Feral pigeons are direct descendants of the rock dove that inhabit towns and cities and come in a variety of colours. Escaped racing and homing pigeons also may contribute to feral pigeon flocks. Reasons for raising feral pigeons include finding orphan babies (also called squabs), some of which may be injured with a broken wing or missing foot. According to the Association of Pigeon Veterinarians, keeping feral pigeons is not any more of a health hazard than keeping other pets. All you need is proper food, time and patience to domesticate feral pigeons successfully.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Nesting box
- Training room
Provide a loft large enough for free flight, ample natural light (direct sunlight preferred) with a dry interior, several roosts and good ventilation. Always keep it clean.
Train pigeons in a small room with limited roosting areas at regular daily intervals, remaining still at all times. Whenever the bird stops flying, keep picking it up by placing a finger under its chest -- repeating the process until it sits on your finger to eat. Try a variety of treats until you find one it especially likes. Talk and coo to it the whole time.
Feed with grain as the staple diet food found at local feed stores. Pigeons also need a mineral grit mixture and clean water daily. All three items are usually fed separately. Supplement with fresh leafy veggies.
Provide your pair of mating birds with a nesting box in the loft in a quiet atmosphere. When the eggs are laid, do not disturb them; they should hatch successfully in a couple of weeks.
Tips and warnings
- Wear the same clothes to ensure the bird that you are the same person whenever you go into the training room. Avoid red and yellow colours that can excite the bird.
- Since pigeons raise their own young to maturity, no incubators and other artificial breeding equipment is needed to raise squabs.
- If you hand-rear a squab versus starting with an adult, seek expert advice for correct feeding procedures.
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