How to Raise Pigeons for Meat or as a Pet

Updated on June 7, 2017
Jan Saints profile image

Januaris is a supplier of pet food and care products, and he’s a true animal lover. He loves to write about dogs, bettas, bees, and pigeons.

According to many people, raising pet pigeons is an interesting and satisfying activity. Most people keep the domestic bird as a hobby or as a source of income (to earn money from selling the pet). But generally, the bird is kept for pet purposes or as a meat source.

flock
flock | Source

For you to succeed in raising pigeons at home, you must know the best practices for carrying out the activity. It doesn’t matter the breed you are keeping or planning to keep. Whether it is homing or feral rock, these practices provide excellent returns. And in case you didn't know, there are around 300 breeds of pet pigeons, and are categorized into three major groups: sporting, fancy and utility.

If you apply the right practices when raising these birds, then you can be sure to get the best results from your feathered friends. Read on to learn how to raise pigeons at home and the best practices you should employ to get maximum benefits from your birds.

In Brief, What are the Best Practices for Raising Pet Pigeons? Well, They Include:

  1. Raising them in pairs
  2. Providing secure and comfortable housing
  3. Controlling the living environment
  4. Providing enough and healthy food
  5. Providing enough and clean water
  6. Providing well-designed nest boxes
  7. Preventing and controlling parasites promptly
  8. Preventing and treating diseases and injuries accordingly
  9. Securing baths for them
  10. Providing flypens and perches
  11. Banding them for easy management

1. Raise Pigeons in Pairs - One of the Most Important Practices

Pigeons like to live in pairs (male and female), so when buying them, ensure that you get an even number. The birds usually pair themselves, but for the ones that cannot pair, lock them in a nest box for a few days and they will bond. The feathered pets will pair only if they share similar characteristics and behaviors.

2. Provide Secure and Comfortable Housing

It is recommended to install more than one loft/coop (pigeon house) if you have more than one pair of the birds. Some pigeons do not get along well with others, and so if you have some which are aggressive, it is important to house them in a separate coop.

Pigeons are preys of some wild animals and other birds, so you need to provide secure coops for your pets. For maximum security, ensure the lofts are made of metal sheets or wood and wire mesh. The doors should be strong and well fixed to keep away the predators.

Backyard Boys Woodworking BBW81 Cardinal Nest Box
Backyard Boys Woodworking BBW81 Cardinal Nest Box

For over 5 years that I have been keeping pigeons, I have come across, bought and used different types of coops- some have disappointed while others have been quite useful. This cardinal nest box is so far the most useful coop I have dealt with! It is designed for one pair, and as shown, it is pretty spacious.

It is made of wood, meaning that it is secure and provides great comfort. It has a landing board to provide easy access for the birds, and when it comes to the door, you can just fix a strong wiremesh in the front for more security. The backside can be fixed on a wall with nails or wire, so it is just a hassle-free loft.

I usually use soft materials, like clothing, on the floor to improve comfort and make cleaning easier. If you love your feathered pets and always wants the best for them, you should get this nest box for them!

 

The loft design and materials should not affect the comfort of your feathered buddies in any negative way. The metal sheets and wires should be fixed properly to ensure that they don't scratch, pierce or injure your birds. You can provide some soft lining materials to improve the comfort of the coops. A landing board or trap is required at the door to help the birds access the house without any difficulties.

It is advisable to clean the lofts daily. Feces and feathers accumulate faster in the houses, so ensure that you clean them regularly, i.e., every morning. You will be able to prevent and control many parasites and diseases if you keep the coops clean.

3. Control the Living Environment

Pigeons are highly affected by weather conditions, and they cannot tolerate these conditions when they are extreme. All the species cannot survive harsh temperatures, wind or rain, so it is important to control the living environment of your birds.

During winter, you can provide heating systems to help them cope with the cold weather. For the hotter months, you can reduce beddings and increase ventilation in the lofts. If your area is affected by strong wind, you need to install wind barriers around the houses.

living environment
living environment | Source

4. Provide Enough and Healthy Food

These birds mainly feed on grains and seeds, and it is recommended to provide them with dry grains since grains with high moisture content can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Some popular grains include: wheat, corn, barley and sorghum. There are also some ready-made commercial feeds that you can buy to improve the diet of your pets.

When it comes to the seeds, the birds love to eat peas, legume seeds, soybeans and peanuts. It is recommended to break the seeds into smaller pieces to enable the young ones feed on them without difficulties. You can combine 2 or more seeds to ensure that they get enough nutrients. The newly-hatched birds are fed by the adult ones, so you should not be worried about feeding them.

Grit is a great addition to the feed. Some grit materials include: oyster shell, salt, limestone, charcoal and bone powder which contains calcium, sulfur, iodine, iron and other essential minerals.

You should place the food in a place where they can access it anytime of the day. One of the best places is near their houses. Put the food in clean troughs or trays, and you should clean the containers regularly to avoid contamination. It is not recommended to place the food inside the lofts because there is a high chance of it mixing with feces and other wastes.

5. Provide Enough and Clean Water to Your Pigeons

Your birds should be able to access enough and fresh water all the times. It is recommended to place water near the food troughs. There are specially designed waterers that can help them drink water with no difficulties. You can use these water troughs to ensure that they drink enough water every day. You should also clean the troughs regularly to prevent the occurrence of diseases.

6. Provide Well-Designed Nest Boxes

Nest boxes are lofts designed for laying eggs and raising the young ones. A normal nest box is 24 inches long, 12 inches wide and 14 inches deep. A third of the box should be opened and covered with a wire mesh to help the birds get fresh air while staying secure. The interior should be lined with nesting materials.

7. Prevent and Control Parasites Promptly

Parasites can greatly interfere with the attractiveness of your birds and reduce their productivity. The most common parasites are mites, lice, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and worms, and the best way to prevent them is to keep all the places where your birds live clean. Ensure the coops, food & water troughs, flypens, perches and nest boxes remain clean and if possible sanitized.

If you detect any sign of parasite attack, use a suitable pesticide or insecticide to control the parasite. You can also quarantine the affected birds to stop the spread of the parasites. If the parasite attack becomes severe, get help from a veterinarian.

8. Prevent and Treat Diseases and Injuries Accordingly

A poultry disease is the worst thing that can happen to your flock. The most deadly and infectious diseases can wipe it in less than a week. Some common diseases include: pox, Newcastle and influenza, and they can be prevented by observing hygiene in places where the fowl live. So keep the lofts, food & water troughs, flypens, nest boxes and perches as clean as possible. Another great way to control diseases is to vaccinate your pets.

In case of any disease attack, quarantine and treat the affected fowl. You may have to get help from a veterinarian if you do not understand the disease. If there are dead birds, bury or burn them to control the spread of the disease. You should clean and disinfect all the places where your flock live and hang out.

When your pigeon gets injured, put him in a separate coop and provide him with water and food. Check him for signs of injuries, such as cuts, scratches, bruises, cuts, piercings and broken wings or limbs. If you find major injuries, call a veterinarian. Some great ways to prevent injuries in these birds include: providing safe lofts, keeping predators away and securing their flight paths.

9. Secure Baths for Your Pigeons

These birds like to take a bath when the weather is warm, so provide water pots or bathing containers to allow them wash and cool their bodies. It is recommended to supply fresh water to the baths every day. This can also help prevent parasites and diseases.

bathing place
bathing place | Source

10. Provide Flypens and Perches

Flypens prevent new birds from flying away, and they allow them to get plenty of exercise while being confined. A simple flypen is made of wire mesh, and it can be 16 feet long, 5 feet wide and 6 feet long. Perches are highly recommended in flypens as they help the birds rest after exercise. So provide enough of these structures in the flypens.

11. Band Your Pigeons for Easy Management

There are a number of management reasons why you would want to practice banding or striping. First, you can band your young birds to distinguish them. Second, you can band birds that are participating in sports to avoid losing them. Third, you can band some of your birds in order to monitor their growth progress. The strips come with different numbers to help you identify each bird.

In Conclusion...

When you implement these practices, you will definitely get the best results from your pigeons. You will be able to keep these birds in a hassle-free way, and the best thing is that you will own feathered pets that will always keep you happy and delighted. So spice up your hobby or maximize your income by raising your birds accordingly.

References

  • A.S. Omar. "A Field Study on P' Production Systems in the Rural Sector of El-Sharkia Governorate". epsaegypt.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/1539.pdf (2015).
  • M. Asaduzzaman. "P' Farming In Gouripur Upazilla Of Mymensingh District". banglajol.info › ... › Vol 38, No 1-2. (2009).
  • D.E. Williams. "P' (Rock Doves)" - Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management. icwdm.org/handbook/birds/bird_e87.pdf (1994).
  • B.F. Skinner. “P' in a Pelican”. appstate.edu/~kms/classes/psy3202/Documents/Skinner1960.pdf (revised in 2000).
  • D.E. Williams, David E. and Corrigan, Robert M. "P' (Rock Doves)" - Nevada Department of Agricultureagri.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/agrinvgov/Content/Protection/Resource.../P'.pdf (1994).
  • C. Walcott. "P' Homing: Observations, Experiments and Confusions". CiteSeerX. citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.585.3034&rep=rep1...pdf (‎1996).

Do you keep pigeons?

See results

If yes, do you need to implement these best practices to increase the benefits of your pets?

See results

Questions & Answers

  • is it a good idea to pair different pigeon breeds? (e.g., roller pigeon with utility pigeon.)

    Although it can be hard to pair different breeds, it is usually not a big issue. You can try to see what you can get!

© 2015 Januaris Saint Fores

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • lrdl3535 profile image

      Richard Lindsay 

      2 years ago from California

      My son is the one raising pigeons now. I use to raise utility white Kings but passed my knowledge off to my son.

    • Jan Saints profile imageAUTHOR

      Januaris Saint Fores 

      3 years ago from the Midwest

      Thanks WiccaSage

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      3 years ago

      Damn, they are cute. I used to know someone who raised pigeons. I would totally do it if I had the space, I remember once I found an injured pigeon and nursed him back to health, and he just kind of used my porch as his home base. I'd feed him corn kernels. So freaking cute.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)