One year in, thoughts on my utility king pigeons

Help Support RabbitTalk:

Zass

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
6,395
Reaction score
4
Location
northwest PA
Pigeons are remarkably versatile when it comes to feeding. That mix sounds OK to me. Access to grit is necessary, but any ground contact should suffice.

With a lack of pigeons feed available in many parts of the country, most people I know use a 50/50 ratio of mixed birdseed and chicken feed.

I can't help but think a calcium supplement might be beneficial with that mix too, more for the chickens than the pigeons. Crushing and refeeding eggshells is the easiest way to go about that.

Moving them around chicken tractor style would work if you had non-breeding pigeons. Most utilities have squabs or nests all summer long, and unlike rabbits, they have to have constant access to their young.

For a reference, these babies are 5 weeks old and still haven't joined their parents at the feeding tray, they are still 100% dependent on being fed. Sometimes the parents will start to sit a new nest while still feeding the last clutch.
 

grumpy

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2012
Messages
2,002
Reaction score
0
Location
plattsburg, missouri
If you have access to a grain elevator around your part of the country, you can buy corn, wheat, milo, and some kind of a pea to blend your own mix of feed for the birds. I used to buy the "Venetion-Red" grit for my birds in 50 pound bags. The plus about buying separate bags of grain is the fact that you can adjust the blend according to the weather conditions in your area. In really cold periods, you can increase the corn percentage, and lessen it when it becomes warmer. Plus, it's far cheaper per pound that store-bought blended mixes.

It's been 20+ years since I had the birds, but I had a family of Morris Gordons for almost 40 years. The Gordons were a family of long-distance Homers known for their abilities for flying in rough weather conditions across the English Channel around the turn of the last century. I could trace my entire family of birds back to one, or more of the original 8 birds I purchased as a young boy in 1958. Homers are a bit bigger and carry more weight than most other fancy breeds of birds, but the utility Kings are hands-down the best in production and good weights in a shorter span of time. The Modena's were a pretty good meat producer, but the show people got them all screwed up over the years. What a modern-day Modena looks like is far, far different than the original meat birds.

When I adopted my 3 boys in 1992, I realized the amount of time they'd need. So, consequently, I had to make a choice about my birds. I sold my entire stud to a Japanese fancier named Kawamata and exported them to Japan. The sale price was lucrative enough that I could purchase the small farmette we live on today. SMH---The boys are grown, the birds long gone, and I'm too old and disabled to keep the farm.!!! Life goes on.

Good luck with your birds, Zass. They're a unique critter that if more people patterned their lives after, this world would be a far better place to live in. Their lives center on family, mate, and home. In this crazy world we now live in, what else is there?? Not a helluva lot, really.

Grumpy
 

Ghost

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 10, 2017
Messages
185
Reaction score
1
Location
Texas Zone 8
Zass":2wtohbps said:
Thorn":2wtohbps said:
Ive been looking for a good pigeon site, similar to Rabbit Talk , but I haven't found anything. Any recommendations?

There was an old pigeon-talk site, but I guess they wouldn't allow anyone to talk about eating pigeons, or even euthanasia, lumping both those topics in with cruelty and abuse..
Doesn't sound like they would be very helpful for someone who actually wants to manage a healthy flock, and I'm sure the word "utility" is banned. :roll:

I think good ol' Rabbit talk will provide a safe place for us to talk about meat pidgins. On another forum, Ohiogoatgirl bookmarked some threads on BackyardChickens discussing the topic of eating guinea pigs. It seems odd that even on BYC the conversation was slanted against eating GPs. RT seems the best place to for constructive conversations regarding the humane raising of creatures destine for the table. Perhaps if there is enough interest RT can expand by adding a separate sub-forum for meat pigeons (or meat guinea pigs) if the number of threads warrant it. But for now, I would guess that "Our Other Animals" sub-forum is a good place for the traffic.
 

Zass

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
6,395
Reaction score
4
Location
northwest PA
Ghost":i9qyaj7w said:
I think good ol' Rabbit talk will provide a safe place for us to talk about meat pidgins. On another forum, Ohiogoatgirl bookmarked some threads on BackyardChickens discussing the topic of eating guinea pigs. It seems odd that even on BYC the conversation was slanted against eating GPs. RT seems the best place to for constructive conversations regarding the humane raising of creatures destine for the table. Perhaps if there is enough interest RT can expand by adding a separate sub-forum for meat pigeons (or meat guinea pigs) if the number of threads warrant it. But for now, I would guess that "Our Other Animals" sub-forum is a good place for the traffic.

I agree Ghost. I only post my pigeons here, and in a closed FB group specifically for meat pigeons. Anyone can PM me for a link to the group. :)
 

guardianoasis

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 17, 2018
Messages
93
Reaction score
0
Location
Western Washington
We went to a farm on Sunday that had a small cage of what I'm assuming were these utility king pigeons. Made me think of you. Don't think the hubby was impressed though.
 

GBov

Well-known member
Joined
May 25, 2012
Messages
2,593
Reaction score
4
Location
North Yorkshire, UK
Nymphadora":1zi2vi7z said:
Is it bad that I really want to say "chicken"? :twisted:
Because, you know, they can grow that on styrofoam trays at the grocery store... :roll: :lol:

Actually, the way my chickens eat styrofoam, I think you can raise chickens on the stuff! :lol:

Zass, your pigeons keep impressing me, by gum they are pretty birds!!!

That made me sad Grumpy but you are right, time marches on for all of us.
 

LunarFantom

Active member
Joined
Aug 23, 2018
Messages
44
Reaction score
0
Zass":3o6oxlcz said:
MaggieJ":3o6oxlcz said:
I'm afraid there is little to no market for them here on the east coast, which is part of why they are so expensive, and almost nonexistent. They are one of those vanishing heritage breeds.

On the plus side it sounds like you have a monopoly on them then. :mrgreen:
 

Ghost

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 10, 2017
Messages
185
Reaction score
1
Location
Texas Zone 8
Zass":puh9c1bn said:
This year, I'll be tracking the amount of nestlings produced, and weight of the squabs at processing.
Still doing the pigeons? How is it going?
 

GBov

Well-known member
Joined
May 25, 2012
Messages
2,593
Reaction score
4
Location
North Yorkshire, UK
Ghost":2u5ok345 said:
Zass":2u5ok345 said:
This year, I'll be tracking the amount of nestlings produced, and weight of the squabs at processing.
Still doing the pigeons? How is it going?

How funny, I have been wondering that as well!

Just waiting for either an allotment or spring (whichever comes first) to get my first King pigeons. Ooooooo pigeon is fantastic meat and I had no idea they were used for eggs as wel at one time. :shock:
 

Zass

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
6,395
Reaction score
4
Location
northwest PA
I missed this post. :oops:

The short answer is no, but with much regret.

:cry_baby:

I don't know if anyone remembers that my critters were living in a veritable fortress?

Sometime last summer my :buds: neighbors decided to cut trees on my property.
Not just any trees, of course, they included a fairly large ash in an unfortunate position.
Let us not forget that most of my property is something like a 60-70 degree slope.

Gravity, being what it is, the unfortunate ash fell strait down, which happened to be directly onto my hen house.
:evil:

The good news is that my hen house was built from massive old picnic tables and could withstand much more than a mere tree.
The bad news is that the roof was only corrugated steel, and bent from having had a good sized ash tree dropped square onto the middle of it.

I let the neighbors know that I was supremely unimpressed by their current decision making process :angry: , did the best I could to get things back into shape and left it at that.


The problem showed up in the form of a weasel. :x

Of course I didn't know that at first. I did everything I could to block up every possible entry point I could find, but all the while I was losing several birds per night. :cry:

We eventually tracked the bloodthirsty villain's entry point to the bent steel roof, which unfortunately, was too damaged to bend back into place.

Before the problem resulted in the termination of my entire utility king line, I had the remaining birds sent to an interested buyer across state.

We eventually decided to take down the hen house entirely and seal off that mode of access, which seems to have worked for protecting my quail, who survived because they spend the summer in cages for breeding.

So for right now, I have to settle for raising silver tuxedo coturnix quail, and be happy with that.

I would love to have pigeons again, but in the future, I think, I would strongly prefer them to have their own aviary, mostly for sanitary purposes.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_1945.jpg
    IMG_1945.jpg
    328.5 KB · Views: 1,240

GBov

Well-known member
Joined
May 25, 2012
Messages
2,593
Reaction score
4
Location
North Yorkshire, UK
Did they live flight free in with your hens? And how bloody stupid of anyone to do that!!!

The older I get, the stupider my species seems to be. :roll:
 

michaels4gardens

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
2,650
Reaction score
6
Location
Piney Flats ,Tn.
sorry Zass, that is such a drag..
Hope you can find a way to raise pigeons again ...
I love pigeons, but have not had any for many years,
... and,- I raised the "underpass",and "grain silo " breed of pigeons...
 

Zass

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
6,395
Reaction score
4
Location
northwest PA
GBov":3o0ssfmg said:
Did they live flight free in with your hens? :roll:

I had an 8x10x8 aviary attached to the hen house that allowed for a little flight, but we have far too many hawks here for me to allow these big heavy birds to fly free.

I don't believe I have any hens at the time? I'm not sure if my little bantams were out there yet. :?

The pigeons got along marvelously with my quail during the winter months while the little birds weren't breeding.
I always have the quail on the ground and use the "deep litter" method in winter to allow them to nestle into the straw and keep warm. So far, I've never lost one to cold.
The quail always get moved up into the wire cages in summer, for various reasons. To make egg collection easy; so I can separate them into harems with one male to several females for breeding; and because our summers have been very very rainy and I don't like them on muddy ground.

So while the pigeons were targets for the weasel, the quail were safe and sound in my good klubbertanz rabbit cages, at least, while easier prey was at hand. :(

My idea pigeon aviary will have a sand floor, A LOT of perches and nestboxes, and no rabbits to muck things up in there. I don't see why a few quail couldn't hang out in there with them though, as long as they were as mellow as the ones I had before.
 

ohiogoatgirl

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 5, 2011
Messages
1,765
Reaction score
0
Location
Ohio
Somehow I missed this thread until just now! I was researching a lot into pigeons for a while and nearly bought some at the local auction. But at the time I really had nowhere to even try to keep them long enough to build something. Sadly they did not go home with me. They are interesting though.

Sorry to hear you don't have them anymore....although probably better for me bc my plate is already overfull and you're in PA so likely close enough I'd have been all over that....
:dig-hole: that's me digging myself deeper

Would you mind sharing a bit about feeding them? Chicken feed and grains seems simple. I've found several new feed and seed sources and could easily get most grains now. Hmm.. corn, peas, oats, buckwheat, millet,.. My dad is in charge of the grain mill at the historical society and anything I buy I could have them run through a mill to crack. Do they do better with grain or cracked? I think soaked or fermented grains is really neat but I have too much going on to even pretend I'd keep it up! :oops:

I had coturnix for a while and they were fun but had the same annoying bird issues for me. Pigeons interest me because they are pretty well hands off aside from checking nest and removing squabs. And maybe a couple floor quail to clean up spilled feed.

Well heck, guess I'm picking up on my research again :mrgreen: :lol: Not for acquiring any this year though, I'm adding hogs and changing up a lot with the sheep.
 

GBov

Well-known member
Joined
May 25, 2012
Messages
2,593
Reaction score
4
Location
North Yorkshire, UK
Our 4H group had pigeons and they took about 6 min a day to care for and half of that was spent just looking at them.

I asked my family what they thought of me with a dip net and some bread at the local square and got a "DON'T you DARE!!!"

Awwwwww party poopers. :lol:
 

michaels4gardens

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
2,650
Reaction score
6
Location
Piney Flats ,Tn.
GBov":1e0jnh2c said:
Our 4H group had pigeons and they took about 6 min a day to care for and half of that was spent just looking at them.

I asked my family what they thought of me with a dip net and some bread at the local square and got a "DON'T you DARE!!!"

Awwwwww party poopers. :lol:

I caught my birds at night, on top of buildings, and under underpasses.. I also set traps on top of buildings-- I had quite a bunch of them in a short time.. feeding and watering was quick, cleaning, and harvesting -not so quick-- but squab is extremely yummy...
 

GBov

Well-known member
Joined
May 25, 2012
Messages
2,593
Reaction score
4
Location
North Yorkshire, UK
michaels4gardens":399n3oxs said:
GBov":399n3oxs said:
Our 4H group had pigeons and they took about 6 min a day to care for and half of that was spent just looking at them.

I asked my family what they thought of me with a dip net and some bread at the local square and got a "DON'T you DARE!!!"

Awwwwww party poopers. :lol:

I caught my birds at night, on top of buildings, and under underpasses.. I also set traps on top of buildings-- I had quite a bunch of them in a short time.. feeding and watering was quick, cleaning, and harvesting -not so quick-- but squab is extremely yummy...

Pigeon is really REALLY yummy!!!

Still waiting to hear on an allotment but if one doesn't come through, a 5 by 5 section of the shed will house a few pairs with a sunning cage over the window.

The nice thing about pigeon is it is so rich that it only takes one per person to do a lovely dinner. <br /><br /> __________ Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:53 pm __________ <br /><br /> How did they breed in comparison to the fully domestic ones M4G?
 

michaels4gardens

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
2,650
Reaction score
6
Location
Piney Flats ,Tn.
GBov":2jyx31yb said:
__________ Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:53 pm __________

How did they breed in comparison to the fully domestic ones M4G?


I had no trouble at all with them breeding, they were at least as productive as the man across the street, with "meat birds" . I think my squab grew just as fast as his did, but- did not get as big.
They [of course] prefered the highest nesting places, and even tried to nest in the rafters a few times. [i just removed the nest, as soon as they started building] I locked them into the coop for a month or two after catching them. After they began breeding and nesting in the coop, I opened the "fly door" during the daytime. It was very common , for the flock to return with extra members... who just moved in, ate my food, and nested in the coop with the others. <br /><br /> __________ Sun Feb 16, 2020 5:59 am __________ <br /><br /> I think if I become more comfortable with the rental situation i have,
I will want to build another coop, and catch another flock.
I am now about 4 miles away from "the old city", where poisoning pigeons is so common...
In the past, I saved a lot on the feed bill, when the pigeons flew,
.. because they "gleaned" the grain fields, after harvest.
 

ohiogoatgirl

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 5, 2011
Messages
1,765
Reaction score
0
Location
Ohio
michaels4gardens":f1amjlr9 said:
I caught my birds at night, on top of buildings, and under underpasses.. I also set traps on top of buildings-- I had quite a bunch of them in a short time.. feeding and watering was quick, cleaning, and harvesting -not so quick-- but squab is extremely yummy...

Since considering pigeons again I've noticed grey doves I believe. They make the weird noise when they take off :roll: I think they are pretty much the same needs and care as pigeons. Think I could set up a feed station in a cage then add the trap door like a flight door for pigeons? Not sure if a regular seed mix would entice them, being rural. Though there isn't a lot of cropland in the area it's mostly woods, cows, hay, then either corn or soy.
 

Latest posts

Top