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Pigeons As Pets – Part 2

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Pet lovers are embracing the joys of adopting dogs and cats from shelters in ever greater numbers but few people realize how many birds there are in shelters needing to be adopted.

 

I created MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue when I discovered domestic pigeons were being killed in shelters for lack of homes. Pigeons such as Kings, Fantails, Tumblers and Homers are smart, beautiful and gentle birds. They’ve been selectively bred and while they don’t survive in the wild, they thrive as pets. When domestic pigeons wind up in animal shelters, either surrendered or more frequently rescued as strays, they can’t be released so adopting them is life-saving.

 

Pigeons make great pets both indoors as part of the family or outside in a predator and rodent-proof aviary.

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Rescued pigeons can’t be safely flown (they are easy targets for hawks and cats) and so, when outside, must be protected in an aviary. It needs to be predator-proof (sturdy and securely built), rodent-proof (use hardware mesh with openings less than half an inch), and include a sheltered corner. No one has ever wished for a smaller aviary so make it as big as possible. Minimum size for four birds would be at least six feet long by four feet deep and six feet high. Pigeons excel at the leisure arts and spend their time bathing, preening, lounging in the sun, eating, watching the sky, napping, socializing and courting. Every four to five weeks, mated couples will lay a pair of eggs (which need to be replaced with fakes for pigeon birth control) and take turns sitting on them. Pigeons are extremely devoted to their family and mate for life. They require about 20 minutes of daily care with a weekly aviary cleaning (figure an hour). They are beautiful and peaceful and, with time and attention, can be hand-tamed. It’s easy to create a charming, attractive and safe aviary for rescued pigeons.

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Pigeons can also live inside with the family. They need a big cage for their home base (a double-flight cage is good for a pair) with daily out-of-cage time to stretch their wings and have some fun. They’ll walk around more than fly and will pick out a high perch or two as a hangout. The main inconvenience to having pigeons as indoor pets is their droppings. Poop isn’t too hard to manage with hardwood or tile floors or with strategic placement of liners. Pigeons can be potty-trained or they can wear pigeon pants! Pigeon pants are adorable little harnesses with a diaper to catch droppings. The pants are easy to put on and pigeons tolerate them well. Once dressed , they can walk and fly around the house, or sit on laps and shoulders poop-free. The diaper, lined with half a panty-liner needs to be changed after 2-4 hours.

 

I absolutely adore hearing my pet pigeon Frances pitter-pattering around the house. He’ll do his own thing for a while (like deciding to take a bath in the dog’s water dish) and then comes looking for me and always brings me a smile when he comes.

 

There are lots and lots of beautiful, sweet, innocent domestic pigeons like Frances in need of homes. Lacking survival skills, they cannot be released into the wild and, if they are not adopted, they are euthanized. Please share this story with everybody you know. Most people are completely unaware of the plight of birds in shelters. Please visit MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue for more info about adopting homeless pigeons or contact me at AdoptKings@gmail.com.

 

Elizabeth Young, founder & executive director

MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue (www.PigeonRescue.org)

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