Renate Haeckler wrote:We've only got 3 pigeons so far. (Bought a pair and a third one just showed up one day) We kept them caged a few weeks then turned them loose and they took up residence in our barn loft. They pretty much only eat the seeds we put out and grass seed so far, I've never seen them bother any of my plantings, but if you had a flock of 30 or so it might be different. In Lancaster, PA there were a few farms that raised white homing pigeons and let large flocks of them fly loose and they grew crops as well as their neighbors, I wouldn't think if pigeons were destructive they'd do that.
Not sure how true this is, but I've read that in the old days pigeon keeping really just involved keeping a place for them to nest to their liking - like "If you build it, they will come". Some places, like the desert, they didn't even feed the pigeons, just harvested the eggs or squabs when they wanted them. Also that pigeons in barn lofts used to be common until they were blamed for hog cholera, when they were wiped out by farmers who then started thinking of them as dirty, disease-carrying vermin.
My pair disliked the really nice nesting platform we made them and instead try to nest on the narrow beam at the very top of the barn roof - the result is lots of dropped eggs and chicks. They've yet to successfully raise any offspring tho they seem close to hatching some eggs this time.
I'm starting to wonder if they will cross-breed with wild doves because the wild doves that come to eat our bird seed seem unusually large this year and before the new bird showed up there was one dove in particular that liked to hang out near the pigeons.
Last, I'd stay away from the breeds that grow really huge - doubt they'd self-feed much and may be poor flyers away from predators.