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What do pigeons eat? Food guide

Mackenzie Gary



Pigeons are present all over the world. Every country of the world has something common that is pigeons (Except the end poles and some islands). They are wild birds but they adapt to live in the cities due to availability of the food. There is plenty of food present in all over the world. Out of those What food do pigeons eat?

What do pigeons eat

Pigeons can eat seeds, fruits, vegetables, pellets, nuts and small insects. They like to eat rice, bread, kernels, popcorn, sunflower seeds, wheat seeds and some other seeds. They eat everything from garbage to fast food.

Some foods, which they can eat, are dangerous for them. You should not feed them. Maintaining a balanced diet is essential for proper nutrition. If their diet is deficient in vitamins and minerals, they may not produce good quality eggs. This can lead to unfertilized eggs.

Read this article to know what pigeons should eat and how much is enough at different times of life.

What food you should feed your pet pigeon

Pigeons feed on every available food. If you have a pet pigeon then you have to take some serious cautions for your pigeon. As in the cities they easily feed on foods that effortlessly fulfill their nutrients need.

Not only seeds can fulfill their body needs, but you also have to add some other foods. Seeds should be 50% of the pigeon’s diet. There are various mixtures of seed and pellets are available in the market but you can make a balanced diet at home.

Egg-laying pigeon’s diet

Sometimes pigeons are not laying proper eggs. If they lay eggs they lay eggs that can’t hatch. For this, I have a perfect mixture of foods that solved this problem

Food name Quantity
Pearl Millet5 gm
Mustard seeds5 gm
White millet5 gm
Chick pea5 gm
Food for egg-laying pigeon

All you have to do is to mix all these foods and feed them 2 times a day. You could add sunflower seeds, pellets, wheat seeds, and some fruits and vegetables for a taste change. Chicken’s feed is also another best option for egg-laying pigeons.

Soft eggshell is also another defect in this bird. You can feed eggshells to solve this problem. Pigeons in the cities and wild mostly don’t face the issues of eggs as they feed on everything that is available. So, from every food, they get a little bit of nutrition that fulfills their needs.

You can let your pigeon free to feed in the surroundings (If your neighbors are agreed). Remember to show him your house and trained him so he can know where to return.

Baby pigeon’s diet

Baby pigeons need special food for their survival. They need a good amount of protein and healthy nutrients for their proper growth. When squabs are born, they can’t digest big chunks of food. That’s why his parents feed him crop milk. It is so necessary that if squab don’t get it, he may die

If you raise a pigeon without his parent, you need various combinations of foods. This mixture cannot replace the crop’s milk but enough to save his survival. Both parents, male and female can produce milk. Baby pigeon only feeds on this milk for 1 week.

Feed for squab older than 1 week

After one week, squab is now able to digest more food. Parents start giving him seeds and grains alongside milk. After 3 weeks, he doesn’t need this anymore. He can completely rely on seeds and mixtures. After one month, when he was able to fly, he can eat food as an adults do.

What to feed a baby pigeon without his parents?

It is very difficult to raise a baby pigeon without his mother. As crop milk isn’t available, we have to give him food that saves his life. Kaytee formula is available in the market which is given to squab at an early age. It provides him enough minerals, proteins, and vitamins that save his life.

If you don’t have access to these types of formulas then you can prepare some home remedies for feeding them.

Take Chickpea flour, cornflour, wheat flour, and soybean. Add all these materials in water to make a dense structure. And feed them. For baby pigeon care and life-saving tips Read this article.

As pigeon grows to 1-2 weeks, you should start adding a mixture of seeds such as kernels, wheat seeds, or sunflower seeds.

What do pigeons eat in the wild?

What do pigeons eat in the wild and city.

Pigeons live naturally in the forest. They are wild birds. In cities, they are getting food from us. But what do they eat in the wild? Are there any organizations that are reaching food there?

Pigeons in the wild feed on insects, worms, seeds, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and even on leaves, If they don’t find anything to eat. In wild they have access to many types of foods. But they have to do struggle and have to cope with predators, to get it.

This is the reason they have a shorter life span of 3-6 years on average in the wild. As there are many predators which are always there to make them their breakfast.

They feed on small insects like worms and ants occasionally. There are berries and fruits readily available in the cities. Wild pigeons feed on them along with other seeds such as sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and also they love to eat nuts.

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They eat what nature offers them in the wild

What do pigeons eat in the cities?

In the early days, pigeons are fulfilling the needs of proteins for us as chickens are doing today. As time passes people use them to send messages. As in world war, they save the lives of many soldiers by reaching the useful information to them.

They were used to send Olympics results to the nearest towns too. As they were human companions, British people brought them to America. Here they escape and their population grows tremendously. Why did their population burst out? It is because of the availability of food everywhere.

Pigeons eat almost anything in the cities. They eat humans leftover over foods such as fast food in the bin, the thrown fruits such as grapes, apples and even feed on cakes. People also feed them on the streets such as seeds, bread, and rice.

If they don’t get food in a particular area. They will visit the other part of the city. After getting the food, they will return because these birds are navigating experts.

Some states and countries make it illegal to feed pigeons. In Thailand, if you feed so, you will be in prison.

If you don’t feed them, they will still survive. Because they learn to feed on human foods.

What human food can pigeons eat?

Pigeons eat almost everything a human eats except meat and some fruits and vegetables. Here is the list of common foods that they and humans both feed on

  • Grapes
  • Donuts
  • Lettuce
  • Watermelon
  • Spinach
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Apples
  • Rice both cooked and uncooked
  • Cooked pasta
  • Broccoli
  • Bread
  • Cucumber
  • Lemon juice
  • Peanuts
  • Chocolates
  • Strawberries
  • Oats
  • Corn
  • Almonds
  • Blueberries
  • Beans
  • French fries
  • Hot Cheetos
  • Kiwi
  • Popcorns
  • Biscuits

What you should not feed pigeons?

Not every food they eat is good for them. There are some foods they can eat but can be poisonous for them and can cause their death. If you have a pet pigeon you should know these foods to avoid any complications.

Here is the list of poisonous foods that pigeons should not eat


Any food containing salt should not be offered to pigeons. As salt may dehydrate them. They need water, especially during breeding seasons. Though a very little amount is ok. Overfeeding may cause salt poising and ultimately death.


Avocado is dangerous for pigeons. Any part fruit, leaves, stems, and seed are all poisonous to birds. It causes the death of the heart tissue, respiratory problems and even causes death.

Take your bird instantly to the veterinarian for crop lavage. It contains persin that is the main cause of toxicity


Bread is not so nutritious feed. You should avoid feeding them. It is not harmful itself.AS it does not contain necessary proteins and fats. It is just an empty filler.


Chocolate is harmful even in smaller quantities. It can increase their heart rate, tremors, vomiting, and diarrhea. Theobromine and caffeine are the culprits in causing these factors. You should never feed this to pigeons as it may cause their death.


You should not any caffeinated drinks to pigeons. Caffine can cause heart attacks, shakings, seizures and may cause death also avoid giving them coffee alcohol, and energy drinks

Apple and cheery seeds should also be not fed.


It is safe for humans not for birds. Even the best quality honey is harmful.

List of Foods that pigeons eat

Pigeons food list, what to feed pigeons

There is a list of foods that pigeons can eat and a brief explanation below. It makes it easier to choose what your bird can eat.

Sunflower seeds

Pigeons can eat sunflower seeds. They are full of nutritional benefits needed for their growth and development. Sunflower seeds are the most recommended seeds suggested by experts.

There are two types of this seed. Out of which black oil type is loved by this bird. It is because of the thin shell outside the seed which makes it easier to open. They mostly eat the heart of the seed (Internal soft seed).

Problem: It can cause diarrhea in pigeons and also leads to overweight. Feed your pet as a treat only.

Benefits: It has a lot of protein in it which is essential for bone and muscle growth. It boosts their immunity and improves blood flow. It is also rich in protein and has healthy fats.


Pigeons can eat bread. They may love to eat it. It is like fast food for them. Bread contains none of the essential proteins and healthy fats that a pigeon would need for his health. If he only feeds on the bread, he will die soon as it may cause blockage in the digestive tract and lack of nutrients may be another main reason for weakness. This will be a slow process.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t feed the birds bread. You can only give them a treat. They will eat it. But it has not done well for them as nutritional value is too low. Although the bread has no harm itself.

You should never feed baby pigeon bread because at that age he needs only less quantity of food with more nutrients. It may be harmful to squabs.


Pigeons can eat rice. They are not going to explode. It is just a myth that has no logic. Even in Asia, some farmers consider them as pests of rice because they attack fields and love to eat them.

You can feed your bird as a small treat. It should not be their main diet. Both cooked and uncooked rice is safe for the birds. Avoid feeding the baby pigeons as they have low-value nutriment.

Remember not to add salt while boiling. Keep it simple. If you are looking for how to feed them rice. You can go through this article.


They may refuse to eat bananas if better food like seeds and pellets are there. It doesn’t mean that they can’t eat. Banana can be offered to birds without any harm.


They are watery and good in taste. You can give in juice form. Being rich in vitamin C makes their immune system strong. When your bird is under stress, it can be given as a treat.

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They love to eat it. All they left at the end is the rine. It is a good source of keeping them hydrated.

Wild bird seed

Pigeons are wild birds. They need a mixture of seeds and grains for a good diet. Wild bird seed is good for them. You can feed them without any harm.


They can eat ginger. You may have to hand feed. Ginger extract is used in the treatment of coccidiosis in pigeons. It also helps to prevent motion sickness. The best way to feed them is by making a tea of ginger pieces. Replace it with water. Remove pieces before giving.


Pigeon can take vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is useful in cancer treatment. It also helps to restrict pathogens. In high temperatures, there may be a deficiency of acid. It maintains their pH and appetite

Lemon juice:

It boosts their immune system, purifies their blood, and helps the digestive system. Source of Vitamin C.. Birds can easily intake it without any harm


Peanuts are full of minerals and vitamins which are safe for this bird. Don’t feed salted, and sugary peanuts. You can give them with the skin on them. It will ensure that they get the most nutrients from it. Recommended is to give them the internal seed. Peanut butter is another way of feeding them.


Pigeons will eat chocolate but feeding them may be toxic for them. It may Cause diarrhea, seizures and may cause death because of the presence of theobromine and caffeine in it. If your pet bird has ingested it takes it to the veteran to avoid any complications.


They are rich in antioxidants and a good source of nutrients. Pigeons can eat them as they are good in taste. It does not cause any harm to them.


They can eat them without any harm. It should be given as a treat, not their main diet.


Corn is a healthy snack that should be fed to this bird. It is stored in pigeons’ bodies as fat if overfeeding happens. High fat is helpful in winter for insulating the bird body. Protein helps in proper growth and maintenance


Almonds are nutritious and safe, You can feed them for a whole year. They are rich in proteins and calories, which makes your bird healthy.


Apples are a safe diet for pigeons. YOu should avoid seeds as they can be toxic for them. Only a small amount is recommended. Peel off the outer layer for easy consumption.

Avocados contain a toxic substance persin that is harmful to the bird. It makes the bird sick and then leads to death. Collapse, lethargy, heavy breathing are the main symptoms they show. If these symptoms you see, take your bird instantly to the nearest veteran.


Blueberries are another food that birds love to eat and are completely safe for them too.


Broccoli is good for pigeons. They feed on their leaves. Slightly steamed or raw both can be consumed easily by them.


Beans are another good diet that maintains their blood cholesterol level, Being high in fiber, iron, proteins, and carbohydrates, they proved to be better for growth. Also reduces their sugar level.

Chicken food

They can eat chicken food. It is healthy for them too. You can feed them when they are going to lay eggs. This food is high in protein. A good way to increase mass. If pigeon is not laying egg, you can go here.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are full of minerals and vitamins and are safe for birds to eat. Cockatiel food is also healthy for pigeons.


Cheese is made of fermented milk. Only a mild amount is safe. DO no feed your pet bird milk as it may be deadly

Cooked pasta

It is a great source of carbohydrates it boost their energy level it is not recommended to feed pasta with sauce make sure to wash the pasta for removal of any oil or salt. Cooked pasta can also be given without any harm

Dog food

Dog food is only for dogs but in an emergency, if you have nothing to give you can give dried dog food to pigeons it is not a good idea I will recommend you to stay away from this

Dove food

Dove food can be fed to pigeons. Because they both belong to the same family. Anything that is eaten by doves can be given to pigeons.

Dried fruit

Dried fruits are a rich source of useful minerals and vitamins. Others include calcium, iron, magnesium, and much more. All these are required for bone health, better feather development, and good digestion. You can feed your bird a treat.


Eggs are eaten by pigeons when they lack nutrients and need to replenish themselves. You can also give boiled eggs in small amounts. They are rich in protein.

Eggshell: when a pigeon is deficient in calcium you should feed him eggshells. This is the reason sometimes they eat their egg for fulfilling their deficiency. You can also feed him at times when he is laying soft eggs.

Flex seeds

These are safe for the pet pigeon. They belong to the group of oilseeds. You can feed them daily by placing them on the dry food or the floor along with other seeds.

French fries

French fries are not a healthy choice for pigeons. They are salted which can be dangerous for birds. Although they love to eat but feeding them doesn’t provide them any good nutrients value.

Finch food can be eaten by pigeons because both are seed feeders. There is no harm in giving this food.

Can pigeons eat fish? I saw a pigeon eating Fish from the pond. There are chances that he may eat roasted fish thrown in the trash.

Suet cake

Fat balls (suet cake) are made of nutritional supplements especially for wild birds, Sunflower seeds, wheat, or oat flakes are all eaten by pigeons. These all are involved in fat balls composition. The best feeding season is winter. In summer, suet cake may be rotten and leads to bird sickness.


Grapes are safe for pet pigeons. They are high in fructose which means they boost the energy level of your bird. Feed 2-3 times weekly for a balanced diet. Wash before serving to avoid any pesticides ingestion.

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Granula should only be fed if it is in low-sugar.


Garlic is used to prevent many diseases in pigeons. They are not toxic. Most owners put one garlic clove daily in the water for a stronger immune system. It detoxifies and removes harmful bacteria from their body making them healthy.

Green beans can also be fed to birds


Grass can only be eaten by herbivores who have teeth. Pigeons don’t have teeth so they can’t eat and chew grass. If you see this bird on the lawn, there may be food or insects to whom they might be targetting.

Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds are very nutritious for pigeons. They are high in proteins. One of the biggest benefits is that it stimulates fertility in birds. A perfect diet for breeding birds. Its oil also protects them from body inflammation. Feed only in small amounts.

Hot Cheetos is not a good diet for birds. It can disturb their digestive system. Stay away from it

Honey should not be given to birds. It is safe for humans but may cause problems for birds.


Pigeons can eat insects. Almost 400 to 500 million insects are eaten by birds annually. They serve a valuable amount of proteins and minerals that make the bird healthier than before. Like other birds, a pigeon may eat fewer insects as its main diet is seeds and grains.

Do pigeons eat jawar? Jawar is the indian name of the word sorghum (white millet). Pigeons can eat this along with peas, hard wheat, and corn. All these make a stable diet for this bird.

Ragi is the Hindi word for finger millet. They can eat it. Moreover, it is cheap and easily available if you don’t get any other food. They can eat pearl millet too (Bajra)


Kale is a good source of Vitamin A, K, C, magnesium, calcium,m, and all other important minerals. pigeon can eat it as it prevents blood clotting, ensures healthy bones and blood vessels. kale can be served in both cooked or raw form.


Kiwi is a good source of vitamin C and E. They can eat it. Being high in sugar, can leads to weight gain. Too much can cause ulcers. Although it contains some useful nutrients that keep the bird healthy. Wash before serving.

Popcorn kernels

Popcorn kernels can be fed to birds. Remember they should not be salted. For unpopped kernels, boil in water for making them soft

Rice Krispies can be given in small quantities .


Lettuce is good for pigeons. It contains vitamin B-6, IRon, magnesium calcium, and Vitamin C . All these components are necessary for better growth.


Lentils are better for larger birds, Pigeons may eat them but there are chances of sticking lentils in their throat. So it is better to avoid feeding them

Linseed can also be eaten by them. But it attracts mostly the smaller birds.

Layers pallets are for chickens, you can feed your pet bird. They may not like the taste. Give them other seeds and grains.

Leaves such as peas, cabbages, lettuce,cauli flower, and sprouts are eaten by pigeons. As they are good for calcium deficiency and have other minerals too.


Pigeons are herbivores. They eat seeds and plants. Meat can’t be eaten by them as they don’t have meat tearing beaks and teeth. They also don’t have a digestion system that can break down the meat.

Mealworms may be eaten by pigeons as they also feed on small insects.


Millet is a safe diet for pigeons. You can feed him without any hazard. They are small and easily crushed by their beak,

Mung beans are good for breeding birds. They are high in proteins which fulfill their deficiency easily.

I have Mango trees in my area but I never see them eating. Although parrots love to eat them

Mustard seeds

Mustard seeds are loved by pigeons. Some may like to eat when they are fired with oil and some may eat in raw form. This is an oil-based seed. It should be fed in moderation. One pinch per pigeon is OK to feed.

Moldy bread

Moldy bread can leads to the illnes of pigeons. You should avoid feeding bread as it has very low nutritional value.

Niger seeds

Niger seeds are good to feed in winter. They are rich in oil and high in nutrition. It gives them to store fat and this will keep them warm

Nonveg: Pigeons are vegetarian, They feed on seeds and small insects, not meat and chicken.


The onion should not be fed to your bird. It may be toxic for them, It can cause hemolytic anemia which leads to death.

Olives should not be given to this bird.


Oreo is a biscuit having chocolate in it and chocolate is toxic for birds, So, it is not a good idea to feed them

Not every Parakeet food is eaten by them.

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are very nutritious and a safe diet for the pet bird. Sesame seeds, spinach, and watermelon can be fed them too.

What Nuts Can pigeons eat? Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, brazil nuts, Hickory nuts, macadamia nuts, and acorns can be fed by them. Always make sure to feed them in small quantities.


What do pigeons eat on the lawn or grass? There are seeds and insects in the lawn, they are looking for. Don’t think so they are eating your grass.

What do pigeons drink? They drink water and juice of fruits. Don’t give them milk or alcohol, it is harmful to them. While baby pigeons in their early growth drink crop milk for healthy growth.

How much should you feed a pigeon? They are very intelligent birds. Pigeons stops eating when they are full. You should start with 2 tablespoons of seeds and grains. If at the end of the day, food is left, reduce the amount.

If there is no food left, increase the amount. According to news24, 500 grams per adult bird is necessary for proper nourishment.

If you have any question related to the topic, you can comment below to get answer.