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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought four Pigeons (or maybe their doves...?) today at auction. I did a gender check and concluded that I have 1 male and 3 females. They're rather calm, docile birds, but they do fly when they can. Since I'm keeping them more as pet birds, I'd like to better tame them.
They're in a smaller, temporary cage (originally built for 10+lb nursing rabbit does) with a strong perch until more adequate housing is built.

Is it advisable to clip their wings? If so, how many flight feathers should I clip? How long does it normally take for them to be able to fly again?


Also, whats the recommended diet for pet-pigeons? I inquired and was told 'chicken food'. While both chickens and pigeons have beaks and wings, I am in doubt and don't want to go off and buy something that will possibly kill them. I read that they need oyster shells, salt, and grit as well.

I was also told this about my ducks (it's a small farming-type town, they mean well). They're on a small amount of game-bird (ok'd for ducks) chow with all-day outside forage time until I can locate a more proper duck feed.

Can anyone recommend a cage size for these guys? Should they be house separately if laying, or can they live in a 'community cage'?


I bought them because they're lovely looking birds and I really enjoy the cooing. I'm thinking of building a small flying aviary once we move to the new place so they might be able to enjoy a more natural lifestyle. My area is heavily populated with owls, hawks, raccoons, fox, feral cat, and ground hog, I'd rather not let them fly freely.
 

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First--It takes only ! cock to 1 hen---He will not and can not take care of 2-3 hens. You are asking for problems.Chicken pellets will be O K or any type of Whole grains wheat-maise-[not cracked Corn]. They will need some type of Grit.
Maybe use Liquid Soap on their wings to keep them from flying.--It can be washed off at a later date. I'm not sure you can settle older pigeons and Dove's have "NO" homing ability.
I think you are in for some "tough" lessons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
First--It takes only ! cock to 1 hen---He will not and can not take care of 2-3 hens. You are asking for problems.Chicken pellets will be O K or any type of Whole grains wheat-maise-[not cracked Corn]. They will need some type of Grit.
Maybe use Liquid Soap on their wings to keep them from flying.--It can be washed off at a later date. I'm not sure you can settle older pigeons and Dove's have "NO" homing ability.
I think you are in for some "tough" lessons.
I know a guy who also keeps pigeons, I'm going to call him up tomorrow to see if he'll possibly trade my not-so-friendly female for an un-mated male. The not-so-friendly is rather mean to the other pigeons, who get along fine and are OK with touching and perching on your finger.

*edit* Nevermind ^^ I googled grit and found out. I'll check my feed stores to see if they have any.

I'm planning on keeping them in a pigeon 'house', with access to an enclosed aviary where they can fly without the predator problem. That won't be built for a while yet, which was why I was inquiring about clipping their wings.
 

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how nice of you to give the little ones a good home! and you have found THE right place for info.

i would clip their flight feathers. ALL of my birds flights are clipped, pigeons and parrots alike, especially since i was an idiot, and let one of them grow his flights out...and guess what? he went missing almost a month ago. it's like having a child go missing. still just tears my heart out. it's like trimming long fingernails, not a big deal. i usually extend the wing, and take the first five flights down by a few inches. but know this - the little buggers are smart, determined, and darn good flyers, so don't think they can't get juuuuust enough lift to get themselves into trouble. i actually think i have some photos of one of birds post-clipping, that i could email to you if you want.

anyway - my pigeons and parrots all eat roudybush, which is a pelleted food [read 'way more expensive'] and they get other stuff added in to that, wild bird seed, safflower seeds, rice, chopped almonds, chopped peanuts - there are loooooads of different things you can and should feed them. i've even known some racing folks to feed greens to their birds, although mine continue to look at whatever leafy things i put in their house as alien intruders.

they can all stay in a large enclosure, with each pair having it's own nest box. i have one wee girl that is now mate-free due to my stupidity, and she has been getting mercilessly bullied, so i put a huge wire dog crate in the pigeons' house, and put her nest box and food and water in there. she's still part of the group, just protected. when the boys think it's time to settle down, they seem to 'insist' on the girls getting to the nest. sometimes they can be little jerks about it. it usually works itself out, as long as the girl finally accepts him. if not, there's a whole bunch of running around, wing - slapping and pecking that doesn't let up, and then you might have to think about separating them.

i knocked together a PVC pipe indoor aviary for all of my pigeons, which was so easy i STILL can't believe it. it started out as 10 by 6 by 6, but is down to 10 by 8 by 6 now.

the only other thing i can think of that you probably wouldn't be prepared for is pigeon birth control...get to a craft store and buy yourself some pigeon egg sized wooden eggs. pijjies will lay every month, two eggs, and what most of us do is pull the eggs, and replace with fakes after the second one is laid. there's usually about a 48 hour gap between the first and second egg. i only put one fake back in the box. they'll sit on the fakes for a couple of weeks or so, and then they give up, and the whole process starts all over again. sounds like a lot, but it's really not.

my five pigeons are SO easy to take care of. and i learned just about all of my pigeon info from right here on PT.

you're gonna love it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
anyway - my pigeons and parrots all eat roudybush, which is a pelleted food [read 'way more expensive'] and they get other stuff added in to that, wild bird seed, safflower seeds, rice, chopped almonds, chopped peanuts - there are loooooads of different things you can and should feed them. i've even known some racing folks to feed greens to their birds, although mine continue to look at whatever leafy things i put in their house as alien intruders.

they can all stay in a large enclosure, with each pair having it's own nest box. i have one wee girl that is now mate-free due to my stupidity, and she has been getting mercilessly bullied, so i put a huge wire dog crate in the pigeons' house, and put her nest box and food and water in there. she's still part of the group, just protected. when the boys think it's time to settle down, they seem to 'insist' on the girls getting to the nest. sometimes they can be little jerks about it. it usually works itself out, as long as the girl finally accepts him. if not, there's a whole bunch of running around, wing - slapping and pecking that doesn't let up, and then you might have to think about separating them.
Well, they certainly sound a LOT easier to care for then my rabbits! :D With them it's a whole song and dance what you can and cannot feed, separate cages, etc. etc. etc. I'm going to go over a pigeon house plan with my dad tomorrow. About how much space does each pair need? Are the nesting boxes just square? Do they usually just use hay and straw for nesting or...?

I'll be clipping wings tomorrow and picking up some more feed and grit ^^
 

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i've had rabbits, too. pigeons are much easier. and much smarter. =]

this one grocery store that i go to, you can grab a small empty box that they use to display stuff, so they're really just small cardboard boxes, mine seem to prefer the ketchup boxes, because they have a bit of a 'roof', and i fill those with newspaper that i cut into strips, and that shredded paper stuff you get to put in gift bags and easter baskets....i'm weird, i like to color co.ordinate, and switch colors for the holidays--- what can i say?

but i'm pretty sure most people use clean hay.

some folks use the shallow clay plates that go under clay pots, but i like the boxes idea, because when they get dirty i just pitch them, and put in a nice new clean one. seems like less work to me, and i need all the shortcuts i can get!

if you want to get a good idea of what an 'official' pigeon loft looks like, jump on youtube, and look for videos by birdlady [renee], and dennis weinrich. renee and dennis routinely shoot videos while walking around inside their lofts. and they both LOVE their birds, so it's kind of entertaining listening to the commentary, too.

you're gonna LOVE having them. i've always had dogs and parrots, and ever since my first pigeon came along, i am absolutely smitten with them.

let me know when you want to start looking for pigeon artwork, and clothing....:D
 

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If you plan on letting the birds outside clipping the wings was the norm some years back but now that the hawks have made a huge comeback your birds will be dinner if they cant fly normal.
 

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wait, wait...people actually DID that??? :eek:
clipped a bird's wings and then let it outside? you are joking. who would DO that??? that would just be cruel and stupid. god, some people...sure hope those same folks never had offspring....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
wait, wait...people actually DID that??? :eek:
clipped a bird's wings and then let it outside? you are joking. who would DO that??? that would just be cruel and stupid. god, some people...sure hope those same folks never had offspring....
Unfortunately, there are a LOT of stupid animal keepers around :( I did let my pigeons outside today, but they where caged up nice and tight with food, water, and two different perches :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I want to know how you checked the genders? is there a secret Im not aware of?:)
I just ran a finger gently down the breast bone (keel bone? I'm new to bird terms) to find the mid-line, then a little further to see if the two 'V' bones are tightly together, with little space in between, or further apart. I used looks to confirm my findings (though this isn't always accurate >.<) my cock bird is a big, robust, handsome fellow while my hens are very feminine and sleek.

This post from the archives was very helpful :D
http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/archive/index.php/t-4170.html
 

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I just ran a finger gently down the breast bone (keel bone? I'm new to bird terms) to find the mid-line, then a little further to see if the two 'V' bones are tightly together, with little space in between, or further apart. I used looks to confirm my findings (though this isn't always accurate >.<) my cock bird is a big, robust, handsome fellow while my hens are very feminine and sleek.

This post from the archives was very helpful :D
http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/archive/index.php/t-4170.html
oh ,ok.. I have tried that. I must not be very good at knowing what Im feeling... I have not been right.
 

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oh ,ok.. I have tried that. I must not be very good at knowing what Im feeling... I have not been right.
Its alright to be wrong. Though some people do use that method for testing, pigeons and doves are complex in the sense that sometimes females have sturdy male-like bones and sometimes the males have more flexible, girl-like bones. Doing the hip test is just chance, haha. The only sure-fire way is DNA testing of course.
 
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