Why Do People Keep Pigeons?

People keep pigeons for various reasons, including as pets, for racing, for the show, or for their homing abilities. Despite the common perception of pigeons as dirty and rat-like birds, many people find them fascinating and enjoy their unique behaviors and personalities. Pigeons are social creatures and can become attached to their owner, making them great companions. They are relatively easy to care for and don’t require a lot of space, making them a convenient choice for pet owners. Pigeons can also be trained to do tricks, and their intelligence allows them to recognize their owner and come when called. Despite their reputation, pigeons can be quite affectionate and loving birds, known to bond closely with their owner. They can even become depressed or anxious if left alone for too long. Why Do People Keep Pigeons

History of Pigeon Keeping

Pigeon keeping has a long history, with pigeons originally being domesticated for food by the Romans. However, they fell out of favor and were instead kept as hobby birds. The Greeks also used pigeons as messenger birds during the 8th century BC to deliver game results from the Olympic Games to nearby cities. Europeans carried pigeons as pet birds during the Great Atlantic Migration, and some of these birds escaped from captivity and spread all around North America. Pigeons are native to seaside cliffs worldwide, particularly in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. This history highlights the different purposes for which pigeons have been used, from food and messaging to pet keeping, making them a unique and widely spread bird species with a rich historical background.

Are You Allowed to Keep Pigeons As Pets?

In most places, it is legal to keep pigeons as pets. According to the American Legal Publishing code 6-3E-2, you are allowed to keep and breed pigeons. However, it is important to ensure the proper safety and maintenance of the birds. In some countries, a license may be required to keep a wild animal as a pet, but not for pigeons. Some cities, such as Joondalup in Australia, may require you to apply for a Certificate of Registration to the City first. It’s best to check your local laws regarding bird keeping before deciding to keep a pigeon as a pet. When it comes to permission, it is advisable to ask your guardians or parents before keeping pigeons as pets.

The Benefits/Causes Of Raising Pigeons?

People keep pigeons as pets for a variety of reasons, including their beauty, diverse colors, and unique feather patterns. They can also be trained for racing, homing, or exhibition purposes. Pigeons are considered pests in some scenarios but can be used to scare other birds away or to deter them from certain areas.

1. Effortless to Pet:

  • Pigeons are easy to raise, as they eat almost anything, have easy-to-clean feathers, and can look after themselves. They are also well-mannered and can be trained not to make a mess.

2. Alluring Species:

  • With over 300 species, pigeons are known for their sleek bodies and beautiful colors, making them a tempting choice for birders.

3. A Good Pet:

  • Pigeons are smart, intelligent, and low-maintenance. They are also loyal and have impressive homing capabilities.

4. Not Noisy:

  • Pigeons are calm, discreet and have a gentle voice, making them a non-disruptive pet.

5. Pigeon Racing:

  • Pigeons are bred for their aerial performance, with some trained for racing and others for rolling diving, and high-flying skills.

6. Exhibiting:

  • Pigeon shows are popular, with exotic breeds competing in exhibitions. They are judged based on their attributes.

7. Easy to Raise:

  • Pigeons are low-maintenance and can live on simple food. They also get along with other pets.

8. Good Source of Protein:

  • Squab, the meat of young pigeons, is a delicious and protein-rich food source enjoyed in various cuisines.
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9. Commercial Opportunities:

  • Pigeon farming requires minimal capital and space
  • Short hatching time and quick maturity of squabs make them a lucrative business
  • Pigeons are low maintenance and have high reproduction rates, with a growing market for pet sales online

10. Pigeons as Couriers:

  • Pigeons have been historically used as messenger birds, both for legitimate and illegal purposes
  • They are known for their homing abilities and have been used to carry messages over long distances

11. Pigeon Racing:

  • Pigeon racing is a traditional sport in many countries, leading to the breeding of various pigeon species

12. Business Purposes:

  • Many people earn a living by selling pigeons as pets for birders or consumption, making them a valuable source of income

13. Intelligence and Adaptability:

  • Pigeons are known for their intelligence, navigation skills, and ability to learn
  • They have been historically used for communication purposes due to their adaptability and ability to follow commands

14. Easy to Breed:

  • Pigeons are prolific breeders and can reproduce throughout the year with minimal care and a suitable nesting area

15. Self-Sufficiency:

  • Pigeons can forage and collect their food in the wild, making them relatively low-maintenance pets.

16. Excellent Racers:

  • Pigeons are raised and trained for racing competitions due to their inborn desire to return home.
  • Racing pigeons are selectively bred for endurance, speed, and navigational abilities, making them excellent racers.
  • Good racing pigeons can be sold for thousands of dollars and participate in races covering distances of up to 500 miles.

17. Good Source of Protein:

  • Pigeon meat is a lean and flavorful protein source, high in vitamins B6 and B12, as well as iron, zinc, and phosphorus.
  • A 100-gram serving of pigeon meat provides approximately 17 grams of protein.

18. Offers Many Commercial Benefits:

  • Adult pigeons are sold in pairs, with some racer breeds being particularly valuable.
  • Pigeon eggs are also prized for their rich and flavorful taste.
  • Pigeons can also be used to control pests in fields and farms, and their droppings (guano) make a high-quality fertilizer rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

19. Pigeons Always Remain Clean:

  • Pigeons have a reputation for staying clean, which makes them less prone to spreading disease.
  • They scavenge debris and contribute to keeping their environment clean.

20. Pigeons Are Loyal Friends:

  • Pigeons are known for their loyalty, friendliness, and ability to form strong bonds with humans.
  • They are courageous, determined, and can be trained to accomplish various tasks.

21. Pigeons Are Adorable:

  • Birders enjoy watching pigeons’ aerial acrobatics, courtship rituals, and monogamous behavior.

Why Do Some People Raise Pigeons on Rooftops in Cities?

Some people raise pigeons on rooftops in cities because they are intelligent animals that are good for communication. They are also easy to breed and can be sold for a high price.
  1. Rooftops provide a convenient and safe location for raising pigeons.
  2. Pigeons are bred, kept, and trained on rooftops to become racers and high flyers.
  3. Pigeons naturally prefer to set up their coop high up to evade predators.
  4. Training pigeons can involve using chirps and whistles to control their movement and formations.
  5. Rooftops allow for ample space and freedom for the pigeons to fly and exercise.

Pigeon Keeping Tips

Provide good nutrition and plenty of fresh water. Provide shelter from the weather. Make sure the pigeons have enough room to fly and exercise.
  • Proper Housing: Ensure a spacious, secure, and well-ventilated cage or loft for your pigeons.
  • Adequate Feeding: Provide a balanced diet of seeds, grains, and vegetables. Offer fresh water daily, along with grit and mineral supplements.
  • Regular Exercise: Allow for time outside of the cage for wing-stretching and movement.
  • Health Maintenance: Regularly inspect for signs of illness or injury. Keep the living environment clean and disinfected.
  • Social Interaction: Allow interaction with other pigeons and provide toys and perches for entertainment.
  • Training and Bonding: Train pigeons for tricks and bond with them to strengthen the relationship.
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By following these tips, you can provide a happy and healthy environment for your pigeons and enjoy their company for years to come.

Is It Good To Have Pigeons Around Your House?

Pigeons are commonly found in urban areas and are often seen as a nuisance due to their mess and noise. However, they can also be beneficial. Pigeons are less likely to carry diseases than other birds, and they help control pests like rats and mice. They are also social birds and can help keep an eye on a neighborhood. On the downside, their droppings can carry harmful diseases, so it’s best to avoid having them around if you have young children or elderly family members. Their cooing can also be disruptive, especially in urban areas, and may not be suitable for those with sensitive hearing or those who work from home. Ultimately, the decision to have pigeons around your house depends on whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

Do People Eat Pigeons?

Yes, some people do eat pigeons. There are no laws specifically prohibiting the consumption of pigeon meat. However, it is important to be aware of the bird’s origin. Pigeons raised in cities and exposed to harmful toxins and chemicals are not safe to eat. On the other hand, pigeons from rural areas and free from exposure to harmful substances are safe to eat. Pigeon meat is a lean source of protein and can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as grilled or stewed. Some people enjoy the dark, gamey-flavored meat, while others believe that pigeons are dirty and carry diseases. Properly cooked pigeon meat poses no risk of food poisoning. So while eating pigeons is not without controversy, it is legal and safe as long as the proper precautions are taken.

What Are Some Reasons Why People Might Keep Pigeons As Pets?

Some reasons why people might keep pigeons as pets include their gentle, quiet, and clean nature. Pigeons are social animals and can form bonds with their owners. They are also low-maintenance, requiring little space and minimal expensive toys. Pigeons can be trained to do tricks and can be entertaining to watch. However, there are drawbacks to keeping pigeons as pets, such as their messiness and the potential for their droppings to carry diseases. Additionally, pigeons are not as cuddly as some other animals and can be difficult to handle. Overall, the decision to keep a pigeon as a pet is a personal one. Some people find them to be rewarding, while others find them to be more trouble than they are worth. It is important to do thorough research to determine if keeping a pigeon as a pet is the right decision for you.

Hazards Related to Pigeon Keeping

Pigeon keeping can lead to a condition called pigeon fancier’s lung, an allergic reaction similar to asthma. This condition develops when a person is exposed to proteins in the dust from pigeon feathers for an extended period. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Treatment usually involves medication and avoiding exposure to pigeons. In severe cases, it may be recommended to stay away from the birds altogether. It’s important to be aware of the potential health hazards associated with keeping pigeons and to take necessary precautions to prevent this condition.

How Much Care And Attention Do Pigeons Need?

Pigeons require very little care, as they are gentle birds. However, they do need to be kept in an area that is free from drafts and away from sources of bacteria and other harmful substances. Pigeons also need access to a water dish and some food.
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1. Provide a clean, spacious cage:

  • Ensure the cage is large enough for the pigeon to move comfortably.
  • Include perches, toys, and objects for entertainment.
  • Regularly clean the cage to prevent illness.

2. Maintain a healthy diet:

  • Feed the pigeon a combination of seeds, pellets, and fresh vegetables.
  • Occasional treats of fruit or nuts are acceptable.
  • Avoid processed foods and high sugar content.

3. Allow for regular exercise:

  • Pigeons need to fly and exercise to stay healthy.
  • If kept in a cage, allow at least a few hours of free flying each day.

4. Provide companionship:

  • Pigeons are social and need interaction with other pigeons or humans.
  • If alone, ensure regular socialization with their owner.

5. Grooming is essential:

  • Regular grooming is necessary to keep feathers clean and healthy.
  • This can be done at home or by a professional groomer.


Are There Any Health Risks Associated With Keeping Pigeons?

Pigeons can pose a serious health risk to humans. They can carry diseases such as salmonella, psittacosis, and cryptococcosis. They can also transmit parasites such as fleas, mites, and ticks. In addition, their droppings can contain harmful bacteria that can cause respiratory illnesses.

What Do Pigeons Eat And How Often Do They Need To Be Fed?

Pigeons eat a variety of foods, but they prefer seeds, fruits, and vegetables. They also need water to drink. Pigeons should be fed at least once a day, but twice a day is better.

Why do people keep pigeons as pets?

Pigeons are kept as pets for various reasons. Some individuals admire their beauty, diverse colors, and unique feather patterns. Additionally, pigeons can be trained for racing, homing, or exhibition purposes, fostering a sense of companionship and entertainment for their owners.

What is the significance of keeping pigeons historically?

Throughout history, pigeons have played crucial roles as messengers, carrying important communications across distances. Their exceptional homing abilities have been utilized in wars, for news delivery, and in various cultural and religious ceremonies, earning them reverence and significance in many societies.

Do pigeons serve any practical purposes beyond being pets?

Yes, pigeons have been utilized as working animals. Racing pigeons participate in competitions, showcasing their speed, endurance, and navigational skills. Some individuals also train pigeons for their homing abilities, where they can be used to carry messages over long distances.

What care do pigeons require as pets?

Proper care for pet pigeons involves providing them with a safe and clean living environment, a balanced diet consisting of grains and seeds, access to fresh water, and regular health check-ups. They also benefit from social interaction and exercise.

Can keeping pigeons help in pest control?

In certain scenarios, pigeons have been employed as a form of pest control. Some individuals use trained pigeons to scare off other pest birds or to deter them from certain areas. However, this method’s effectiveness can vary.

Are there any cultural or religious reasons for keeping pigeons?

Absolutely. Pigeons have symbolic importance in various cultures and religions worldwide. They are often associated with peace, love, and spirituality. In ceremonies or rituals, releasing pigeons symbolizes freedom, blessings, or the conveying of prayers and wishes.


The reasons why people keep pigeons may be diverse, but one thing is certain: these birds have a unique ability to captivate human hearts and bring joy to their keepers. Whether it’s for their beauty, companionship, or even their role in competitive sports, pigeons have a way of capturing our fascination. So, if you’ve ever wondered why people keep pigeons, perhaps it’s time to experience the joy and wonder for yourself – just don’t be surprised if you find yourself falling in love with these magnificent creatures!

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.