Pigeons As Pets: Outside or Indoors
Pigeons Make Great Pets — And They Need Our Help
I started Palomacy (originally named MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue) in San Francisco, CA when I discovered domestic (unreleasable) pigeons were being killed in shelters for lack of homes. Pigeons such as Kings, Fantails, Tumblers and Homers are smart, beautiful and gentle birds. They’ve been selectively bred and tamed and, while they can’t survive in the wild, they thrive as pets. Many pigeons (and other birds as well) wind up in animal shelters, either surrendered or found as strays, but they need adopters to get out alive.
Pigeons make great pets both indoors as part of the family or outside in a rodent and predator-proof aviary.
Pigeons as Pets in an Outdoor Aviary
Rescued pigeons can’t be safely flown (they are easy targets for hawks and cats) and so, when outside, must be protected in an aviary. It needs to be predator-proof (sturdy and securely built all the way around including top and bottom), rodent-proof (use 16 gauge or better hardware mesh with openings half inch or smaller) and include a sheltered corner that will stay shady on the hottest days and dry during the rainiest. No one has ever wished for a smaller aviary so make it as big as possible. Minimum size for four birds would be at least 6 feet long by 4 feet deep and 6 feet high.
Pigeons excel at the leisure arts and spend their time bathing, preening, lounging in the sun, foraging for favorite seeds, watching the sky, napping, showing off and courting. Every four to five weeks, mated couples will lay a pair of eggs (which need to be replaced with fake eggs for pigeon birth control) and take turns sitting on them. Pigeons are extremely devoted to their family and mate for life. They require fresh food and water and a quick poop-scrape daily and a thorough aviary cleaning weekly. Pigeons are beautiful, peaceful and full of personality. With time and attention, most can be hand-tamed. All can be befriended. It’s easy to create a charming, attractive and safe aviary for rescued pigeons.
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