The following is a simple guide to feeding pigeons and what they can eat, the intended reader might be someone wanting to get started with zero to little knowledge of pigeons or anyone that may have found a lost pigeon.
What do pigeons like to eat?
Feeding pigeons, whether the racing variety, tumblers, fantails or pet doves needn’t be over complicated or cost a lot of money. Contrary to popular belief feeding pigeons rice doesn’t actually make them explode…
That said, there are some basics we need to consider, namely the type of pigeon, the condition it is in and whether or not you plan to keep them for the long-haul or just until they can be returned home.
Feeding a lost or flown-down pigeon
Firstly, if you’ve come across what looks to be a lost or stray racing pigeon (it will have a leg ring), the best thing to do is to report it to the RPRA (if you’re in the UK). They will be able to contact the owner and arrange for collection.
We highly appreciate anyone that makes the effort to do this.
While arrangements are being made to return the bird home it is best to feed the pigeon a light diet low in protein, easy to digest but high in carbohydrates to replace much needed energy and aid recovery.
This can be achieved with small seed such as super golden boost – a feed supplement fortified with vitamins, calcium and sugar.
Alternatively can you feed:
An ideal corn mixture to use would be something like the Versele-Laga Recoup.
High Carb/Recovery Feeding Routine
Any of the above high carb foods should be fed at about 2 ounces per day per bird with fresh water always available. Do this for 4 days and you should see a significant improvement in the pigeon’s condition.
On the 5th day onward start adding some maple peas into the mix to increase the protein content.
Feeding Doves or Pet Pigeons
Should you decide to keep pigeons long-term as pets you will need to also provide access to grit and minerals, these are essential for digestion in the crop, in the wild pigeons would consume bits of grit and minerals naturally.
Our champion multi-mix is the perfect blend of both – a very easy way to maintain good pigeon health.
Feeding Homing/Racing Pigeons
To keep homing pigeons healthy, especially if you wish to breed them, the correct amount of protein in the diet is even more important.
Feeding a mixture with high maple pea content such as Versele-Laga’s Junior UK will make sure there is adequate protein for the young birds to grow when being fed by the parents.
Additionally, there should be access to grit and minerals at all times, particularly during breeding as they will require even more, again multi-mix is great for this as one of the most cost-effective pigeon grit/mineral mixes available.
Fantails and Tumblers
The main difference when feeding many of these pigeons is that due to the small beaks they can’t usually handle the large grains as well as homing pigeons.
Therefore you will need to compensate where necessary to ensure the birds are getting the correct protein, mung beans for example are a good replacement for maple peas, you can also add:
- White Dari
- Red Dari
- Paddy Rice