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Diet for Pet Pigeons

This diet guide is for pet pigeons, not breeding or racing pigeons

A common mistake in caring for pet pigeons is to feed incomplete diets, such as only feeding bread, grain, or seeds. These alone is very high in fat while being low in protein and many essential vitamins and minerals. A pigeon kept entirely on an incomplete diet can end up with multiple problems such as poor feathering, respiratory disease, fatty liver and diabetes. The best diet for a pigeon includes pellets, vegetables, whole grain and a small amount of seed, fruit and insects.

The following are the recommended diets for pigeons:

High quality pigeon pellets or crumbles

o These are low in fat, and high in vitamins and minerals that your bird needs. If you are feeding pellets formulated for pigeons such as ‘APC Pigeon Pellets’ then 100% of the diet can be just those. However, if you would like to offer a wider range of foods, you can feed 50% of either ‘Passwell Crumbles’ or ‘APC Pigeon Pellets’ and a mix of the other foods below.

o If your bird is not used to pellets, it can take a few days for them to accept them as food: try to moisten them and roll them into balls with treats to entice them into trying new foods. Make sure not to offer too many tasty options or your pigeon will get too full to try their pellets.

Whole Grain and Seeds

o Pigeons can be offered whole grain mixes with ingredients such as: wheat, maize, peas, safflower, corn & sorghum. We recommend ‘Green Valley Grains Pigeon’ or ‘Peters Poultry Mix’ or you can mix your own on advice from an avian veterinarian (A good basic mix is 40% peas , safflower 15%, wheat 15%, sorghum 15% and maize 15%).

o You can also offer a small amount of small seeds such as ‘Finch or Canary seed’ or ‘Greens n Grains’ as a treat or a tablespoon to enrich their mealtimes.

Grit and mineral blocks

o Grit is made up of crushed shells, stones and contain trace minerals such as calcium.

o You can also offer a mineral block, which includes minerals, trace elements, grits and digestive stones, this is good for enrichment and prevent nutritional deficiencies.

o We offer a range of products such as PVM powder, mineral blocks, multivitamins and grit at the clinic and our nurses can assist you in choosing the correct products for your pet.

A range of fresh fruit and vegetables

Some pigeons may enjoy eating fruit and vegetables, such as peas, corn, carrot, berries, and leafy greens. You can offer any fruit or vegetable that we eat EXCEPT FOR avocado, onion and rhubarb.

Additional enrichment & treats

o Pigeons will forage for worms, insects and seeds in the wild, so you can offer mealworms, crickets, earthworms and wood roaches as training treats as well as additional protein.

o For training, you can also offer small amounts of nuts, dried fruit, plain whole-grain crackers, parrot seed or air popped popcorn

Fresh water should always be available and changed daily

Pigeons often perch on their food bowls: ensure they are placed so they do not get easily soiled and provide plenty of other flat surfaces for them to choose from.

The Australian Pigeon Company (Dr Colin Walker):

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