Friday, May 1, 2009
Pet Pigeon Care
For pigeons a wider cage is more important than a high one.
A cage has to be big enough for the bird to be able to stretch it's wings fully. The bigger the cage the better.
The location of the cage should be in a secure place where cats, dogs and other pets have no access. Keep it away from drafts, heat sources, fans.
I noticed that pigeons do prefer to have their cage partially covered, at least two sides should be next to a wall or you can cover the cage with a blanket or towel. Make sure it doesn't get too hot in the cage and there is enough air flow through the cage, good vetilation is very important.
If the pigeon is kept in the cage, it needs at least two hours a day of exercise, the more the better.
Pigeons like to perch, but they prefer flat surfaces to perch on. Bricks work fine, they also keep their nails trimmed.
Most pigeons like a nest even if they are single.I use a basket lined with a handtowel. A couple of my pets like wooden bowls. I cut up clean white index cards for their use.
For cleaning the cage, I use vinegar daily. It is not toxic to birds and removes any odors and stains. It is acidic and can kill some bacteria and prevents the development of mold/funguses.
If the bird is sick, after it recovers, I do disinfect the cage with bleach, let it air dry and make sure they are no remaining odors from the bleach before I put the bird back in.
Pigeons are grain eaters. They need a mixed grain rations with a basic of 12-15% protein.
Feed stores may carry good pigeon mixes, sometimes pet stores do.
I mix my own pigeon food which I purchase form the health food store.
The main ingredients are wheat, peas yellow and green, barley.
I also add millet, flax seeds, corn, soy beans, lentils, oats and groats and occasionally sesame seeds and brown rice.
From the pet store I buy safflower seeds and black oil seeds which I add to the mix.
I also use the the safflower seeds as treats, seems like all pigeons love them.
An example of a good pigeon mix is on this site:
Pigeon grit is very important in pigeon's digestion.
A mix of oyster shells, salts and minerals and charcoal is essential.
Another food option is pellets, then the grit is not necessary since it is included in the pellet diet.
Once or twice a week you can offer your pigeon some greens. Carrots cut up in small pieces, kale and spinach is some pigeon's favorite. Raw unsalted peanuts is another favorite snack.
Pigeons must have fresh water every day and at all times.
Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits, so I add it to their water once a week. One teaspoon in a gallon of water, or a drop in an eight ounce water bowl. This should be followed by a day of clear water and then a day of probiotics.
Also once a week I soak a garlic clove overnight in the water. Garlic helps boost the immune system.
Pigeons that are kept indoors should have a vitamin, mineral supplement with vitamin D3. A good avian supplement can be found at a pet shop, or pigeon supply store, such as Globals, Foys, Siegels, and Jedds.
Twice a week I offer a low cat litter pan filled two inches with water for a bath to which I also put a tablespoon of vinegar. It makes their feathers really shiny and prevents contamination of the water from droppings if more than one bird bathes in it.
During moulting, I give my birds wheat germ oil, three drops in their water for three days.
It is rich in vitamin E which helps in growing healthy feathers.
Another option is wheat germ powder added to their food.