The Basics of Pigeon Keeping

Why on Earth would someone want to learn about keeping pigeons? Believe it or not there is a pigeon crisis. Domesticated pigeons have been abandoned and left for dead. They need bird-lovers to step in and adopt them. A domesticated pigeon will not survive the wild; they cannot defend themselves and they do not know how to feed themselves. Thankfully there are a few organizations that try to rehome abandoned domesticated pigeons, but there aren’t enough people willing to take them on. If you are one of the kind-hearted people willing to adopt them, here are a few things to help you start the process.


Pigeons need large cages. For just one or two birds the cage should be no smaller than three feet long, two feet deep, and four feet high. The more pigeons you have the more of these large cages you’ll need. One cage for multiple birds should be akin to a walk-in closet. The bigger the cage the happier your pigeon will be. If you have an entire aviary, you will be pigeon royalty.

Some pigeons can roam around the house and love to interact with their human caretakers. If this is the case, it can be difficult to keep track of them or their droppings. This is where pigeon diapers come in. Some online bird boutiques are dedicated to making pigeon “panties” which are attached via a harness and are by all accounts tolerated well by the pigeons. These panties catch the droppings. An attached bell jingles when the pigeons move.

Caretaking Rituals

Cages needs to be cleaned out daily. Water needs to be replenished every day. If you live in a colder climate, line the cage floor with soft towels and cover the cage with blankets.  Pigeons should not be kept outdoors in the freezing cold. Bring them indoors during harsh winters.

Pigeons are omnivorous. They eat nuts, berries, seeds, and leaves. They might also eat some bugs or larvae. Domesticated pigeons, while munching on all kinds of fruits and veggies, also need supplementation of D3. For a complete diet purchase pigeon pellets that will give them their daily essentials.

Your pigeons may lay eggs or you may have hatchlings on hand. These hatchlings must be given extra care and attention. They cannot survive cold temperatures. The parents will feed and warm their babies. In the parents’ absence the pigeons have a small chance of survival. However, should a hatchling be orphaned you can maximize their chances of living by feeding them canary hatchling formula. The babes must be kept indoors near a heat source. Cover their cages and put them in a warm room where they will be away from your other pets.


If you rescue a pigeon, chances are that pigeon has been separated from a mate. These birds, which include doves, mate for life. They are very emotional and get attached quite easily. When you decide to rescue a pigeon plan on making room for two. Pigeons need constant companionship with either another pigeon or a human. To make them live alone in their cages would be to condemn them to a life of sadness.

By Gabrielle Allemeier


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About the Author
Gabrielle Allemeier volunteers her free time as an animal rescuer and foster pet parent. As an animal lover, she enjoys sharing the knowledge she has gained from her experience with a variety of animals. Along with being an animal lover, Gabrielle is a globetrotter. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her terrier, Thisbe.