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Pigeons for food.

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

My buddy found a OLD book the other day about raising pigeons for food.  Does anyone still do that?  Is the meat good?  What breed is good for eating and how do you find them? 

We were discussing this as an alternative food source for tough times and possibly helping others that are going thru harder times.

Thanks for any replies.

We have:
3 BR hens-2 RIR-2 sexlink-1cochin roo-1 redstar????-1 guinee roo (for the time being!) 11 biddies in brooder and 3 coturnix.
5 kids-1daughter in law-1granddaughter-1german shepperd-1 beagle-1minpin-1PIACat
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We have:
3 BR hens-2 RIR-2 sexlink-1cochin roo-1 redstar????-1 guinee roo (for the time being!) 11 biddies in brooder and 3 coturnix.
5 kids-1daughter in law-1granddaughter-1german shepperd-1 beagle-1minpin-1PIACat
Reply
post #2 of 18

Heres a link that will be helpful to you.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=204998

Racing Homers Coming in 2011. I've had experience with rabbits, Coturnix quail, chickens, goats, sheep, pigeons, and horses. E-mail me with an questions.
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Racing Homers Coming in 2011. I've had experience with rabbits, Coturnix quail, chickens, goats, sheep, pigeons, and horses. E-mail me with an questions.
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post #3 of 18

i just can't see them being worth it, the most you can get out of a single hatching is 2 birds, and to feed the average family of four you would need at least 2-4 squabs, it takes 18 days for an egg to hatch and then probly at least a month to get the babies up to weight, and pigeon food is way more expensive than other kinds of bird. So it'll take 2 months (minimum, probly more) for the parents to raise the babies and then start on another clutch, plus you'll probly end up saving some of the babies as breeders, you'd need alot of well managed pairs to make this work. I'm sure they did use pigeons in the great depression, but back then alot more people had pigeons lying around and feed was comparatively much cheaper. Look into coturnix quail, they lay every day, the hens start laying at 6-8 weeks and the males are at a butcherable weight at 6 weeks usually. All you need to get started is 3 or 4 hens and 1 male, that will give you 40 fertile eggs in ten days, put them in a cheap incubator and they hatch, they'll hatch no matter what, literaly.

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the link!  Great information.

95yj-- I see your point.  One thing that was intruguing was the pigeons tendancy to come back to the roost in the evening.  Could you conceivably let them out in the morning and let them eat free food during the day?  Also with the price of the Texans could you sell a pair every once in a while to cover your costs?

Thanks!

We have:
3 BR hens-2 RIR-2 sexlink-1cochin roo-1 redstar????-1 guinee roo (for the time being!) 11 biddies in brooder and 3 coturnix.
5 kids-1daughter in law-1granddaughter-1german shepperd-1 beagle-1minpin-1PIACat
Reply
We have:
3 BR hens-2 RIR-2 sexlink-1cochin roo-1 redstar????-1 guinee roo (for the time being!) 11 biddies in brooder and 3 coturnix.
5 kids-1daughter in law-1granddaughter-1german shepperd-1 beagle-1minpin-1PIACat
Reply
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by catsmithpuddin 

Thanks for the link!  Great information.

95yj-- I see your point.  One thing that was intruguing was the pigeons tendancy to come back to the roost in the evening.  Could you conceivably let them out in the morning and let them eat free food during the day?  Also with the price of the Texans could you sell a pair every once in a while to cover your costs?

Thanks!


Texas pioneers were bred for their meat, not homing ability, so they wouldn't necessarily come back to the coop, plus then you would have to deal with training them and losses to hawks. Pigeons are not known for their foraging ability, so it is most likely that if they knew how to get home they would fly around and then come home in time for dinner, eliminating the entire point. Selling birds never brings in a profit, and you will very rarely break even, but if you want to try pigeons i'd go for it, I'm not trying to discourage you, just saying that if your looking for an easy and cheap bird to raise for meat i personally wouldn't go for pigeons.
*i'v never actually kept these birds, i'm only repeating information that i'v heard and guessed at from pigeons that i have kept.


Edited by 95yj - 8/19/10 at 9:19am
post #6 of 18

With the upsurge in hawk populations, free lofting of pigeons just does not work.  The Cooper's hawks or sharp shins would make short work of them.  Even red tails will capture young birds or the dummies.  An immature red tail has been hanging around my loft all summer.  Whenever I fly my birds, she will make 3 or 4 attemts to snag one- then she gives up.  As soon as the Cooper's show up, I will lock down until late next spring.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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post #7 of 18

Texan Pioneers can barely fly and should not be let out because of hawks and cats they can't get away from the predators. From laid eggs to 35 days you'd need 53 days for consumable birds, but the next batch of eggs are laid when the first round of youngsters are 2 weeks old saving some time. Pigeon feed is quite expensive but I have seen birds thrive on game bird mixes and thawed out packages of vegetable or you can read the tutorial of yardbirdtx more carefully and feed you birds like he does, he has a good way of feeding them.

Quail can't be let out if they are they will never come back unless you catch them and probably will be eaten by predators. From my experience with quail I do not like the taste of the meat it just seems that all that effort for the lil bit of meat isn't worth it, the eggs are good but the meat isn't is my personal opinion of coturnix quail. I also found them to be extremely aggressive no matter how much I culled of the mean ones I always had to worry about the aggression of them and it annoyed me. With pigeons all you do is feed them and water them the parents raise the young and you don't have to worry about them, quail you have to incubate eggs brood them up until 4-5 weeks then give them another 3 weeks to grow out a bit. Everyone says quail are great they are ready to eat in 6 weeks and they lay in 6 weeks thats barely true they'll lay whenever they want to they can be 5 weeks old or 13 weeks old. As far as meat they don't really get to a decent size till about 8-10 weeks and even then it isn't as much meat. So lets say you get coturnix thats 17-18 days in the incubator 5 week in the brooder 3 weeks to get to an appropriate processing weight how many days are you up to? 73-74 days = about 10 and a half weeks. Pigeons 18 days of incubation and raise them out to about 35-40 days before processing them that 53-58 days about 8 and a half weeks.

Honestly you can go back and forth all day with pros and cons for pigeons and quail. Whatever bird you enjoy will be the answer I personally like pigeons for meat, but I might get me a 15 or so coturnix quail hens just for eggs, not breeding and no males shouldn't complicate things with no feathers on necks or rough breeding and males fighting.

Racing Homers Coming in 2011. I've had experience with rabbits, Coturnix quail, chickens, goats, sheep, pigeons, and horses. E-mail me with an questions.
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Racing Homers Coming in 2011. I've had experience with rabbits, Coturnix quail, chickens, goats, sheep, pigeons, and horses. E-mail me with an questions.
Reply
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by 95yj 

i just can't see them being worth it, the most you can get out of a single hatching is 2 birds, and to feed the average family of four you would need at least 2-4 squabs, it takes 18 days for an egg to hatch and then probly at least a month to get the babies up to weight, and pigeon food is way more expensive than other kinds of bird. So it'll take 2 months (minimum, probly more) for the parents to raise the babies and then start on another clutch, plus you'll probly end up saving some of the babies as breeders, you'd need alot of well managed pairs to make this work. I'm sure they did use pigeons in the great depression, but back then alot more people had pigeons lying around and feed was comparatively much cheaper. Look into coturnix quail, they lay every day, the hens start laying at 6-8 weeks and the males are at a butcherable weight at 6 weeks usually. All you need to get started is 3 or 4 hens and 1 male, that will give you 40 fertile eggs in ten days, put them in a cheap incubator and they hatch, they'll hatch no matter what, literaly.


That's with show pigeons. It's different with squabbers. After the squabs are a month old, the parents start on a new pair and it's not a waste b/c squab is a high quality, expensive meat. Squab costs more per pound than lobster! And some pairs can hatch and care for up to 4 birds

When life gives you lemons....................... squirt them into the eyes of your enemies.
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When life gives you lemons....................... squirt them into the eyes of your enemies.
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post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoJo 95 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 95yj 

i just can't see them being worth it, the most you can get out of a single hatching is 2 birds, and to feed the average family of four you would need at least 2-4 squabs, it takes 18 days for an egg to hatch and then probly at least a month to get the babies up to weight, and pigeon food is way more expensive than other kinds of bird. So it'll take 2 months (minimum, probly more) for the parents to raise the babies and then start on another clutch, plus you'll probly end up saving some of the babies as breeders, you'd need alot of well managed pairs to make this work. I'm sure they did use pigeons in the great depression, but back then alot more people had pigeons lying around and feed was comparatively much cheaper. Look into coturnix quail, they lay every day, the hens start laying at 6-8 weeks and the males are at a butcherable weight at 6 weeks usually. All you need to get started is 3 or 4 hens and 1 male, that will give you 40 fertile eggs in ten days, put them in a cheap incubator and they hatch, they'll hatch no matter what, literaly.


That's with show pigeons. It's different with squabbers. After the squabs are a month old, the parents start on a new pair and it's not a waste b/c squab is a high quality, expensive meat. Squab costs more per pound than lobster! And some pairs can hatch and care for up to 4 birds


Actually they start incubating the 2nd round when the 1st round is around 2 weeks old.

Racing Homers Coming in 2011. I've had experience with rabbits, Coturnix quail, chickens, goats, sheep, pigeons, and horses. E-mail me with an questions.
Reply
Racing Homers Coming in 2011. I've had experience with rabbits, Coturnix quail, chickens, goats, sheep, pigeons, and horses. E-mail me with an questions.
Reply
post #10 of 18

The only way a pair can hatch and care for up to 4 squabs is if you foster eggs.  If you have four eggs in a nest naturally, you have a pair of lesbian hens and non fertile eggs.  Pumping young birds takes a lot out of the parents especially the c*ck, and it is possible to burn them out.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
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