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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What type of bird is a pigeon?
A. `Pigeon` is the common name for members of the Columbidae family of birds. Smaller species are commonly known as doves. One of the most prevalent types of pigeon is the common pigeon (Columba livia), found the world over.
Q. When does the hen lay her eggs?
A. The hen lays the first egg of a two-egg clutch about 10 days after mating. The second egg follows a day or so after the first. The couples usually do not start sitting on the eggs until the second egg comes. This ensures both eggs hatch around the same time.
Q. Which parent sits on the eggs?
A. Both the cock and the hen take turns sitting on the eggs. The hen usually sits in the morning and overnight. The cock usually sits during the afternoon.
Q. How long are pigeon eggs incubated?
A. Both eggs usually start to hatch about 18 days after the second egg was laid. It can sometimes take a chick an entire day to break free from his shell.
Q. What do baby pigeons eat?
A. For the first few days of life, baby pigeons, also called `squabs,` are fed `pigeon milk”` by both parents. Pigeon milk is a cheese-like substance created inside the throats of both parents and put into the mouths of the baby pigeons.
After a few days of the pigeon milk diet, the young are fed regurgitated grains and seeds. The parents will pump the baby pigeons so full of seeds that their crops will look and feel like overly stuffed beanbags.
After about 20 days or so, the young pigeons will begin to peck at grains and seeds and begin eating like adult pigeons. They will, however, continue to beg their parents to feed them when given the opportunity.
Q. How fast do baby pigeons grow?
A. Pigeons grow at a remarkable rate. A young pigeon is fully feathered and ready to leave the nest at about 30 days.
Q. What do pigeons eat?
A. Naturally, pigeons eat only seeds and grains. Wild pigeons may also eat bread, popped corn, and bits of food dropped by people. Pigeons do not eat worms, insects, or meat.
The best food for pigeons is a mixture of quality grains.
Q. What do pigeons drink?
A. Pure, clean water made available at all times. For optimum health, the water should be changed daily.
Q. How do I tell the cocks from the hens?
A. Unfortunately, the differences between male and female pigeons is not as obvious as with other species of birds. By far, the most accurate way to tell is to observe their behavior in social settings. The cocks will often puff out their crops and coo loudly. They will fan out their tail feathers and drag them on the ground or floor and spin in place. The bird to which he is exhibiting this behavior usually is a hen.
Q. What is the life expectancy of a pigeon?
A. Pigeons kept in captivity can live to 15-20 years.