Will hens kill a baby pigeon?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 5, 2011
Hi -

My 3 homing doves and 5 young hens share a big flight with a 4' X 4' henhouse and a hutch opening onto it. The doves always slept on a covered 'cliff', the hutch, or in a hanging box. The hens sleep in the henhouse. There are lots of roosts in the flight.

Until last week. It's been incredibly rainy the last two months and the doves have started sleeping in the henhouse (great - lots of roosting space there and it's very warm and well ventilated).

THEN they paired up and the female decided to lay her egg on the corner floor of the henhouse. It's fine now - the pair splits sitting and guarding and the hens don't bother them at all.

But I'm worried about the squab(s). Will the hens attack it? I'd hate to move the nest up to a higher platform I could built in the henhouse for fear of them abandoning it or addling the egg.

I could always risk it, but I'm really looking forward to the babies - we are hoping to get up to 6 doves. I was getting ready to put in a 'dove cliff' in the henhouse, but she beat me to the punch. If the hens are okay, it will be a perfect spot. Food and water are always available, and it's a nice space.

They very well may. A lot depends upon how aggressive your male pigeon is. He may be able to keep the hens away.
If I'm going to move the nest, I'm assuming it would be better to get it set up and move the family right AFTER the squab is born, rather than move the family with egg? Or if I move the egg will the family move too? The hens are absolutely fine now. I could wait until just before it's due to hatch to minimize damage to the embryo.
If you try and move the eggs to a different location the doves will almost certainly abandon the nest. Also there is a very strong chance that your hens will eat the eggs or newly hatched babies if left unprotected on the floor of the coop. You may want to place a small wire cage over the doves and nest until the eggs hatch and the little ones are feathered out. If you do this then do it at nite as there is less chance of scaring the doves off the nest. A cage would only need to be large enough to put them a feed and water bowl. Normally doves prefer to nest up higher provided there is a nest box. Good luck with them, if you do happen to lose this clutch of eggs then they will lay a new one within a week or so.
Thank you.

I have a decent sized cage that I use for conures that I could take the bottom off of and place over the nest. Plenty of room for food, water, and doves. I can even leave the door open so that doves can get out if they want and the hens can't get in.

Yes, it shocked me too that they decided to nest on the floor there. They had at least three other places that seemed quite ideal, and they'd been sleeping in all of them. But all three doves have moved into the henhouse (which is only 50" tall). The doves are just under 6 months old, and when they moved in, I was about to add a nesting spot specifically for them, but they beat me to it.

It may be that the hens and doves have just bonded. The hens are still tweens - hatched April 1. And the doves were only 9 weeks old when they all moved in together. They roost together at night - hen, hen, dove, hen - and eat each others' food and water. When I first let the then large chicks out into what was then the doves' coop, they kept separate - doves on the 'dliff' and hens in their house and they would shoo each other off each others' food. But then they started to roost together. They even snuggle together in the sun, with the chickens sprawled on their sides and backs on the hay and the doves snuggled between them.

That, the horrible rain and thunderstorms (the henhouse is the most secure spot, although the hutch is quieter and dryer) and mom being a newbie may have encouraged the poor nesting choice.
My homers almost always nest on the floor, even though they have plenty of shelves and nesting areas higher up.

I kept my bunnies in the pigeon coop this winter, and they had a litter of baby bunnies, so this spring we had bunnies and pigeons who were very close. Everyone did well, surprise surprise!

I so hope that works for me too! My homer is still sitting and we should be due for a baby today or tomorrow. I am making sure the chickens have lots of food and are not locked in with her so they won't be tempted. They haven't been pestering her at all and, while she's been on the floor, they've grown up enough to roost. So I'm hopeful.

Any thoughts on whether I can move her and the squab AFTER it's hatched? I'm still nervous.

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