Feeding pigeons and doves

Palomacy recommends these elements for proper pigeon and dove nutrition:

Professionally formulated, nutritionally balanced food plus a multivitamin and mineral supplement.

For pigeons:

Pigeon Food Mix

High quality pigeon feed includes safflower. Shown with grit & oyster shell mixed in.

Pigeon Food Label

Usually sold in Feed rather than Pet Stores

For doves: Base diet (seed or pellets)

Dove Food and Seed by Kaytee

Dove food blends can be found in Pet Stores and are fine for pigeons too

Pigeons and doves do best when meal fed, meaning they are given an appropriately sized portion of fresh food in the morning and ideally, all should be eaten by sunset. Fresh food is provided again the next morning. If your birds have lots of food left at sunset, they are being overfed and are likely gorging on their favorite seeds (such as high-in-fat safflower) rather than getting balanced nutrition. Feeding the proper amount also reduces seed-throwing and simplifies clean up.

For each bird, we recommend you start with 2 tablespoons (probably too much) and then adjust the amount down until the amount you provide in the morning is completely consumed by evening.

Bird-safe grit and crushed oyster shell (just a little- sprinkled on their food like a seasoning rather than an unlimited supply)

Pigeons & doves only need a little bit of grit

Pigeons & doves only need a little bit of grit

Veggies or greens (3-4 times per week)

For veggies, you can chop/mince up most anything that is bird safe: carrots, broccoli, snap peas, dandelion greens, kale cauliflower, lettuce, spinach (in small amounts), edamame, bell peppers, etc.

Pigeon Eating Lettuce

Young king pigeon Elliot snacking on romaine lettuce

Domestic Dove Eating Vegetables

Ringneck dove Lily eating minced carrot and broccolini

Domestic Dove Eating Vegetables

Ringneck dove Pierre wolfing down his chopped bell peppers

Plenty of clean, fresh water at all times (served in a clean dish every day).

Calcium gluconate: Helps support healthy egg-laying which may sound silly since we’re pulling eggs and replacing with fakes but egg-binding and other reproductive issues can be very serious for hens. Good eggs can help them to avoid some of those risks. Use one tablespoon per gallon of water twice a week (not required if you are providing a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement).

Calcium Gluconate

Calcium Gluconate

Recommended Supplements (Palomacy’s volunteer Bird Health Care Coordinator Zoe Martell recommends vitamin and mineral supplements.)

See also: Planting Greens for Pigeons (and Doves) for tips from adopter and volunteer Shae Irving.

Growing Greens for Pigeons

Quince & Yuzu love their garden greens!

Growing vegetables for pigeons and pet birds

Grazing on greens is healthy & fun


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