Pigeons are herbivores that eat seeds and grains, meat is not a natural or necessary part of their diet.
However pigeons are scavengers so if they find a bit of meat laying around they certainly peck at it to try it out and if they think it is edible enough they will definitely try and eat it.
That said eating meat is difficult for them.
Pigeons don’t have stomachs, only gizzards. Their alimentary system is quite simple and struggles to digest meat of any kind.
Meat-eating animals have teeth to rend and chew, pigeons don’t. They swallow their food whole.
Secondly, carnivores have stomachs where the chewed-up meat settles and is broken down by chemical compounds so that the different types of nutrients can be absorbed slowly into their bodies. It’s a relatively slow process. Once all the nutrients from the meat have been sucked out, what is left is expelled as waste.
With pigeons, this process is swifter. Their metabolic rates are very high. Nothing sits within their gizzards for very long. Also, because they can’t break down what they swallow naturally, they pick up grit from the ground to use these pieces as grindstones.
Despite all this, pigeons are scavengers who eat anything they find, if they find a bit of meat laying around they will definitely try and eat it.
Types Of Meat That An Urban Pigeon May Try To Eat
The question of whether or not they can or do eat meat arises because of the behaviour of the urban feral pigeons. In the cities, they can find all types of discarded food.
We have all seen them, investigating fried chicken, bits of burger and kebab or fast food cartons, boxes, and bags.
Most of the fast-food takeaways that we buy contain meat and other types of processed foods that are supposed to be bad for pigeons, but we see them pecking away at the leftovers all the time. From the evidence of our own eyes, it would seem that they do.
When Pigeons Do Eat Meat
Unlike most meat, burger and kebab meat is easily digestible for pigeons.
This is because the meat that is found in burgers and kebabs has if processed and has been cooked so is very tender and soft, soft enough to part with a beak and rip off tiny pieces.
One ornithologist suggests that pigeons can gain calcium from soft chicken bones, not only the pieces of flesh clinging to them.
The feral city pigeons have adapted over the years and it doesn’t seem to have done them any harm judging by the numbers of them.
If your pet pigeon eats meat don’t worry, pigeons are very resilient, if they find they can’t digest something they will just throw it back up!