Pigeons are from the family Columbidae and can be found in about 300 different species. These birds are common worldwide, and we often see a number of them in our yard.
Pigeons feed mainly on seeds and occasionally on insects. They have only 40 taste buds compared to humans with thousands, so food may not taste all that great for these birds, but they still feed.
With our knowledge of bird nutrition growing every day, you find yourself asking, “what do pigeons eat?” Read this article to discover pigeons’ favorite food, what they eat and what they do not, what you can give them, and what they can drink all in this article.
What Do Pigeons Eat?
Pigeons mainly feed on seeds, and sometimes they feed on insects. But they can also eat berries, corn, leftovers, wheat oats, or all of these grains mixed. Pigeons are not picky and will eaters, but they prefer them to others.
Pigeons should be fed nutritious and healthy foods, homeowners who keep pigeons as pets usually purchase pigeon feed for their birds, but others prefer to feed them seeds and grains.
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What is Pigeon’s Favorite Food?
Pigeons have no favorite food but prefer some feeding options to others. When presented with seeds, grains, leftovers, berries, or insects, pigeons will pick what they prefer most among these options. There is no specific food selection pattern when it comes to pigeons.
If given the choice, pigeons will eat plant and plant products rather than eat insects. So if you are a homeowner curious about what a pigeon’s favorite food is, you can offer it seeds or grains.
Should You let Pigeons Feed on Human Food?
Pigeons should not be fed human food as it may be toxic to them. Without in-depth knowledge about what these birds can eat or what they cannot eat, there is a risk of feeding them food substances that can be dangerous for their health.
An excellent example of this is feeding pigeons avocado; it can be risky to their health.
Pigeons need a lot of water; therefore, you should avoid feeding them any food that can cause dehydration; a good example is a food that contains a lot of salt. Generally, it is advised not to feed pigeons but rather to fend for themselves.
This is to avoid harming these birds with toxic food substances and prevent them from becoming a nuisance as wild pigeons tend to return for more after being fed once.
What’s Best to Feed Pigeons?
Pigeons should be given healthy food, and while they can eat any seed or grain, some probes to be more helpful than others. Here are some of the best food for pigeons.
1. Sunflower seed
Sunflower seeds are widely known and are consumed by almost all birds. These seeds are suitable for pigeons because they are rich in fiber, protein, and fat.
However, before pigeons can consume these seeds, they have to remove the husk to get to the core, and this can be time-consuming for the birds and can cause a mess in the feeder.
But you can purchase sunflower seeds that have already been de-husked. These de-husked sunflower seeds will cost more, but there will be no littering in your feeders, and your bird won’t have to go through so much stress.
When you have seeds, wheat, barley, corn, and oats lined up for a pigeon, oat will likely be its last option. But oats are recommended for pigeons because it helps boost their nervous system, strengthen their muscles, and improve their feathers.
These growths are necessary for a pigeon to survive during cold weather. Do not feed pigeons oats when laying eggs as it is not healthy for the eggshells.
Corn is very important to the well-being of a pigeon and must be included in its diet. Corn helps indigestion and contains essential minerals like copper, iron, manganese, and magnesium.
Cackled corn is an excellent source of energy for pigeons; it is rich in calories and can help your pigeon gain weight.
Barley is not suitable for young pigeons but only for adult pigeons. It will reduce the effect of diarrhea and indigestion in adults. But when given to the younger ones may cause digestion problems.
Wheat is rich in carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins. It is a good source of energy, but it should not be given to pigeons in large amounts, resulting in weight gain.
Pulses are rich in proteins and minerals like phosphorus and calcium but have low-fat content. It is also good for pigeons because it contains many vitamin B.
Peas are rich in protein and contain a low amount of nitrogen. This is another option for your pigeon because it can easily be digested and mixed with pigeon feed. It also continues to the growth of pigeons.
8. Pellets for pigeons
This is the ideal meal for pigeons as it contains more nutrients than any other seeds. It contains 50% pellets; this will keep sparrows away from your feeder as they do not like pellets.
What Not to Feed Pigeons
Pigeons work better on their own, but you should be aware of what not to feed if you have a bird in your care. You should not feed your pigeon salt or any feed with salt.
This can dehydrate your pigeon and can cause death. Caffeine is also toxic to the health of a pigeon as it can increase the heart rate and cause cardiac arrest.
Human food should not be given to pigeons. Just as junk food is dangerous to human health, they are equally dangerous to pigeons. Human food—especially meat—can introduce bacteria and disease to a pigeon’s body that can cause death.
Can Pigeons Eat Bread?
Although bread may seem like great food for pigeons because of its soft texture, it is lethal to the health of your bread.
You should not feed your pigeon for numerous reasons, the first being that bread is not easily digested by a pigeon and can cause blockage.
If a piece of bread is kept for a long time, it will grow molds, and if pigeons consume such, they will become ill and eventually die.
It is important that pigeons stay alive because they are necessary for the ecosystem. Another reason why bread shouldn’t be given to a pigeon is that it doesn’t contain the necessary fat and protein needed by a pigeon.
Can Pigeons Eat Fruits?
Pigeons mostly feed on plants or plant products, and this includes fruits. While pigeons can feed on fruit, not every type of fruit is safe to consume.
Some species like the pink-necked pigeon feed on figs, while many pigeons feed on berries.
Apple, which contains a small amount of cyanide, can irritate a pigeon. Other fruits like apricots, avocados, red cherries, plums, black cherries, peaches, greenage, nectarines, and pears are toxic to the health of a pigeon.
Avocados contain persons that can cause a fatal respiratory or cardiac arrest when offered to a pigeon, both of which can instantly lead to death.
Vegetables like spinach, lettuce, and kale can be considered a safe option for pigeons as they cause no harm. You can include a few stalks to compliment the leaves. Your pigeon will certainly enjoy tearing these leaves apart.
What Do Pigeons Drink?
Pigeons should drink only water and nothing else. Any other liquid substance that is not water may be harmful to the health of a pigeon. Water is necessary for the proper hydration of these birds; the water offered to pigeons should be fresh and clean.
Squats proper hydration and nutrient from their mother’s milk, so there is no need to offer them water only until they are six weeks old.
While other birds scoop up water and tilt their head back to swallow, pigeons are pretty different as they submerge their beak into the water and suck it in.
Natural juices from fruits are not harmful to pigeons, but human drinks are bad for their health. Do not offer your pigeon human milk or mammalian milk as lactose intolerant.
Conclusion: What Do Pigeons Eat
With over 300 species of pigeon in this world, you are curious about what they eat and what their favorite food is. Pigeons are not picky eaters, but they prefer some food to others. A pigeon will most likely eat wheat, corn, pigeon pellets, seeds, and other grains.
Monitor the type of fruit your pigeon eat as some fruits contain harmful acids to pigeons. Fruits like apples and avocados are bad for pigeons.
Human food is not an option either; it gives your pigeon bacteria and diseases that may cause illness.
You should also be cautious of what they drink. Water and natural juices from safe fruits are recommended for pigeons. As for squads, their mother’s milk is best for them.
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