Pigeons Website

The one stop site

You are going to see how a pigeon life begins and how they breed. Pigeon breeding isn't difficult. It is easy enough that if you have a male and female let them together after they change all their feathers(moult) right after the summer and they will raise pigeons. They don't breed in all the seasons like humans. Usually they begin after one month of the first rain. All you need to do is to feed them and let raise their young.

 

One month after the first rain drops, we put the hen and cock pigeons together in the loft. To start with, they are closed up in a pen together, till they get to know each other and their nest box

 

After the birds get used to each other, we let them out in the pen. Not all the pigeons take the same time to 'Get Married'. The cocks chase the hens around and coo and peck at them. They usually stay pretty close to their mate.

 

The birds mate and the cocks continue to chase the hens around the loft. Usually the hens lay their first egg between five and ten days after they are put together. The second egg is usally laid one or two days later.

 

Sometimes cocks in the same pen fight and sometimes they chase the wrong hen. The cocks are very possessive of their own hen and their own nest box.

 

Before the eggs are laid, the cock brings the material and give to the hen to fill the nest. Usually they use straw, pine needles and feathers to make it soft and warm for the eggs. Some hens put a lot of stuff in their nests and others put only a little. I'd like to use ceramic bowls as nesting bowls for the pigeons. They are easy to clean and store and keeps the nest fresh.

 

Hens usually lay first egg in the afternoon and then a day later she lay their second egg at morning. If the hen is busy enough, she might lay the first egg in the morning and the secong egg at night in the same day. Most hens are really good mothers and will stay on their eggs to keep them warm.

 

After the eggs are laid, the hen usually sits on them all night. During the day, the cock and hen will take turns sitting on them, so the hen can get off the nest to eat and drink. The hen usually sits on nest from 5PM till 10AM and shift every hour with the male. They fluff out their feathers to fill them with air which keeps the eggs warm.

 

The hen and cock take turns sitting on the eggs for the next eighteen days after the second egg is laid. Then the eggs begin to hatch, one at a time.

 

At first just a tiny crack is visible in the egg, then more and more cracks. Finally a small hole becomes visible in the egg. All this time, the mother sits patiently on the eggs keeping them warm.

 

The mother hen does not help her babies out of their eggs. The babies need to do it on their own. As they peck their way out, they strengthen their muscles, their heart and their lungs. If another pigeon or a human were to help them, the baby would probably die or remain not in its 100%.

 

It must be difficult to sit so still and wait so patiently for your babies to be born, but each hen does her job as she waits, protects and warms her babies.

 

After a few hours, the hole in the egg become larger. You can see a crack all around the egg. When it reaches that stage the younster push hard to brake it in two pieces. Its a hard working process and from time to time the younster stops for a small brake to rest.

 

After the rest, the baby begins to peck and wiggle again. Now it can use its toes and wings to help break away the shell. Hatching from an egg may take up to twenty-four hours. Pigeons eggs are very hard.

 

Here you can see part of the egg shell underneath the hen. The eggshell has broken away as the squab has pecked its way out of the egg.

 

The squab is almost out of the egg. Again it must rest for a while to gather its strength. The feathers are all wet and sticky as it emerges from the egg. The squab's eyes are still shut. They will open up after five days.

 

The squab dries off as it rests in the nest. The few feathers that cover its body are very fine. They do not keep the squab very warm. The mother hen must make sure to sit tightly over the squab and the other egg to keep them warm, especially during the cold, winter nights.

 

Usually the first egg hatches and then a day or two later the other egg will hatch. Sometimes they hatch close to the same time. Because they grow so quickly, it is normal to have two different sized squabs in the nest.

 

Here you can see the inside of both halves of the egg. It is amazing that this squab was all tucked inside that egg just a short while before. It must have been a very squishy experience. The tiny squab is probably much more comfortable out of the egg where it can move around.

 

It doesn't take long for the feathers to dry out. Then they are able to cover the squab a little better. For the first few days, the squab will sleep a lot and rest from the difficult hatching process. The nutrition it gained from the egg just prior to hatching will keep it for the first day while it adjusts to its new world.

 

The first squab will often snuggle up next to the remaining egg in an attempt to stay warm and also rest on it to be comfortable.

 

Baby pigeons are called squabs and they are really not very cute compared to other baby birds. They are quite helpless for the first few days and they rely on their parents to feed and take care of them for four to six weeks.

Baby chickens and turkeys can eat and take care of themselves as soon as they hatch. Their eggs can be hatched in an incubator and they do not need their parents to care for them. Within just a few hours of hatching, they are able to stand, walk, eat and drink on their own.

 

After about five days, the eyes of the squab open up. The baby will now begin to stand up and move around the nest. It will cry for its parents to feed it. The parents will eat their food and drink water. Then they spit up or regurgitate pigeon milk for the baby squab to eat. They pour this pigeon milk into the baby's mouth.

At about six or seven days old, the baby pigeon is banded. A small solid ring is slipped over the pigeon's toes so it rests on its leg. The band will not be able to slide off after the bird grows. This gives us a permanent identification marking for the bird. It will always be known by the number on this band.

 

The baby pigeons grow quickly. Their feathers start to grow. You can tell what color the babies will be by the colour of the new feathers. Pigeons don't wear diapers like human babies, so their nests can get pretty messy.

Tip: You can assume what colour are they from their parents colour. When they have about 3 days and they have literaly no colour that means that they are white. If they have the skin with blue they can have all the colours you can imagine on a pigeon and the more dark is the more darker it will be.

 

It doesn't take long for the babies to become fat, little balls of fluff. Their new feathers start to fill in around the yellow pin feathers. The squabs can easily fit in the palm of your hand. In 99% of the cases the babies are heavier than their parents.

 

Soon the babies are big enough to get out of the nest. They will try to fly and jump on the floor. Here they continue to cry when they are hungry. All the cocks in the pen will feed the babies. It doesn't matter whose baby it is. Generally the cocks will feed anyone who is crying for food.

 

The babies huddle together for warmth. They already know how to fluff out their feathers to keep warm. The babies continue to grow bigger each day. The parents begin another round of eggs and babies at about this time.

 

The babies lose their pin feathers and their new feathers grow longer. They begin to look more like their parents.

 

The squabs grow so big that they can't fit in the palm of your hand anymore. They have finally reached the cute stage. They are really fun to watch as they begin to flap their wings as they move around the loft.

 

When they are four weeks old, we take the babies away from their parents and put them in a pen with the other baby pigeons.

 

Their wings are fully feathered now and they look like their parents, but they are smaller and less mature. Each pigeon has a unique pattern of feather colouring. At this age they are really cute and fun to hold.