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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Friends,

My wonderful pet (devoted single young pigeon) "Birdy" flies freely around my apartment most days; he sits on my windowsill and looks outside, watching my backyard bird feeder and passerby neighbors.

He is such a great pet to me... he sits on my lap when I watch tv, and coos in the morning to wake me up from his cage he sleeps in at night.

I was wondering if I should ever let him outside. I am so worried about losing him, but I have read posts on here where pigeons come and go freely. I just would like to make his life as enjoyable as I can, since he is a single pigeon and doesn't get to mingle with other birds (only with my 2 pugs, and they have a mutual respect) , but I don't want to lose him.

I have had him since last summer, so his homing device should tune in to here, but I don't know if it's too dangerous... seeking any advice.

Thanks!:confused:
 

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I wouldn't do that.

I had a juvenile in an aviary outside, he grew up, mated and they were incubating an egg. I thought that all that was enough to ensure that he would return if let out for a flight, but I never saw him again.

There have been other pet pigeons on this forum that have escaped and never returned. There have also been pet pigeons taken by hawks right under their owners noses. It is true, most are OK and do return, but I wouldn't risk it.

Cynthia
 

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Hi Nancy,

I wouldn't if he were my pigeon. Depending on how old he was when you adopted him he could try to find his way back to the shelter rather than to you. It is, unfortunately, equally possible that he could just get lost or be caught by a predator. Keep Birdy safe :)

John
 

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Hi Nancy - Birdy is a beauty and so is his companion. :)

I ditto the other comments. To me, it is taking a risk and he will continue to be happy with you and his friend.
 

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I agree with all the other opinions.
 

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As the new mom to a 5 month old pigeon, Floyd, I have struggled with the same questions you are thinking about. What I've decided, based on his behavior, is that Floyd is VERY happy with the relationships he has with me, DH, the kids and the other house pets. I really think he gets his "socialization needs" met through these sources, and I suspect your pigeon is the same, since he sounds very happy with you and your family.

If you're like me, you're also regretting is that he is not able to fly free like other pigeons in the neighborhood. But remember, he's never learned evasive maneuvers or other life-saving things from his pigeon family, so he'd be much too vulerable out there.

I'd say be the best friend to him you can be, and he will be a happy bird. Someone on this board pointed out that too many pigeons in the wild have to scavenge for unhealthy food (think about the parking lot in McDonalds) steer clear of predators, and of course face disease. Your pigeon is much better off than them, and what he's missing is clearly outweighed by what he has with you!
 

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I would say absolutely NOT let him outside. He is much too sheltered to be an outdoor pij, even for a few hours. Imagine the heartbreak should something happen to him. Better safe than sorry. Definitely take him out in a safe carrier, or perhaps build him a small pen to be out in during a few daylight hours. The sun is good for them and that way he will be safe. A single pigeon outside on its own is a very easy target for a predator. He can still be safe and enjoy the outdoors. :)
 

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Oh he is a pretty bird and I love that picture..

This is a good post and that was a good question. I was wondering the same about Higgins...

Thanks for asking and thanks all that gave advice...
 

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Your bird is a homing pigeon

And he would very likely go home to where he was born, or at least try to.

Pigeons are not solitary birds and he should have a mate to live a nomal life. They are not pets as parrots, parakeets, etc. can become. That is not to say that they can become tame, as they surely can do.

If you intend to keep him as a pet, it would be a good idea to get him out into the sunshine, as they need their vitamin D to remain healthy. You could do this in a small cage and you will probably see the bird stretch out and enjoy the sunshine. They tend to stretch their wings and expose any bare skin areas (which are few) to the sun.

My sister kept a stray pigeon for over a year and when I went to see it, I told her that it was a homer and probably belonged to someone in the local racing club, as it was banded and certainly a homer. They have a distinct look. Anyway, she finally let the bird out after over one year and never saw it again.

Bill
 

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And he would very likely go home to where he was born, or at least try to.

Pigeons are not solitary birds and he should have a mate to live a nomal life. They are not pets as parrots, parakeets, etc. can become. That is not to say that they can become tame, as they surely can do.

If you intend to keep him as a pet, it would be a good idea to get him out into the sunshine, as they need their vitamin D to remain healthy. You could do this in a small cage and you will probably see the bird stretch out and enjoy the sunshine. They tend to stretch their wings and expose any bare skin areas (which are few) to the sun.

My sister kept a stray pigeon for over a year and when I went to see it, I told her that it was a homer and probably belonged to someone in the local racing club, as it was banded and certainly a homer. They have a distinct look. Anyway, she finally let the bird out after over one year and never saw it again.

Bill
Bill...We have many members that do have single pigeons and they do great.
 

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I agree with everyone, I would not let him go for those reasons.

If you think he needs another pij friend you could always adopt another.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
And he would very likely go home to where he was born, or at least try to.

Pigeons are not solitary birds and he should have a mate to live a nomal life. They are not pets as parrots, parakeets, etc. can become. That is not to say that they can become tame, as they surely can do.

If you intend to keep him as a pet, it would be a good idea to get him out into the sunshine, as they need their vitamin D to remain healthy. You could do this in a small cage and you will probably see the bird stretch out and enjoy the sunshine. They tend to stretch their wings and expose any bare skin areas (which are few) to the sun.

My sister kept a stray pigeon for over a year and when I went to see it, I told her that it was a homer and probably belonged to someone in the local racing club, as it was banded and certainly a homer. They have a distinct look. Anyway, she finally let the bird out after over one year and never saw it again.

Bill
Bill, I think you are wrong making a broad statement about pigeons not being proper pets such as parakeets and parrots are, etc. This pigeon is very smart and interactive with me. He knows his name and comes when called. He sits on the edge of the bathtub when I take a shower and bathes in the spray. I had a couple of parakeets years ago that were afraid of everything, squawked and screeched all the time, and bit me when I would try to feed them. So if that's a "proper pet", I don't want one!

After a suggesion on this board, I did take Birdy out in a cage on the grass, in the sunshine, by ourselves, and he did not spread his wings; he was completely freaked out, at high alert, standing up tall, and only relaxed when I brought him back in. He has always been a tame bird and was rejected by his former racing owner because he got lost and wasn't a good racer. He had actually been picked up by animal control officers because he was tame and lost and kept bothering random people for food, so I guess he didn't take his chance to "go home" then. I adopted him from the animal shelter after his owner didn't want him after being contacted by the shelter. I guess his former owner thought Birdy was only good for racing, and wouldn't make a good pet either.

I suspect the life he leads now, with premium pigeon/dove mix, premium grit, free reign to fly around my home 18 hours per day, windows to get sun and look out, a bowl of water to bathe in on the floor of my bathroom at his leisure, sitting on my lap while I watch tv and being petted, and no hassling by wild animals (the pugs are old couch potatoes and ignore him), is probably preferable to life on the street, so I doubt he would go back "home" (to the racer who didn't want him, or to the animal shelter).

It could be argued that his life would be better with a pigeon mate; but that was not in the cards for this guy. He had been at the shelter for over a month, because most people think pigeons don't make good pets, and they didn't know what to do with him; they had him in a tiny parakeet cage and giving him parakeet mix (that's all they had). We already know what happens when he gets "set free"; he looks for the nearest generous human.

I have bonded with this bird and he is part of the family (like the pugs are). However, I do respect other people's opinions to think of their pets as just animals.
 

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Hi Nancy,

LOL @ that picture...that is just too cute for words, Birdy with the pug! lol. Sounds like Birdy is a great pigeon to me and a wonderful pet. A lot of people (including some pigeon racers) don't see pigeons that way...as indoor pets. Most people can't get that idea in their head that pigeons can do well indoors, they think of them as barn critters, like chickens and what not. But even chickens would do well indoors too if you could put up with the mess, lol.

Those of us who have indoor pet pigeons know differently though, they adapt quite well to life indoors and often become very tame member of the family.

Sounds like Birdy has an excellent life with you and the pugs. Don't be afraid to try again to take him outside in a cage for fresh air and sunshine. He will get used to the sights and sounds if it becomes a routine and it's good for him. Otherwise and like everyone else said, don't let him outside unless it is in a very sturdy cage/pen and you are watching him at all times in it.

Birdy is a lucky pigeon to have found you as an owner. :)
 

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Hi Nancy,

I have to put my two seeds here on this one. My first pigeon Tooter was a lone flier during the day whenever I was out working in the yard and he would fly around following me around the yard. As a matter of fact I have a picture of him that I have shared HERE of him riding on my shoulder on my 10 speed bike. It happened to me as said earler...right under my nose, he was almost lunch for a hawk. Lucky for my pigeon he got away hurt but was gone for almost 8 months until he mysteriously reappeared home after I left him for being dead. Tooters story is a sticky here on our forum if you ever have the time to read it. It was quite an adventure and many tears shed.

By the way, Tooter is my PET and I have 7 other wonderful pet pigeons that live in a coop and roomy aviary. I miss the bike rides, but it isn't worth loosing him again.

Oh, by the way...Birdy looks much like my Paris le Pigeon!
 

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Mr. Squeaks (Shi) has Squeaks, who thinks Shi is his mate. He is perfectly happy being a one-person pigeon and undoubtedly wouldn't have it any other way. I have Mrs. Bird, who was raised by people and loves people, and who has always completely ignored her pigeon mate when I am around. Since he passed away and she is back in with me, she goes through the "mating rituals" to me all the time and wants to be with me all the time. When I do take her outside to be in the aviary during the day, she doesn't really like the big outdoors but is comfy in the wire aviary with a few of her buddies. With other birds I have that were indoor, I would stick them out in their cages during the day with the cages covered partway with blankets or towels, so they can sit in the sun or in the shade. This seems less alarming to them and after a few days they adjusted very well. :)
 

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Hi Nancy,

The picture is adorable!

Take it from someone who has both "homing" and pet pigeons, they are emotionally different. My homing pigeons who were raised by pigeons have all the instincts to alert them that there is a predator around, my pets who were raised by me, do not. They didn't learn from mom and dad and they are more human then pigeon is some respects.

To me it is not worth the heartbreak or agony losing them. If you want him to be outside build him an aviary, he will get plenty of sun that way without the worry.
 

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Hi Nancy,

We have 3 pet pigeons (all rescues), 2 who are mated to each other and 1 who is mated to my husband. The bird mated to my husband is VERY happy in the apt as a "single" pigeon--Biko never socializes with the other 2 pigeons. My husband used to take him (oops her, i still can't adjust) outside (on the roof) on a leash, and 1 day, the leash broke. After a few heart-rending days, Biko came back! My husband was feeding the pigeons on the roof and Biko just walked up to him. And was very happy to be home. We were very lucky to get Biko back---during the time she was gone, there was a hawk/falcon prowling the neighborhood. Anyway, so I ditto the advice--I think just being outside in a cage to get some sun is fine (your pigeon will eventually relax outside).

Oh and 1 other thing--have you thought about buying some PGwear (pigeon diapers)? It has radically changed our lives to not worry about pigeon poop anymore!

Sabina
 

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I have known people to keep a pigeon pet too

I have had pet pigeons over the years as well, especially birds that were hand-raised by me. I would always return my pets to the loft with other pigeons as I felt that they were better off being with their own kind. Some lose their tameness over time being back with a group.

I have also had pet chickens, ducks, quail and countless other birds that I raised. They can all become tame, affectionate and have no fear of humans.

Hopefully, I don't come off too strong in my opinions and the things that I say here. My feeling about any bird is that it should have the companionship of it's own kind, not so much ours. While it can be tame and enjoy our company, I will still keep it with others of it's own kind as I think of it as more natural and better all around for the bird.

Please don't take offense if you have a pet bird of any kind. I have had many pet birds in my life as well. I just don't keep them as such any more. At some point, I will end up rehabbing another or rearing another orphan and I'll have a pet again for a time but I will always attempt to release the bird back to the wild if that is where it came from and is a suitable candidate for release.

As to pigeons as lone pets, I don't agree with it but we are all free to do as we please and it seems that many here are keeping the birds healthy and happy.

Bill
 

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Bill, the great thing about this forum is that we have many voices based on our experience. I'm like you in one respect in that we have no pigeons in the house as pets (I don't count grumpy Mr. Humphries because he just spends the night) or if we have any that are sick. We always try to release the ones that we take in - sometimes we can't because they have become too dependent and imprinted or they're disabled - but we do take them out to one of the aviaries to stay with their buddies.

However, if I had only ever taken in one baby pigeon and it became imprinted, I would definitely keep it inside. I think they are happy and, after all, that environment is all they know.

Don't ever worry about speaking your opinion. Personally, I like differing opinions as long as they are respectful of other members' feelings and opinions. I have seen nothing in your posts to offend. I think with your long history of raising pigeons you can help everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Feral vs Tame?

It seems to be a feral/wild vs tame issue. Think feral cats vs pet cats.

If the pigeon was raised by hand, and has always been around people, it is tame and would not survive outside by itself (like my Birdy). It does not seek "freedom" outside, because that is a scary place with no food and no nest.

If the pigeon was born wild, or in a coop without much human interaction, it will not be tame, and will fly away the first chance it gets (like Bill's sister's bird?).

As to quality of life, I think of my dogs... you know, dogs are social animals who live in packs in the wild. Most pet dogs do not live in a pack... they are solitary dogs, or maybe one of 2 or 3 in a household. So they do the best they can to adapt, and consider their human family to be their "pack".

I think it's the same for our pet pigeons. Birdy would naturally have a mate and maybe be part of a flock out in the wild ... but just like our pet dogs, they adapt to their human families, and consider their human owner to be their "mate", and other family members to be part of the flock.
 
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