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Old 12-26-2018, 11:16 PM
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Any Pigeon Keepers?

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So, I've had my little pigeon for four months and love him to death. I've wanted a pigeon since last summer. Finally I got one four months ago. I have kept him hush hush on the forum and other social media sites due to me quarantining him from all my other birds since I have had him. I have been researching pigeons for over a year, as I have always been interested in their homing abilties. Although I never expressed this wanting to get a pigeon becuase it's hard to find people with pigeons around where I am. Also to even get them at a young age to bond and tame them. Finally I found a person with a young pigeon that I could handraise. Well the pigeon was with his mother for 3 days before I could make the long drive to get him. So when I got him, the breeder (more of a farmer, another reason I quarantined him so long) told me that when he was starting to wean to put him on chicken pellets that were soft. Obviously I wasnt too keen on doing this, but since the baby, even if only for three days, seen his mother eating them. It would be something he would wean onto easier. So now he is obviously weaned completely, and has been. But I took him off the chicken pellets after a month of being weaned. Now I am finally getting him to eat the proper diet, such as grains and seeds, and a few veggies. I know a lot of people's pigeons thrive on just seeds and grains. But my little guy really likes his veggie and fruit, and of course all veggies and fruits fed to him are pigeon safe. All veggies and fruits are also organic and soaked for 10 minutes before being cutting for him. Or any of my parrots. Just to be super safe, can't be too safe. I am still deciding weather Pigey(his name) should go into my bird room, with 7 of my smaller parrots. Or in my animal room, with my larger very friendly macaw. My macaw and him are never out at the same time without being supervised. Diamond (my macaw) is 90% of the time inside with me in the house. So Pigey usually has his animal room to him self. (My animal room is in a completely different building than my house, the animal room is a room attached to the animal building. The animal building is where my rescue is.) I have a few questions, Like I said, I have had Pigey for four months. But I haven't found a lot of toys for him. So if you can suggest some, like in links or a toy name. Please do. Also if you keep pigeons as inside pets(one other reason I was hesitant to annouse my pigeon, was because there is some controversy over them being inside pets) what cage do you keep them in? I really like really large dog crates over flight cage due to the floor space. Pigey is in a smaller dog crate, still a fairly large one, but not the large ones like I am getting him. He's in the smaller one because he has some issues flying. My vet said it could be due to him being handraised, not that I did it wrong, but that he just needs to learn. Some will say at four months he should be flying well. Well he's been taking baby steps, and is almost able to fly in my house where ever he likes without freaking out and panicking and landing. He's come along way with his flying, which is why I am now getting him his larger cage and some new toys. Also he has quite a variety of rope and natural perches, but are there any more people have found to work best with pigeons?
If you have made it through this post, thank you. I hope I can find other Pigeon keepers who also keep Parrots!!!

Coconut~ (Budgie)
Mituna~(Lovebird)
Sollux~ (Lovebird)
Petunia~ (Cockatiel)
Echo~ (Cockatiel)
Oz~ (Cockatiel)
Jaden~ (Green Cheek Conure)
Diamond~ (B&G Macaw)
Pigey~4 month old Pigeon

Last edited by Riverpet100; 12-27-2018 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 12-27-2018, 02:47 AM
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Re: Any Pigeon Keepers?

The first thing is, what kind of pigeon are we talking about? Is Pigey a homing pigeon, a fantail, a fancy (Jacobin etc) or some kind of native dove? I don't know anything about the doves native to the US, but I have kept homing pigeons and native Australian doves as well.

Pigeons are vastly different from parrots. I can't imagine a pigeon playing with toys (happy to be proven wrong, but I've never seen it happen). If you give a pigeon a mirror, he will either attack it until he drops or try to mate with it (this has been my experience). I've found that pigeons do best in a flock situation because they are *far* more dependent on flock instincts than parrots are.

By that, I mean pigeons need to travel in a group. They need a leader (usually the eldest, largest, strongest ****) who determines where the flock goes to feed, water and fly. They need to fly a *lot* (and by that, I mean over many miles each day). Without the ability to fly, pigeons can lose a lot of muscle tone and become weak and floppy. This is not good for a bird which is meant to fly every day: a weak, floppy bird is easy pickings for a hawk or cat.

Of course, if your pigeon is never going to get to fly out-of-doors, I don't suppose it matters, but - well - it would to me. There's nothing more pleasing than a big strong bird with massive breast muscles capable of strong upward flight!

I've heard of various people who've successfully trained pigeons or doves for performing in magic acts etc, but I have a hard time imagining how that's done without clipping the wings fairly severely. Pigeons are often jumpy and will always resort to flight before anything else, so you'll want to spend a lot of time with yours and make a friend of him. I used to feed mine on a mix of hempseed, pigeon peas, wheat and barley. Some of my birds used to like to have shell grit available, others not. Ask your vet about that to be safe, as not everyone agrees with the automatic provision of shell grit.

I would strongly encourage you to have at least one other pigeon for your Pigey to befriend. There's nothing quite so lonely as a single pigeon and at the very least, it would give him someone to snuggle up against when he roosts at night.

Oh, and one other thing. Pigeon poo is pretty large, pretty green and pretty overwhelming. Make sure you have strategies in place for catching it! I have fond memories of a warm, moist sensation going down my back. Slowly...

My first pigeon was also called Pigey. She flew down onto my Dad's head while he was mowing my Nanna's lawn. When it was time for us to leave, the bird flew off, but you can imagine our surprise when, having arrived at home (about six kilometres away), the bird alighted again on Dad's head! She refused to go away and would perch on the kitchen windowsill, tapping to be let in. Much later, I found out the bird was just a squeaker (fledged baby, just capable of flight). How she managed the long flight behind our car remains a mystery to me, but she did it!

I immediately arranged for Dad to make a nice cage and the next day went to purchase a 'friend' for Pige from the bloke round the corner who bred them. That was the beginning of my flock. I ended up with about fifty pair of birds, mostly homers, but with a few fantails (dreadful parents) and tumblers (so engaging) and Kanos (very large). There is NOTHING to match the sensation of standing in a paddock and whistling to your flock, then watching it descend slowly, wheeling over your head with the rustle of two hundred wings sending the winds of heaven down to you! Sigh. Those were wonderful times.

If you have the means and the space, consider keeping a few pair. You won't be sorry!

PS. You need the largest cage you can possibly get for a pigeon. He needs to fly every day, but will spend *all* of his down-time foraging on the ground, so do provide foraging opportunities for him on the floor. It's good to provide a dirt or sand floor if you can, so Pige can rummage about for seed and crumbs in it. Also, pigeons need perches about 1/2" - 1" in diameter at the very least. Natural branches are best, but honestly, pigeons can deal fine with plain dowel if they get opportunities for different out-of-cage experiences.

Last edited by Betrisher; 12-27-2018 at 02:55 AM. Reason: Addendum
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Old 12-27-2018, 09:24 AM
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Re: Any Pigeon Keepers?

I have one little girl (we think) diamond dove in our community cage with my budgie, cockatiel, and finches. We are on the Lookout for a friend for her, but they are not very common in our area. She doesn’t play with toys, she went through quarantine, she is a sweet little girl.


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Old 12-27-2018, 12:22 PM
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Re: Any Pigeon Keepers?

I have a Ringneck Dove, so a Pigeon basically...He is a male, his name is Dylan, and I brought him home when he was about 4 months old from a pet shop situation that was not very good. That's a long story...Anyway, he was hand-raised/hand-fed from 3 weeks old by his breeder, and has been a sweetheart from day 1. He actually ended-up bonding closely with my female Cockatiel, Duff, lol. Duff has always been a bit of a loner, only bonding with me and none of my other parrots, but for whatever reason Duff and Dylan hit it off and spend most of their day together playing on a huge PVC play-gym I made for them.

Dylan lives in my master bedroom, where the huge play-gym is. I originally separated him from the rest of my parrots (their cages are downstairs in my living room, they each have a sleeping-cage in my bedroom), at first for quarantine purposes, but he seemed to like it on the play-gym so I just left his own cage in my bedroom as well. I also set-up his cage in a huge dog-crate, it's massive. I put all kinds of perches throughout it, he has a swing which he loves and he usually sleeps on, and then he has a bunch of toys which he absolutely loves to play with...I don't know if it's because he was young when I introduced him to the toys or what, but he loves to continually "beak" any toy with a bell! I didn't put any toys with mirrors inside of his cage...I had no idea that Doves/Pigeons don't typically play with toys, so I just didn't know any better and I started adding and removing/swapping toys until I found the ones he likes best. I've had the most luck by-far with all the cheap, plastic bird toys that are meant for Budgies...Like I said, anything with a bell that he can "beak" and bang around. He also has a large, round, wicker basket that is really shallow that I found at TJ Maxx and I put in the bottom of his cage and lined with a fleece blanket. He's likes to cuddle-up inside the basket and nap, sometimes he sleeps in it when he's not on his swing.

As far as their diet goes, they should have a large variety of foods....I've not ever heard of feeding a Dove/Pigeon any type of Chicken pellets/scratch/feed, so I'm not sure about that...I'm also not sure why a breeder would give you a 3 day-old baby...and they were feeding it solid food at 3 days-old? Maybe I'm reading that wrong, I hope so, because Doves/Pigeons are hand-raised/hand-fed the same way that baby parrots are, with baby bird hand-feeding formula and a syringe, and are on the same type of feeding schedule. I'm going to assume that the issue your guy has with fledging/flying is because of the age and the way he was hand-fed/weaned, as these kinds of errors/mistakes or any kind of "Force-Weaning", meaning that they are given solid food long before they should have it, not allowing them to totally wean themselves gradually and at their own pace from the hand-feeding formula can result in a lot of fledging issues, as well as long-term neurological issues...Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying about how/when he was weaned, but typically most Pigeons/Doves don't fully "Abundance Wean" themselves off of the hand-feeding formula and onto solid food until they are between 4-5 weeks of age...So much earlier than most parrots, but certainly not as early as a week old or less. And typically they do end-up fully-fledging by the time they fully Abundance-Wean themselves, so if he was "Force-Weaned" way too early by his breeder and this happened before he fully-fledged, then that's the reason he's still not flying properly. It will happen as long as you keep giving him enough out-of-cage-time every day and enough space to do it, hopefully he'll not suffer any permanent flying issues...It's unfortunate, but a lot of "breeders" don't at all understand how important it is to not "Force-Wean" any species of baby bird, and to not do this at too young an age or long before they fully-fledge...It's unfortunately a very common problem with all species of birds that are hand-raised as pets...

As far as his regular, daily diet, it should consist of a variety of different seeds, grains, legumes, some egg-food now and then, and fresh veggies and dark, leafy greens (Dylan likes it if I chop his veggies and greens up into very tiny pieces for him)...It's also very important that all Pigeons and Doves always have a bowl of Grit next to their food bowls, because they eat their seeds whole and do not shell them, so they have to have grit to grind-up the seed-shells. Otherwise they will simply pass the seeds whole and not gain any nutrition from them...So make sure that your Pigeon always has a full bowl of grit next to his seeds.
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Old 12-27-2018, 01:30 PM
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Re: Any Pigeon Keepers?

Quote: Originally Posted by Betrisher View Post
The first thing is, what kind of pigeon are we talking about? Is Pigey a homing pigeon, a fantail, a fancy (Jacobin etc) or some kind of native dove? I don't know anything about the doves native to the US, but I have kept homing pigeons and native Australian doves as well.

Pigeons are vastly different from parrots. I can't imagine a pigeon playing with toys (happy to be proven wrong, but I've never seen it happen). If you give a pigeon a mirror, he will either attack it until he drops or try to mate with it (this has been my experience). I've found that pigeons do best in a flock situation because they are *far* more dependent on flock instincts than parrots are.

By that, I mean pigeons need to travel in a group. They need a leader (usually the eldest, largest, strongest ****) who determines where the flock goes to feed, water and fly. They need to fly a *lot* (and by that, I mean over many miles each day). Without the ability to fly, pigeons can lose a lot of muscle tone and become weak and floppy. This is not good for a bird which is meant to fly every day: a weak, floppy bird is easy pickings for a hawk or cat.

Of course, if your pigeon is never going to get to fly out-of-doors, I don't suppose it matters, but - well - it would to me. There's nothing more pleasing than a big strong bird with massive breast muscles capable of strong upward flight!

I've heard of various people who've successfully trained pigeons or doves for performing in magic acts etc, but I have a hard time imagining how that's done without clipping the wings fairly severely. Pigeons are often jumpy and will always resort to flight before anything else, so you'll want to spend a lot of time with yours and make a friend of him. I used to feed mine on a mix of hempseed, pigeon peas, wheat and barley. Some of my birds used to like to have shell grit available, others not. Ask your vet about that to be safe, as not everyone agrees with the automatic provision of shell grit.

I would strongly encourage you to have at least one other pigeon for your Pigey to befriend. There's nothing quite so lonely as a single pigeon and at the very least, it would give him someone to snuggle up against when he roosts at night.

Oh, and one other thing. Pigeon poo is pretty large, pretty green and pretty overwhelming. Make sure you have strategies in place for catching it! I have fond memories of a warm, moist sensation going down my back. Slowly...

My first pigeon was also called Pigey. She flew down onto my Dad's head while he was mowing my Nanna's lawn. When it was time for us to leave, the bird flew off, but you can imagine our surprise when, having arrived at home (about six kilometres away), the bird alighted again on Dad's head! She refused to go away and would perch on the kitchen windowsill, tapping to be let in. Much later, I found out the bird was just a squeaker (fledged baby, just capable of flight). How she managed the long flight behind our car remains a mystery to me, but she did it!

I immediately arranged for Dad to make a nice cage and the next day went to purchase a 'friend' for Pige from the bloke round the corner who bred them. That was the beginning of my flock. I ended up with about fifty pair of birds, mostly homers, but with a few fantails (dreadful parents) and tumblers (so engaging) and Kanos (very large). There is NOTHING to match the sensation of standing in a paddock and whistling to your flock, then watching it descend slowly, wheeling over your head with the rustle of two hundred wings sending the winds of heaven down to you! Sigh. Those were wonderful times.

If you have the means and the space, consider keeping a few pair. You won't be sorry!

PS. You need the largest cage you can possibly get for a pigeon. He needs to fly every day, but will spend *all* of his down-time foraging on the ground, so do provide foraging opportunities for him on the floor. It's good to provide a dirt or sand floor if you can, so Pige can rummage about for seed and crumbs in it. Also, pigeons need perches about 1/2" - 1" in diameter at the very least. Natural branches are best, but honestly, pigeons can deal fine with plain dowel if they get opportunities for different out-of-cage experiences.
Pigey Is a fully fighted bird and can fly in his room. I gave him the room to fly, and birdie proved it. He's a roller pigeon, and although he may not use toys, I think that paper toys are something he would like to shred. He has used a few toys that had paper in them, although they aren't required. I really think it could give his life more meaning, lol. I do mean to get him s friend soon, but I am hunting for a better breeder to get a baby from. Even though he has the ability to fly, and I souly don't believe in clipped pigeons, as unlike parrots. They can't climb well, or at all. He doesn't fly a lot. The room is very large, so he can fly. Just chooses to perch and forage more. Which honestly is okay. I have been doing a lot of floor foraging for him. I love to go above and beyond for my animals. I also know they require a lot different care than parrots.
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Old 12-27-2018, 01:45 PM
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Re: Any Pigeon Keepers?

Quote: Originally Posted by EllenD View Post
I have a Ringneck Dove, so a Pigeon basically...He is a male, his name is Dylan, and I brought him home when he was about 4 months old from a pet shop situation that was not very good. That's a long story...Anyway, he was hand-raised/hand-fed from 3 weeks old by his breeder, and has been a sweetheart from day 1. He actually ended-up bonding closely with my female Cockatiel, Duff, lol. Duff has always been a bit of a loner, only bonding with me and none of my other parrots, but for whatever reason Duff and Dylan hit it off and spend most of their day together playing on a huge PVC play-gym I made for them.

Dylan lives in my master bedroom, where the huge play-gym is. I originally separated him from the rest of my parrots (their cages are downstairs in my living room, they each have a sleeping-cage in my bedroom), at first for quarantine purposes, but he seemed to like it on the play-gym so I just left his own cage in my bedroom as well. I also set-up his cage in a huge dog-crate, it's massive. I put all kinds of perches throughout it, he has a swing which he loves and he usually sleeps on, and then he has a bunch of toys which he absolutely loves to play with...I don't know if it's because he was young when I introduced him to the toys or what, but he loves to continually "beak" any toy with a bell! I didn't put any toys with mirrors inside of his cage...I had no idea that Doves/Pigeons don't typically play with toys, so I just didn't know any better and I started adding and removing/swapping toys until I found the ones he likes best. I've had the most luck by-far with all the cheap, plastic bird toys that are meant for Budgies...Like I said, anything with a bell that he can "beak" and bang around. He also has a large, round, wicker basket that is really shallow that I found at TJ Maxx and I put in the bottom of his cage and lined with a fleece blanket. He's likes to cuddle-up inside the basket and nap, sometimes he sleeps in it when he's not on his swing.

As far as their diet goes, they should have a large variety of foods....I've not ever heard of feeding a Dove/Pigeon any type of Chicken pellets/scratch/feed, so I'm not sure about that...I'm also not sure why a breeder would give you a 3 day-old baby...and they were feeding it solid food at 3 days-old? Maybe I'm reading that wrong, I hope so, because Doves/Pigeons are hand-raised/hand-fed the same way that baby parrots are, with baby bird hand-feeding formula and a syringe, and are on the same type of feeding schedule. I'm going to assume that the issue your guy has with fledging/flying is because of the age and the way he was hand-fed/weaned, as these kinds of errors/mistakes or any kind of "Force-Weaning", meaning that they are given solid food long before they should have it, not allowing them to totally wean themselves gradually and at their own pace from the hand-feeding formula can result in a lot of fledging issues, as well as long-term neurological issues...Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying about how/when he was weaned, but typically most Pigeons/Doves don't fully "Abundance Wean" themselves off of the hand-feeding formula and onto solid food until they are between 4-5 weeks of age...So much earlier than most parrots, but certainly not as early as a week old or less. And typically they do end-up fully-fledging by the time they fully Abundance-Wean themselves, so if he was "Force-Weaned" way too early by his breeder and this happened before he fully-fledged, then that's the reason he's still not flying properly. It will happen as long as you keep giving him enough out-of-cage-time every day and enough space to do it, hopefully he'll not suffer any permanent flying issues...It's unfortunate, but a lot of "breeders" don't at all understand how important it is to not "Force-Wean" any species of baby bird, and to not do this at too young an age or long before they fully-fledge...It's unfortunately a very common problem with all species of birds that are hand-raised as pets...

As far as his regular, daily diet, it should consist of a variety of different seeds, grains, legumes, some egg-food now and then, and fresh veggies and dark, leafy greens (Dylan likes it if I chop his veggies and greens up into very tiny pieces for him)...It's also very important that all Pigeons and Doves always have a bowl of Grit next to their food bowls, because they eat their seeds whole and do not shell them, so they have to have grit to grind-up the seed-shells. Otherwise they will simply pass the seeds whole and not gain any nutrition from them...So make sure that your Pigeon always has a full bowl of grit next to his seeds.
I don't know why the breeder gave me him at that age. But he wasn't forced weaned. The breeder said that he would wean to chicken pellets easier as he seen his mother eating it. But I was skeptical of it, and only really used it for a little bit before Allowing him to get on a better diet (after he had already weaned himself). Although my vet is stumped to why he isn't flying properly, as he was hand raised properly and wasn't forced weaned. He thinks maybe he is learning slower because he was raised by a human. But at his vet appointment, everything checked out good. He's very healthy. But he is flying a lot better, but not 100%. We are hoping that he could do outside flying, but he is a pet pigeon, so if that doesn't happen. Then that's okay, as he still flys around my house and his room(also the animal room, but safe for him) I have decided to keep him in my animal room for now, but he will be moved into my personal room, which will be very soon as he is getting his very large dog crate. Dog crates are what I am going with as it provides a lot of floor space, as well as the floor in the room he forages on.
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:39 PM
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Re: Any Pigeon Keepers?

We have homing pigeons. It’s a bit different as they are in a loft outside. I open the loft in the morning and they fly until they get tired. The only time I’ve seen them “play” with something is when they are foraging to build a nest. They spend most of their time pecking, preening and just perching and watching. I did hand raise a pair of squabs and they took much longer to fly. Mainly because they didn’t build up their muscles as quick as the others. They are social birds but prolific breeders/layers if you have a pair.
I wouldn’t think of putting a pigeon with our parrots. While they can peck, they really have no way to defend against an attack and do not have the agility of parrots on the ground. In flight it would be a different story.
Pigeons are great and often under appreciated. Good luck to you!
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:45 PM
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Re: Any Pigeon Keepers?

Silversage, your little dove looks more like a Bar-shouldered Dove to me. Diamond doves are very tiny and have a smattering of teeny-weeny white spots (hence the 'diamond'), whereas Bar-shouldered Doves have strong barring from the shoulders down the wings.

I have kept Bar-shouldered Doves and they are surprisingly happy to be human companions. Ours were free-ranging in my room and liked nothing more than to settle into my hair and go to sleep.
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Old 12-27-2018, 07:17 PM
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Re: Any Pigeon Keepers?

Quote: Originally Posted by Betrisher View Post
Silversage, your little dove looks more like a Bar-shouldered Dove to me. Diamond doves are very tiny and have a smattering of teeny-weeny white spots (hence the 'diamond'), whereas Bar-shouldered Doves have strong barring from the shoulders down the wings.

I have kept Bar-shouldered Doves and they are surprisingly happy to be human companions. Ours were free-ranging in my room and liked nothing more than to settle into my hair and go to sleep.


I’ll try to get a better picture; she is about the size of a budgie.


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Re: Any Pigeon Keepers?

Pigeons is very beautiful creation.
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