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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, i found a damascene pigeon sitting on my front porch about 6 months ago in May. He was not banded unfortunately. I did a little research and bought a safflower blend of cockatiel food which he loves and provided him with some cocktifor winter cockatiel grit and ofcourse water. I built a wood perch when he started using my lights for a perch. i think he has chosen to live here because he has not left since he arrived in may. while he lived on my front porch for the summer, he has moved into my garage i think because it is now october and getting cooler. i live in the outer suburbs of chicago and our winters can be harsh. I don't know what to house him in with the cold winter months coming. i read abotu pigeon lofts but he is a lone pigeon so i dont htink that would provide adequate heat for him.
1.What can i do for him regarding winter housing?
2.He only leaves my garage to eat and drink where i leave his food ont he front porch....is this normal for a pigeon?
3. He is somewhat fearful of me even after 6 months...will he ever become more tame?
4. any information about keeping single pigeons would be great!

thanks for any help!
 

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His behavior is quite normal for a domestic pigeon. He may not be hand tame but he knows humans are a source of food and shelter.

Many of our members keep single pigeons as pets. He will likely become more tame if you spend more time near him. Any possibility of bringing him in the house? Pigeons are hardy and can handle extreme temperatures but a Chicago winter in the garage sounds too cold for a single pigeon, as you suggested. If you have room, I suggest buying a decent sized cage for him and keeping him in the house for the winter.

Another reason to bring him in is that the dangers of free-flying increase in fall and winter because of the prevalence of hawks. A single bird is an especially vulnerable target.

This "flight cage" is a nice size for a pigeon: http://www.petsolutions.com/Large-Flight-Cage+I48000040+C60.aspx
 

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winter

Birdmom, you are so right about the hawk problem, I would worry every day. As for the cold weather, a pigeon that is already used to being outside can withstand more then any human in my view, LOL. I see another problem are you going to be willing to make sure he/she has unfrozen water daily with food and grit which he might not be able to find once the snow hits. In the house would be an idle situation but what do you do in the spring, you would now have a forever indoor pigeon that I think would also need a mate.

Wow, to much to think about here, I think I would just let him be free but keep a close watch on him, a box full of straw would not hurt anything.
Then again a little loft in the corner of the garage with a mate would be pretty cool to. >Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #4
yes, i know exactly what you're talking about regarding the hawks...we've had a hawk frequently hanging around and we've shot a paintball gun a few times to scare it off. (just the noise) Since he's not hand tame, how should i go about getting him into a cage? Also, he likes to go out usually 1 x a day for his flights and I'd feel terrible taking away this exercise. Any ideas as to how I could still let him fly/ exercise during the winter? Inside or out?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Kevin, i like your idea of letting him be free a little more than caging him. I'm definitely fearful of that hawk but I don't know how happy he'd be not being able to fly anymore. would a box of straw be adequate heat for him? I have a heated water dish for the winter so I'm not worried about that. If I was able to keep him in the house for the winter, could I not let him free again in my garage in the spring?
 

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Why don't you build him a nice aviary to fly in, or allow him time to excercise in an empty room or enclosed porch? You would not be doing him ANY favors letting him free fly by himself. He is a sitting duck and easily taken by a hawk or other predator. Pigeons are safer flying in numbers.
 

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I appreciate why you don't want to cage him, but Treesa is absolutely right. Pigeons are safest flying in flocks and even then it's not really "safe." Homing pigeon fanciers lose birds to hawks routinely even though homers are very fast flyers. If you let him free-fly, sooner or later he's going to be hurt or killed.

The best solution is an aviary with room for him to exercise. Pigeons are hardy and can handle extreme temperatures but since I've always lived in California I'm not qualified to say how cold is too cold. I'd feel sorry for a single bird in the garage all winter, but I haven't seen your garage. If it has enough light and you can keep the drinking water thawed I guess he would be okay out there.

Most domestic pigeons, once they are past the age of a year or so, don't exhibit a great desire to fly. I used to free-fly my rollers and stopped because of hawks. I found that once they were mature they didn't do much flying anyway. When I let them out they just hung around the roof of the loft and house, which made them even more vulnerable to hawks. Now we keep them in their loft all the time and they seem quite content. It's approximately 5 x 18 feet so they have room to fly around inside.

Another thing to consider is that pigeons are highly social and are happiest in the company of other pigeons. There are many rescued pigeons in need of homes. If you do build an aviary you might consider adopting a friend for your damascene.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thank you all very much for the info. I've decided to bring him inside. I've been looking at fan-top cages for him but I'm not sure which size I should get. I know it needs to be large enough so that he can open his wings. The sizes I'm stuck between are small and medium. The dimensions of the medium is 31.5W x 23D x 67H inches and the dimensions of the small are 23.5 x 22 x 62. I think the small would be okay but I'm really not sure and I've read about other people buying too small of a cage and then they have to buy another one. Any suggestions?

the links for the cages are
http://www.petsupplies.com/item/fan...-6A59-DF11-AE5B-0019B9C2BEFD&mr:referralID=NA
http://www.bird.com/item/fan-top-bird-cage-medium/533462/
 

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Here's a link to the cage I have: http://www.petsolutions.com/Flight-Cage+I12517974+C60.aspx

It's sturdy, well-made and easy to clean and provides sufficient space for a pigeon.

The larger of the two you're looking at is very nice but fancier and more expensive than a pigeon really needs. It's designed for parrots and has vertical space not readily used by pigeons, which don't climb the way parrots do. Any of these cages would suffice, but I think the one I have is the most practical and economical. (It's a sturdier cage than the previous link I showed you, which was their budget flight cage).

The general rule of thumb is "buy or build the largest cage you can afford." So it depends on your decor and your budget.

-Cathy
 

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Thank you all very much for the info. I've decided to bring him inside. I've been looking at fan-top cages for him but I'm not sure which size I should get. I know it needs to be large enough so that he can open his wings. The sizes I'm stuck between are small and medium. The dimensions of the medium is 31.5W x 23D x 67H inches and the dimensions of the small are 23.5 x 22 x 62. I think the small would be okay but I'm really not sure and I've read about other people buying too small of a cage and then they have to buy another one. Any suggestions?

the links for the cages are
http://www.petsupplies.com/item/fan...-6A59-DF11-AE5B-0019B9C2BEFD&mr:referralID=NA
http://www.bird.com/item/fan-top-bird-cage-medium/533462/
:eek: OMG - Are you going to spend $399 to $459 plus shipping for one of those cages? I built my entire 8' x 10' loft for just a little more than that!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I am in college and still live with my parents. My mom says pigeon only comes inside if he's in a nice looking cage...haha yeah I would most definitely buy a cheaper cage but that's not my choice. :)
 

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I am in college and still live with my parents. My mom says pigeon only comes inside if he's in a nice looking cage...haha yeah I would most definitely buy a cheaper cage but that's not my choice. :)
I understand. Ptras made a good point, though. Ultimately you may want to build a small loft outside; in fact you probably will want to.

Do you have any other pet birds now? Have you ever? The reason I ask is that birds are messy. They throw seed around and when they molt there are feathers everywhere. Pigeons are dusty, too, which can cause allergy problems for some people. I feel I need to warn you of this in case your mom is upset by it. I would hate to see you spend a a lot of money on a nice cage only to have your mom say the bird has to go half way through the winter. If you're used to birds then you know it means vacuuming every day and all that. And unlike parrots, pigeons are quiet.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
She's not worried about the mess. We are well aware of how messy birds can be :) My mom is just as much an animal lover as I am. We started by rescuing a lost/injured baby wood duck which we raised over the summer and watched it migrate in the fall. Then friends of ours would bring us various abandoned injured birds bc they know we can't turn em down :). We've raisef 4 different ducks (indoors and outdoors), had a near death chickadee living in the bathroom for a week while he recooperated from a leg injury in the winter and raised two baby robins that had been ejected from their nest.
So I guess I've never had a pet bird but both my mom and I are vvveryy familiar with the colossal mess these tiny creatures can produce lol. Oh and my mom is looking at this cage as a piece of furniture also lol.
 

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Ok, just wanted to be sure you knew what you were getting into. Your mom sounds a lot like me, actually. I like my house neat and tidy but we do have lots of birds. Needless to say, I do a lot of cleaning.

Many of our PT members do have pigeons in the house as pets and enjoy them very much. It will give you an opportunity to work on taming your new friend.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So I ordered the cage Monday and it said the fastest it can arrive is 3 -8 days because it has to be ground shipped. However, I think I may have a problem. Its gotten realllly chilly the last few days like today its a high of 38 and tonight its supposed to get down to 25. I noticed the pigeon sneezing this afternoon and really ruffled into his feathers... I've turned on the electric heater in there(we've had it going the past few nights), but i don't think it's doing anything because its so cold today. I'm thinking about bringing him inside and letting him live in the bathroom til the cage gets here. Is that a good idea or is he fine to stay outside? I'm worried he's going to get sick if he isn't already.
 
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So I ordered the cage Monday and it said the fastest it can arrive is 3 -8 days because it has to be ground shipped. However, I think I may have a problem. Its gotten realllly chilly the last few days like today its a high of 38 and tonight its supposed to get down to 25. I noticed the pigeon sneezing this afternoon and really ruffled into his feathers... I've turned on the electric heater in there(we've had it going the past few nights), but i don't think it's doing anything because its so cold today. I'm thinking about bringing him inside and letting him live in the bathroom til the cage gets here. Is that a good idea or is he fine to stay outside? I'm worried he's going to get sick if he isn't already.
I think taking it in is a great idea as long as you dont plan on letting it out til next spring when its warmer ;)
 

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If he's ill then yes, he definitely needs to be kept warm. If he's sneezing a lot and has a discharge from his nostrils and eyes he probably has a respiratory infection and needs antibiotics. Please bring him in.
 
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