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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I posted months ago about a pigeon who I was trying to find a home for but after not finding a home, my husband and I had planned to keep him but he seems unhappy here. I'm just wondering if there is anything I can do to fix things.

Rocky belonged to someone else who couldn't keep him back in the fall because he was going after their doves and being aggressive. I found a foster home with a friend who has chickens and ducks and he seemed happy with them and flew into the coop each night with them and spent the day outside with them. But he needed to be moved after a month because the foster friend wanted to be able to allow her chickens and ducks to access the garden and Rocky would have escaped.

So I found him another foster home and he lived indoors and hung out on a couch for the most part with a small parrot for 2 months. But they ended up moving to a tiny apartment so he then went back to the original foster home and he was so thrilled to be back there. He loves the chicken hens and had previously bonded with Betty, a brown chicken (I'll post photo of Rocky and Betty below) and would roost with her and snuggle up. And the second time around he found love with a black and white chicken named Daisy.

He would collect straw and bring it to her and stuff in around her creating a nest. He would strut around the coop and pen as if he owned the place and was very proud. The only other males in the area were 2 ducks and they just watched him as if they were stunned that this little guy could rule the roost the way he was! Rocky would sit with Daisy on the nest and sit directly on the eggs when she was away, wandering in the garden and would get upset when my friend collected the eggs.

We clipped Rocky's wings so he could go out in the garden too and it was perfect. But after a few months, we decided we would adopt him and brought him home with us. He's been housed in a 5 foot wide cage while we've been building him an outdoor enclosure. The enclosure is almost complete- we just need to build a coop or enclose the 5 foot cage he's in and move it in there so the chickens would have a coop too. We don't have the chickens yet and we haven't moved Rocky into it yet (photo below) but had planned to soon but his behavior has changed so much and my husband is unsure that we should keep him now.

He's been with us for over a month and at first it was fine and I could reach in and clean his cage and feed him and change his water etc.. but in the last few weeks he has become so aggressive and attacks me every time I open the cage door.

I bought him a fake wooden egg after reading that idea on this forum and I think that has actually made it worse. :(

I put a stuffed animal that is a bird about his size in the cage with him hoping he'd bond with it (read that somewhere!) and also put a mirror up on the wall a few feet from his cage. Nothing is helping.

Our plan was to get 2 hens to keep him company in the large enclosure but my husband is thinking we are out of our minds to take on a bird and chickens when we have no idea what we're doing and don't have a lot of time right now (both working lots!) and he is trying to get me to rehome Rocky now. My friend with the chickens and ducks has offered to take him back to foster but I feel badly moving him around so much and wanted to try and replicate what he had at her place but on a smaller scale but not if he is going to keep attacking us. And, Rocky's love interest Daisy just died 2 days ago according to my friend so he would likely miss her not being there.

We play him music (Natalie Cole and Louis Armstrong etc..) on cd's and talk gently to him and try to pet him but he won't let me in the cage without attacking. And when I walk by, he puts a foot up on the hardware mesh as if he's trying to bust through to get me.

I don't know what this body language means but he stretches his wings up high and flutters them and goes in circles sometimes. He makes various different sounds and as mentioned, likes to attack anytime we enter his cage with our hand.

Could it be that he would be friendlier in the larger enclosure and it's the smallness of the cage that's creating this aggression?



 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The person who had him before me who couldn't keep him said he was a 'Fancy' pigeon.

He's had a male pigeon in the enclosure where he used to live at his former home and he attacked him. They also got a Rocky pigeon and he went after her too but maybe he was trying to mate with her? This was not at our house but his old home.

I don't want to have any more than two pigeons so didn't consider getting a female because I wouldn't want to have to find homes for all the babies. But I did read that you could take their eggs. Seems mean. But I guess we do it with chickens all the time! Maybe I could adopt another pigeon. My husband would prefer that over chickens.

Here is a 1 minute video of Rocky and the chickens and ducks at my friend's place where he was being fostered. He really is a character!

http://s225.photobucket.com/user/emeraldcreek/media/MVI_0747_zps77c6e270.mp4.html
 

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Another pigeon, and a female, would be best. You can buy fake pigeon eggs. Replace the real ones with fakes. They will sit and enjoy them and the nest. BTW he may be bonded with you but consider the evil hands that come into his cage to clean unrelated intruders. If you get a female pigeon does not matter the color or breed so get a nice one you like. Sometimes breeders of fancy pigeons will have mismarked birds they don't want and/or an older or otherwise infertile hen that may fill your needs and which they would have trouble rehoming otherwise.
 

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The person who had him before me who couldn't keep him said he was a 'Fancy' pigeon.

He's had a male pigeon in the enclosure where he used to live at his former home and he attacked him. They also got a Rocky pigeon and he went after her too but maybe he was trying to mate with her? This was not at our house but his old home.

I don't want to have any more than two pigeons so didn't consider getting a female because I wouldn't want to have to find homes for all the babies. But I did read that you could take their eggs. Seems mean. But I guess we do it with chickens all the time! Maybe I could adopt another pigeon. My husband would prefer that over chickens.

Here is a 1 minute video of Rocky and the chickens and ducks at my friend's place where he was being fostered. He really is a character!

http://s225.photobucket.com/user/emeraldcreek/media/MVI_0747_zps77c6e270.mp4.html
He is definitely happy where he is. There are pigeons that live in flock in ownership and have a bad life. But i know you want the best for him.

I would have taken him, but i am in Ontario.
 

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male pigeons can be aggressive it is not unusual. he would be happier with a mate and just use fake eggs as stated.
Yes, you are right. They will sit and take turn on the eggs. they love to care for them. When time comes and they know it won't hatch, they will just abandon them, or you just take them away.

They will not be depressed, their life will go on again as if nothing happened.:)
 

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Keeping pigeons and chickens together is a bad idea. Chicken for one, can injure pigeons, but the chickens can carry illness that the pigeon can catch. Just not a good idea. Also clipping his wings and letting him outside is very dangerous, as a hawk can grab a bird like that in a couple of seconds. His wings are his only protection, and what makes him a bird. Without them he is a sitting duck.
It would be normal for him to fight with a male pigeon. Two males will usually fight. A female for him to have a mate, would certainly give him more of a normal life.
He is defensive when you reach into his cage, because that is his territory. That's what they do. They protect their territory or nest box, which is what he is doing. I have birds that are very friendly in the loft, but many, if you reach into their box, get aggressive. Very normal. They are supposed to protect their box and eggs. Putting the egg in just gave him more reason to be protective.
The poor thing probably doesn't know if he is coming or going, where he has been shuffled around so much. The nicest thing you could do for him is to get him a mate, and their own enclosure. A little loft with a yard that they can go out into for fresh air and sunshine, and to bathe. A screened in yard enclosed with 1/2 hard ware cloth, to keep rodents out. Pigeons can be a lot of fun given the right circumstances.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks for all the responses.
I bought a wooden egg that's white from a craft store about 3 weeks ago and put it on some straw in his cage. It's the size of a chicken egg, I couldn't find any smaller ones. But it does seem to have made him a bit more territorial but he still is without the egg so if it makes him happy, I'll leave it in there.

Any suggestions on where to get smaller fake eggs that better resemble pigeon eggs? Can I use stones? Should I just put one egg or a few?

My husband is okay with the idea of getting a mate for Rocky. He did not want to get chickens so another pigeon is more appealing. He didn't want any birds but he has become kind of fond of Rocky and we feel badly for him with the many places he's been. He was adopted from the SPCA by my boss but since he went after her doves, I took him and had hoped to rehome him but couldn't find anyone to take him. Who knows who he lived with and how he lived prior to the SPCA. I would like to try and give him a good home here with us.

Yesterday wee spent a few hours renovating his cage that used to be a chicken coop of some sort. We took out the wooden tunnel that lead to a nesting box because it took up way too much room in the cage and made it impossible for me to clean it properly. We also covered the back and sides of the cage with plywood in preparation of putting the cage into the larger outside enclosure.

I keep reading about 'lofts' for pigeons. Not entirely sure what that is but it sounds like something that a bird would fly 'up' into and settle in for the night. Would the cage that is pictured in my first post be okay? We would leave the door open so he and a future mate could fly in and out of it. I have it layered with newspaper and some straw in nesting areas on both sides (there is a shelf inside up to the right that Rocky sleeps in). I'll have a ramp for him to get up into it until his wings grow back. We only clipped them so he could remain at the foster home because we weren't able to take him for a few months and that was the only solution. I didn't like the idea of clipping his wings though and hope they grow back soon.

For now he is in our garage and we open the big garage door everyday so he can get fresh air and sunshine and the wild birds come and eat seeds that have fallen out of his cage and he talks to them. I cover the cage with a blanket at night. But when I move the cage outside, what about the mosquitos? Won't they go after the birds throughout the night? I guess they deal with it in the wild so maybe it's okay. Should I cover the cage outside as well to help keep them warm? As you can tell, we are pigeon newbies. :confused:

Also wondering about food. I bought a huge bag of pigeon pellets at the farm feed store. Looks just like duck pellets but it says '18% pigeon pellets' on the bag. I also give him a seed mixture of wild bird seed and another mixture that has all kinds of stuff in it like peanuts (but they're in their shell) and dried peppers and corn and sunflower seeds and regular seed. It's for parrots (not a lot of choices at the store specifically for pigeons). I put some spinach leaves in there yesterday after reading about it on this forum and he ate some.

My worry about getting a mate is that if he attacks her and they don't get along, I don't have anywhere for her to go and I can't take care of two birds in two separate cages. That's not going to 'fly' with my husband. We have a lot of other pets and me bringing home a bird kind of tipped the scales. But if they can get along and share a cage, that would be fine. Maybe I can arrange with whoever I adopt a pigeon from that they can take her back if Rocky goes after her.

Last question- I've noticed that when I get close to Rocky's cage and I'm talking to him, I start coughing. Wondering if I might be allergic to him? It's kind of like when you're cleaning the oven and breathe in the fumes, it's that same tickle feeling that makes you have to cough. And then I cough for about an hour afterwards and then it goes away once I'm not near the cage. Weird.
 

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IF they are out side, they need an enclosure that can be closed at night. They can go outside into the aviary during the day. Mosquitoes can carry pox and infect the birds and they are out more at night, and on dark rainy days. Letting them out loose to fly isn't safe, as hawks and other predators could get them. They are safer in flocks with many birds, as their are more eyes to watch for danger.
If you were to get a female, you would introduce them slowly, in cages placed next to each other. Let them get used to each other first, then you can let them out together somewhere safe and see how they get along. Wait till they both show interest in each other. Would take maybe a week.
I would buy a dove mix if you can't find a pigeon mix. To it add dried lentils and split peas from the market, and a little safflower seed. Too many sunflower seeds aren't really good. Some are okay, but not a lot. They are high in fat. They don't eat peppers.
You should be able to get a pigeon or dove mix at a place that sells grain. And many pet shops sell dove mixes. Not ideal, but better than parrot food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Another pigeon, and a female, would be best. You can buy fake pigeon eggs. Replace the real ones with fakes. They will sit and enjoy them and the nest. BTW he may be bonded with you but consider the evil hands that come into his cage to clean unrelated intruders. If you get a female pigeon does not matter the color or breed so get a nice one you like. Sometimes breeders of fancy pigeons will have mismarked birds they don't want and/or an older or otherwise infertile hen that may fill your needs and which they would have trouble rehoming otherwise.
I was glad to read this and it does seem that he doesn't realize that my hands are connected to me! He is quite cheerful when I talk to him and I think he enjoys seeing me but does not like my hands coming into the cage. And as others posted, it sounds normal for him to protect his cage so now I'm not taking it personally. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
IF they are out side, they need an enclosure that can be closed at night. They can go outside into the aviary during the day. Mosquitoes can carry pox and infect the birds and they are out more at night, and on dark rainy days. Letting them out loose to fly isn't safe, as hawks and other predators could get them. They are safer in flocks with many birds, as their are more eyes to watch for danger.
If you were to get a female, you would introduce them slowly, in cages placed next to each other. Let them get used to each other first, then you can let them out together somewhere safe and see how they get along. Wait till they both show interest in each other. Would take maybe a week.
I would buy a dove mix if you can't find a pigeon mix. To it add dried lentils and split peas from the market, and a little safflower seed. Too many sunflower seeds aren't really good. Some are okay, but not a lot. They are high in fat. They don't eat peppers.
You should be able to get a pigeon or dove mix at a place that sells grain. And many pet shops sell dove mixes. Not ideal, but better than parrot food.
We've never let him fly free since he's been with us and the aviary shown in the first posting is entirely closed in (top included) so he'd be safe in there. But good to know about having to close in the entire smaller cage to protect him from mosquitos. I'll have to leave some kind of ventilation though. Maybe at the top I could put a roof that is a few inches above the hardware cloth of the cage. Mosquitos could still get in though.

I'll get some of the things you suggested (lentils etc..) for him. The pigeon mix I bought appears to be for pigeons. The parrot mix I'll just use up until it's gone. Only bought a small bag and he just avoids the peppers. I'll ask if the petstore has a dove mix. Thanks.
 

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We've never let him fly free since he's been with us and the aviary shown in the first posting is entirely closed in (top included) so he'd be safe in there. But good to know about having to close in the entire smaller cage to protect him from mosquitos. I'll have to leave some kind of ventilation though. Maybe at the top I could put a roof that is a few inches above the hardware cloth of the cage. Mosquitos could still get in though.

I'll get some of the things you suggested (lentils etc..) for him. The pigeon mix I bought appears to be for pigeons. The parrot mix I'll just use up until it's gone. Only bought a small bag and he just avoids the peppers. I'll ask if the petstore has a dove mix. Thanks.
You can make a window covered in hardware cloth and put screening over it.

And fencing doesn't keep rodents out. Hardware cloth of 1/2 inch does.
 

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I believe he needs another pigeon to keep him company.
My female lays on fake white wooden eggs all the time. She lays on them for about 20 days and starts to come off the eggs and wander around the house. When I know she is thoroughly tired of her eggs I remove them. Then we start over again sometimes right away or maybe another month. I make sure she comes off the nest, take her to water and she has food in her pen. So far so good!I bought the wooden eggs from NEngland Pigeon Supplies. Good luck to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You can make a window covered in hardware cloth and put screening over it.

And fencing doesn't keep rodents out. Hardware cloth of 1/2 inch does.
The cage that he sleeps in is made of the 1/2 inch hardware cloth. But the enclosure is 2" stucco wire and is a very large space (about 10' by 15' and about 6' tall). It will keep raccoons out and cats and large birds but I guess not mice or rats. But there's no way we can cover such a large space with hardware cloth. It was a challenge just to get my husband to build this thing in the first place. :rolleyes:

Is the concern about rodents for disease or attacking or both? We have cats and haven't seen any rodents around at all. But there is one small squirrel who is around quite a bit.

I picked up some screen today and we'll cover the hardware cloth on the front and top of the cage to keep out mosquitos.

Also picked up some lentils and split peas at the grocery store. He seems to enjoy both. Couldn't find safflower seeds though at the store I was at.

Still coughing quite a bit when I'm around Rocky's cage. I want to make sure that I am not allergic to him before I get a mate for him. If I have to rehome him, it will probably be harder to rehome two of them. Although I hope it will all work out. He is a neat guy and deserves a happy home. I'm just concerned about how irritated my lungs seem to get when I'm in the garage. It's better during the day when we have the big garage door open and lots of fresh air flowing. But at night when it's closed and I go to cover his cage and talk with him and change his water and give him food etc.. I end up coughing.
 

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The cage that he sleeps in is made of the 1/2 inch hardware cloth. But the enclosure is 2" stucco wire and is a very large space (about 10' by 15' and about 6' tall). It will keep raccoons out and cats and large birds but I guess not mice or rats. But there's no way we can cover such a large space with hardware cloth. It was a challenge just to get my husband to build this thing in the first place. :rolleyes:

Is the concern about rodents for disease or attacking or both? We have cats and haven't seen any rodents around at all. But there is one small squirrel who is around quite a bit.

I picked up some screen today and we'll cover the hardware cloth on the front and top of the cage to keep out mosquitos.

Also picked up some lentils and split peas at the grocery store. He seems to enjoy both. Couldn't find safflower seeds though at the store I was at.

Still coughing quite a bit when I'm around Rocky's cage. I want to make sure that I am not allergic to him before I get a mate for him. If I have to rehome him, it will probably be harder to rehome two of them. Although I hope it will all work out. He is a neat guy and deserves a happy home. I'm just concerned about how irritated my lungs seem to get when I'm in the garage. It's better during the day when we have the big garage door open and lots of fresh air flowing. But at night when it's closed and I go to cover his cage and talk with him and change his water and give him food etc.. I end up coughing.

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, or a lot of expense. I'm just trying to let you know what they need protection from. Mice will spread salmonella/paratyphoid, and rats will kill them. Mosquitoes spread pox, and that can be a nightmare. When we keep an animal, any animal, and have them confined in an area, I think it's our responsibility to try to keep them as safe as possible. I know you only have the one bird, and building a loft isn't feasible. But making him safe isn't impossible. Seeing a pic of the cage and where it will be would help to give suggestions. Just trying to help is all.
As far as the coughing, that could be from the dust in his feathers. Bathing helps a lot with that, and pigeons love to bathe.
Is there a way that it could be put up high, as pigeons always want to roost high up. They don't feel safe on the ground. It's instinctual, to be high up where predators cannot get at them as easily.
Can you show us the cage, and the area where it would go? Honestly, just trying to help.
 

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I would not put my pigeon any where it is unsafe and questionable. Mine is in my house and never out unless I am with her. She is a pet. And yes they like to be higher up to roost.
I have asthma and Pidge does not bother me at all. She is allowed all over our home. Neither do any of my other birds bother me. I love them too much to worry about allergies anyways.
Like one of the other posters stated offer bathing water or I wipe her with a damp cloth. She loves that!
Good luck! Hope you don't have to get rid of him. But decide soon for the pigeons sake b/c it sounds as if he has been to a number of places already.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm not trying to give you a hard time, or a lot of expense. I'm just trying to let you know what they need protection from. Mice will spread salmonella/paratyphoid, and rats will kill them. Mosquitoes spread pox, and that can be a nightmare. When we keep an animal, any animal, and have them confined in an area, I think it's our responsibility to try to keep them as safe as possible. I know you only have the one bird, and building a loft isn't feasible. But making him safe isn't impossible. Seeing a pic of the cage and where it will be would help to give suggestions. Just trying to help is all.
As far as the coughing, that could be from the dust in his feathers. Bathing helps a lot with that, and pigeons love to bathe.
Is there a way that it could be put up high, as pigeons always want to roost high up. They don't feel safe on the ground. It's instinctual, to be high up where predators cannot get at them as easily.
Can you show us the cage, and the area where it would go? Honestly, just trying to help.
That's alright, I know that you are trying to help. That's why I posted here, to get some help. I'm just not sure I'm cut out for this and finding him a better home is probably the best idea. But I'll do my best while he's in my care. He attacks me so much and it makes it hard to bond with him. And it does seem that there is so much to consider with regard to housing him properly that I didn't anticipate.

His living conditions are better than they were originally as he was kept in a small cage after he started attacking the doves at his other home. He had only lived at that property for a few months after being adopted from SPCA. The cage was just a 2 foot cage and he didn't have much room. There wasn't really a plan for him there except that he had to go so I took him in hopes of finding him a good home but it's so hard to find someone to take a pigeon. I only want him to go to someone who will take good care of him and hopefully has pigeon experience.

His life at the foster home I temporarily placed him in seemed happy and he had a lot of freedom there (you can see him in the video in the link in one of my earlier posts in this thread) but I didn't know that it was unsafe for him to be with chickens. And, he almost drowned in the kiddie wading pool that was there for the ducks. Thankfully the little dog my friend owns was barking frantically and she came to check what was happening and found Rocky struggling to get out of the pool. So going back there is not ideal as the ducks need the pool.

But I did follow your suggestion about putting a bath in his cage. I used a 2 inch deep container that is used at the base of a planter pot and filled it with room temp water and put a rock in it near the edge so he could climb out if needed. I found him standing in it when I checked in on him but he didn't seem to splash around at all. I removed it before bed because I was worried about drowning so I'll only leave it in there when I can continue to check on him during the day.

The photo of the cage he is in and the photo of the enclosure that I would put his cage inside are posted in my first post of this thread. I found that if you click on the photos you can enlarge them to have a better look.

Rocky's smaller cage is a bit different now since I took that pic though. I cut out that wooden tunnel inside to give him more room and we closed in the back and sides with plywood. And we've put screen on the top and soon we will on the front. And then the plan was to move the cage into the enclosure outside.

If we end up doing that, we will be sure to put it up off the ground but I can't put it too high or I won't be able to clean it. We'll probably put it about 3 feet off the ground?

We've created perches in the enclosure with drift wood that are up high in various places. So my thought was that during the day, he could fly up to a perch and away from any mice or rats. And at night, I would close him into the smaller cage so he'd be protected.

Our cats are indoor but we've built them an outdoor enclosure that is on the back of the garage (the enclosure for Rocky is on the side of the garage) and are quite near to each other so I think the presence of our cats will keep the mice and rats away. We have one outdoor cat as well (that came with the house when we bought it a few months ago) and he probably keeps them away too as we haven't seen any since moving in.

I must admit, I'm not a bird person. I love to watch them and listen to them but I've never had one. We have always rescued dogs and cats so that is what we're used to and this is all new to us. I think Rocky would be happier with someone else so I'm going to try and find him a home before I commit to getting him a mate. It's just so hard when he attacks me non-stop and I'm coughing and there is so much to do to make this work. I didn't plan on having a bird but just can't find him a good home so far.

p.s. I'm wondering about sounds that he makes and hoping to find out what they mean. Every night when I cover his cage he makes a sad, repetitive sound that is hard to describe but is similar to a puppy whimpering "woo, woo, woo, woo". It's kind of a low, under his breath sound. Is that normal for bedtime or is he calming himself or maybe telling me he's upset that it's dark and I'm leaving?
 
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