I came across a question on Facebook the other day of how much space per pigeon is good for a one loft race. The group was discussing the possibility that overcrowding in the lofts as a reason OLRs are losing so many birds in recent years. I have been around pigeon racing my entire life and in my opinion, this is probably the least reason causing the bird losses. There are many factors and too many to cover today, so let's just start with this topic and I will cover other reasons in future emails.
Over the years, I've heard time and again that a loft should have 1 square foot of space per bird. But, this rule started when we had dark, closed-up lofts and we'd put a layer of lime then shavings on the floor to help keep the loft dry and cozy in the winter. These lofts housed both young and old birds. However, OLR’s are generally a young bird sport and most races are held during the warmer time of the year, so the most important factor with OLR lofts is climate and air flow. OLR lofts should be constructed with lots of airflow. A loft in a warm climate with a lot of airflow can have something like .75 foot per bird. However, closed-up lofts in areas that get extreme cold, need more like 1 square foot or more per bird.
In conclusion, I think the biggest factor for loft size and capacity is based on climate and air flow. To help determine how much air flow is needed, go into your loft at night with a flash light, watch a bird ruffle its feathers and watch the cloud of bloom come off the bird. The bloom should float away, not get blown away. If it blows away, the loft is too drafty, and makes it harder to keep the birds in condition.
The Longhorn Classic loft will be 1,496 square feet and take in 1,500 birds maximum.