Do Pigeons Make Milk?

Have you ever wondered if pigeons make milk? It may seem like a silly question, but it’s one that has puzzled many people over the years. After all, we know that mammals produce milk for their young, but what about birds?

While it may seem like an odd question, the answer is actually quite interesting. Pigeons are not mammals, so they don’t produce milk in the same way that cows or humans do. However, they do produce a similar substance that is often referred to as “pigeon milk.”

In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating world of pigeon milk and learn more about how these birds care for their young. So, if you’re ready to expand your knowledge of the animal kingdom, let’s dive in and discover the truth about pigeon milk!

Do Pigeons Make Milk

Do Pigeons Produce Milk? Know Surprising Facts!

Did you know that pigeons can produce milk? Scientists have discovered that birds, like pigeons, have their own way of providing nourishment to their young.

Pigeon milk, also known as ‘Crop Milk’, is a curd-like substance that pigeons produce in their entrails. Although it is not like mammalian milk, it contains similar nutritional ingredients that are vital for the growth and development of baby pigeons.

This discovery challenges our understanding of milk production and highlights the unique adaptations that different species have evolved to ensure the survival of their offspring.

Pigeons Feed Their Babies On Milk.

Pigeons produce a milk-like substance called crop milk or pigeon milk, which is rich in nutrients, fats, antioxidants, and healthy proteins. Both male and female pigeons secrete this milk from the lining of their crop, which is regulated by the hormone prolactin, the same hormone that regulates milk production in mammals.

Pigeons begin to produce milk a few days before their eggs hatch, and they may stop eating at this point to provide their newly hatched squabs with uncontaminated milk. The squabs are fed exclusively on crop milk for the first week or so of their lives, after which the parent birds gradually add adult food to the mix until the babies are being fed entirely on regurgitated adult food.

Research suggests that a pair of breeding pigeons can only produce enough crop milk to feed two squabs adequately, which may explain why their clutches are limited to two eggs.

Wood pigeons and collar doves are common in many kinds of wood during the summer, and their nests can be found in trees. Despite their ever-present nature, little is known about these birds. Take a moment to look up next time you walk through the woods and see if you can spot a pigeon’s nest.

What is Pigeon Crop Milk?

Crop milk is a nutritious substance that is semi-solid and contains significant amounts of fat and protein. It contains immunity-enhancing factors, antibodies, and antioxidants that make it extremely beneficial for the growth and development of baby pigeons.

Pigeon crop milk is particularly rich in protein and fat, making it a superior source of nutrition for squabs. It is typically produced a few days before the eggs are due to hatch and is consumed by the baby pigeons for about 7-10 days.

Research indicates that squabs that consume pigeon crop milk exhibit a 16% increase in weight and overall health compared to those that do not. This highlights the importance of this substance in ensuring the proper growth and development of baby pigeons.

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It is worth mentioning that while both parent pigeons are capable of producing pigeon milk, the quantity produced is insufficient to adequately feed three squabs. That’s why it’s common for clutches to be limited to two to ensure that each squab receives enough nutrition to thrive.

Is Pigeon Milk Really Milk?

Pigeon milk is not like milk from mammals, but rather a crumbly excretion containing high levels of protein and fat. It is produced from fluid cells in the crop of the pigeon, a sac-like pocket that serves as a food storage area under the gullet. The substance known as “Pigeon Milk” is referred to by this term worldwide, despite its misleading and uncommon name.

Despite the name, pigeons do not produce milk as mammals do. Instead, they produce a specific type of milk for their baby squabs that is high in protein and fat but does not come from mammary glands like mammalian milk.

It is important to note that both pigeons and mammals have prolactin hormones that can cause lactation in birds, but the milk produced by pigeons is not the same as mammalian milk. Understanding the differences between these types of milk can help bird owners provide the best care for their feathered friends.

Crop Milk Nutrition Composition

Crop milk is a highly nutritious substance produced by birds that is comparable to mammal milk. It contains immunity-enhancing protein, fat, antioxidants, minerals, antibodies, carbohydrates, and other nutrients. The protein content in crop milk is particularly high, making up 50 to 60% of its composition. Additionally, crop milk contains a variety of minerals such as Sodium, Calcium, and Potassium that are essential for the growth and development of baby birds.

Research has indicated that baby birds provided with crop milk tend to have a weight that is 16% higher compared to those that are not given this milk. This is likely due to the high nutrient density of crop milk, which provides the necessary nutrition for the growth and development of baby birds. However, it is important to note that the nutritional density of crop milk may vary depending on the bird species.

Overall, crop milk is a valuable source of nutrition for baby birds. Its high nutrient content, including immunity-enhancing proteins and other important nutrients, makes it an essential part of a baby bird’s diet.

Importance Of Crop Milk

Parent pigeons produce enough crop milk to feed two hatchlings, which is why two eggs are typically laid. It is uncommon for a female pigeon to lay three eggs. If one of the hatchlings dies, the remaining one will receive all the crop milk and develop to be stronger and healthier than if it had to share with a sibling.

The survival of a young pigeon without crop milk is unlikely. Research has shown the importance of crop milk in the development and survival of pigeon hatchlings.

Do Pigeons Have Nipples?

Pigeons do not have nipples, unlike mammals, as they do not use breasts to feed their young with milk. Instead, pigeons have a muscular pouch inside their digestive system that produces a secretion called crop milk, which is used to feed their squabs.

While birds do have breasts, they are not used for milk production. They are used for flight purposes, as the pectoral muscles in the breast help birds to fly. Therefore, pigeons do not use their breasts for feeding their young, but for flying.

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So, if you ever wondered why pigeons do not have nipples, it’s because they have a different method of providing nutrition to their offspring.

How Do Pigeons Feed Their Babies?

Feeding baby pigeons or squabs is an interesting process that involves both parents regurgitating crop milk for the first few days after hatching. During the initial four days after hatching, baby pigeons are fed regurgitated crop milk by both parents. This process begins within two hours of birth and continues for around 7 to 10 days. Following this period, the parents start to feed the young pigeons a combination of crop milk, seeds, and other types of food.

Once the squabs reach their 10th day, they begin consuming invertebrates, fruits, seeds, and other adult pigeon food. However, they still rely on their parents to feed them and will make a peeping call when they are hungry.

During the initial days, squabs require food 3 to 4 times a day, which decreases to 2 times a day after the 7th day. It’s important to ensure that the baby pigeons are receiving proper nutrition to ensure their healthy growth and development.

Is Crop Milk Necessary For Baby Pigeons?

Crop milk is a crucial source of nutrition for baby squabs, providing a wide range of essential nutrients.


Crop milk is high in protein, providing the building blocks necessary for the growth and development of baby squabs. This protein is easily digestible, allowing the squabs to efficiently utilize the nutrients for growth.


Crop milk is also high in fat, which provides energy for growing squabs. This fat is essential for the development of their nervous system and brain.


Crop milk contains carbohydrates, which provide energy for the squabs to grow and develop. These carbohydrates are easily digestible, allowing the squabs to efficiently utilize the nutrients for growth.

Vitamins and Minerals:

Crop milk is rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, D, and E. These nutrients are essential for the development of strong bones, healthy feathers, and a robust immune system.


Crop milk contains antibodies that help protect the squabs from disease and infection. These antibodies are passed on from the parent birds and provide the squabs with a strong immune system.

Overall, crop milk is a highly nutritious substance that is essential for the growth and development of baby squabs. It provides a wide range of nutrients, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and antibodies, that are vital for their health and well-being.

Bacteria Availability For Digestion

Baby pigeons consume crop milk, which contains beneficial bacteria that help them develop a strong and healthy digestive system. While crop milk does contain some bacteria, it is essential for the growth and development of baby pigeons. By consuming crop milk, baby pigeons can thrive and develop into healthy adult birds.

Pigeon Milk Mystery

The process of pigeon milk production has been studied to gain insight into the genes expressed in the lactating crop, but there are still many unanswered questions about its evolution. The similarity between this process and mammalian lactation is striking, but it is likely a case of convergent evolution. This trait must have evolved separately in each bird species that produces milk, as they are not directly related to each other.

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Milk production is found in many species, but the milk of pigeons and doves is the most highly specialized of any non-mammalian milk. Other species, such as certain fishes and amphibians, also have unique methods of feeding their young.

Farming Pigeon Milk

Pigeon milk is a highly nutritious substance that can provide a boost to immature squabs. According to a study conducted on chickens, their growth rate increased by 38% when fed pigeon milk.

However, there is still much to learn about the evolution of this process and its potential uses. Researchers like Tamsyn are eager to uncover more answers but are limited by time and resources.

Can You Drink Pigeon Milk?

While the idea of drinking pigeon milk may seem intriguing, it is not currently possible to do so. This is because the substance produced by pigeons, known as crop milk, is different from mammal milk in its composition.

Crop milk is produced in a pouch located in the pigeon’s stomach or throat, and cannot be easily extracted. Even if it could be obtained, the resulting substance is not drinkable in its natural form. It is a nourishing substance that contains fat, antioxidants, and immune-enhancing proteins, but it is not meant for human consumption.

Attempting to drink pigeon milk could actually be harmful to your health. Therefore, until a safe and practical way of producing and consuming pigeon milk is developed, it is best to stick to other sources of nourishment.

Can I Buy Pigeon Milk?

If you’re looking to provide your baby squabs with a crop milk dietary supplement, there are many options available in the market. For example, you can easily purchase Rohn Fried Crop Milk (600g) from Amazon, which comes in a convenient powder form for easy storage and use.

This crop milk supplement is designed to optimize breeding results and contains high levels of animal protein components and amino acids to support your baby squabs’ growth and development.

In addition to Amazon, there are also other verified websites and pet stores where you can purchase crop milk for your baby squabs. By providing them with this dietary supplement, you can help ensure they receive the proper nutrition they need for a healthy and happy life.

Which Bird Gives Milk To Their Babies?

It’s a common misconception that birds give milk to their young. Birds do not produce milk similar to that of mammals.

Only three species of birds, namely pigeons, flamingos, and penguins, can produce a type of milk-like substance. This crop of milk is used to feed their babies during the initial stages of hatching.

It’s important to note that this bird milk is entirely different from mammal milk in terms of its composition and production. So, while some birds do produce a milk-like substance, it’s not the same as mammal milk.


While it may seem a bit odd that pigeons produce milk, it is in fact true. This is a fascinating example of nature adapting and evolving in unique ways and serves as an inspiration for us all to explore the unknown.

It shows us that there can be more to discover out there and to never give up when things are difficult—especially when something as incredible and unusual as pigeon milk may just be waiting around the corner.

Kathy Gonzales

I'm an author of I have kept pigeons as pets for over 20 years and have written several articles. Here in this blog, I cover topics such as how to care for pigeons, what to feed them, and how to keep them healthy.