Pigeons for beginners?


In the Brooder
7 Years
Sep 7, 2012
Hi everyone!

I was going to get chickens (hence the username, LOL!), but my town is now having a big fight whether they are allowed or not.
So I'm just dropping the subject. I'm getting pigeons instead! :) They seem like very neat, intelligent, long-lived, hardy birds.

Can I just get some basic tips and info for a newbie to the pigeon world? I'm going to let them live inside in a large cage through the winter, I'm working on building a coop/loft for them that they can use come spring when it's a little warmer.

What should I feed them? What should I put inside their cage? I read they don't really like or use toys, is this true? What kind of perches do they like?

Any and all advice and info is greatly appreciated!
Well, Pigeons are very enjoyable. However they do not need to be kept inside. I love my birds but I would never keep them inside. Like most birds they poop alot (birds poop to lighten their load so they are always ready to fly). They also produce a "bloom" on their feathers that you could become allegric to with overexposure. A simple rabbit hutch will house a pair. Or a nice roomy wire cage with a roof and sides. Pigeons prefer perches that are flat and wide. FOr example 2 x 4's or 1 x 2's are preferred over dowel rods. Alot of feed mills in populated areas carry pigeon feed. But wild bird seed can work in a pinch. Some feed layer pellets too.
I'm hoping to keep them inside just to get them socialized, and once I get their coop/loft built. :) It's like 75% done but with the weather starting to get more winter-like the coop may not get done now til Spring! :(

Thanks for the advice! I'll have to ask the feed store if they carry pigeon feed. I don't exactly live in a very populated area, LOL!
LOL, TP06.

Yes, I too think they would be just fine outside if you just kept them dry and give them adequate protection from the wind. You could also put wood shavings or other bedding over the wire in winter to keep them a little more comfortable. They are a little too messy for me to want them inside. But the best thing is for you to do as you wish.

I feed layer pellets and premium scratch that has wheat, milo, two types of corn and sunflower seeds. It works great. I would like it if I could find some pigeon pellets, though. Also, they need special "red pigeon grit" or similar product if on an all-grain diet to provide the neede minerals and vitamins. Otherwise, any grit is fine. And I find that oyster shells is great. And if you have to choose, go with the Oyster shells as they serve dual purpose for grit and more calcium etc. than just grit.

For perches, like TP said, use flat ones. And unlike for chickens, you want individual perches, as they will claim a whole perch as their own. I just make mine out of short sections of 2x4, but more commonly used are the inverted V-type perches. The reason the V-type perches are common is because they prevent the birds above from pooping on the ones below. But I find that, if well situated, you can get the same affect with the 2 by's. Have more perches than birds and also, it's good to have their perch right in front of their nest box as a landing board/perch; and then some extras on the open wall etc.

And, you're going to need nest boxes, of course. They should be about 1 foot deep, 1 foot high and two feet long. The reason is because you want to be able to fit two nest bowls in there as they will often lay another set of eggs in the same nest before the present squabs are out. But, if you have another nest bowl in the box, they will use it instead. I like fronts on the nest, you get less babies falling out. Don't buy them, just make some simple ones yourself.

I'm glad there is another person getting into pigeons as they are not nearly as popular as they deserve to be. They are very beautiful, intelligent and easy to care for. As well as there being many different ones to choose from.

And ask specific questions, lol, It's easier that way than writing half an article on basic pigeon care. lol, No, JK, I hope I helped some.
Once the coop is done they will be outside. If I get it done before Spring, is it ok to let them out in it after they've been inside in a heated house all winter? I don't know if they could handle the shock to their systems after being in a climate controlled place for awhile.

I'm not wanting to breed or have babies... can I get a same sex pair? :) Do they still need a nest box if they don't breed?
Yes. Your right, it will be a shock. Maybe during a spell of temperate weather you could do the transition; or heat the coop a little, for a while; or take them outside more and more each day. Anyway, yes you can have two hens pair up. It most commonly happens with two hens. If you don't provide a nest they'll use the floor. But, a "hen pair" will go on eggs even though they wont hatch. i think you should just get a real pair and use artificial eggs.
Yes there is this website called foyspigeonsupplies.com, they have a lot of things you may need such as feeders and medicines or sprays.
I'm getting a pair of pigeons this Sunday! :) Meeting a guy who has a lot of different kinds and who is going to teach me a little about them. :) Yay!

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