Keeping pigeons. : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I want to know if somebody is keeping pigeons, to eat, out there? Do you know of any good website about this? Ralph

-- Ralph Roces (, February 04, 2002


I don't know if this is true or not, but I heard pigeon meat was toxic. I recall being told that during the French Revolution, the prisoners in the Bastille (sp?) were fed pigeon meat because it shortened their lives/stay in the Bastille.

I heard this in the late 60s when I was in HS. We had to read Tale of Two Cities for class discussion.

Maybe it is a certain type of pigeon..........


-- Rudy (, February 04, 2002.

Hummm, I have never heard they cannot be eaten and, in fact, squab is young pigeon available in fancy restaurants for about $20 per pound. (I certainly wouldn't eat one from the city.)

Pigeons can be a nice sideline for a homesteader if doves (basically white pigeons) are trained to return to their coop. They are then rented to weddings to be released afterwards. They sometimes beat their owners home. From my eBook:

The January 24, 1997 issue of The Arizona Republic including an article on a couple which provides white doves for release at weddings (or funerals or other special occasions) in the Providence, RI area. For weddings, for $225, as the bride and groom leave the church, they are each handed a dove which they release together. At the same time forty more are released from two wicker baskets to oohs and aahs from the guests. A nice aspect of this is the doves have been trained to fly directly back to their loft, and only a couple per year don’t return, so they can be used over-and-over again. Over a five-year period their business has steadily grown. This would seem to be an attractive venture for someone within a short distance of a popular wedding chapel.

For further information contact the Association of White Dove Release Professionals, P.O. Box 31292, Mesa, AZ 85275-1292.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, February 04, 2002.

Ken, you are just a font of information! I see this as a possible way to create income without hurting or exploiting animals... which tends to be something of a challenge for us. My pigeons have always loved to be free, and then do stay right by home.

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (, February 04, 2002.

Here are a couple of links concerning raising pigeons and squab for consumption: Bokhari Squab Farm , seems to be a good link for information about raising pigeons(squab) for eating or selling, site by Azhar (Syed) Bokhari , DVM, MS (Hon), MPVM

Raising Pigeons, Pigeons for eating, the bigger the better! When you make inquiries for breeding stock, be sure to ask for “utility” birds or you could end up with show-quality pigeons. Pairs should be able to produce 10 squabs per year for five years. While it is possible to raise healthy pigeons on mashed potatoes and stale bread (many people made it through the depression doing just that and selling their squabs to restaurants).

-- BC (, February 04, 2002.

eBay has a dozen cookbooks currently listed which include recipes for pigeon (and squab). Just search under either cookbook pigeon or cookbook squab. Several of the old city movies, such as A Streetcar Named Desire, include roof scenes which include a pigeon loft.

When I was in Croatia last May I saw several places with had pigeons. I asked if they were for pleasure, racing or eating. Was told for pleasure only.

Far as I know, squab can be subsituted for any Cornish Hen recipe and pigeons for about any chicken recipe. As a kid I remember my brother getting a bb-gun for the sole purpose of shooting pigeons in the barn. However, he often substituted the butt of one of his siblings instead.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, February 04, 2002.

Ate a lot of pigeons growing up because my father raised them. As to shortening one's life, they seem to have had the opposite effect on me; I'm 72 and going strong.

Ken, how did your brother prepare Sibling Butt? Brined, or dry- salted?

-- Griff in OR (, February 04, 2002.

It is my understanding that pigeon manure is particularly toxic, in that it contains a specific bacteria(?) that can cause problems, especially if one's immune system is compromised.

-- Shannon in SW Wash (, February 04, 2002.


Perhaps you are referring to:CRYPTOCOCCOSIS Signs and Sx: bird droppings, esp. pigeons 1. primary pulmonary infection without symptoms 2. disseminated infection most commonly meningitis in immunocompromised, particularly transplant and HIV - fever, headache, altered mental status, neuro deficits Dx: culture, blood serum ag test, CSF with slight increase wbc predom. lymphs, increased opening pressure, visualization of organism capsule by india link

-- BC (, February 04, 2002.

Sharron (Grateful Acres):

The numbers on a dove release service don't look bad. Initial investment cost would be, if you already had a suitable outbuilding, adding a fly coup to one side, the cost of the initial doves, their equipment and two wicker baskets. Say you averaged one wedding a week at $245 per that would be $12,740 a year with little recurring expense besides gas to and from the site. Plus there would be the squab to use or sale.

Advertising could be through wedding planners and bridal shops, on a slight kick-back per referral basis.

Since most weddings are on a Saturday, M-F-ers might do it and it might also be out of suburbia if the neighbor's didn't complain (occasional squabs for their kitchen might soothe this aspect).

I've read several articles on this service. There has been concerns about the birds pooping on someone, but those who do it say it doesn't happen. Once released the birds do a couple of loop-de-loops and take off for home once they get their orientation.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, February 04, 2002.

Checked out the Bokhari site as I've been raising Birmingham rollers for over 20 years. Everything that you need to know about raising squabs is there except one thing, the variety. The most common utility pigeon breed is White King. That's the variety shown on the Bokhari site. There are other less common breeds that are even larger than the White Kings but have drawbacks such as being poor nesters or parents. With the White Kings, their squabs will weigh in at a pound, dressed weight, in just under a month. And that has always been the standard. One caution is to have a market assured before spending big bucks on breeders.

As for eating them, there's nothing wrong with the meat except that the older birds have what I call a slight "iodine" taste. Pigeons and deer have one main thing in common in that they do not have a gall bladder and I think that that is where the strong taste comes from.



-- Martin Longseth (, February 04, 2002.

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