Pigeons have historically been highly valued by mankind. They are animals that are easy to learn and very sociable, but require a lot of attention to hygiene and nutrition. Learn how to take care of your pigeons.
Nowadays, the relationship between human beings and pigeons is equally divided between love and hate. While some create them as pets, others suffer from colombofobia (panic of the pigeons).
Origin and adaptation
In fact, the term “pigeon” refers generically to more than 300 species of birds. Originally, they belong to the Columbiformes family. They are direct relatives of the doves and have an enormous variety of breeds.
Grey doves are the most common on the streets of the continent. They give origin to most of the carrier pigeons and/or domestic pigeons.
Adaptation to large cities and changes in diet have modified the pigeon’s organism. It is now very vulnerable to the spread of parasites.
A pigeon’s organism is similar to that of parrots and other birds. When cared for properly or in optimal conditions of development, it appears clean and healthy. But if it is exposed to contaminated environments, it becomes a source of disease.
The aesthetic and character diversity made these birds a passion for many people. Their beauty combined with the ease of learning are important attractions of their species.
We must remember that they can only develop their skills when they feel healthy and safe. Therefore, taking care of your pigeons is an indispensable investment not only for their health. Also for their training.
Basic tips for caring for your pigeons
The tips for caring for your pigeons summarise the main preventive measures for preserving the health of the animal and its environment.
Pigeons are no dirtier than other animals. All species come into contact with microorganisms and can harbour parasites in their bodies.
In fact, all birds are naturally clean. But they tend to become vulnerable to infection by internal and external parasites. These microorganisms can easily reproduce through cages, accessories, and also throughout the home.
It is essential to clean your pigeon houses or cages 2 to 3 times a week. It is also recommended to remove and sanitize the excrement tray daily.
No accumulation of food remains should be allowed. Above all, excrements produced at the bottom of the cage, in the feeder and/or the drinking trough. All the accessories must be very well washed and disinfected to avoid the appearance of fungi and bacteria.
It is also a good practice to check their legs and feathers frequently. When observing any wound, alteration of color, texture or appearance, it is essential to go quickly to a veterinarian specializing in birds.
Balanced feeding is the best way to look after your pigeons and prevent any illness. The daily nutrients allow their immune system to develop and combat microorganisms.
The optimum diet for a pigeon should contain a wide variety of grains to provide the body with fat, carbohydrates and protein. Balanced mixtures are available for purchase in pet shops.
You may also choose to prepare home-cooked meal mixes. It is important that they contain corn, sorghum, oats, wheat, barley, rice, lentils, carob, flax, beans and sunflower.
The pigeons are usually fed on porridge with the help of eyedroppers or syringes. Once a week it is recommended to offer small pieces of fruit and vegetables mixed with grains and seeds. It is essential to always offer the pigeons food in good condition and fresh.
Forbidden foods in your pigeon’s diet are:
- Industrialized food, fried, sausage and/or spiced.
- Chocolates and sweets in general.
- Coffee and products with caffeine.
- Milk and high-fat dairy products.
- Conditioning the environment
Although they can live freely when they are educated, it is advisable to have cages or dovecots. It will be their home, where they can rest and feel safe. That is why it is important to choose them consciously.
Ideally, the floor of the lofts and cages should be covered with newspaper and gravel. Straw should also be provided for the nests. Feeders and drinkers should be appropriate to the size and morphology of the animal. This prevents constant spillage and future contamination.
The location must be adequate for the growth of the animal. It is not wise to leave pigeons out in the open. Extreme heat or cold can lead to death or serious illness.
These birds are usually better adapted to warm or temperate climates. Therefore, during the winter, it is especially necessary to air-condition the environment. It is necessary to prevent the temperature from dropping below 22ºC.