Watering Tank. This is something that just evolved over time. It started out with a need for a water proportioner - one of those devices that meters set amounts of medications into the water. The problem was that ”proportioners” don’t work at the extremely low flow rates of the average pigeon loft. Today though the advantages of this little device go way beyond medications and is probably the single most essential “tool” in the loft.
Digital scale. Without a doubt, the smartest $100 we ever spent. Medications and feed additives should never be used at higher than recommended doses. Having a digital scale makes proper dosing easy.
Electronic Clock. Few would argue with this choice now, but at the time it was introduced to the sport, it was quite the controversy.
Loading Chute with Sorting Box. For years we resisted chute loading the birds, because we wanted to handle them and make sure everyone was fit for the trip. This setup gives us the very best of both approaches.
GPS Unit. It came with the electronic clock, but has been a wonderful tool in its own right. Now a days they are available on most smart phones. They allow us to know the precise latitude and longitude of release points when we are training. By knowing the same for our loft, we can easily calculate the precise distance the birds are flying. Very useful. I have an Android phone and the apps I use are “GPS Status” and “My GPS Status”.
Google and the Internet. This dynamic duo is a completely new paradigm for managing information. We probably “google” a hundred times a day. Like the electronic clock, it is fairly common place today.
The Slatted Sub-Floor. We like the improved hygiene afforded by slatted floors such as wire, wood slats or expanded metal. However, the drafts such openness produces are just not good for maintaining form. A simple slotted floor six inches above a solid floor is a perfect solution. Here is more detail.
Probiotics. It is an oversimplification to say you should never use antibiotics, but the daily promotion of a healthy gastrointestinal track and an active immune system are the real keys to healthy pigeons.
Incubator. This is something we didn’t really think we needed, but once we got one, we found we used it nearly everyday. Its really nice for when a pair walks off the nest and for race team babies when the parents are off to shipping and the race. We also use it for managing our foster eggs.
Breeding Cages and Colored Clothes Pins. We started using wire breeding cages (30” deep, 36” wide, 18” tall with a shelf and two nest bowls) very early on. At first it was because we didn’t have the money or space for individual “walk in” breeding pens. Now we actually prefer them over any other setup. When used with breakout pens for the off season, they are a very effective way to manage the breeders. In this link we also show how we use colored clothes pins to keep our records current with very little effort.