Pigeons belong to the strange group of animals that can generate diametrically opposite emotions in humans. While some people regard them as a veritable urban scourge, many admire them for their unspeakable beauty and remarkable cognitive abilities. In fact, pigeons breeding as a pet has not lost its supremacy after years of history and tradition.
Despite the prejudices and myths surrounding these birds, we affirm the fist on the table that pigeons are intelligent birds, sociable, and more than clean. In fact, poor hygiene of pigeons or their environment causes them to fall ill more than easily. For this reason, to adopt a domestic pigeon it will be essential to offer preventive care so that you can enjoy a healthy pigeon.
Wondering if you can have domestic pigeon as a pet? In this new article The pigeon as a pet from Animals Area, we will tell you more about the behavior of pigeon as a pet as well as what they need for happy pigeons!
Characteristics of pigeons
The term “pigeon” is popularly used to refer to several birds belonging to the family Columbidae, which encompasses over 300 species. Nowadays, there are more than 150 breeds of pigeons that have colonized all continents except the Antarctic. This information acts like a gong reminding us of the importance of knowing each pigeon breed and its needs before taking the plunge and deciding to adopt one as a pet.
The pigeons that we find the most easily pacing the streets of our infinite cities turn out to be also the most popular pigeon as a pet, we know them under the name of Pigeon biset ( Columba livia ). Let us never forget that a while ago, pigeons were as useful as the internet is these days, thanks to their incredible sense of direction and their superintelligence, they were the messengers of yesteryear. ..
In general, these birds are anatomically characterized by their robust chest, their small head, and their short swollen beak. The pigeons are equipped with powerful wings which are relatively large compared to the size of their body. Their legs are short, thin, and have 4 fingers, one of which is opposable (yes, quite like our thumb!). The plumage of the pigeons is wide and soft, it can present different tones and color combinations depending on the pattern of each species.
It is not only dogs and cats that can be excellent companions … Although we are not used to thinking of pigeons as pets, what is certain is that these birds are intelligent, sociable and show a very good predisposition for training and interaction with people. But pigeons are also independent birds that need their freedom to fly and explore the world around them! If the pigeons are unable to fly at their will, they can get sick and eventually develop behavioral problems …
This is undoubtedly what explains why pigeon racing is an art that still conquers followers around the world today. Raising and teaching tricks to a domestic pigeon is a rewarding and stimulating experience in which the use of positive reinforcement plays a crucial role. However, it is up to us to emphasize the fact that pigeon possession requires passion, patience, time, disposition, space, and economic ease in order to offer your pet pigeon ideal living conditions!
Many people also wonder if a pigeon can end up being aggressive and if it is possible to avoid inappropriate behavior in these sumptuous birds. As is the case for all other animals, the behavior of pigeons will mainly depend on the environment and the training offered by their guardians. If we want to have healthy and balanced pigeons at home, we will have to offer them an optimized diet, medical care, an environment favorable to its development, adequate physical and mental stimulation and advice from a professional who will help us train. our pigeons from an early age.
Basic care of a pigeon as a pet
How do you take care of pigeons
As with all pets, pigeons also need some basic care in order to enjoy a healthy, happy and active life. In general, we can divide into 5 sections the essential care that a domestic pigeon needs: environment, nutrition, hygiene, stimulation, and preventive medicine. In the paragraphs that follow this box in our new article The pigeon as a pet, we will talk a little more about each of them, so be careful!
Prepare the ideal environment for your pigeons
what is the best envirment for pigeons ?
All animals need to live in a positive environment, where they will benefit from the optimum conditions to develop their body and mind. So, before you decide to adopt a domestic pigeon, you will need to condition the space in which it will live, in order to receive your pet pigeon as it should be!
Although if you want to have pigeon as a pet u must know pigeons love to be free, you will need to prepare cages or a dovecote that will serve as a refuge for them to sleep and rest. So, before adopting a pigeon, you will have to go to a store specializing in birds in order to acquire cages or dovecotes suitable for the size and breed of the pigeon that you have chosen to adopt.
Pigeons are sociable animals who like to live in small communities, however, you must be particularly careful not to over-populate your dovecote as this could generate problems of cohabitation between your adorable pigeons. In general, it is recommended to have a minimum of 2 birds per cage and a maximum of 5.
In order to facilitate the hygiene of the cage , one can coat the bottom of the cage with sheets of newspaper or paper towel and cover the whole with gravel. If we want to condition the cage a little better and bring a little more comfort to our pigeons, we can add to the gravel a little bit of straw and coconut hair as well as small branches and small stones. In this way, we manage to reproduce their natural environment a little better and the birds can use these small elements in order to make a small, cozy nest.
In each cage, your pigeons must have a bowl for food and a bottle appropriate to their size and morphology. The stainless steel bowls are safer and hygienic as they can be washed and disinfected easily. On the other hand, we always recommend providing your pet pigeons with additional drinkers (like those used for hamsters) because they allow the water to stay fresh and pure for a long time.
Ideal temperature and humidity for pigeons
In addition to preparing the inside of the cage for your pigeons, you will also have to pay particular attention to where you will put the cage and how to optimally condition the environment. The first thing you will need to ensure is to ensure that your birds are not exposed to the weather , adverse weather conditions or possible predators. Then, you will need to properly disinfect this environment in order to remove impurities and possible pathogens.
Since pigeons tend to prefer warm or temperate climates , you will need to pay attention to the air conditioning of their environment. The ideal for pigeons is that the temperature is always between 22 and 25 º for the mornings and from 16 to 20 ºC for the nights. In winter, heating will be essential to pay attention to the health of your pigeons.
However, you will also need to be careful that the air is not too dry as this will cause respiratory problems in your pigeons. In order to maintain a balanced humidity using the heating, you can spray water two to three times a day (and at room temperature), but you should never spray the water directly into the cages or on the pigeon feathers. The idea is to humidify the ambient air without wetting the birds.
Care for pigeons: hygiene
Hygiene is one of the most important care for a domestic pigeon because it will help us to keep our birds healthy! Birds should have no direct contact with their droppings and should not cohabit with leftover food and water in a degraded state.
At least once a day you will need to wash your bird feeder and waterer to avoid the accumulation of excrement or food scraps in the bottom of the cage or on the objects of its cage. It is also important not to put too much food directly in the cage because it is more than likely that it ends up wasted … In addition to all this, it will be necessary to disinfect all the objects, dovecote accessories two to three times per week.
What do pigeons eat?
Pigeon as a pet (like all animals) need to have a complete and balanced diet in order to be able to develop properly and thus be healthy. Food is essential for your pigeons to have a strengthened immunological system and so that they can develop not only good physical resistance but also cognitive capacities!
In the wild, pigeons follow a varied diet, based mainly on the consumption of seeds and cereals such as corn, wheat, oats, sorghum, barley, lentils, rice, flax, carob, beans, sesame, millet, peas and sunflower. By adopting a domestic pigeon, it will be essential to offer him a balanced diet according to his nutritional needs.
In stores specializing in birds you can find commercial mixes specially prepared for pigeons . These products are interesting because they contain the balanced proportions of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals that pigeons need. It is however highly recommended to incorporate fresh and natural foods in their diet to supplement their diet.
The seeds and sprouted grains, and vegetables and fruits can be offered to two pigeons to three times a week. We can also incorporate once or twice a week cooked egg or yogurt reduced in lactose and without added sugars to guarantee our pigeon a good supply of lean proteins. You can also crush the shell of an egg and mix it with the food of your pet pigeons to increase the mineral intake.
Wheat germ oil is generally recommended as a supplement during the molting period of pigeons but it is mandatory that its administration is accompanied and supervised by a specialized veterinarian. It is also important to consult a professional specialized on the necessity and the benefits to offer vitamins and minerals in the form of supplements to your birds in order to improve their immunological system.
Foods prohibited for pigeons
Although pigeons are able to adapt to a very varied diet, there are foods and drinks that can be toxic to their organism , for example:
Food for humans, stuffed, industrialized, fried or with artificial flavors.
Chocolate and chocolate drinks.
Sweet and carbonated drinks.
Avocado, apple, or pear seeds.
Onion, garlic, leek, garlic, etc.
Salt, sugar, and artificial sweeteners (or foods containing them).
Coffee and caffeinated drinks.
Human candy in general (caramel, chewing gum, cookies, etc.).
Care for pigeons: physical and mental stimulation
As we said earlier, although pigeons are sociable and predisposed to interact with people and with other birds, they are also independent birds that do not adapt well to confinement and constant harassment. It will therefore be essential to have a safe space where you can free your pigeons so that they can fly, walk, interact and express themselves freely.
Wondering if the pigeons are coming home? It is therefore a matter of training the birds using positive reinforcement to reward them when they return home quickly. Likewise, many guardians only release their pigeons before feeding them, which makes it easier for them to attract them by offering them their food.
In addition to flying and being able to move freely, it will also be essential that you offer them what is called an enriched environment in order to stimulate the minds of your pigeons. Do not forget that these are very intelligent birds and that they have very developed senses, thus, a sedentary and boring life results in highly detrimental for their physical and mental health.
Care for pigeons: preventive medicine
To conclude, it seems important to us to stress the importance of offering what is called adequate preventive medicine to your pigeons. In addition to making preventive visits to your veterinarian every 6 months or so, it will be essential to vaccinate your pigeons so that they do not contract the most common diseases of domestic birds. They should also be dewormed regularly so that they do not contract external or internal parasites. Home remedies can be used to internally deworm them by giving them garlic and Cucurbita seeds. If pharmaceutical products are used, care should be taken to use products specially developed for birds.
Pigeons transmit diseases: an old concern
Do pigeons carry disease?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of false myths around pigeons, the first and most terrible of them is the popular belief that pigeons are dirty animals that transmit disease to humans. But the fact that the pigeons are in contact with various pathogenic agents and that they can suddenly act as possible vectors of certain pathologies owes to the environment in which they live as well as the food which they consume and certainly not to their innate characteristics of their organism.
Just like parrots, canaries, macaws or any other species of bird, pigeons are naturally clean and can get seriously ill if they are not given proper hygiene, nutrition and deworming. When a pigeon is raised as a pet, it lives in a clean and safe environment, it enjoys a healthy, fresh and balanced diet, it receives regular veterinary care and is absolutely harmless to humans. The pigeons that we see in the street are not dirty by nature, they are because we, as a species are dirty.
Thus, street pigeons live in unsanitary conditions and tend to feed on the remains of humans as well as on food in a state of decomposition. Thus, his body becomes vulnerable to the spread of bacteria, parasites and other pathogens. For this reason, we do not recommend collecting street pigeons and bringing them directly to your home. It will first be necessary to bring it to a specialized veterinarian or to an emergency center for birds in order to check its state of health and the care necessary to restore it.
How to tame a baby pigeon?
To tame a baby pigeon, follow these tips:
Take your time and be patient
Feed your pigeons in the palm of your hand
Gain his trust little by little
Use your other tame pigeons to show the pigeon that you want to tame how to behave with you
In the beginning, the wild pigeon will not dare to come to eat in your hand but when seeing the other pigeons do it, little by little it will come to eat in your hand.
How to breed a single pigeon
Pigeons are very friendly animals that were domesticated many centuries earlier. They have even been trained to perform certain tasks, such as carrying messages. Pigeons prefer to have company. If you plan to have one, you will commit to providing a lot of attention
Getting ready to welcome the pigeon
1-Consider the engagement. Due to the fact that pigeons are social animals, it is recommended to have a single pigeon only if you are sure that you will be able to dedicate enough time and companionship to it to be happy.
You should also consult local regulations to be sure you are allowed to breed a pigeon.
Several different breeds of pigeons exist and their needs for social interaction vary considerably. However, you should set aside some time each day to socialize with your pigeon.
2-Buy a cage. You should have a place for your pigeon inside, and if possible another place outside. It is important to prepare this point in advance. The pigeon will be disoriented if you move it without immediately providing it with a new home. Clean all cages before your pigeon arrives.
The ideal interior cage is rectangular and partially closed. Check that there are no holes large enough in the cage for your pigeon to pass its head through. Pigeons like to walk a lot, the bottom of the cage should be covered with paper or grass. Keep the cage in a bright place, but not exposed to direct sunlight. If the cage is in a location that could be lit overnight, you should cover the cage in the evening.
An external aviary should measure 1.80 m by 1.80 m with a height of 2.40 m. Add shelves so that he can make a nest there, one of them should be as high as possible in the enclosure. The aviary should be strong enough to protect it from external predators. If possible, the aviary should face south or southwest to get the most out of the sunlight.
Be sure to include a bathtub that your bird will use to wash.
Certain races are able to fly in freedom. You can provide them with a “dovecote”, which is a small structure that you can hang on one of the sides of your house. However, be careful, as predators could chase your bird if you allow it to fly freely.
u can made the cage with wood it’s better like in the picture
3-Buy food. Different types of mixes exist, which have been designed for pigeons and doves. Pellet diets are the best sources of nutrients. Seed-based diets and other commercial foods will need more supplements.
You can supplement your pigeon’s normal diet with lettuce, endives, chickweed, spinach, berries, apple, and pears.
By making gravel available to your pigeon, you will help it digest its food.
Pet stores sell vitamin and calcium supplements for birds, which can help improve the health of your pigeon
Find a pigeon. On the Internet, you will find the contact details of a local breeder Some places also have problems with abandoned pigeons. This means that you can find a pigeon in the animal shelter in your city. In either case, you should ask about the breed of pigeon and ask for instructions on how to maintain it, as different breeds have different behaviors and very different needs.
It is recommended beforehand to get in touch with several pigeons to see if you have allergies and to check that they meet your expectations. Assess the situation and observe if the shelter is clean and if the pigeons are well treated. If the pigeons have not been treated well, you will have difficulty socializing them
Caring for the pigeon
1-Keep it inside to get started. When you buy a pigeon for the first time, it is recommended to keep it inside to help you bond with it. Given that the pigeon has no companion, it is very important that you stay close to him to make him the company.
The kitchen is not a suitable place to keep your pigeon, because the fumes emitted by Teflon stoves are toxic to these animals.
2-Connect with your pigeon. During the first days, let your pigeon settle. Don’t touch him, but talk to him often and stay near the cage. Progress slowly until you can caress it gently.
3-Let him explore the house. Allow him to get out of his cage, preferably in an enclosed space such as a small room. If you let it out every day, your pigeon will calm down, and eventually, you can lift it. Take the time each day to play with your pigeon: this will allow you to forge links with him.
Pigeons can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, such as psittacosis. If you or someone in your household has a weaker immune system, consult your doctor to find out if they are allowed to share the same airspace as a pigeon.
Wash your hands after handling the pigeon, as pigeons have a reputation for carrying salmonella.
Do not let your pigeon come near dogs and cats.
3-Move it outside. Pigeons can live indoors, but they love living outside even more. It is recommended to build an enclosure to protect your pigeon. Consult your breeder to find out if your pigeon is able to fly freely.
4-Find a partner for your pigeon. The pigeons are monogamous and they will stay with the same partner for their whole life. However, they can be very territorial. To avoid clashes, gently introduce pigeons to each other, keeping one of them inside to get him used to his environment and he moved.
How to train your pigeon?
First of all, you have to have time and patience to be able to do this work with your pet, here are some tips:
The chicks’ training begins from when they are very small, that is, between 25 and 30 days of age.
In this period, it is recommended that the chicks are placed in lofts in groups of animals of the same age and cause them to fly inside it every day. Keep a close relationship with him, whistle and talk to him when you approach him and place his food so you will get to know him and get used to your call.
Within a few days of placing it in its loft, its wings will have acquired the strength to carry out short-haul flights. We have to have confidence in our pet and know that it will return when we hear our whistle. Let him out of the cage before feeding him, this will ensure that he has an appetite and goes to the feeder when you call him.
Around the three months of age of your chick, you will begin to work on the sense of orientation.
You will have to get it used to transport it in a cage or training basket, you will take it to another point and from there it must return on its own to the loft. As it is a stressful phase for your chick, you will have to do it little by little, that is, go slowly, the first day you take it out only a few minutes and gradually increase it.
Move to a nearby point, when you get to it, get ready to open the cage and let them return home. Try to do it when the day is sunny free of fog, rain or strong winds, do not make this a difficult test for you and your chick.
It only remains for us to tell you, that you should schedule periodic visits to the bird specialist veterinarian if you observe any bodily injury or change in your pet’s behavior, do not hesitate to take it immediately to your veterinarian.
some question about Pigeon as a pet
How long do pigeons live for?
most pigeons commonly live up to 15 years and sometimes longer. In urban populations, however, pigeons seldom live more than 3 or 4 years.
How much do fancy pigeons cost?
On average, plan on spending anywhere from $50 to as much as over $500 for a pigeon for sale. Show pigeons that are higher in quality can yield prices that surpass $1,000.so u can even find one between 10 $ to 50 $
Do pigeons carry disease?
there are many diseases that could infect your pigeon so better be careful and check all the time
Do pigeons bond with humans?
Pigeons bond easily with humans, especially those that feed them, and a tamed pigeon, kept alone, will become a faithful and loyal companion to its human.
What do pigeons hate?
Pigeons do not like strong spices, such as black pepper, chili, or cinnamon. Make spice bags or spread a generous amount of these spices around popular pigeon nesting areas to keep them away.