Pigeons as Pets: Do They Make Good Pets and How to Keep Them


The majority of people see pigeons as pests and would just as soon get rid of them rather than keeping them as pets.

There are a few people, however, who see how special pigeons are and choose to bring them into their homes.

If you’re interested in having a bird as a pet, a pigeon is an ideal choice for many reasons. You should never keep a pigeon as a pet without learning more about them and making sure you are ready to take care of one or more of them.

Use this guide to help you determine if a pigeon is the right pet for you as well as what to expect if you decide to move ahead with pigeon keeping.

What Makes a Pigeon a Good Pet?

There are many reasons why pigeons make such great pets! Chances are that you already love birds or you wouldn’t be considering keeping a pigeon in your home.

domestic pigeon

The truth is that there are many birds out there that need to be adopted so if you aren’t interested in a dog or a cat, a pigeon makes sense as an alternative.

One of the best reasons to keep a pigeon as a pet is that they are quiet. Unlike many other birds that people keep as pets, such as parrots and cockatiels, pigeons make small cooing and chuckling sounds, rather than the loud, harsh squawks that other bird species make.

Pigeons are attractive birds so they’re nice to look at. They are docile and friendly and enjoy interacting with humans and other pigeons. You will enjoy spending time with your pet pigeon and it will enjoy sitting on your shoulder or talking back and forth with you.

Another reason people love having pigeons as pets is because they are laid back birds, which makes them very easy to take care of. Food is relatively inexpensive and your pigeons won’t need a lot of toys and other accessories. A constant water supply, a perch and cage and few things to play with are all they need to be happy.

carrier pigeons sat in their loft

Pigeons are usually healthy birds, which makes them hardy and enables you to enjoy your pet bird for many years. In the wild, pigeons only live an average of three years, but kept as pets, they can live up to 15 years, sometimes even more. Of course, proper care of your pet pigeon dictates their lifespan so be sure you’re ready for the commitment before you decide to keep one in your home.

You might have heard that pigeons are easy to train and that’s the absolute truth. Many years ago, pigeons were trained to carry messages behind enemy lines during the war, saving many hundreds of lives.

If you dedicate the time and effort, you can train your pigeon to be a homing pigeon, which means it will find its way home from many miles away. You can also train pigeons to be racing birds.

Finally, if you’re interested in breeding pigeons, you’ll be happy to know that they make great parents and it’s fairly easy to do. Pigeons lay eggs a few times each year and take care of their babies until they’re ready to leave the nest. You’ll love watching your pet pigeons nurture and raise their young.

Indoors or Outdoors?

One of your biggest questions about keeping pigeons as pets is whether they should live inside or outside.

Rescued pigeons often do better outside since it’s closer to their natural habitat, but they will need a coop or aviary that protects them from predators.

If you live in an area that gets cold during the winter, you will want to make sure the enclosure has a source of warmth for your pigeons. You might also consider moving them indoors during the cold seasons.

Pigeons also do really well living indoors with you and your family. Even indoors, they will need a cage or coop as their home base (read our guide on how to build a pigeon coop). They shouldn’t spend all of their time in their enclosure, however, and will need to be out for exercise and interaction for part of every day.

As a general rule, pigeons kept in your home will walk more than they will fly, but they will need room to do so. Pigeons typically do well with other pets, but if you have dogs, cats or kids, you will need to watch your birds to be sure they are safe.

What You Need for Your Pet Pigeon

As mentioned above, pigeons need an enclosure as their home base, both indoors and outdoors. The more pigeons you have, the larger this cage or coop needs to be.

Make sure it has a place for your pigeon to perch as well as a dish for food and water. You will want some padding for the bottom of the enclosure and a warmth source if you plan to keep your pigeons outside.

Pigeons build nests, both for breeding and as a place to rest, so offer some kind of nesting material for your pet bird. Beyond that, something for your bird to chew on, toys to play with and treats are the basic supplies. Many people who keep pigeons use pigeon pants to help keep the birds from defecating all over the house.

pigeon pants

Feeding Your Pet Pigeon

The right food is important for keeping your pet pigeon healthy and thriving. Pigeons need good quality seed blends, but they also eat a variety of grains, which can be mixed with the seeds.

Pigeons also need a protein source and enjoy eating fruits and vegetables. You can make your pigeon’s feed yourself or you can buy pre-mixed versions at pet supply stores. Pigeon pellets are another option that you might want to try.

best pigeon food

Adding grit or gravel to your pigeon’s diet can help with digestion, but don’t offer too much as it can take up space that is needed for vitamins and minerals. It’s also vital to provide a constant source of water to your pigeons so that they don’t get dehydrated, which can be detrimental to their health.

Vet Care

Just as with any other pet, you should have a trustworthy and reputable veterinarian that will help you keep on top of your pigeon’s health. This vet can provide regular checkups for your pigeon to be sure there aren’t any health problems.

You should also call the vet if your pet pigeon is sick or injured. Proper medical care ensures that your pigeon stays healthy and lives a long life.

Buying a Pigeon

When you’ve decided to go ahead with having a pet pigeon, be sure you buy one from a reputable breeder that can provide information about the parents and who has taken good care of the hatched babies until they are ready to become a pet.

band-tailed pigeon

You can work with a local breeder or search one out online.

Keeping pigeons as pets can be incredibly fun and rewarding. If you have the time and the energy, you will love having a pet bird in your house. Your pigeon will be an addition to your family that you’ll never regret making and that you’ll love for many years to come. 

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