one side for cleaning. Scrape out the boxes to clear any droppings, triangle scrapers are quite good for this as they allow you to put the scraper right to the back of the box and pull forward in one motion straight into a bin. Do the same with perches.
3. Scrape the floors
Now see to the section and corridor floors, scrape away any droppings. Use a floor scraper with a handle to save your back.
4. Hoover (twice a month)
Using a hoover go around the floor, walls, boxes, and any surfaces, looking for dust, hard droppings, bits of feathers, cobwebs etc., get it all straight out with the hoover. When the loft is very dusty the last thing you want to do is brush up all the particles into the air. Depending on how many pigeons you have you might decide to do this just once/twice a month.
5. Disinfect (twice a month)
The next thing is to disinfect the loft. Mix up some disinfectant such as Virkon S and using a spray applicator, spray the nest boxes, perches, loft floors and even walls. Don’t get too carried away, you just want an even coat throughout.
Leave that to soak in and dry off. Again, this can be done once/twice a month in most instances.
6. Torch the Loft (once/twice a month)
No, not burn it down. 😉
Take a blow torch with a medium flame and wave it over the nest box bottoms, especially in areas that look particularly damp from wet droppings.
Be careful not to burn the surface as you do this. The trick is to find a good pace as you move the torch, practice on a bit of scrap wood first if you want.
After you’ve seen to the boxes and (wooden) perches you’ll want to do the same with the section floors, you may just focus on areas heavily dampened by water or droppings (around the drinkers), though giving most areas a quick once over can’t hurt, especially as you won’t be doing this for every clean.
Once you get a feel for torching it might be worth investing in a proper blow torch with an extension at some point, it definitely makes torching the floor much easier.
The following video from SS Lofts on loft cleaning/hygiene is really worth a proper watch but if you skip to about 9 mins 30 seconds in there’s a demonstration of torching.
7. Apply Loft Treatment/Dressing
Finally, now that the loft is clean, aired out and torched, if you’ve gone the whole 9 yards with it. The last thing to do is sprinkle some loft treatment down and gently brush it in. This stuff is like a talcum powder disinfectant and just helps to keep things dry while preventing the spread of bacteria.