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 Post subject: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 11th, '10, 00:35 
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Has anyone tried these as an addition to their systems?

For a suburban/urban situation in addition to quail and rabbits these seem like a very cheap and useful addition, especially considering the prices I've seen for squab. I suppose it'd be easy enough to house and feed a few pairs, which apparently will give 12-14 squab a year per pair.


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 Post subject: Re: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 11th, '10, 01:26 
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I've been looking at pigeon houses and such because I am considering it. Have lots of non migratory doves nesting on my place. Sourcing the actual pigeons seems expensive $75 a pair from some of the hatcheries. What I do like is that once established if you have lots of bugs and such it can be 0 input. I do have a few red tailed hawks around but the wild doves seem to survive.

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 Post subject: Re: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 11th, '10, 02:40 
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MentalSquint,

My father was a life long pigeon fancier -- he raised show birds, tumblers. As a kid I raced homing pigeons. So, I have a soft spot in my heart for pigeons.

If you eat the meat of those squabs (the young) from those cull birds you throw off and you justify them with some other activity, well, that's fine. But, I think raising pigeons for meat will simply be expensive, even the large meat birds. Let me point out too, there is lot to know about pigeons to raise and breed them, a lot more than say, chickens or other poultry. For example, pigeons pair for life. That implies a lot in terms of nesting and roosting for optimum growing conditions.

Before you invest any money in pigeons or loft, be sure you have killed, cleaned and eaten them first. Spend some time with folks who raise them. Be sure you see what you get from your efforts.

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 Post subject: Re: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 11th, '10, 06:37 
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So you're saying pigeons are truely monogomous like bald eagles and Greater Canada geese? I've never raised them but have read of people in the city during the depression raising them on stale bread and selling the squab. Also in some of the writeups I read it mentioned to keep a few squab to pair up with pigeons that loose their mate and that is something that happens. Again I don't know, but spent a few evenings researching on the net. But what I read it was very different from raising chickens and geese. A co-worker of mine raises homing racers. They travel quite a bit releasing them and wagering :) Offspring of his winners are quite expensive. The nasty suckers that nest and roost in the compressor houses at the plant I really doubt are monogomous.

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 Post subject: Re: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 12th, '10, 01:15 
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Bill,

Yes, they are monogamous -- all of them. But, you can break them up. My Dad used break up all his birds in the summer. Summer breeding spawns poor quality birds. Conversely, you can mate just about any two birds -- even same sex. Sometimes my dad would have extra males or females and he would pair them up. The females couldn't fertilize eggs and the males couldn't lay them, but he would set eggs under them and they would raise the young just fine.

I raced homing pigeons when I was kid -- I always thought show birds (like show dogs) were boring. The sad part about racing pigeons is that you loose about 75% of the birds. And, it's always you favorite (you know, the ones you name), most beautiful birds that don't come home.

Roosting and nesting are really important to raising pigeons. But the fertilizer is the very best. Won't burn and it's almost a complete plant food. That is true because pigeons have a particularly inefficient digestive system, that is, when you look at feed to meat ratio, it is really poor. Also, the feed is a mix of whole grains and legumes -- expensive.

You really just need to love pigeons if you are going to raise them.

m

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 Post subject: Re: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 12th, '10, 05:18 
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Wow, I hadn't heard that and would have never guessed it, based on the numbers of them in the city. Definitely not a good trait if trying to get numbers of them up to fill a jambalaya pot! That of course one of the reasons it took so long to get the bald eagles numbers back up and the main reason I won't hunt Canada geese. The Blues, Snows and speckled geese numbers are so high they are distroying the arctic tundra and I heard the Canadian military gassed a bunch of them to get the numbers in check. Even get a spring hunt on those allowing creeping, no plugs and limits of 25 per day! Everything but anti aircraft guns.
To get back to pigeons... so if you break them up you can re-pair them differently? I'm guessing this would have to be done in cages.

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 Post subject: Re: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 12th, '10, 06:24 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Well, if you are raising pigeons in cages and having to provide all their feed, then they probably are not cost effective. However, pigeons have also been raised "free range" basically once you get a pair to take up residence, you can let them forage for food and you can get the squab when you want. I agree that you probably want to do some extra research before investing much in it but I have seen information about people essentially raising them for nearly free. Investment was basically setting up the nests (which can often be build fairly cheaply) and a bit of grain to get them to start calling it home.

Good Luck.

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 Post subject: Re: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 12th, '10, 06:54 
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Hi, I to am looking at adding pigeons to my mix, I have one at the moment that turned up out of the blue so I put it in the chicken coop, I intend to rais the hight of the coop to make a spot for the pigeons to roost befor getting any more though, and my idea is that the choocks leave lots of feed on the ground that I am hoping will get eaten by the pigeons and I will get a harvest from, I have 6 hens that i feed one cup of poltry mix to every day and I usualy get 4-5 eggs a day but ther is a lot of grain building up on the ground so something to use it up that I can get a return from would be good.
I know that pigeon is eaten a lot in Egypt, most famillys eat them twice a week and they are considered a delicasy.


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 Post subject: Re: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 12th, '10, 08:15 
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BatonRouge Bill wrote:
. . . so if you break them up you can re-pair them differently? I'm guessing this would have to be done in cages.
Bill,

Yes, exactly. Sometimes it's not that simple. For some reason not all colors will cross breed. And what I said about sex doesn't always work. Sometimes when they won't mate, ya have to slap them around (don't ask me why. I just watched my dad). Stresses'em, I guess.

They have nest fronts that enclose a nest on a shelf that double as a cages for mating. When they appear mated, the door is opened into the bigger loft.

One other breed I always liked were tumblers and rollers. The tumblers turn single flips in the air when flying. Rollers turn multiple flips and appear to roll out of the sky. And they come in a variety colors -- beautiful in the air. There are also parlor tumblers and rollers that can't actually fly. If they get excited enough to fly, they turn a flip or roll across the floor.

Pigeons don't do well flying if there are hawks in the area. Pigeons are rarely killed by hawks because a pigeon can out fly a hawk. But they scare them badly. They may stop breeding, not come home or even stop flying.

m

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 Post subject: Re: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 12th, '10, 08:16 
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Yeah Grunta, I've eaten pigeon and dove and they're both very edible. The pigeon was a very dark meat - looked like horse or donkey meat, but tasted great.

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 Post subject: Re: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 12th, '10, 08:26 
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Hay Chillidude, what kind of doves were they and where did you come across them? I think in the US they shoot doves in season and in places like Itali, like Quail i guess? I get lots of doves in my back yard and some are a good size bird, the frout doves I think.

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 Post subject: Re: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 12th, '10, 08:31 
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TCLynx wrote:
However, pigeons have also been raised "free range" basically once you get a pair to take up residence, you can let them forage for food and you can get the squab when you want. . . I have seen information about people essentially raising them for nearly free.
TC,

I'm a little skeptical. Most of the pigeons I have seem raised on the cheap meant they were mistreated.

If they run free range, they still need a pretty special high protein diet to raise squabs to edible size. If there are predators about, especially hawks, that may not work well. There are only a few breeds (like the white or silver kings) that have enough meat on them to make a meal -- but those birds don't fly well, too big.

You can go to New York City and get all the commons you want free, but you are not going to get much meat out them, no matter what you do.

m

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 Post subject: Re: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 12th, '10, 08:44 
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I'm not an expert, just happen to have be around pigeons most of my younger life. I'm tellin' ya, it ain't easy (not sure anything done well done is). And, listen, before anyone spends any money raising pigeons (especially to eat), go spend some time with a breeder or two, someone who has raised pigeons for many years. Don't depend on some internet blog or magazine article for good information. And, go buy the book, The Pigeon.

m

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 Post subject: Re: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 12th, '10, 09:29 
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I've eaten a fair bit of the migratory Mourning Doves. Most people usually do pretty good first two days of the season after that they come by with the after burners on and you need to be sure where your muzzel is pointed. Ask Dick Chaney's hunting partner! They are also a dark meat but can really season a pot of rice!

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 Post subject: Re: Pigeon/squab?
PostPosted: Jan 12th, '10, 09:49 
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It seems the Dodo bird was a pigeon, If like all the others was monogamous it would help explain why it disappeared so quickly. By the way they used DNA to prove this. With the technology today along with a few soft tissue specimens at oxford it seems to me they should be able to clone some of the 50 lb birds.

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