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beebiz beebiz is offline
Posted 5th November 2007, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 18

Newbie question...

Hey all!! As some of you already know, I now have 20 pigeons.... and have fallen head over heals in love with them. Today, as I sat in the coop watching them, talking to them and listening to them, I had a question that I hope some of you can answer.

In the last couple of days, I have done a tremendous amount of reading about pigeons. Most everwhere I've read it has said that the males are the ones who do the cooing/purring, and so on. Is that true?? As I sat in the coop, it was difficult to know for sure who was "speaking up." But, it appeared that the majority of the birds were quite vocal. If the males are the only ones to exibit such behavior, will haveing mostly (or worse case... ALL males) be a recipe for trouble??

Thanks in advance for your input!

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Hillybean Hillybean is offline
Posted 5th November 2007, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 935
I am still new to having more than one pigeon, but I thought I'd reply to your thread.

Yes, males normally are more vocal. They'll coo and dance, which is VERY cute. BUT females have been known to also coo and dance. Even some experianced breeders have mistaken a female for a male because of the behavior.

The only way to know for sure, is to wait and see who lays eggs. You will probably also be able to see who is a girl after your pigeons pair up (pick mates). Pigeons normally lay an egg at about 6-7 months old. You'll want to make sure you have pigeon grit (for calcium) and maybe fake eggs.

Do you know by chance, how old yours are???

Having more males than females, or ALL males can cause problems. Mainly just fights, but the fights can be stressful to the pigeons. It might also be hard on the females (not too sure though).

Other members with more information on this topic will post. I have indoor pigeons, and I just recently started getting more. Before that I was only a companion to one pigeon.

beebiz beebiz is offline
Posted 5th November 2007, 04:13 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 18
Thanks for the reply Hilly! Unfortunately, I don't have any idea as to how old they are. I know that the cere on some of them is snow white and I figure these are adults. The cere on the others is greyish, and I figure they are juviniles... maybe 6 to 8 months old????

You said that they would pair up or "pick" mates. Do I need to do anything to encourage this other than putting up nest boxes for them?

Also, you said that I need to make sure that they have pigeon grit for the calcium. Can I use the crushed oyster shells that I give to my chickens? The reason I ask is because I've not been able to find any "pigeon grit" from local suppliers. When I've called and ask about such, I'm met with something along the lines of, "What the heck do you want to keep pigeons for??" One guy asked me that in such a snotty way that I asked him, "And, what the heck do you want to keep children for??" The words had spewed from my mouth before I really realized what I said! Sorry, he pee'ed me off!!

Thanks agian for the input!

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stach_n_flash stach_n_flash is offline
Posted 5th November 2007, 06:10 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Cali
Posts: 1,013
It is true that males are more vocal. It is also said that if you put a mirror infront of a male it will bob up and down (to scare the pigeon away) where as the female will just sit there. An easy way to tell if a male is a male, when it coos it will bob up and down and fill its crop with air (Is it the crop?) Well it looks like a pourter just not so much. They also make the coo. Where females are more of like a grrrr. Not a hoo hoo lol cant make sounds on here sorry

Hope you get the idea.
Hillybean Hillybean is offline
Posted 6th November 2007, 05:59 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 935
I'll see if I can answer these questions.

Encourage Mates: Yep ,nest boxes, nest bowls, and nesting materials. They aren't too pick on the materials, but I have heard that long pine needles work wonderful. You just want to make sure nothing toxic is on the materials and that they are safe. Wood shavings, and pieces of ripped papper may also be used by them. I believe the males make the nests.

Pigeon Grit: The following came from the pet pigeon area of the forum from the thread "Pet Pigeon Care".

Pigeon grit is very important in pigeon's digestion.
A mix of oyster shells, salts and minerals and charcoal is essential.

Vitamins are also important. The other stuff helps with digesting food and calcium.

Yep, finding this pigeon stuff can be hard. I think the crushed oyster shell will work. Can you order from online? Places like carry pigeon products.

Do you feed pelleted or grain? If you are feeding a pelleted diet, then the grit is not needed. I feed grain, and just assume you (and everyone else) did.

Vet or Other Care: Do you have a vet?? The reason I ask is because you might want to order some meds to keep on hand, if a vet locally won't see them. You never know when they might be needed. It's VERY important to keep your pigeons healthy. You also will want to keep any NEW pigeons seperate from your current pigeons for about 1 month. That way if a new one is sick, you can care for it without contaminating your loft.

I also think that people with lofts or quite a few birds, vaccinate (give shots) and worm regularlly. I'm new to the vaccination part, so hopefully someone else can give information on this.

your going to find out that a lot people will approach the subject of pigeons in the same way. People don't expect it, and then get alarmed, as to why someone would be a companion to pigeons.
It's their loss and my gain, IMO .

I hope this helps and that others will post soon too.
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flitsnowzoom flitsnowzoom is offline
Posted 6th November 2007, 06:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Country: United States
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,398
Oh, yes, if you encourage mating -- you'll soon get EGGS!! You will want to practice birth/bird control so you aren't overrun with the little pitter-patter of feet and flap of baby wings.
Pigeons typically lay 2 eggs and then go to "setting". Replace the eggs after the 2nd one is laid with dummy eggs. That way you keep your hens from going into egg-overdrive replacing the eggs you remove and little families are happy setting on their nests. They will get bored after awhile and push the dummies out, then the process starts again.
What is it that my life is worth . . . .
My wings still spread out the same, my heart still has a beat.
So why is it that my cousins are the ones you hold so sweet?
I cannot help that I was born without a golden egg . . . . . . .
So when you walk by me, please look me in the eye.
If it would come down to it -- would I live or die?

-- Joyce Glass


beebiz beebiz is offline
Posted 7th November 2007, 07:53 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 18
Thaks for all of the excellent information!! Unfortunately, my vet doen't "mess with" pigeons! So, I guess I'll have to do everything myself... with help from you all! Since I had not found any feed locally that was made for pigeons, I've had to feed them the only things I had.... cracked corn and wild bird seed. But, I know the corn contains little protein and lots of carbs. And, the wild bird seed only contains 8% protein. But as I said, it was all I could find locally.

Then, as I was surfing the net last night, I remembered that Tractor Supply Company (TSC) had put a new store in a town that is only about 9 or 10 miles from me. I checked out their web site to see what they had for pigeons. They have 25 lb. sacks of "Pigeon Pellets" and it says it is a nutritionally complete formula for pigeons. They also have 50 lb. sacks of "Pigeon Grain Mix" and it says it is a wholesome formula for pigeons. I thought, "wonderful!!" Then, I put in my zip code to see if they were available at my local store and what the prices were. WOW!!!! Including tax, it is $11.25 for the 25 lb. bag of Pigeon Pellets and $26.32 for the 50 lb. bag of Pigeon Grain Mix!! That may not sound high to you guys, but I'm afraid it's out of the reach of mine and my wife's fixed income!! It's twice what I pay for quality chicken feed!!

But, I really want to do what is best for my pigeons. Do any of you have any other suggestions?? For example, would it be acceptable to feed them the 16% layer feed that I feed my chickens?? It is not available in "whole grains." But, it is available in crumbles or pellets. Or, could I supliment the wild bird seed with soybean meal?? Or, can any of you at least give me some kind of idea as to how much a pigeon (or my flock of 20) will eat per day, per week, or per month if I am feeding them the Pigeon Grain Mix?? As I said, the Pigeon feeds are expensive when compaired to my chicken's feed. But, if my 20 pigeons would eat 50 lbs. or less per month, I might be able to afford that.

As for replacing the eggs with fake ones for population control, I found wooden eggs at Cutler Supply. But, I didn't find any that say pigeon sized. There are lovebird, quail, pheasant, chicken, and goose size. Are there any of these that would be acceptable sizes to fool the pigeon hens??

Thanks again for all the excellent information. I am sorry that I am so full of questons. But, I don't know much about these guys, and I am trying to learn!!

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TheSnipes TheSnipes is offline
Posted 7th November 2007, 09:13 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MI, USA
Posts: 1,630

When my birds were all young, I interpreted the cooing/twirling/head bobbing and fussing between them to indicate that they were all males. I was very concerned that would lead to fighting and that there would be no babies!

Well...I can tell you that it meant nothing of the kind. Every single bird I had in that original group of 5 birds turned out to be a hen!

So to some extent, they all do this behavior. When you see a male bird displaying and courting a female, you will know for sure. Once you know for sure, you can tell two cock birds fighting over territory, etc., too.

I just wanted to tell you don't assume that cuz they seem to be 'acting like' males, they are; mine sure foold me.
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Skyeking Skyeking is offline
Posted 7th November 2007, 09:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Country: United States
Location: SE Coast Central Florida
Posts: 25,396
The youngster that is squeaking is definitely under two months of age.

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Victor Victor is offline
Posted 7th November 2007, 10:16 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Country: United States
Location: In Nebraska a place called Tooterville
Posts: 4,055
Hi Robert,

Maybe your vets staff has a number if an avian vet that they can refer you.

to. It wouldn't hurt to ask or call around. If you look in the phone book, many

times there will be one that will state having one. May times an exotic pet

place, or a repuable pet shop will be able to refere you to a name who

practices with birds.

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Dezirrae Dezirrae is offline
Posted 7th November 2007, 11:26 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Piscataway, NJ
Posts: 1,621
You can also search online for a Avian vet --

Don't assume that is a complete list though. The vet I take my cats to is not listed but they do provide care for Pigeons and Doves.

Always best to ask
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TheSnipes TheSnipes is offline
Posted 7th November 2007, 11:31 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MI, USA
Posts: 1,630
For food, I use inexpensive store-brand wild bird mix, (2.99 for 5 lbs) and add things like brown rice, lentils, split green peas, barley, yellow peas (if I can find them!) and any other grain or legume that is small enough for them to swallow. Be careful of quality when buying things in bulk.
beebiz beebiz is offline
Posted 7th November 2007, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 18
Thanks again for all the excellent advice!!

TheSnipes, I will check into some of those things for food to supplement the wild bird seed that I have.

Dezirrae, thank you for the link. I checked it out and the only vets that they had listed near me are over 100 miles away. That is just not possible for me to do. But, I will check with other local vets and with a couple of pet stores that I know of. Thanks again!

Margarret Margarret is offline
Posted 7th November 2007, 12:02 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Southern Calif.
Posts: 2,014

Go to the National Pigeon Association webpage

You will find a lot of information there. They also list clubs by state and for you it is the Tennessee Pigeon and Dove Club.

They are having a show Nov. 17 in Lebanon. I am not familiar with Tennessee, so don't know if that is near or across the state from you. But a show is a good place to meet other pigeon people and learn about where to get supplies and any other questions you might have.

Now as to feed, feed your pigeons the best you can. It will cost you far more if they get sick, so keeping them healthy is cost effective. A fifty pound bag should last for quite a while. You also need grit. It isn't just for the calcium, they need it for other minerals and to help grind their food in their gizzards. You can give them the crushed oyster shell along with the grit, but not just the oyster shell.

Hope this helps with some of your questions. Oh, also, the hens coo and prance just like the cocks. If one of the birds fans his tail and runs at another bird, dragging his tail on the ground, then that is most likely a cock, but I've seen a hen do this as well. They can really fool you sometimes.

beebiz beebiz is offline
Posted 7th November 2007, 03:05 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 18
Thank you Margaret. I had already found that club through the National Pigeon Association's site. I would love to go to the show on November 17. But, a fixed income and three-plus dollar per gallon gasoline dictates that I pass. But, I do intend to check further into their club.


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