Pigeons as Pets

Pigeons are smart, emotional, and social.  They thrive in a flock or with loving humans.  They mate for life, and are loyal and devoted.  They can live 15-20+ years with proper care.

Food:  A basic pigeon mix for variety.  We buy a mix with no corn, and add human grade popcorn and Harrison's pellets.  Many pigeons also like to additionally have a dove mix with smaller pieces. Calcium grit offered in a small amount once per week.  Fresh chopped veggies on occasion (no onion / garlic / mushroom / avocado).  Safflower seeds and raw, unsalted peanuts or sunflower hearts make good treats in moderation.  Avoid processed chips and breads except for rare occasions – they have no nutritional value.

Water:  Wash & refill bowls daily.   Automatic waters should be emptied and scrubbed twice weekly

Bathing: Provide a shallow dish for bathing several times per week.

Indoor Pigeons:  Minimum cage size is 24x36 and 24" tall (bigger is always better) for birds who spend very little time in it other than sleeping, though pigeons need time out of cage to fly and explore.  A cleaning should be done daily, depending on how much time is spent inside.  Critter Nation cages are excellent for pigeons and easy to set up and clean.

Taming/Interacting: If you want to interact with your birds, the more time you spend, the more tame the birds will become.  They are curious and social, but take time to adjust to changes.  Be patient and don’t force interaction.  Treats are a great way to get a bird to want to be near you.  Children should always be supervised when interacting with birds.  Other animals, such as cats / dogs / parrots should never interact with pigeons. Regardless of the temperament of another pet, Olive’s Place only allows interaction among birds of the same size/species. 

Sunlight/Outdoors:  Never take birds outdoors unless they are in a cage or securely harnessed.  Birds should not be allowed to free-fly due to the dangers of getting lost or harmed by predators.

Nesting: Pairs will usually nest and lay eggs.  This is part of their natural behavior and they love to gather nesting materials such as hay.   Check for eggs once or twice per week, and replace any eggs with fake ones.  Far too many birds need homes, so Olive’s Place does not allow breeding.  Replacing eggs is necessary so that females do not over-tax their bodies constantly laying new ones.  Pairs will usually lay a new pair of eggs about every month.

Dangers: Birds have sensitive respiratory systems, and the following can be harmful: smoke, fumes from nonstick cookware, candles, air fresheners, etc.  Keep them away from anything small enough for them to ingest.  They often explore on the ground, and can get underfoot.

Outdoor Birds: Being outdoors in an aviary is wonderful for fresh air and sunlight.  Living outside, with dirt floors or exposure to wild birds, it is possible for birds to contract feather lice or internal parasites such as roundworms.  Both things are easily treatable. (Scalex spray for feather lice, Moxidectin Plus for internal parasites)

Aviaries:  Cleaning should be done regularly, scraping shelves and washing surfaces.  A safety check, looking over the aviary weekly or monthly, ensures that everything stays in safe condition.  A safe aviary is built to keep predators out.  Half-inch wire mesh hardware cloth or similar should cover all openings (NO chicken wire).  The floor or perimeter should have anti-digging measures.  There should be no spaces more than ¼” due to snakes and rodents.  A good aviary provides a variety of shelves, cozy nest boxes, protection from the elements, and modifications for any disabled birds.  It should be large enough to provide ample room - uncrowded birds are healthier and less stressed.