Pigeons are birds that live in forests as well as in cities. These innocent birds can be kept as pets and used in racing. They have a peculiar life cycle that makes them different from other birds.
The life cycle of pigeons begins with eggs. After hatching, they live in nests. Pigeons can fly within 4-6 weeks. At 6–8 months, they choose a mate. When the squabs are born, the parents care for them and feed them until they become adults. Their average life span is about 3–10 years.
This is just a brief overview to give you an idea. His life is very interesting. In this article, I will tell you about their strange lifestyle, behavior, where they live, why we don’t see baby pigeons, facts, and their entire life cycle.
The life cycle of pigeons
I will start the details from the time they are companions.
They choose their partner:
The first step is choosing partners. Male pigeons reach maturity in 4 months while females may take 2 months more. When a man likes a woman. He went to her. Lift his chest up and try to impress him.
If a woman doesn’t like him, she will reject him. A rejection sign shows that she is flying away or moving her position away from the man. But if the woman shows her interest. Their relationship will grow.
Pigeons make a stronger bond
At first the two kiss. A Female pigeon offers food to a male pigeon. I saw the whole scene in the evening. Since they are now partners, they can now mate. This process is very short, close to 5 seconds.
The important thing is that after the two pigeons mate for life. But what if the other partner dies? If one pigeon dies, others will go in search of another pigeon. A woman takes longer to find a new bond than a man.
The next step is to make a nest for laying eggs
The next step after mating is to build a nest where the female can lay eggs. They choose a place to build a nest. Pigeons are not good at building nests. Their nesting material includes materials such as twigs, dry leaf straws, and paper.
Their nests are not classic like those of other birds. They build nests in trees. If they are living in cities, their main hot spots are balconies, under bridges, under solar panels, and on rooftops.
Both mates sit on the nest. If the female refuses to sit, the male pecks her to sit.
Pigeons lay eggs a lot
You must be wondering why the population of pigeons is increasing day by day. This is due to their egg-laying behavior. After 8-12 days of mating, the female lays 1-3 eggs. The average is mostly two.
One egg contains a male and the other female. The egg color is white.
Sometimes pigeons do not lay eggs even after mating. If eggs are laid, the egg is not capable of hatching. It is sterile due to one of the partners. If you have pigeons in your house. Changing partners can solve the problem. If there is still a problem, your bird is not getting the right diet.
How many times a year do pigeons lay eggs? Pigeons can lay up to 16 eggs in a year. It depends on the breed, temperature, and season. They lay more eggs in spring and fall than the rest of the year.
The incubation period starts after laying eggs:
Eggs require a temperature of 36-38 degrees Celsius to hatch. This period is very important. At this time both parents take care of the eggs.
Do you know? Male pigeons also sit on eggs.
Both take responsibility. While one partner sits on the nest, the other rests and goes out in search of food.
A pigeon never sits on an egg and leaves it. This is because the bird has an instinct to know whether the egg is fertile or not. If the egg is infertile, they will discard it. Chances are the predator is around and to save his life, he’s not sitting on it.
Eggs take about 16-21 days to hatch. The duration depends on conditions such as temperature, humidity, and type of pigeon. Pigeons lay two eggs. Other eggs take about 1 day to hatch.
If the egg does not hatch within the specified period. Then there are chances that the egg is infertile or does not get the optimal conditions required for embryo development. You can test for fertility by passing a light in the dark. If you see a cluster of veins, the egg is fertile. If not, throw it away.
Baby pigeon life cycle:
Both parents are very careful with their babies. Before the time of hatching, a few days before, both pigeons start producing milk in their crops. This is not normal milk like mammals. Can you drink it? You can see this milk’s details here.
In the first few days, baby pigeons cannot digest any hard food. Adult parents feed them their crop milk. It is so nutritious that it turns the baby into an adult in 40-45 days.
On the day 5th, the baby bird opens his eyes. He didn’t leave the nest until he could fly (about 1 month). I have already covered the baby pigeon growth with pictures. For full details read here
In 4-6 weeks they are ready to fly out. As time passes, they will leave the nest and fly into cities and their lifestyle continues.
What do pigeons do after raising kids? When the baby pigeons fly out, they breed again and lay a new egg. This process continues until their death.
Lifespan of Pigeon
Pigeons have a life span of 10 years on average. Wild pigeons tend to live shorter than pet ones. They live about 5 years on average due to the harsh conditions they have to face out in the wild.
Pet pigeons if properly cared for, can live up to 10-15 years on average. I know some pigeons live longer than 20 years. All you have to do is to provide the best optimum conditions required for their survival.
Pigeons are birds that love to eat seeds but some species are living in the wild that can eat fruits too like parrots. They can also eat insects and leaves too.
There are certain types of grains and seeds on which they feed such as wheat, millet, sunflower seeds, corn, rice, etc. There is no harm in feeding them rice, they are not going to explode.
Factors affecting pigeons’ life cycle
Some factors affect the pigeon’s life cycle and his life expectancy
Predators and Human interference
The increasing population is still controlled by predators. They have more predators in the wild than in the cities. Falcons, dogs, cats, Hawks, etc. are their main predators in the cities. Hawks target pigeons more but they are far less than their population.
Due to their increasing number, they are referred to as flying rats. Various pest control companies give their services to control their population. People just want to get rid of their poops otherwise they are very calm and cute birds. Some diseases also spread through them.
Killing the bird is against animal law. If you want to get rid of pigeons, you can use repellents and traps. Traps are easy and the best way to catch them. Here are the best and most effective pigeon traps you can use.
Temperature plays an important role. Their breeding season is spring and autumn. At this time their population grows at a higher rate. It is because the temperature is optimum for the survival of the baby pigeons.
In winter baby pigeons also known as squabs spend almost 45 days in the nest because of slower growth and weather conditions. Too high or too low a temperature slows down their growth rate.
If you have a pet pigeon you need to keep him at room temperature. Squabs need a 36-38 C temperature. If they don’t get that temperature their chances of survival reduces.
Pigeons are very smart. They know how much food is on the ground and how many pigeons can fill their stomach.
In an experiment, food was placed on the floor for pigeons. Only a limited number of pigeons came to eat. At the same place when the amount of food is doubled the number of pigeons also doubled. They are very intelligent birds.
Feral Pigeons came to the cities because they found food easily as people gave them to. They learn to survive in cities more than in the wild. The more the food, the more the pigeons would be there to eat.
Rice, bread, kernels, popcorn, insects, worms, sunflower seeds, and anything that they feed on is available in the cities. In the countryside, they are considered pests of rice. They love the rice to eat. Food controls their population and their survival rate.
Where do they Live?
In cities, they are everywhere. They usually make their nests on the roofs, under bridges, on the balconies, in abandoned buildings, and also in the lifts. are not experts in making nests but enough to live in. They live in trees.
Pigeons mostly look for the higher places to live and the area where they stay away from predators. They remain in a particular area. They look for places where water and food are available.
Why don’t we see baby pigeons?
As I told you earlier, squabs don’t leave the nest until they can fly. It takes 4-6 weeks depending on the season. They grow so quickly that we cannot differentiate between an adult and a squab at this age.
When baby pigeons leave the nest. They are almost equal to adults in size. They are always present around. Eating food and flying. As it is hard to know their age, we see baby pigeons but don’t differentiate.
Where do pigeons go at night? Pigeons return to their nests at night. Like other creatures, they need rest too. They return home for sleep and rest. don’t think so that they are government spies.
The life cycle of a pet pigeon
Pigeons are the most underrated pets. They are very cute and loyal. There are many pros and cons of pigeons as pets but the pros are more than their cons. Here you know the Pros and Cons.
Pet pigeons have a different life cycle than pigeons in the wild. Squabs that are trained earlier in their life perform better as pets.
Hatching in an incubator
Eggs hatched in an incubator need proper attention. It requires proper care which includes maintaining the heat level and humidity. They can hatch in a homemade incubator too which consists of a box, a bulb, and cotton.
Caring of baby pigeons by humans
Crop milk is very nutritious for the squab. If he didn’t get it he would die. It is very difficult for the baby pigeon to survive in human hands, especially for the newbies. There is special treatment and caring required which can save his life.
Those who are experts feed a mixture of certain foods which makes a nutritious food equal to pigeons’ milk. This mixture saves his life. I have already written a special article for baby pigeon’s caring that surely can save his life.
Pigeons can get diseases in their lifetime which is one of the leading causes of their death. Sometimes they are bitten by mosquitoes and parasites get involved in their sickness and sometimes digestive problems.
Pigeons show laziness and don’t eat much. Diseases also affect their life cycle
Where do pigeons go to die? Pigeons stay away from the public. They die in isolation. Their remains are eaten by predators. If they are out of reach of anyone, their dead body goes bad spoil.
Facts about pigeons
Mirror test: Pigeons are one of the most intelligent birds that can recognize their face in the mirror. In birds, they are the only one who has this ability. One research shows that they can recognize all the letters of the English language.
Return to home: They use the magnetic field of the earth to return to the area where they live. That’s why in the past they were used as messengers and used in wars to save the lives of many soldiers.
Remain in a specific area: When placing a chip on their body to study their behavior, it was found that they don’t go too far from their home. They have specific areas where they fly and eat.
Easy to tame: Pigeons can befriend humans very easily. They can sit on your hands if you properly feed them. For taming them, feed them on the floor for the first few days, after that open your hand having grains. They will come to you, and eat from your hand. As soon as trust is developed, they will feel safe in your company and befriend you.
Differentiate between photographs: They can easily recognize two different characters in a picture and have the ability to differentiate between photographs.
Fast flying: Pigeons can fly at a very rapid rate. They can fly up to 77 mph on average. The fastest pigeon has a record of 98 miles per hour in a race. They can fly 600 to 700 miles and the longest flight recorded is 7000 miles which were held between England and Africa.
They can fly at an altitude of 6000 feet.
They are one of the most loyal birds that mate for life with their partner.
Social: Pigeons are very social birds. you will always see them in flocks. They even became loyal to humans
Can recognize humans: An experiment was done in which one person has to feed the pigeons and another will fly them away. This was done for a few days. Pigeons from far away recognize their well-wisher and enemies.
They come closer to the man who feeds them and flies away when they see the man who disturbs them,
Both parents care: Male pigeons also produce crop milk and feed their babies like females. They also sit on the eggs and take proper care of the squab and eggs as females do.
They are one of the cleanest birds out there. In the past, their poops were used as fertilizers. These days, they are hated for their poops
Pigeons are eaten in most parts of the world.
Pigeons hatch from the egg, and stay there for 4-6 weeks depending on the season and breed. Parents care for them and feed them food. When they leave the nest, they search for their food. After that look for the mate and lay eggs.
This lifecycle of pigeons repeats over and over the generations.