Pigeons in Winter


Head Rooster Jouster
13 Years
Aug 28, 2008
Jackson Hole
I have wanted to raise pigeons for a long time, but I have been concerned about how they would fare in the rather brutal winters we have here in the Rockies. Does anyone have recommendations about what breeds would be more winter or stress hardy than others? Any advice about how to keep them happy and exercised in winter?
We have chickens that have done just fine, but require little in the way of flight exercise... On bad days they just stay in out of the weather... sometimes for two or three days - and they're okay.


Rest in Peace 1949-2012
11 Years
Aug 24, 2008
Southern Ohio
Homers are real hardy breed, just let them out on the better days.

They will do just as well as chicken if not better.

If you let them have free flight, they will fly and return to the loft when they need to.


11 Years
May 9, 2008
Hey there,

I know my area isn't in the region as some of you with brutal winters...but we had several periods this winter where it got in the single digits and even below zero....And my pigeons did just fine, if anything its during the winter when they seem to want to hatch the most babies. Go figure lol.

Take Care,


13 Years
Jan 13, 2007
SE Mass
Mine have done very well in the winter and we have several nights -10 and colder. They seem to do better than the chickens, but as previously stated, keep them out of drafts.


10 Years
May 27, 2009
Winter is not a problem for pigeons. If you are going to do racing homers and race them, you actually want to start breeding the first week of December so the birds will hatch around Christmas when the numbered bands for the following year are first available. That way you can race them as "young birds" in that year's races and they will be older and stronger than those hatched later.

You keep the nest boxes heated for that with one small light bulb per nest box. Once the squabs are feathered out, you can omit the bulb.


12 Years
Dec 8, 2008
As long as they have a nice dry place out of the drafts they do fine. Lots of breeders separate males and females during the winter months. I let mine stay together and breed. Sometimes I lose some to the cold sometimes they make it thru. I figure everyone I raise is one more I didn't have. There is just a couple of weeks during the baby stage that they are prone to cold deaths,its right when they are starting to feather,they are to big for the parents to c over but just don't have enough feathers to keep them warm. I have brought pairs inside when it was really bad and I didn't want to take a chance of loseing them.


10 Years
May 17, 2009
Western Colorado
I raised Homers and Birmingham Rollers when I was growing up at 7,800 ft. in Aspen, Colorado. They were fine in an uninsulated loft with heated water founts....in fact they did great. It might be marginally warmer than Wyoming but I think that it is as close as you will get.


In the Brooder
6 Years
Nov 3, 2013
I have an injured pigeon which I found the other day. I have him in a cage in the house right now but it's not big enough. I want to build a little coop for him in the garage. Do I need to put insulation on it and light bulbs along with heated water for him to survive the -30 to -40 weather we get? And what kind of bedding does he need in the nest box?

Hokum Coco

9 Years
Dec 6, 2012
New Brunswick,Canada
I live in Canada and am subject to -40º weather.
Here is a quick peak at my set up.
Pigeons basically fall into 4 categories Show or Ornamental, Performance, Utility, and Homing.
I would suggest starting with "Young" homing pigeons that have "Never" been flown.

I make my nest boxes the size of a feed bag. Line the nest box with a feed bag when it gets soiled fold it up and pop a new one in EASY PEASY.

This is what I use for nest bowls approximately 10" in diameter available at the Dollar Store.
(It is wise to have 2 nest boxes for each breeding pair)

Nesting material can very from pine needles, twigs, grass, hay, and wood chips. My loft is a converted baby barn.

There are many types of trapping systems this is mine. Top is window hinged and doubles as roof, floor is hinged doubles as shutter for window in winter, Landing ramp doubles as door forming a small aviary to train pigeons to go through a bob wire trapping system.

Pouter Pigeons
(used as foster parents mostly)

Young squabs learning to trap

Here is a recount of a memorable day.

My grand daughter's hand-raised, orphaned-homer failed to return on a 20 mile toss. It was one of the few times she did not accompany me on a release. She suffered tears and heartache when I told her of the loss.

Amazingly when I went to close up the loft at dusk what should come flying in but (her pigeon) Piper!

I checked him over and he was tore open from his neck to his tail feathers.

My first instinct was to put him out of his misery. I however brought him into the house for a better look. My wife flushed out the wound with a saline solution and I glued him back together with crazy glue. He was good to go in about 5 days

This is him incubating eggs after his ordeal. .

My grand daughter was On The MOON when I told her of Pippers return. Grand daughter has experienced love, loss, heartache. first aid, joy, responsibility, and kinship with yours truly. She has also developed special bonds with some of our doves who prefer her company over mine when she comes into the loft with me.

It has given her a good subject for presentation at school as well.

We also are starting up a small enterprise with white dove releases (Pippers parents were both solid snow white just for the record).

Pippers Parents

Grand daughter did her first dove release at a wedding last fall also another release for an anti bulling campaign at her grade school.

With the aid of the Internet she has also become somewhat of an authority on homing pigeons. She definitely knows more than the average 12 year old on the subject and can talk your ear off.

This was relayed to me by her teacher after she was forced to cut off a presentation she made when the question period looked like it was not going to end.

She would rather hang out with Hokum (her name for me since she was one) then any of her friends or parents (for that matter).

Picture of Back Yard

However she will be entering her teens next year (make-up and boys will probably soon shove me aside).

I know however that these birds have made her a better person regardless what comes in the future.

Plus I have another grand daughter who is only turned 3 and calls me Coco (since she was one).

I am subject to -40º temperatures in Canada I house an assortment of birds in this baby barn (¼ inch veneer plywood between birds and elements) no heat no light no problems.
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