How Often Do Pigeons Lay Eggs?

Generally, pigeons lay eggs every 30 days, with each clutch typically consisting of two eggs, although occasionally only one or three eggs are laid. The incubation period for pigeon eggs is 18 days, with both parents taking turns to keep the eggs warm. Once the eggs hatch, the newly hatched pigeons, known as squabs, leave the nest around six weeks later.

Female pigeons typically lay their first egg around five to six months after hatching. Most species follow this timeframe, although some may take longer. Pigeons are known to lay eggs around 12 times a year, resulting in approximately 24 eggs annually.

How Often Do Pigeons Lay Eggs

When Do Pigeons Begin Breeding

Pigeons reach sexual maturity at seven months old, but it’s advised not to begin mating a pair until they’re 12 months old. Once pigeons mate, they generally stay with their partner for life. They can lay eggs 12 times a year, potentially yielding 24-36 eggs annually.

Male pigeons typically initiate mating by bringing a stick to the female as a gift to begin building a nest together. If the female is interested, they will collaborate on building the nest and laying eggs. Pigeons breed all year round, with the peak breeding season occurring during the spring and summer months.

When Do Pigeons Lay Their Eggs

Female pigeons typically lay their first egg 10-14 days after mating, usually in the early evening, with the second egg following about 40 hours later. In some cases, a third egg may be laid 1-2 days after the second. It is not uncommon for pigeons to only lay one egg, especially in young or elderly birds.

Both male and female pigeons take turns incubating the eggs, with the mother tending to them overnight and the father during the day. Once the eggs hatch, both parents take turns finding food for the squabs, but they do not leave them alone until they are around 2 weeks old. After that, they will leave the chicks to find food.

Incubation And Chick Development

After the pigeon lays an egg, it enters a 17 to 19-day incubation period, with both parents taking turns keeping the eggs warm. The eggs are maintained at a constant temperature and humidity level for optimal development. Once hatched, the chicks are fed pigeon milk for the first few days, produced from a special gland in the parent’s crop.

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They continue to be cared for by the parents, feeding them both pigeon milk and solid food as they grow. The chicks typically fledge, or leave the nest, after 4 to 6 weeks of age, and during this vulnerable time, the parents must protect them from predators. Pigeons are known to be devoted parents, willing to make sacrifices to keep their young safe.

Laying Eggs Outside Of The Breeding Season

While the majority of pigeon egg laying occurs during the breeding season, it is possible for pigeons to lay eggs outside of this time period as well. This phenomenon, known as an “extra-pair clutch,” can occur if a pigeon’s primary mate is unavailable or if it is unable to find a suitable nesting site during the breeding season.

The egg-laying frequency during an extra-pair clutch may be lower, with only one egg laid per clutch, and the chick development process may be slower due to the parents having less time and resources to devote to raising the chick. In some cases, the chick may not survive to fledge due to the less favorable conditions.

The Appearance Of Pigeon Eggs

The typical pigeon egg is small and white, but can have slight blue hues and brown spots. Incubation location can impact coloring, with house-incubated eggs being light-colored and wild-incubated eggs darker. Experts speculate that wild-incubated eggs are darker to camouflage in the nest and trap heat.

If eggs look drastically different, contact a veterinarian. Tame pet pigeons should incubate and care for eggs, but may reject infertile or damaged eggs. Keep a watchful eye and consider using the candling technique to check for issues. If breeding, research healthy egg appearance for easy problem-spotting.

FAQs

How to tell for sure if a pigeon egg is fertile?

To determine if a pigeon egg is fertile, you need to observe the behavior of the male and female pigeons. When they take turns sitting on the eggs and keeping them warm, it indicates that the eggs are being incubated. If the eggs are laid by two female pigeons, they are not fertile and will not hatch. Only eggs laid by a young male and female pigeon will be fertile. To check if the eggs are fertile, collect them and place them in a hatching pot after 2 days of laying. Wait for 4-5 days and carefully examine the eggs using a mobile light or torch to see if there are signs of development.

Can you touch a pigeon egg?

Yes, you can touch pigeon eggs without any problem. When a female pigeon lays the first egg, you can collect it and place an artificial egg in the hatching pot. After one day, the female will lay the second egg, and you can then place the first egg back in the pot and remove the artificial egg. It’s important to keep the eggs at a normal temperature between 10-40 degrees Celsius and avoid placing them in a refrigerator or oven, as this can affect their productivity for hatching baby pigeons.

What time do pigeon eggs hatch?

Pigeon eggs typically take about 17-19 days to hatch. During this time, both the male and female pigeons take turns incubating the eggs, with one pigeon taking a shift to rest, eat, and drink while the other takes over. This cycle continues day and night until the eggs hatch and the baby pigeons emerge.

Can you incubate pigeon eggs?

Incubating pigeon eggs is not recommended because the baby pigeons, also known as squabs, require crop milk from their parents for the first 17 days after hatching. Without this crop milk, the baby pigeons will not survive. Incubation is more suitable for chicken or duck eggs, as their babies can eat regular food once they hatch. Therefore, it is not advisable to incubate pigeon eggs.

How many times a year do pigeons lay eggs?

Pigeons can lay eggs weekly if the eggs are removed from the hatching pot. However, it is not ideal to let pigeons lay eggs weekly as it can lead to health issues due to the lack of necessary nutrients. It is recommended to only take eggs once a month or once every two months to maintain the health of the pigeons. The frequency of laying eggs can also vary depending on the location, with colder countries having a shorter breeding time compared to warmer countries. In warmer weather countries like Asian countries, pigeons can breed at any time.

How long does it take for a pigeon to fly?

A pigeon can start flying after about 40-50 days from hatching out of the eggs. Initially, they rely on their parents for food, but after 25-30 days, they start learning to eat on their own. Around 30-35 days, they can fly a little bit, and by 40-50 days, they are fully capable of flying.

Conclusion

Pigeons are known for their frequent laying of eggs, with the average being about 10 to 12 times per year. Factors such as age, health, and environmental conditions can all impact the frequency of egg-laying in pigeons. Breeding pairs of pigeons can lay eggs more often, especially in the presence of a suitable nesting site and consistent food sources.

Understanding the natural reproductive behavior of pigeons can help pigeon owners and wildlife enthusiasts better care for and support these birds in their environments. While pigeon egg-laying habits may vary, it’s important to provide them with a safe and comfortable habitat to encourage healthy nesting behaviors.

Kathy Gonzales

I'm an author of pigeonsmatter.com. 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.