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Hi all, I'm still kind of new here but I've been thinking of getting an indoor, pet pigeon for some time now, and have been researching housing/food/exercise requirements. I have heard lots of opinions and advice on pigeon diets, and wanted to present a thought--My cockatiel eats a stovetop-cooked diet called Beak Appetit. Parrots have the same tendency as pigeons, that when fed a mix of seeds and grains, they will root through the bowl and pick out the ones they like best, usually the seeds with the most fat, leaving most of the lean nutrition on the floor.

A pigeon book I got from the library suggests pigeons be fed differing percentages of protein and fat depending on whether they are racing, breeding, molting, or resting. These values appear to be for free-flying birds who are getting much more exercise than a pigeon that spends most or all of its time in the house. Therefore I would suspect that indoor pets would need a good deal less fat, a little less protein (except when molting), and more roughage.

Beak Appetit comes in several flavors, the protein content of the four recipes I have in front of me ranges from 7% to 11.5% (min), the fat content is 3% (min) in all flavors, and 3-4% fiber. The package says 'for all birds,' but of course the birds pictured on the label are all hookbills. My cockatiel loves his 'Beak' and since all the ingredients are cooked together into a warm, moist cereal, he gets the nutrition he needs because it is harder for him to play favorites.

Here are some Beak Appetit ingredients: Pasta, rolled oats, rolled barley, dehulled millet, sunflower seeds, almonds, dates, cashews, raisins, coconut, carrots, dried kelp, cinnamon, anise seed, parsley...in another variety, basmati rice, pearled barley, yellow split peas, pasta, cracked wheat, cracked corn, dried apples...yet another variety contains green and yellow split peas, papaya, and peanuts in addition to some of the above...you get the idea. All flavors have calcium, vitamins A, D, B-12 and E, niacin, riboflavin, zinc, thiamine, biotin, and folic acid.

Would this be a good diet staple for an indoor pigeon, too? Could I feed them roughly the same things? Or do pigeons not do well with moist foods? Or is there some other reason this wouldn't be a good choice? I can get pigeon/dove pellets from my local pet store, should this be ALL a pigeon eats?
 

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I think it would be okay to feed :) You'd have some spoiled birds! Haha.
You may want to get some of those pellets and bird seed to mix together (that should last you a long time, unless you can get small bags :eek:). All pellets without a good amount of exercise, can result in fat birds. But bird seed alone may not have enough stuff. Then you could give them some cooked food every once in a while as a treat. Simply because I don't know if pigeons would like eating cooked food all the time? I don't know as I've never tried it before. But they do seem to enjoy picking at dry food!
 

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If you feed cooked food, the Pigeons run the risk of getting ill when bacteria starts to grow. You are much better off to feed a pigeon/dove seed mix and supplement the diet with leafy greens, minced carrots, sprouts and such.
Just to let you know, avocado is deadly to birds.
 

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Hi WAMMYTAP, Welcome to pigeon talk,well I have never been a fan of cooked foods for pigeons. The first thing cooking destorys many of the ingredients,enymes,amino acids,vitamins.Your bird should get about an ounce to an ounce and a half a day and you should be sure to see that the bird gets grit and oyster shell at least every other day.I feed my birds (100+) a mix of grain and pellets at the rate of 12grain to 1 pellets.I am sure that there will be those that will feed their birds different then I do and they will be posting soon. GEORGE;)
 

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Hi WAMMYTAP, Welcome to pigeon talk,well I have never been a fan of cooked foods for pigeons. The first thing cooking destorys many of the ingredients,enymes,amino acids,vitamins.Your bird should get about an ounce to an ounce and a half a day and you should be sure to see that the bird gets grit and oyster shell at least every other day.I feed my birds (100+) a mix of grain and pellets at the rate of 12grain to 1 pellets.I am sure that there will be those that will feed their birds different then I do and they will be posting soon. GEORGE;)
Hi, and thanks to everybody! I know that cooking takes a lot out of food, that's why I supplement my cockatiel's diet with fresh raw fruits and veggies as well as germinated (sprouted) seeds and legumes. I have heard about grit--oyster shell? Is that for calcium, like cuttlebone? Could/should I offer cuttlebone? And how about probiotics? I've used Bene-Bac gel when nursing small animals, and I've considered 'Missing Link' products which is a supplement of antioxidants, probiotics, and Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids.

I guess pellets would be the best way to go--after all, people with more knowledge than me developed them specifically for columbids. Cooked food as a treat?
 

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Yes oyster shell is for calcium. The problem with cuttlebone is that pigeons cannot break off pieces of it to eat like hookbill birds can. The easiest thing to do would be to get a good pigeon feed. With treats lige peanuts, spinach safflaur, carrots and such that should be very good for them. Plus there ary a lot of vitamins that you can get from sites like foys or jedds.
 

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Hi, and thanks to everybody! I know that cooking takes a lot out of food, that's why I supplement my cockatiel's diet with fresh raw fruits and veggies as well as germinated (sprouted) seeds and legumes. I have heard about grit--oyster shell? Is that for calcium, like cuttlebone? Could/should I offer cuttlebone? And how about probiotics? I've used Bene-Bac gel when nursing small animals, and I've considered 'Missing Link' products which is a supplement of antioxidants, probiotics, and Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids.

I guess pellets would be the best way to go--after all, people with more knowledge than me developed them specifically for columbids. Cooked food as a treat?
Pellets would be a good idea, with the cooked food as a treat :)
Just make sure the pellets aren't there 24/7. If the bird has an all you can eat buffet, pellets can make fat birds. Feeding what it can eat, twice a day, should do the trick :)

As for the grit, there a few different kind of grits. Personally, I prefer red grit, which contains crushed granite, crushed oyster shell, and charcoal bits. The granite helps with digestion but nothing else, the oyster shell provides lots of calcium but isn't the best for grinding food since it's easily broken down, and the charcoal is like a detox'er. If anything else, the oyster shell is the most important. Cuttlebone can also be given, but you'll need to crush it up, since pigeons aren't equipt with those monster jaws and sharp beaks :p
If you can find some typical crushed granite (usually sold at farm stores as chicken or chick grit. chick grit will probably be an easier to eat size for pigeons), you can mix that with the oyster shell or cuttlebone bits.

Probiotics are great for birds. When I have them, I give them to the birds at least once a week.
 
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