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Pigeon keeping

 
Tokunbo Popoola
Posts: 202
Location: Sacramento, CA
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how do you keep pigeons in a permaculture system, how when do you make bonded pairs and collect harvest and so forth. how do you keep them away from the crops you don't want them to eat and keep them in your food forest. I'm so confused. I dont think i could keep pigeons in a way i could respect. I wouldn't want a colony to spread or wander. Do pigeons teach the babies how do find food? err. so hard to figure things out right now. It was a bit like how i found you could keep rabbits in a warren instead of a cage system which i never really liked. Then put the babies out in tractors
 
Lina Ackerman
Posts: 9
Location: Michigan
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I hope to one day raise pidgeons for squab meat, and have done some research on the topic. However, I don't have any personal experience with them.

It IS possible to raise pigeons "free range" by setting up a dovecote, and this was the most popular way to do so for hundreds of years, if not thousands! In fact, I've heard that if you have a nice enough set up, your domesticated pigeons can bring home wild pigeons to roost in your dovecote, providing you with free meat if they stay and nest.

However, just as chickens and rabbits have changed from their wild cousins, domesticated pigeons have been selectively bred for many purposes. If you are looking for a squabbing pidgeon, they are referred to as Utility Pigeons. There are also racing pigeons, Fancy pigeons, show quality pigeons, and other types.

How you could control what they ate while free ranging would require require bird-prevention methods would be my guess, such as netting, fake owls, and pie pans on string.
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
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Location: zone 6b
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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.

 
Rick Berry
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One thing I've never been able to ferret out in my reading about keeping pigeons.... If you want to free-range your birds, as with a dovecote (which is what I'm planning) how do you tame or habituate your breeders to your location, so they don't just fly away to wherever they were born, or wherever they want to go, instead of coming back to the dovecote?
 
Michael Cox
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Cage them and feed them in the coop for a few weeks as breeding pairs. Once they establish a pairing and start a nest they will stay.

It helps if you can close the door to each nest box or part of the coop separately, so you can restrict and manage the pairs.

Around here wild wood pigeons are a major pest and at various times of year there are chaps with shotguns out in the surrounding fields culling them. Not unusual for the chaps to shoot 100 a day. The damage a large flock can do to vulnerable crops is remarkable - oil seed rape planted in autumn to over winter gets stripped down to the bare stalks while areas that aren't hit can be a foot high by spring.

Mike
 
Tokunbo Popoola
Posts: 202
Location: Sacramento, CA
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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.




that is a lot of REALLY good info. so no utility pigeons if you plan on free ranging .. i wonder if there is away to put them into a high food area and also keep them in the area... cos i kinda want to harvest the squab
 
D Graves
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Hi all

Am getting pigeons next week and thought I would see if anyone on here has built them successful housing? I want them to forage during the day and return to roost. Also, of course to breed. So, in making a list of their needs:

- clean water
- roosting places (height? diameter? will they huddle together like chickens?)
- nesting boxes (size? litter? entry hole size?)
- supplementary food
- dry
- warm
- rodent/predator proof
- oriented entrance to East?
- arrival landing place?
- nearby 'safe' perch to check cage is safe?

Please post any more that I have not thought of and details if you know them

Thank you
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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