Fancy pigeons are easy to raise but they require proper care. If you are raising pigeons for the first time, learn to take care of the following few details that I have shared in this article.
Pigeons Like to Eat Variety of Seeds and Grains
When it comes to diet, pigeons are very choosy, they do not like to eat all seeds. This is why they must be provided with a variety of seeds. Typically, fancy pigeons like to eat the following.
- Pearl Millet
- Crushed Corn
While choosing mix seeds for your fancy pigeons, make sure they can easily eat them.
Unhealthy Foods for Pigeons
Before you feed anything to your pigeons for the first time, always check if it is good for them or not. Following is a list of foods that are toxic for pigeons.
- Dry bread
- Dairy products (milk, butter & cheese)
Provide Fresh Drinking Water
Fancy pigeons frequently drink water throughout the day; ensure water availability in their cage during daytime. Also, change the water every day as stale water can make them sick.
Add Multi-vitamins and Minerals to Their Diet
Since fancy pigeons are kept captive in cages, they are not free to fly and eat a variety of things like wild pigeons do. This leads to vitamin and salt deficiency.
The best way to treat it is to add multi-vitamins and minerals to their feed. You can also add grit to their diet. Grit is a mixture of certain essentials like calcium, and minerals. Moreover, you can also add electrolytes to their drinking water.
Some Pigeon Breeds Need Extra Care
Some fancy pigeon breeds like Blondinettes have very small beaks and they are not comfortable eating large seeds. Moreover, very small seeds like pearl millet stuck in their nostrils, causing influenza.
Similarly, if your pigeons have recently bred, it is not recommended to add large seeds like sunflower and chickpea to their diet. Pigeons feed their young ones whatever they eat and large seeds can be hard to swallow and digest for baby pigeons.
Pigeons are prone to certain viral diseases. Regularly vaccinate your pigeons and if your pigeons fall sick, immediately take them to a veterinary doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Protect from Mosquitoes
Yes, you read right. Mosquito bites can cause pigeon pox in pigeon chicks. The best way to protect pigeons is to keep them in a mosquito-free environment; you can place a mosquito killer machine inside their cage or cover their cage with a narrow net.
Keep New Birds Separate
If an infected bird is added to an aviary, it can infect all the birds. This is why, if you bring in any new birds, keep them in a separate cage away from your birds.
Provide Water to Bathe
Pigeons love to bathe in all seasons. Bathing is essential for their grooming and it also keeps them happy. Moreover, it protects them from heat during peak summers.
Pigeons like to bathe together, if you have multiple pigeons, provide water in a large bowl.
Cover cage openings in winters
Pigeons can easily fall sick in winters; it is essential to keep them warm. During peak winters, cover all the openings of their cage with a plastic sheet or a thick cloth so that no air may pass inside.
All fancy pigeons go through molting every year; their feathers fall and new feathers emerge. As the new feathers start to emerge, they have blood inside. Typically, a feather dries after 15-20 days. During this period, the birds must be handled very carefully. If the pigeon’s blood feather breaks, it can cause bleeding and can be painful for the bird.
Keep an Eye on Inactive Birds
Healthy pigeons usually do not sit quietly in one place for a long time. If your pigeon is inactive, sitting aside for several hours, and check its stomach if has eaten properly. Inactivity and lack of hunger usually is an indication of sickness in pigeons.
Provide Nesting Material
Most pigeons start breeding at the age of 5-6 months. It is the best time to provide them with nesting material so that they can make their nest and start breeding.
Keep Equal Number of Males and Females in Colony Cage
If you are keeping multiple pigeons in a colony cage, make sure you keep an equal number of adult males and females. If there are more pigeons of any gender, the other gender will fight to compete for mating. Read this article on How to Identify Pigeon Gender.
Moreover, this also reduces pigeon breeding. The single birds disturb breeding pairs and this often leads to eggs cracking and newborns falling off the nest.
Give Them Proper Space
The minimum cage size for a fancy pigeon pair should be 2x2x1.5’ (LxWxH). However, if you are going to keep large-sized fancy pigeon breeds like POUTERS, the minimum cage size should be 2.5×2.5×2’ for a single pair.
It is recommended to either keep all pairs in separate cages or keep all pairs together in a huge cage or room that is big enough for the pigeons to fly. Also, install several perches and sticks for the pigeons to sit and maintain distance.
If many pigeons are kept in a small space, their physical health starts dropping. Furthermore, they keep fighting to claim the territory.
Do Not Pick Pigeon Eggs
Pigeon eggs are sensitive, they can puncture with a minor jerk. According to some studies, touching eggs with bare hands can also reduce the egg’s probability of hatching.
Do Not Keep Pigeons with Other Birds
Pigeons can get scared of other birds especially if they are greater in size. It often leads to low feeding, less breeding, and health issues.
The new birds can also attack pigeons and vice versa. It is recommended not to keep any other birds in the same cage as fancy pigeons.
Protect from Predators
Fancy pigeons are not as good flyers as racing pigeons and this is why they can easily fall prey to cats.
Keep them in a closed cage or room, especially the young pigeons. Flying predators like falcons, kites, and eagles prefer hunting young pigeons.
Above all, daily spend time with your pigeons. You must know if any bird is forming pair with another bird or if any bird has poor eating problems.
Do you have any pigeon health tips? Please share in the comments.
Bilal is a freelance writer and a content creator. He has been in the pigeon hobby for over 15 years. Over the years, he has worked on various fancy pigeon breeds and explored their history.