Raising Pigeons is very interesting and pigeons are a very popular domestic bird. Pigeons require less labor and a smaller investment than other birds. The meat of a baby pigeon (squab), is very tasty. Squabs are in huge demand and carry a high price in the market place.
Benefits of Raising Pigeons
Raising Pigeons have some great benefits:
- They are a domestic bird that is very easy to handle.
- They start laying eggs at six months of age and produce two young per clutch on an average.
- They can be raised easily in a backyard or on the roof of the house.
- It takes about 18 days to hatch their eggs.
- Baby pigeons, (squab), become suitable for consumption within 3 to 4 weeks of age.
- A pigeon house can be built in a small place with little investment.
- Pigeon feeding costs is very low. In most cases they collect food by themselves.
- Pigeon meat is very tasty and is in high demand and value in the market place.
- Pigeons are also very pleasing and entertaining. You can spend some good times watching the activities of pigeons.
- Diseases are comparatively less in pigeons than other poultry.
- Pigeon droppings are a good manure for crop cultivation.
- Pigeons help to keep the environment safe by eating different types of insects.
Generally pigeons are raised as pairs. A pair of pigeons stay together for their whole life. They can survive for about 12 to 15 years. Males and females both collect straw together and build a small nest for them to raise young. Female pigeons start laying eggs at the age of 5-6 months of age. They usually lay two eggs every time and their breeding capability lasts for about 5 years before they decline. Both male and female pigeons hatch the eggs. Usually it takes about 17 to 18 days to hatch the eggs. The stomach of baby pigeon contains crop milk, which they eat for the first 4 days. Female pigeons feed their baby for ten days by their lips. After that, they start taking supplementary food on their own. At the age of 26 days, they become adults.
There are about three hundred pigeon breeds around the world. Pigeon breeds are of two types..
- Meat Production Breeds: White king, texona, silver king, gola, lokha, etc. are meat production pigeons.
- Exhibition: Moyurponkhi, shirazi, lohore, fantail, jacobin, frillback, modena, trumpeter, trubit, mukhi, giribaz, templar, lotal etc. are most popular exhibition pigeons.
Housing is very important for raising pigeons. Keep in mind the following factors before making a house for your birds.
- Build the house in a high place. This will keep the birds free from dogs, cats and some other harmful predators.
- Ensure a steady flow of fresh air and light inside the house.
- Protect from rain water entering the house.
- Every pigeon requires about 12 in. long, 12 in. high and 12 in. wide space.
- Every room of the pigeon house must have room for housing two pigeons.
- The rooms will be adjoining to each other.
- Keep a door on every room measuring 4×4 in.
- Always try to keep the house clean and dry.
- Clean the house once or twice per month.
- Keep the food and water near the house.
- Keep some straw near the house, so that the pigeons can make nests from the material.
- Keep water and sand near the house, as they clean their body by water and dust.
Pigeons generally eat wheat, corn, rice, legumes, mustards, etc. Keep food in front of their house and they will take the food by themselves. You have to serve them a balanced feed for proper growth, good health and for proper production. You can also serve them a balanced feed purchased at a farm store. Pigeon feed should contain 15-16 % protein. Every pigeon consume 35-50 grams of grainy feed daily. Feed them oyster shells, lime stone, bone powder, salt, greet mixture, mineral mixture etc. with their regular feed. Along with this, feed them some green vegetables daily.
Baby Pigeon Feed
Baby pigeons (squab) do not need extra feed for 5-7 days. They take crop milk from their parents stomach. Which is known as pigeon milk. Male and female pigeons feed their baby in this way for 10 days. After that, they become able to fly and feed themselves on their own. Keep fresh feed and clean water near their house.
Keep water bowl near their house. They will drink and take bath from that water bowl so clean the water regularly.
Generally male and female pigeons stay in pairs. During the laying period they collect straw and make a small nest. The female pigeon starts laying eggs when they reach 5 to 6 months of age. They lay a pair of eggs to hatch about every 5-6 weeks. Both male and female pigeons hatch the eggs. It takes about 17 to 18 days to hatch the eggs.
Diseases are comparatively less than other poultry birds. They suffers from TB, paratyphoid, cholera, pox, newcastle, influenza etc. Besides this, they can also suffer from various louse and malnutrition diseases. Remedy methods of some pigeon diseases are described below.
- Follow the advice of an experienced veterinarian.
- Keep the pigeon house clean and germ free.
- Separate the disease affected bird from healthy birds.
- Vaccinate them timely.
- Keep them free from worms.
- Feed them a balanced diet to prevent malnutrition.
- Use medicine for removing louse from their body.