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TerriB TerriB is offline
Posted 18th February 2004, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Kent, WA, USA
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Question

Eating Plants and Dirt


I keep pots with various growing greens in the flight pen and currently the favorite is pansies. Within a week, the four birds have devoured most of the new growth. Sometimes, the birds will eat some of the potting soil. They have access to an area of lawn, but specifically go after the potting soil. Anybody run into this before?



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Reti Reti is offline
Posted 19th February 2004, 05:23 AM
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Country: United States
Location: Miami,Fl
Age: 51
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Hi Terri,
Angel used to love to dig in the pots and eat the soil. Thankfully she grew out of it, I had dirt all over the apartment.
Now Tiny loves to pull at my plants till they come out with their roots, but he does not eat them, he just loves to destroy them.
Reti

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ernie's Avatar
ernie ernie is offline
Posted 19th February 2004, 06:01 AM
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Location: Rock Creek, OH, USA
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I used to sprout Lentils for mine and then put the pot with the plants in the aviary. They would clean a pot out per day. After they ate all the plants, they would just make a mess with the potting soil. Imagine those mostly white birds, after they got done. Bathtime!!
I think it's a play thing with them, just like a puppy will chew your slippers.
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Skyeking Skyeking is offline
Posted 19th February 2004, 07:23 AM
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Location: SE Coast Central Florida
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I have read that pigeons will eat upturned sod, cause they love grass seeds. Also, they love tulips and will eat them down to the stalks. They love African marigolds, which they eat to the ground!

Pigeons will eat black dirt, picking up various trace minerals that aren't available in grit.
Treesa

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KIPPY KIPPY is offline
Posted 19th February 2004, 04:11 PM
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Location: Arizona
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KIPPY LIKES TO PLAY IN THE POTS. TWO HAVE GARLIC IN THEM AND ONE HAS PET GRASS. SHE JUST PICKS AT THE DIRT AND SOMETIMES LAYS IN IT. THATS ABOUT IT.
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TerriB's Avatar
TerriB TerriB is offline
Posted 19th February 2004, 07:08 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Kent, WA, USA
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Thanks for all the information and good ideas! The hens seem very intent, so the trace minerals aspect seems most likely in this case. Or maybe they just like to fling dirt around!

I am surprised to sometimes see them laying in the dirt - seems so vulnerable! Last August, Grace seriously comtemplated nesting in one of the low pots. Walter finally convinced her that the nestbox in the coop would be more secure and her first egg came the next day. (Whew!)

The breeder who gave me the Old German Owls told me about tulips, so I planted a pot of those. Once they bloom I'll move it into the flight pen to be destroyed. ;-b Last summer, I had a pot of garlic chives and they would nip off the tips. (It's still recovering.) I'll get some African marigold seeds so I can keep them supplied this summer. Since they don't leave the flight pen, it's nice to offer them a smorgasbord of fresh items!

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TerriB TerriB is offline
Posted 19th February 2004, 07:16 PM
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Location: Kent, WA, USA
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ernie,

Did you just plant regular lentil seeds from the grocery store in dirt? I've planted some of the seed mix they leave (mostly wheat) and let it get up an inch or so before serving. And they really dug that up, too. I wonder if the growing sprouts change something in the soil to make it so appetizing?

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ernie ernie is offline
Posted 20th February 2004, 08:35 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Rock Creek, OH, USA
Age: 48
Posts: 227
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Yes, just good 'ol grocery store lentils.
The pigeon feed just sprouted by itself, in the pots of my houseplants, which I had on the porch, next to the aviary (messy eaters ). All those peas, which they don't like eating in the summer, started climbing up the aviary wire. I had birds climbing the walls, literaly, to get at the tender pea leaves.
dano7 dano7 is offline
Posted 20th February 2004, 03:10 PM
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Posts: 510
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Seed eating birds in the wild include vegetable matter, and they use dirt/clay licks for minerals, antioxidants and probiotics. They are also meat eaters. If you feed a canary a pure seed diet it will be dead by 16 years of age. A canary with an optimal diet may live to 30. The same goes for our pigeon companions. Dr. Petra Burgmann has written the reccomended book "Feeding Your Pet Bird" (available at Amazon for $4.95 used).

As for anecdotal evidence, I have seen doves in pine trees eating spiders, pigeons climbing in berry bushes, and hummingbirds taking bugs on the wing.

Regarding house plants, we all have seen pigeons destroy plants just for the fun of it and not eat them, but a point to be aware of is that it is not just avocado that is poisonous to our birds--there are over ahundred house plants that are toxic to birds.

If you don't have the resources to try for an ideal diet then you can still go a long way by using pellets designed for pigeons.

good health to your birds.
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TerriB TerriB is offline
Posted 20th February 2004, 08:01 PM
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Location: Kent, WA, USA
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Thanks, ernie! I'll have to try sprouting some of the seed and bean mixtures. Right now I'm alternating lettuce and turnip seeds, since they'll sprout in the cold weather.

Good information, dano7. I had read about pigeons occasionally eating bugs (animal protein), which is why I originally planted pansies. Slugs love pansies and I thought the pot would supply them with a source of tasty baby slugs. Didn't count on the birds eating the plants first!

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turkey turkey is offline
Posted 21st February 2004, 01:50 AM
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Location: Largo, Florida
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I got a tip the other day.

If you soak your pigeon's peas over night and let them eat them in the morning just before they sprout, they will get more nutrients out of them. However if they sprout, they will only peck off the sprout and only eat the pea.

Julie
maryco maryco is offline
Posted 21st February 2004, 11:09 AM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Durham region, Ontario, Canada
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That's a great idea Julie!

My Pearl loves the sprouted lentils and they are so easy to do, I soak them over night them put them in a tray, rinse and drain every 8-12 hours for about 3 days and the last 24 hours I don't rinse or drain so all the water can dry up. I put them in a freezer bag and they go in the fridge and keep very well, I give some to my birds and make salad for myself, it's just great!
I'm going to try the peas and some mung beans soon!
Mary
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german owls, pet bird, pigeon feed, seed mix, white bird, white birds


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