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Raising Urban Pigeons For "Free" Meat  RSS feed

 
Ian Pringle
Posts: 30
Location: Central VA
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Next week dove season opens in VA. A dove is just a pigeon without the stigmatism people have towards pigeons. The problem with dove is that there is a season for them and outside of that season you can't hunt them. Being a bird on the migratory list they are also really hard to get a nuisance permit for, meaning you really are locked into their season.

While watching a geoff lawton video about greening the desert he showed how they were using pigeons to create manure for compost. I thought, "hey that's great. I wonder if I could do that and eat the pigeons." What makes pigeons really cool is that they'll fly all over the city eating this and that and then return to their home at night. I would only need to provide them with a home and then come up with the initial batch of pigeons, theoretically. Once this is done the pigeons ought to go out daily and eat for free and then come home at night.

Is anyone else doing this already? One concern I definitely see coming up would be "what is the 'this and that' that they are consuming?" That could/would be a concern, but then again I eat the wild dove that spends all year eating the same "this and that". Additionally, we live on very little income and so meat is something we rarely see. I don't know I'd be so opposed to eating a pigeon that has been dining on McDonald's leftovers.
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 212
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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Urban pigeons at least don't eat meat and other really vile things like an urban seagull.  Pigeon keeping was a big thing in the middle ages, for meat eggs and manure.  Clifton Dovecote You eat the squabs just before they fledge.  Someone in our village keeps pigeons I don't know if they are for racing or just decorative, and I don't know who they are because I just see the pigeons flying round in a big flock, so I can't ask them if they eat them!  It is a more common hobby in the north.
 
Deb Rebel
garden master
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Location: Zone 6b
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In the late 60's to mid 80's a family in my hometown kept pigeons. For the manure for their garden, and occasionally they would thin the flock and have 'squab' for supper. They did train them to come back to the dovecote on command and would fly them around outside with a broomstick to point/guide them (I don't know how they trained them but they always kept a few well trained ones when they thinned to teach the new ones how to fly on command). And our town was fairly small (750) and fairly rural. I ate squab with them, they would mostly roast the breast meat. One of them tried saving the legs and roasting them up (dark meat) but not much to be had. The missus would also stew up the rest of what was left (rib/back/thigh/leg/neck/wing) into soup. So it has come and gone on keeping them for food. The height of their flock would be about 30-35 birds, then they would thin down to about 10-15.
 
Wes Hunter
Posts: 312
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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I believe the proper name for the common pigeon is "rock dove."  At least so says one of my bird ID books.  A little easier to swallow, that way.

As for squab, you'd need some sort of housing (dovecote), of course.  Could probably be as simple or complex as you wanted.  I'm pretty sure you need at least two (sets of?) nesting boxes per breeding pair, as they'll begin laying eggs before the previous batch is ready to harvest.

I'd think luring in these "rock doves" would be the most difficult part.  Once they're in, keeping them confined for a bit (a week? two?) and hand-feeding them should keep them coming back once you let them loose.

Perhaps a hybrid approach would be your best bet.  Purchase domesticated doves, acclimate them to your dovecote, then let them roam the city for food.  Free meat.
 
steve bossie
Posts: 317
Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
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i have a friend that lives in town and he asked me to borrow my pellet gun because the pigeons were in his bird feeder. a week later he asks me very quietly if there was a season on pigeons. i told him no. he then told me he was eating the ones he shot at his bird feeder and they were delicious! told him to keep doing what he was doing because it was making the businesses in town happy someone was bringing down the population!
 
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