Can people keep pigeons as pests?

Can People Keep Pigeons as Pets?

What’s the first thing that springs to mind when you mention pigeons? It’s probably something about them being ‘flying rats.’ Certainly, feral pigeons in urban areas can be a nuisance. But what about pigeons that have been trained and cared for? Can people keep pigeons as pets?

You Can Keep Pigeons as Pets 

Keeping pigeons as a pets is actually quite common. They’re not expensive to keep and people keep them for different reasons, like racing or breeding. They can be kept in a pigeon loft or in a purpose built coop in your shed or garden. You don’t need a licence to keep them but you do have to prove that you legally own them. Make sure you have a record or receipt of who you bought them from, where you bought them from, and when. 

Do Pigeons Make Good Pets?

They can make good pets because;

They are easy to train

Over time, you can bond with pigeons and get them to trust you. Most people use food to achieve this. Once you’ve created a bond, you can easily start training your pigeons to fly away then return to you. Pigeons have a strong homing instinct and they can navigate distances of several hundred miles. Scientists have discovered that they do this by smell. They create ‘odour maps’ of the area they live in and use scent to navigate. 

They aren’t aggressive like other birds

Pigeons are usually known as shy birds. They don’t tend to attack humans and besides, they don’t have the razor sharp beaks and claws of other species of bird. You might see them squabbling with each other over food but that’s about it. 

Their food is relatively cheap

Pigeons will eat just about anything, though they have delicate digestive systems so make sure their diet is based on grains, seeds, and corn. They love wheat, corn, sunflower seeds, barley, peanuts, and oats. If you’re breeding or racing pigeons, you’ll probably need to add supplements to their diet to keep them healthy and performing well. 

The Cons of Keeping Pigeons as Pets

They carry diseases

Yes, your dog and cat carry germs too, but pigeons carry a LOT of pathogens. We don’t want to worry you but they actually carry more diseases than rats, believe it or not. There’s E.coli and Salmonella, plus a host of other bacterial and fungal illnesses, like the delightful bird fancier lung. This is a lung condition that occurs as a result of inhaling proteins in the dust from feathers or droppings. 

They poop- a lot

Due to their delicate digestive systems, pigeons poop a lot. If you want to avoid catching anything nasty from their droppings, it’s a good idea to;

  • Regularly sweep out the coop or loft and clean up the droppings;
  • Wear protective clothing when you’re doing this, including an overall or boiler suit, a face mask, gloves, and a cap.  
  • Disinfect the loft or coop often to keep you and your pet pigeons healthy. 

Anything Else I Should Know About Keeping Pigeons as Pets?

  • Always buy them from a trusted seller or breeder;
  • Keep the loft or coop waterproof-pigeons do okay in the cold, but you must keep them dry. Covering the roof with waterproof felt will help. 
  • If you have homing pigeons as pets, don’t let them out right away. They need to become familiar with their surroundings first. They’ll still need to fly in the meantime though, so make sure your coop or loft has enough space for a flying area. 
  • Pigeons can live for 10-15 years if you look after them and having them as pets can be a rewarding experience. 

Pigeons as pets are all good, but pigeons as pests? Not so much.

If the pigeons around your home or business are more the nuisance kind, call Contego. 

We are known in the industry as one of the leading bird control specialists and our experience speaks for itself. We’ve controlled pest birds for clients on some challenging sites like supermarkets, stadiums, listed buildings, railway platforms, and more. 

Our technicians understand bird behaviour and they understand the importance of helping you find the bird control solution that works for you.

Need help with a pest bird problem now?

Call Contego. 

Must Read