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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings! Just two months ago I rescued a pigeon that was attacked by a cat. I found him in my horse's stall and he couldn't fly, so I immediately caught him, and borrowed my friends bucket to put him in.

There is no pigeon friendly rescue near me, so I took him home and treated him as best I could. He had no obvious broken bones, but his legs where badly mauled and infected. I think the infected had gotten into the bones at that point which may have fractured them. His left wing still hurts him even two months later so I think it might have been fractured(would a muscle tear take that long to heal?). Anyway, I dosed him with antibiotics, and he healed up, but since he couldn't fly I decided to keep him and get him a girlfriend.

So now I have a friendly feral pigeon, he stands on my hand and lets me pet him sometimes. My new domestic girl, on the other hand, freaks out easily, I tried letting her fly indoors but it took me at least ten minutes to catch her. By then she has panting and freaked out. I don't think I'll be letting her fly until she gets more tame.
Pidgy pidge is the feral male, and the girl pigeon doesn't have a name yet.

Anyway, as a new pigeon keeper, what words of wisdom do you have for me?
 

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By chasing her around the room, you will just make her more scared of you. If you want to give her excercise, let her out for an hour before it gets dark. They don't see well in the dark, then you can just pick her up and put her back in the cage.

You can offer them treats like chopped up unsalted peanuts. Mix some in with the food till they get a taste for it, eventually she will come to you when you offer them some from your hand. This will just take time and patience.

If you are keeping them indoors, you will have to supply them with vitamins, especially calcium with added Vit D3. This will prevent the female getting eggbound once she starts laying eggs. Some greenery will be appreciated, especially spinach.

Invest in some fake pigeon eggs. Once she starts laying, you can just switch the real eggs for the fake ones and they will incubate that. This will prevent you being stuck with a lot of young pigeons in a very short time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, its the domestic that's scared. I had the idea that dusk would be a good time to let her fly indoors, but she still didn't cooperate, thus the temporary flight ban. She's getting more used to me, mostly because Pidge stands still and lets me pet him: what doesn't hurt him probably won't hurt her.
I thinks its there's something to be said about the feral being easier to tame. I'm curious what my domestic girls backstory is, as I got her from the SPCA, I think I will ask this Sunday(the SPCA labeled her a boy pigeon too LOL).

They live in a small aviary outside, so I suppose I don't have to worry about those vitamins. I have vitamin packs for chickens, in a pinch I think that would work(also owns 6 bantam chickens).

I don't have spinach on hand, do you think they would like Kale? We grow our own for our lizards, so its always available. I'll get some peanuts next time I head to the store.
 

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They like kale. I chop it up to bite size and my pigeons attack it. They love it.

I think you misunderstood Marina. What she is saying is that because they don't normally fly in the dark, if you let her out an hour before dark, you then turn the light off, and walk over to her and pick her up. She shouldn't fly off. By chasing her around, you are scaring her, which means that you are not making it possible for her to learn to trust you. You are making her more scared of you. You will never tame her that way. They do need time out of cage, whether they are tame or not. They are very smart birds, and cannot just sit in a cage all day, every day.

Pigeons still need vitamins and calcium whether inside or outside. It's just that when kept inside, they also need the vitamin D3, which when outside in the sunshine, they get from the rays of the sun. But still need calcium and other vitamins. Especially the female will need calcium when she starts to lay. She will use up her vitamin stores and needs to replace it, or will have problems.
 

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I think pigeons are a lot like horses, you have to give them their freedom and ignore them, and let them come to you for attention. too intense setteling spooks them, and that can be hard to overcome. just put out good vibes, and talk to them, and encourage them when they do something good, and they might come around......bruce

ps: food and patience are strong binders.
 

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Exactly as Alby68 says. You let them come to you. Give them time and go slowly. They in time will learn to trust you. But not if you push them or chase them. That is hurting the trust they need to have in you. Just be around doing things, speak to them gently, and let them get used to you, and learn that you won't chase or hurt them. Mixing some chopped unsalted peanuts in their food, so that they will eventually try them doesn't hurt. They all love them.............most birds do, even songbirds. Once they know how good they are, they will eventually come to you for the treat. With birds, it has to be on their terms, not yours. Give it time and she'll come around.
 

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Agree, just take your time and the feral should tame up. Our first pigeon, an injured feral, took months to tame. Our domestic racer, Lucy, took a year to tame.
interesting that you say this! I've had my domestic racer for a little over a year and she has just started to trust (bite) me! but it took my feral only a few months to do! he now follows me everywhere I go and sleeps next to me. Funny that ferals can be tamer than racers!
 

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The domestic bird might have been in a loft/aviary situation where she/he didn't get handled much.
All of my hand raised birds in the loft still come to me and let me handle them. They fly to the door and jump in the food bucket as soon as I walk in. The birds that were born and raised by their parents in the loft are more skiddish of me. They don't panic, they just keep their distance if I try to catch them for one reason or another. Once it's dark, I can catch any of them.
Safflower seed is another treat they rally like.
 

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Also, ferals aren't generally handled. But a domestic bird may have been handled badly, and has learned not to trust. It's individual with each bird.
Yes, safflower seed and hulled sunflower seed, I have used for treats, and they really do like both. But mine like peanuts the best. Treats do help in getting them used to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think pigeons are a lot like horses, you have to give them their freedom and ignore them, and let them come to you for attention. too intense setteling spooks them, and that can be hard to overcome. just put out good vibes, and talk to them, and encourage them when they do something good, and they might come around......bruce

ps: food and patience are strong binders.
That's not really true about horses, I've been around them quite a bit since I have a horse. My own horse plays a rough game of tag where we both run about and at each other. :rolleyes: The rule of not running around horses isn't because horses scare(some do though), its mostly because they get excited and want to run too(basic herd mentality).
Horses will also attack people, so I don't really see horses being like pigeons. Because if they are, I would be using a pressure and release of pressure to train them, like I train my horse. Seems bribery is the go-to method of pigeon training, something that has its drawbacks in horse training(not that a carrot won't do wonders for trick training). My goal is to friend zone my pigeon within the next two months.


Let me elaborate on my problem. I need the lights on in order to catch the pigeon, as she flies up to the cross beams which are about 10 feet above the floor. Its way to hazardous to climb a latter with a flashlight when I need two hands to hold a pigeon. I Don't want to chase my pigeon around, I understand quite well that is stressful and scary. So for the meantime, I'm going to spend as much time possible taming her.
The 'cage' is 4 feet by 3 feet by 5 feet, and I'm planning to extend it by two feet since I have the space. After all, the bigger the better.


I also found out from the SPCA(shelter) about her backstory: She was a stray. I honestly have no idea if that means someone captured a feral pigeon because she had white markings, or if she is an escapee. Aren't most rock doves in America considered 'strays'?
 

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That's not really true about horses, I've been around them quite a bit since I have a horse. My own horse plays a rough game of tag where we both run about and at each other. :rolleyes: The rule of not running around horses isn't because horses scare(some do though), its mostly because they get excited and want to run too(basic herd mentality).
Horses will also attack people, so I don't really see horses being like pigeons. Because if they are, I would be using a pressure and release of pressure to train them, like I train my horse. Seems bribery is the go-to method of pigeon training, something that has its drawbacks in horse training(not that a carrot won't do wonders for trick training). My goal is to friend zone my pigeon within the next two months.


Let me elaborate on my problem. I need the lights on in order to catch the pigeon, as she flies up to the cross beams which are about 10 feet above the floor. Its way to hazardous to climb a latter with a flashlight when I need two hands to hold a pigeon. I Don't want to chase my pigeon around, I understand quite well that is stressful and scary. So for the meantime, I'm going to spend as much time possible taming her.

Try putting on a VERY low light so that the pigeon doesn't fly off. One bright enough so you can just barely see to retrieve her.

The 'cage' is 4 feet by 3 feet by 5 feet, and I'm planning to extend it by two feet since I have the space. After all, the bigger the better.


I also found out from the SPCA(shelter) about her backstory: She was a stray. I honestly have no idea if that means someone captured a feral pigeon because she had white markings, or if she is an escapee. Aren't most rock doves in America considered 'strays'?
They said she was a stray, because someone just found her. They don't know where she came from. Could have been a pet, or gotten out of someones loft, or just gotten lost. They have no idea. She is domestic, so was owned by someone. Not a feral bird. A stray, like a lost dog.
The pigeons you see that live outside are ferals, not strays.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I do understand the difference between a stray and a feral, however, the SPCA at my place does not have the best record keeping nor small animal and bird knowledge. The circumstances of her arrival a quite a mystery.
 

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This is what you said, so it didn't sound as though you understood the difference. That is why we are explaining.


"I also found out from the SPCA(shelter) about her backstory: She was a stray. I honestly have no idea if that means someone captured a feral pigeon because she had white markings, or if she is an escapee. Aren't most rock doves in America considered 'strays'?"
 

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I do understand the difference between a stray and a feral, however, the SPCA at my place does not have the best record keeping nor small animal and bird knowledge. The circumstances of her arrival a quite a mystery.
People bring them in and drop them off. They just take them. The finder would usually have no way of knowing where they came from. There is no way of knowing their background. That's what makes them a stray.:)
 

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Both of your birds are beautiful and I'll bet your original rescue bird is so happy to have a friend. Time and patience will work wonders on both. Sounds like you've earned the trust of the male, and it won't be long until the female begins to trust you and it won't freak her out to catch her.

I know what you mean about crossbeams, I lived in a loft with 14 foot ceilings with exposed pipes and guess where my dove liked to fly and roost? After borrowing a giant ladder from the building super and cleaning off all the dust on the pipes I returned the ladder and resigned myself to calling for her and hoping for the best. She was bonded to me so she usually flew to me when called, but there were a couple of times she roosted up there all night. I just left her cage open and she came down for breakfast. You may be surprised at how quickly you can teach your birds to come to you when you call. Then again, your birds could have other ideas entirely :) Good luck!
 

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Trish, if you turned the lights off when you left her on the crossbeams for the night, I would think that would have made her realize that she would have been better off going to her cage for the night. LOL. Sometimes you just have to let them be birds and have their way. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Both of your birds are beautiful and I'll bet your original rescue bird is so happy to have a friend. Time and patience will work wonders on both. Sounds like you've earned the trust of the male, and it won't be long until the female begins to trust you and it won't freak her out to catch her.

I know what you mean about crossbeams, I lived in a loft with 14 foot ceilings with exposed pipes and guess where my dove liked to fly and roost? After borrowing a giant ladder from the building super and cleaning off all the dust on the pipes I returned the ladder and resigned myself to calling for her and hoping for the best. She was bonded to me so she usually flew to me when called, but there were a couple of times she roosted up there all night. I just left her cage open and she came down for breakfast. You may be surprised at how quickly you can teach your birds to come to you when you call. Then again, your birds could have other ideas entirely :) Good luck!

Talk about high! not to mention so many prime perching places. I've been adding peanut pieces to their food like suggested below, so they get a taste for the treat. Hopefully I can get them voice trained soon.

She's getting tamer, I captured her today with no stress. I let my two pigeons out this evening without a problem. My girly pigeon seemed to realize that her boyfriend can't fly, and stuck close to the ground. Pidgy Pidge has also gotten some strength back to his wings, he can actually fly two or three feet now. Probably only because he wants to be with his girlfriend.
 
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