Raising Pigeons For Food

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by SweetwaterClyde, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. SweetwaterClyde

    SweetwaterClyde Active Member

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    Would like to start raising some pigeons for food. The other day I was commuting home from work and a pickup truck was loaded with poultry crates and each crate was stuffed with large white squabs on the road. It got me to thinking. My uncle raised pigeons on his small farm and I enjoyed eating them barbequed (this is the extent of my pigeon knowledge). I have a small outbuilding that would be easy to turn into a pigeon facility. I have searched high and low and cannot find a decent set of birds at a realistic price in my area (central California). Like I said I would really like to use them as a food source, so would need several. How many pairs would be a good size to provide me with 50+ squabs a year? How much will the food bill be? Any particular feed or grain mixture you recommend? What age to clean? What breed type? Should they be allowed to intermingle with other poultry? Any tricks of the trade I should know about? If you could steer me towards a good link that would be great too. Thanks
     
  2. ||Downhome||

    ||Downhome|| Born in the wrong Century

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    I dont really have much info for ya but the whole idea in the old days was the pigeons fended for themselfs, where your at the could easily do that all year I would think,

    google or search dove coate.

    Texan Pioneers (my pick) and White Kings (runner up) though these guys wont be foraging at least a good meat breed.to big to fly so you will need to feed. looking at 50-100 pounds (not sure seen both figures thrown around) of feed per year per pair.

    and this guy has a post on byc for Texan Pioneers

    yardbird tx is his user name there

    and he posted this number- Joe, 512-627-0097
    and this is his pigeon post there
    http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=204998&p=1
     

  3. ||Downhome||

    ||Downhome|| Born in the wrong Century

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    found a post on another site looks like his 2009 price was 20 a bird?
     
  4. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    They don't eat too much, especially if you let then "free range" and find some free food.
    I feed mine a mix of "Flock Raiser", bird seed, and whole corn.

    King Pigeons are about the most popular meat breed.

    They lay eggs in pairs and sit for 3 weeks, then in about 3-4 weeks the squabs are big enough to eat.

    Around here $10 per bird is a common price.

    When you buy some birds, plan on keeping them contained for several months.

    Once they start nesting and raising young, you can let them fly, and MOST of them shoud stay around
     
  5. SweetwaterClyde

    SweetwaterClyde Active Member

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    I registered on the BY Chicken site, and will try to get ahold (thanks a lot for the phone number) of the guy that is breeding those birds. I really liked the looks of them, and their being sex linked makes them attractive to me too. Lots of birds of prey around here, lots of dove hunters, can these large meat types outfly most of that stuff?
     
  6. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    one pair of pigeons if given two nest boxes and kept well fed can have two or sometimes 3 sets of squabbs going at one time, they will lay two eggs at a time, and 18 days later they have squabbs in a couple weeks they will lay a seccond set while the male continues feeding the first, so on and so forth, good producers will have you over run in no time,

    a mixed grain like for wild bird seed is great, what ever cheep grain mix is good, pigeons are not picky, dont feed cracked corn as it can cause problems if it gets damp or moldy easy, if you can only find a wheat or milo base add some BOSS and or some field peas,
    if your going to use kings or one of the other large you wont want to let them free fly much, better to build a flight cage outside your shed so they can excercize with out getting killed by hawks, but any breed will produce edible squabbs just most other breeds will be smaller and will take more to fill you up lol,

    you can keep ferals or homers or any of the other flying breeds that should be able to free fly most of the year with out too much trouble from hawks,

    i kept mine with chickens no problem, as long as the chickens have their own lower nest boxes and cant get into the pigeons nest boxes it works great,

    i built a flight cage with regular fenceing and PVC pipe bowed over, worked great,
     
  7. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would start with at least 2 or 3 pair to keep them from inbreeding so much. Not many pigeons can outfly a determined hawk. I lost a whole bunch to a single hawk, even my 2 favorites who would sit on my shoulder. I second the idea of a flight cage, it's what I'm going to build as soon as I get some home renovations completed (pigeons are allowed here but not chickens or ducks, go figure, but banded pigeons are considered "pets")

    The feral birds I had bred most of the year. I fed mine, bird seed and meat bird crumbles, plus they ate a lot of outside feed. Their favorite food was grass seed, they ate most of my seed when I tried to re-seed my yard and a lot of the neighbor's seed when they re-seeded theirs.

    I never got a chance to eat mine. But I plan on getting some for meat next year. Mine stayed in the shed with the ducks and rabbits, not an ideal situation for any. Next time around the pigeons will be kept in their own housing so they can be kept locked up when the hawks are around.
     
  8. mullberry

    mullberry BONNIE BLUE

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    lots of the old barn sheds have pigeon rookerys here . they eat the young & the adults feed them seems like a good idea to me.
     
  9. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    I started with about 20, and now I have about 50 adults.

    I've lost some to hawks, and others just disappeared, but I have 18 newly hatched babies in the coop now
     
  10. SweetwaterClyde

    SweetwaterClyde Active Member

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    I was talking with a falconer some time ago and he said that he went to an abandoned barn somewhere around here and got all the pigeons he needed for his hawk. I wish I would have paid more attention to where the barn was now.
     
  11. ||Downhome||

    ||Downhome|| Born in the wrong Century

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    you can find ferals in a lot of places many times under bridges.
     
  12. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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  13. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    I was about to compliment you on your metal craftsmanship when I saw the last line that you bought the door.

    When I was a kid we would go to barns, loafing sheds, grain elevators, fairgrounds buildings, bridges, etc. at night and catch pigeons. Find one on a ledge with your flashlight, ease up under it and grab it and put in a gunny sack. Dog trainers and a guy who raised owls would buy them. Of course now you would be arrested for being a juvenile delinquent out after dark with no supervision, but times were different then.

    We've talked about having a pen here. That is interesting that they can raise more than one hatch at a time. I know we found fresh eggs all times of the year while hunting them.
     
  14. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    I looked at a lot of designs and materials, and couldn't figure out how to build one that would work as well as the one I bought.

    The bars are aluminum and the way they are bent prevents them from swinging sideways.

    It can also be latched in either the open or closed positions
     
  15. SweetwaterClyde

    SweetwaterClyde Active Member

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    Thanks for the link to the door. It was not dirt cheap, but I figure I can study it and make another one if I need to. Looks nice and sturdy. Your completed trap was really the selling point, thanks again.
     
  16. Simpler Times

    Simpler Times Well-Known Member

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    I know this is an old thread but there are good pictures and directions on here of how to make your own trap door out of a bent clothes hanger. The guy uses cardboard boxes for the trap body. Scroll down, the "bob" trap is the second type on the page. The first is just a drop trap. http://picturesoffleas.info/home-made-pigeon-traps/
     
  17. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    If all you need is a "trap door" for a coop, it's easy to build what's called a "drop trap" with just a few boards that will let pigeons in, but they won't go back out.

    To land, they need a space large enough to spread their wings, and this design prevents that:

    [​IMG]

    The inside of the box is just large enough to let the pigeons walk through, and the length isn't really critical as long as there is at least 6-8 inches offset on the bottom

    Mine is about 6 X 6, and about 2 ft long

    They enter on the left and can drop down into the coop on the right, but they can't fly back out because they can't land on the right side due to the extension of the sides and top
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  18. KIT.S

    KIT.S Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've been talking to a gentleman in Medford, Oregon, who has Texas Pioneer pigeons. I'm hoping to get a couple pair when he has extras this spring. He may be close enough to you to travel to pick them up instead of shipping. I'll ask him if I can share his contact information.
    Thanks, Downhome, for posting that link. That was very interesting and informative. I still haven't figured out if I buy 3 males and 3 females, if they will cooperate and pair up, or if I'll get some stubborn ones who won't take what's available! Just my luck.
    Kit
     
  19. caroline

    caroline Well-Known Member

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    Raised pigeon for food several years ago. Didn't like the taste of squab, mostly dark meat. Was hard for me to kill them, but chickens were easy. Go figure.