Just Got Thrown into Pigeons Have No Idea What I'm doing/ Looking for Advice

Discussion in 'Pigeons and Doves' started by Flip_Flop_Flock, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. Flip_Flop_Flock

    Flip_Flop_Flock In the Brooder

    Apr 6, 2018
    So, I was given some beautiful fan tail pigeons and I took them because I figured sure how hard could it be... I was blinded by the birds beauty, I'm so concerned I'm not caring for them right. It's just a pair supposedly male and female. I have them in a rabbit hutch inside because they always seem too cold outside at night (I live in Kentucky)
    I've been feeding them a mixture of our domestic bird food and chicken feed. Fresh water daily and other than watching and talking to them that's really it.
    I tried letting them loose in my chicken coop but apparently they can't fly well. My grandfather kept racers in his coop is where I got this idea. And when I look online it's mostly about care for Racers and training them to come back home. Not something I'm concerned of with these birds.
    Any way if anyone has advice for these fancy birds I'd love to hear it. I feel like they aren't on the right feed and I'm a little troubled that they can't really fly. What can I do to improve their birdy lives?

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  2. Peeperscreepers

    Peeperscreepers Songster

    Apr 3, 2018
    Peidmont-ish NC, us
    I know nothing about pigeons but yours are beau-ti-ful!
    Flip_Flop_Flock likes this.
  3. Flip_Flop_Flock

    Flip_Flop_Flock In the Brooder

    Apr 6, 2018
    Thank you! Lol That's what got me in trouble was their beauty.
    biophiliac likes this.
  4. Quacking Pigeon

    Quacking Pigeon Crowing

    Mar 12, 2018
    My Coop
    Fantails aren’t the best flyers. You may be able to get a pigeon mix to feed them, or you could create your own mix like you have already.
    jak2002003 likes this.
  5. Authentic Farm Girl

    Authentic Farm Girl In the Brooder

    Apr 22, 2018
    I would just use the search engine for this site. Type in pigeon feed. Great ideas!
  6. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Crowing

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    Not a good idea chickens have a tendency to swarm anything foreign in their coop and kill it especially a fantail where they are poor fliers.

    You seem to be doing everything right in the feed department. I am unable to acquire pigeon mixed feed in my area and like you resorted to your method of mixing my own. This is what a typical pigeon feed looks like.
    In the winter I mix in a bit of rabbit pellets pigeons do eat grass when they are at large and it is available. Pigeons can be picky eaters and only concentrate on certain seeds in a mix depending on their cravings. Every flock is different.
    One thing all pigeons seem to have in common is their love for peanuts shelled and unsalted. Breaking them up into smaller pieces seems to help when first introducing them. They are an excellent tool for taming pigeons which have a tendency to stay aloof and not want to be handled.

    Check out this video this will give you some idea as to what pigeons think of peanuts.

    Pigeon Feed.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
    Flip_Flop_Flock and biophiliac like this.
  7. Flip_Flop_Flock

    Flip_Flop_Flock In the Brooder

    Apr 6, 2018
    Thank you, so much! You were a lot of help. I'm picking them up some unsalted peanuts today to add to their feed. I can't wait to see their reaction.
  8. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Crowing

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    You will find the best results is to only hand feed peanuts to your birds as a treat. It makes handling your birds much easier especially if you have homers which is all that is in my flock.

    Here is a video done and me and my grand daughter and our hobby.

    JoeQ and biophiliac like this.
  9. LamarshFish

    LamarshFish Songster

    Mar 26, 2015
    I was new to pigeons about 1.5 years ago. It it is a very fun and rewarding hobby, and I think you'll soon realize they bring a lot of joy to a home.

    They are fairly easy to care for, so don't worry too much, just make sure you read up on the basics.

    A rabbit hutch likely isn't quite big enough. Fine for a pair short term, but you'll want to get something larger for them for the long term. They need access to natural light daily.

    If they are a male/female pair, you can expect them to raise at least 8 youngsters per year, maybe (and very likely) more, so you will have to account for that in terms of your loft size and/or buy fake eggs as a means of birth control.

    I do not think it is too cold for them where you live, even in the middle of winter, at least as far as homers go... I will let others weigh in on how fantails respond to cold weather, but I can't imagine they are much different than homers in terms of temperature sensitivity. They are all technically the same species.

    That food will work, but it's best you look for a pigeon specific mix, as they do best on that. If you go the chicken pellet route, just make sure the protein content is around 15%, not something like 22% that you see in the flock raiser or meat bird mixes, that is too much protein. Layer pellets work ok, but the problem is they have no choice of monitoring their calcium. The best bet is to offer pigeon mix, and allow them to browse their calcium needs by a separate dish of crushed oyster grit or other grit high in calcium.

    Also, unless you are only feeding them pellets, pigeons need grit. I wouldn't feed the larger granite sized grit for chickens, I would order a bag of pigeon-specific redstone grit for them, such as this: https://www.foyspigeonsupplies.com/pigeon-grit-feed-grains/7011-red-pigeon-grit-10-lbs

    Fresh water daily is wise, especially in the hot weather months. Pigeons benefit greatly from adding organic apple cider vinegar to their water, and garlic oil, at least once a week, but I always have my water treated with it. Prevents canker, and many other problems, and they LOVE it. Ratio is about 1 tbs per liter of water.

    Also regarding water, pigeons, unlike most birds, drink by submerging their beaks into the water and drinking through them like a straw. As such, their drinkers need to have at least 1" of water depth for them to be able to drink with relative ease.

    x2 on Hokum's suggestion above to offer raw, unsalted peanuts as treats. They LOVE them, and it works well for taming. Do not over feed them.

    Also another x2 from Hokum's suggestion on offering some kind of green pellet. Pigeons do not necessarily need greens, but they love them and thrive with them in their diet. Fresh greens such as romaine lettuce (or dandelion leaves (which cost nothing lol), and even parsley) are obviously best, and they love to much and shred that kind of stuff, but when you can't offer that a simple bowl filled with alfalfa based rabbit pellets works. They may not scarf it down, but they will eat them over time as their nutritional needs require. My favorite is the 40lb bags of organic alfalfa pellets from Tractor Supply because they have no additives (just organic alfalfa), only draw back is some of the pellets are quite large so you have to spend about 5 mins breaking them apart before putting them in the birds' loft.

    Probably not the best idea. You'll find there are folks who do this, and you may find it works ok for now, but you just never know what chickens will do. They are more than capable of killing your fantails, especially being that fantails aren't great fliers. In any event, if you do this, ensure the fantails are able to fly high up and away from the chickens.

    Pigeons also LOVE baths. They should be offered a bath treated with anti-parasitic bath salts, such as the ones in the link below, at least once a month. Offer a normal bath once a week, but daily is always appreciated from your pigeons, they really love it.

    I have found this site to be a great resource for many things:


    If they are mature birds, expect breeding almost immediately. Make sure they have 2 nest bowls and materials to make a nest, such as straw or pine needles, or small twigs. I buy tobacco stems online for my birds' nesting material because it prevents parasites and other bugs from living in their nests (I think the bugs are repelled by the nicotine).

    Best of luck! Enjoy! Keep us posted as to the progress!
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2018
  10. JoeQ

    JoeQ Chirping

    Mar 25, 2018
    Hatboro Pa
    Beautiful and touching video, great role model for your grand daughter and the younger generation as a whole!!

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