BOARD POLICIES, PROCEDURES, &
RULES of the
AMERICAN RACING PIGEON UNION, INC.
Policy Title: Loft Certification Program
Policy Number: AU 390
Effective Date: January 1, 2003
Last Revision: July 2010
AU Loft Certification Program is voluntary and is meant to
recognize those lofts and handlers that meet a set of minimum
national standards of care in the handling and housing of their
pedigreed, banded Racing Homing Pigeons. The general guidelines
are set forth in the AU Code of Ethics,
and certain provisions of the Animal
dated June 2002. These lofts must meet accepted standards of
design, construction and maintenance with the owners complying
with most current AWA guidelines and standards.
390.01 AU Loft Certification Procedure.
Committee consisting of one club official and one
member-at-large from the member’s club will inspect and
certify that the inspected loft meets the criteria as set forth
in this policy letter and those criteria established in the AU
AWA Guidelines & Best Practices, dated November 2004,
available from the AU office. The checklist and certification
form is incorporated in this policy letter. There is currently
no charge for the inspection, Certificate, or loft certification
390.02 Application and Certification Form.
checklist and certification is available from the AU national
office and intended to be used as a guide by the inspecting,
committee will complete the inspection as noted below, certify
compliance with minimum standards by checking the appropriate
marked boxes, signing the form, and submitting it to the AU
National office, along with a photo of both the inside and
outside of the loft, including trap.
AU National office staff will review the inspection, and will
issue a numbered certificate of this inspection with: the date
of inspection, members name, AU ID number, Loft name, club
affiliation and complete address.
completed certificate will be returned to the member.
is recommended the certificate be laminated, framed and
displayed in a conspicuous location at the respective loft.
390.03 CHECKLIST and General Criteria for
is no "Pass" or "Fail" to loft inspections,
however minimal accepted standards in the care and management of
pigeons have been developed over the years, that are applicable
to almost every loft and handler. (Inspectors should place an
"X" in each check box if the loft meets acceptable
standards. If not, the handler should be allowed 90 days to
complete corrective actions, as required.
DO NOT FORWARD the inspection form to the AU
National Office until the loft meets all minimum standards, and
any corrective actions have been completed.
A. Inspection Checklist:
1. AU Member. Owner/fancier is a current AU
2. Loft Surroundings. The loft surroundings
should present a pleasant, well kept appearance that
contributes to an overall positive décor of the home and
neighborhood. Regular maintenance should be evident. ___
3. Loft Location. Where possible, the loft
should be placed so as to take maximum advantage of natural
sunlight and minimal exposure to potential obstructions such
as poles, wires and trees. ___
4. Loft Construction. The loft should be
constructed and built to commonly accepted building and AU
Competition standards and practices, (when required,
appropriate building permits should be obtained).
Construction should appear sound with provisions to avoid
extreme temperatures, moisture, and disturbance by other
animals or pets. Traps should comply with AU Competition
Standards, see 16.06. ___
5. Loft Ventilation. Lofts should be built
to allow maximum ventilation, however, drafts are
undesirable. Airflow and adequate ventilation within the
loft are essential to the health of the birds. ___
6. Loft Capacity. The number of birds in the
loft will fluctuate with each season, however, the number
kept should not be excessive. During the breeding and racing
season, it is understood that the number of birds may be
increased, temporarily. ___
7. Loft Accessories. There should be
sufficient perches to allow each bird to take a perch of it’s
own. Perches vary in design but should be flat and smooth,
with no sharp edges. Taking and keeping a perch is an act of
natural competition and socialization for Racing Pigeons.
8. Feed, Water, and Grit. Excess feed and
grit should be stored in vermin-proof, sealable containers.
Feed should NOT be thrown on the floor, overflow the feed
tray or hopper, or be left in the hoppers overnight. Except
for periods of medication or for disinfection, water
fountains should be filled with clean, fresh water morning
and evenings, and cleaned daily. The use of
"Clorox" as a disinfectant is encouraged. Note:
Birds should never be fed before being let out for exercise.
Always train or exercise birds hungry to encourage them to
trap back into the loft after they are finished flying. ___
9. Next boxes and Nest Bowls. Nest boxes
should be large enough to allow the male and female to
establish a safe and secure nesting environment and to
accommodate activities related to rearing young. Depending
on type, nest bowls should be thoroughly sterilized and/or
changed between "rounds" of eggs. ___
10. Loft Sanitation. Whether a deep litter,
floor grates, or scraped floor method is used, the loft
should be generally dry and airy. There should be no odors
within the loft or surrounding. Dirt floors create a damp
environment and are not acceptable. Birds should not be
allowed direct contact with the soil. ___
11. Vermin and Parasite Controls. There
should be no evidence of rats, mice or other vermin.
External parasites, lice, mites and flies, can transmit
diseases that may affect the birds’ health and performance
and every effort should be made to keep infestations to a
12. Aviary Space. Aviaries should be large
enough to allow meaningful exercise and if possible should
be open enough to allow the birds to "sun"
themselves at will during the day. ___
13. Bathing and Provisions for Baths. There
should be provisions for the birds to bathe at least every
10 – 14 days. ___
390.04 Certification Duration. A
loft is certified from the date of acceptance of the application
by the Certifying Committee and is permanent although it is
recommended that the committee visually inspect the loft every
year or as determined necessary by the committee.
The Loft Certification may be terminated if any
one of the following events occur:
a.) The owner’s AU membership ceases,
b.) The owner establishes a new or different
loft or moves to a different location,
c.) The committee revokes the certificate
"for cause" because it has been shown by the local
certifying officers that the minimum compliance requirements
are no longer being met.
390.05 Environmental Controls. The
AU endorses and recommends basic USDA approved environmental and
bio-security protocols. These recommendations are point weighted
as per the attached Environmental Controls Form (attached), in
an effort to control the possible introduction of disease or
disease causing agents to a loft, and to prevent the spread of
disease in the case of a disease outbreak.
1. Environmental Controls are voluntary and are
considered an indication of proper loft hygiene and management.
2. Environmental Controls are point weighted
depending on the seriousness of a specific disease outbreak.
a. Level 1, normal situation, no serious
disease outbreak. 10 points minimum.
b. Level 2, serious outbreak in loft or
club. 15 points minimum.
c. Level 3, quarantine is necessary due to
disease outbreak, 18 points required.
3. Environmental Control inspection may be
conducted by Loft certifying committee at the same time as the
loft inspection and submitted at the same time.
390.06 Loft Certification and Ordinance
order to qualify for financial assistance afforded AU members
for ordinance issues, lofts must be certified through the AU
Loft Certification Program. A letter from club officers and a
photograph of the inside and outside of the loft must be
received and on file by the AU national office attesting to
compliance and healthy loft management. Loft inspection must be
within two weeks of date on application.
390.07 Certification Form.390.07 Certification
information is for AU use only and considered confidential. This
data will not be shared with any agency without the loft owner’s
specific, written permission.
LOFT CERTIFICATION CHECKLIST
To demonstrate our industry’s ability to
self-regulate ourselves and manage our lofts, birds and any
diseases that are encountered, the AU has asked all members to
voluntarily have their lofts inspected and certified as
complying with basic health and construction practices. This
provides a tangible way of showing our concern for the health
and well being of our birds to the public or any government
group, and that we don’t require ‘outside’ regulation. It
is easy, costs you nothing but a little time and may improve
To certify your loft you
must comply with all of the following minimum requirements, in
the opinion of the local club officers certifying this
application and successfully demonstrated that:
Owner/fancier is a current registered AU member.
The owner’s loft complies with general housing
Loft is compatible with existing, surrounding
buildings and neighborhood, and creates a favorable image to the
The loft surroundings are tidy, sanitary, devoid
of unpleasant debris, odors, excess droppings, feathers or
equipment clutter. Loft should be generally attractive and
compatible with the surrounding neighborhood environment. ___
Loft construction appears sound with adequate
ventilation, furnishings and equipment to avoid extreme
temperatures, moisture and disturbance by other animals or pets
Loft maintenance appears to be adequate and
regular, including external and internal repairs, provision for
removal of droppings, dust, feathers, nesting material, excess
feed, etc. ___
Provisions for feeding, watering, grit and
nesting are adequate, sanitary and healthful for the birds
present. This includes storage, method of distribution,
quantities and types given. ___
Perches, nest boxes and other accessories (like
aviaries, traps, lights, windows, etc.) are of sound design,
placement and construction so that birds are not subjected to
unsafe or overcrowded conditions and are in a controlled
The number of birds kept does not exceed the
capacity of the loft to adequately and comfortably house those
birds, nor does it exceed the ability of the fancier to care for
and properly handle and control all pigeons present. ___
Control by the owner of his/her birds while
outside the loft appears adequate. Flying and roosting birds are
not a neighborhood nuisance and do not present a threat of
destruction personal property of others. ___
LOFT CERTIFICATION FORM
Section I – to be completed by member
Member Name: ___________________________Phone:
___________ AU ID_______
Section II – to be completed by Certifying
Committee (one club official and one member-at-large)
We have inspected the loft of
__________________________ and hereby certify that to the best
of our knowledge, the premises and practices acknowledged to use
meet the minimum acceptable standards as recommended and set
forth in the AU and AWA guidelines.
____ Environmental Control form attached. ____
Inside & Outside loft photos attached.
AU ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROLS FORM
Recommended and suggested protocols.
There are various situations that may cause a
fancier to enhance their use of environmental controls. In a
normal healthy loft situation, a minimum of 10 points will
indicate the loft owner keeps a well managed loft, takes sound
precautions and understands basic environmental protocols. In
the event of a local, or club health concern, a minimum of 15
points should be earned. Should a loft be in a location where
quarantine is necessary due to a serious disease outbreak, a
minimum of 18 points should be scored.
Signs posted on your property that clearly state
environmental controls are in place and enforced, that visitors
are allowed only with the owners present. Scores
2 points ____
(Putting up a sign is one of the cheapest ways
to put visitors on notice that you have a Biosecurity program,
even minimal, in effect. Visitors should wash their hands,
and wear appropriate protective clothing.)
Keep a log book for visitors to sign in and out.
Scores 2 points ____
Wear loft jacket or coveralls. Head or facemask
in loft optional. Scores 2 points ____
Disinfect shoes when going in/coming out of the
loft. (foot bath) Scores 2 points ____
Use of booties/foot covering when going
in/coming out of the loft.Scores 2 points
Wash hands before/after handling birds. Alcohol
pads are cheap. Scores 2 points ____
No other species, bird, animal in direct contact
with pigeons. Scores 2 points ____
Loft is secured or fenced, so there is no free
access to pigeons. Scores 2 points ____
Disinfect loft at least once annually. Scores
3 points ____
Alternatively, use a spray disinfectant
throughout the interior of the loft just prior to putting your
breeders together. You should spray every surface in the
interior of the loft, allow the loft to dry thoroughly, then
spray a second time. Adding dormant oil to the spray will also
help to control flies, mites and lice.
Skylights installed in roof of loft Scores
2 points ____
Ultraviolet light, a major component of
sunlight, kills most viruses & bacteria.
Vaccinate all of your birds at least once
annually. Scores 1 points for each of the
Vaccinate young birds at 8 – 10 weeks Scores
1 point ___
Vaccinate breeders prior to pairing. Scores
1 point ___
Vaccinate old birds on race team. Scores
1 point ___
Vaccination for PMV-Paramyxovirus and
Paratyphoid once a year stimulates the birds’ immune systems,
and can help prevent the development of these diseases. Young
birds should be vaccinated at 8-10 weeks, and this should be
repeated just prior to the young bird races – this schedule
allows maximum development of the birds’ own immune system.
Breeders should be vaccinated 30 days before putting the birds
together and old birds on the race team should be vaccinated a
month before training for races begins.
Loft has an isolated section in which to contain
new birds or those that have become ill, until good health is
verified or restored. Scores 3 points ___
Club Officers/Inspection Committee Signatures:
Send this form attached to the Loft
Certification Checklist & photos to the AU office:
ARPU, PO Box 18465, Oklahoma City, OK
Once received, a certificate will be generated and mailed
with an AU Loft Certification Decal.