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Pigeons...the wonderful world that is them!

 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi folks,

It has come up more than once of late at whether you can eat these feather folks?

YES YOU CAN!

I thought I would start this so folks could share questions, give recipes, or tell us all stories of the many ways Pigeons (and their like DOVES) have been in there life.

I started my love affair with the Rock Dove and all other Columba back in the early 70's. In the spring I would climb high into the rafters of barns, train trestles and mills to take young rock dove, and some old adults not on nest. I would also take morning dove, as all these species will double and triple clutch in a season if you manage your "wild harvest" properly. The young when raised are much easier to work with in a wild population and provide a wonderful source of protein (and a nice income to gourmet restaurants as well.) If I ever go back to keeping a large flock of Avids I doubt much if I ever keep chickens again (though I do love there company) as there are so many others that provide eggs, and meat protein as well or better....

Regards,

j
 
Mark Chadwick
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Location: Cranbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
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Hi J. I'll be watching this thread with interest after our exchanges in my thread about feeding pigeons to chickens.
 
Meghan Orbek
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I am interested to hear more... But maybe I should just read a book about it. Any suggestions? There is a robust population of pigeons in my barn and I am curious to explore possibilities... Thanks
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Meghan,

Ask whatever you would like...or just go out at night with a light and stick and harvest what you need. The skin peels off easily, and cleaning is strait forward work which can be done several different ways...do what seems right to you for now...

Regards,

j
 
Adam Klaus
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Jay,
Do y have any recommended sources for pigeon chicks? I am interested to add some to my farm flock.

Thanks!
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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They ain't cheep!!! but worth it...This should get you going:

http://www.pigeonforsale.info/

http://pigeonspot.com/shop/index.php?id_product=89&controller=product

http://www.royalfibers.co/pigeons.htm

http://www.strombergschickens.com/product/Red-Giant-Runt/Utility-Pigeons

http://www.strombergschickens.com/product/White-King-Pigeon/Utility-Pigeons

Good luck, and remember, besides a good working breed for the "table," these are awesome "pet" animals as well!
 
Miles Flansburg
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Jay, I have lived in areas where folks have raised pigeons for food , for decades. Over the years many have gone wild and are now everywhere.

I could harvest them from this population.

I have never raised or eaten them so will be watching this thread for more info.

One of the things that concerns me is information I have heard on the deseases that they transmit to humans, mostly through their poop.

http://medicinereport.com/article/4-diseases-you-can-catch-from-pigeons

I am not wanting to derail the conversation just wanting to learn more about this. I respect your opinion and look forward to you making me feel better about this.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Miles, et al,

You're not "derailing" anything and all your points are valid and worth discussion...

I am sure many, (very many) folks that think chicken...then think egg, and then meat, following by other positives...yet when they think pigeon...they often think dieses....

Avian Influenza
E. coli and Salmonella
Encephalitis Viruses
Cryptococcal Meningitis

All of these are indications of OVER population, and poor husbandry -hygiene in a breeding colony (or one near by)...to be of concern to any AVID husbandrist. Be that a chicken, duck...or PIGEON...any at all...have just about equal potential for making the modern human very sick if the conditions are right to culture them. One really isn't more likely over the other...only conditions are.

If you have a "healthy" wild population of Pigeon...you should harvest (if a meat eater) and play your part in the "food web." (Apologies to any veggie folk...this is a subjective view of mine, and many from indigenous cultures.) Disease...any pathogen...from any species...has a potential for doing us harm. This speaks to a another topic that concerns me greatly...the current human obsession with "too clean." We are really setting ourselves up for some problems in the future as we (collectively) use too much "cleaning agent"... too much "sanitizer," and too many antibiotics...

We are (collectively) over emphasising epidemiology in the "human condition," and failing to see that we are weakening our immune systems and risking further issues by this "human" separation from the world around us, and/or over population in other regions where the biome can not support it. Natures way of controlling an "out of control" population is "baseline cognitive shift in behaviors," diseases and often "compromised immune systems" within the species...It has been suggested this may even be written into the genetic code. As a species overpopulates there often appears a "cascade collapse" within the population of the "immune system." We as humans seem driven to help this along as we further segregate ourselves from what "inoculates" us and stimulates that system. If has come to a point where I have to be careful that "normal folk" that might be clients, friends, etc...don't eat what I do, or drink water I drink...they just can't handle it. I have drank water on just about every continent on this planet (including ice water from Antarctica) and not gotten ill (or overly compromised) while others around me do (or worse...) That does not speak to me being different...it does indicate that the collective "constitution" of many 1st worlders is...VERY compromised and weakened.

Thanks for a wonderful question, and a segue into other areas that should be of note to all Permaculturists.

Part of "conditional biome self inoculation" is eating the "wild food" around you and drinking the water...remember (for the most part) what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...MUCH stronger...

 
Meghan Orbek
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Location: Yonkers, NY/ Berkshires, MA USA
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So, what's your favorite way to eat (cook) them?
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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OH BOY!!!

If I start writing now (and your read it all) neither of us will get out of here....

Some of my tops...

Dry aged for one week at about 35° to 45° (no higher than 55°) then marinated in your favorite flavors for another week and "jerk" slow or with smoke (cold or hot...your choice)

If under 3 months old...(and I know the family and nest)...thinly sliced raw breast meat (possibly with a balsamic vinaigrette) and fresh salad greens, with a hint of ginger and garlic...

In a slow smoke barbecue with a "maple and/or honey glaze."

Pan seared (very rare ONLY as well done ruines the subtle flavors and toughens the flesh) with a nice port reduction, served over rice pilaf, served with carrots, parsnips, onions (traditional pronounced pill-owe.) This is from and in honor of Usbeck and Turkish Elders...they love this!

I won't even go on with the "Pies" as this may tantalize poor Paul just toooooo much! The soups and "bone broth" are also a wonder bath for this fine cuisine species.

Regards,

j


 
Miles Flansburg
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Thanks Jay, you are truly a treasure of knowledge!

So how do you prepare them once captured and killed? Would I treat it like a chicken only smaller, or just eat the breast? Scald and pluck or skin?

 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Eve'n Miles, et al,

In a word about prep...Yes to all, as it is dependent of breed, age, and final recipe. If you have a lot of birds to dress and clean (and other creatures to help eat the rest) a quick "peel" and "thumb shuck" will remove the breast from the bone. This is common practice on many small Avid species..from Puffin to Plover. Skin can be left on yet except for certain recipes just is not worth the effort to preserve in most cases (large Runt and King squab the possible exception.) If your own birds, or confident of feed source...the liver, and gizzard are worth the effort. Note, some folks find these make them ill...don't know why? Then again I eat "lilac boletus" most years with ill effect while others get very bad GI distress from that same harvest...another example of "dietary conditioning" perhaps...who knows.

Regards,

j
 
Mark Chadwick
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Location: Cranbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
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I second Jays comment about ease of pluckk and removal of breast meat. My chooks won't be getting the whole pigeon any more. I'm new to eating them but pan braised with an apricot or lemon glaze is magnificent.
 
Abe Connally
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We got pigeons a few months ago, they are mostly homing bloodlines, but they are entertaining to watch. They certainly don't produce eggs as well as chickens or ducks, but the meat is ready to harvest in a month after hatching, which is certainly a plus. Their feed conversion efficiency is considerably lower than other domestic birds, and they like a grain-based diet, which can be good or bad, depending on where you live. In my area, grains are not raised very much, and my chickens and guineas do better at foraging than the pigeons.

If small is your thing, I find quail to be considerably less work and more payoff than the pigeons. Our quail lay as much as any chicken, and they are ready to eat at 6 weeks old. They don't hatch their own, like pigeons, but their overall efficiency and small space requirements make up for it.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Dry aged for one week at about 35° to 45° (no higher than 55°) then marinated in your favorite flavors for another week and "jerk" slow or with smoke (cold or hot...your choice)

The soups and "bone broth" are also a wonder bath for this fine cuisine species.


Jay, can you explain the first ways, I do not understand what you mean. You dry them? Then what sort of marinade, I know only with wine...

I have done only soups....
This is a very fine red meat.
Pigeons here are free, and they fly wonderfully, so they have muscles!

About diseases, I have heard that confined pigeons have worms... in their meat! Not in intestine, in the meat itself. I was told so by someone who saw it and threw away the pigeon with disgust.
Do you know what worm and if free range pigeons can have them?
And then, is there a way to cook them if they have worms? Can the wormy meat be eaten?
Thanks
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Now, catching...

I "caught" my fist one because the cats had just killed it, and only the head was missing.
I was surprised by the easiness to pluck the feathers.
And soup!

I caught the second one by chance, it just slept are the bad place, where I could catch it by hand (I had a light, I just came to see what caused the noise!)

Since then, I tell people "soup with wings" when we see some pigeons....
I do not want a rifle, I want to make a trap.
How can I do this?
I mean as much as possible with natural materials. I have heard about prickly pear paddles + sticks....
But no idea about form - size - way to instal it - where - with what to attract the birds - how to make it fall down....

Any idea ? Who did it ?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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My last subject about pigeons...

I want to have hen + chickens.
Local pigeons always go and feed where they can access chicks food, of course!

Can we consider pigeons as a vector of diseases / worms etc between breeders?

Of course I will raise my animals as naturally as possible, so they will be more resistant.
I just want to know more about this precisely: what will come from other chick pens around to my chicks through free wild pigeons?
 
Joe Braxton
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Xisca, this trap might give you some ideas..

http://theurbanabo.com/urban_howtos.php?hid=49
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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You dry them?


Sorry I wasn't more clear...just so many recipes and methods.

Some are like a Jamaican Jerk style served over rice, others are a true "jerky." Smoked or slow cool dried.

Then what sort of marinade, I know only with wine...


Yikes!!!

So many....mint, garlic, pepper, ginger, anise, citrus, liqueurs, ciders, wines, mix herb...I have to stop writing...many many more recipes...it could fill a book...

I have done only soups....

This is a very fine red meat.


Soups, stew, pies, broiled, jerked, jerky, deep fried, grilled....

About diseases, I have heard that confined pigeons have worms... in their meat! Not in intestine, in the meat itself. I was told so by someone who saw it and threw away the pigeon with disgust.
Do you know what worm and if free range pigeons can have them?


I am sure it is possible...never seen one worm in the hundreds (1000's?) I have eaten and/or raised.

And then, is there a way to cook them if they have worms? Can the wormy meat be eaten?
Thanks


I would eat it...but only after cleaning and a good aging and marinating...

As for trapping...There are many examples on the internet. I don't like traps for bird typically because they don't know a pigeon from another species. By hand, by projectile, by Raptor, by Hunting (Serval) Cat (rarest of methods I have used.)

Regards,

j
 
Kim Hill
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Jay,

Can you share with me what pigeon tastes like? I know the old "like chicken" but if so is it stronger, gamey, like dark meat? Thanks Kim
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Nothing like chicken on my palate...more like pheasant or duck with a nutty tone.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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My 1s one was obviously cat hunted, I was just lucky, it was lying still hot with just the head missing, a present when I got up in the mrning!

My 2nd... I took it by hand.
it was an unlucky one: it slept at the bad place and woke me up!

Does not taste like chick, no!
It tastes like pigeon...

You eat a veeeery little piece, and you already have a full mouth of taste!
It is not hard but it lasts long in mouth.
 
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