Pigeons are known to be small to medium-sized birds.
While there do exist some breeds of pigeons that are larger in size as compared to the majority of the other breeds, the difference in their size is due to either selective breeding, their height, or genetics.
Having said that, it is not very uncommon to find pigeons of the same breed that are larger in size as compared to others. They seem to have more fat in their bodies, which makes them appear larger.
Are pigeons supposed to be fat?
Pigeons are supposed to have some level of fat in their bodies. It is required for the proper functioning of their bodies and for ease during flights.
However, if a pigeon is being well taken care of in terms of nutrition and activities, it is uncommon to see them get heavier than the average weight of their breed.
This is also true because pigeons are known to have a high metabolism.
Why are some pigeons fat?
There are two reasons why some pigeons are fatter than their counterparts:
Overconsumption of food
Overconsumption of food usually happens to pigeons that are not domesticated, and hence, their diet is not monitored.
They live freely either in cities or in the wild. This means that their source of nutrition is whatever is available to them.
Especially in cities, it is easier for pigeons to find a wide variety of foods that are low in nutritional value.
Lack of exercise
Lack of exercise is a common reason for weight gain in domesticated and pet pigeons. The main form of exercise for pigeons is flying.
When they are kept indoors for the majority of the time and not given enough free space to fly, they can gain excessive amounts of weight fairly easily.
How do pigeons burn excess fat?
Pigeons burn most of their fat by flying, which requires a lot of energy.
Their naturally high metabolism makes it easier for them to fly for longer periods, which in turn helps them burn excess fat on their bodies.
This is the major reason why obesity is not very common in pigeons.
Do pigeons experience seasonal weight gain?
It is true that pigeons experience seasonal weight gain.
Studies have shown that pigeons tend to gain weight during the colder months of the year, and lose weight during the warmer months.
Pigeons tend to weigh their heaviest in the winters, and their lightest in the summers.
How do I know if my pigeon is overweight?
One of the easiest ways to determine whether your pigeon is overweight or not is to feel their keel bone through their feathers. This bone is located at the front of their chest.
If you are not able to feel the keel bone at all, then it is a good indication that your pigeon has become overweight.
However, if the keel bone is too prominent, then that is a sign that your pigeon needs more nutrition and needs to gain more fat.
The balance between these two scenarios is where the pigeon is at its ideal weight.
Related Read: Do Pigeons Feel Cold? How Cold Is Too Cold For Pigeons?
What does an overweight pigeon look like?
A pigeon with an unusual amount of fat on its body can be classified as overweight. It is usually hard to see the neck of an overweight pigeon as it is covered by excess fat.
While this might not be true for every overweight pigeon, it is true for the majority of them. Overweight pigeons look like the rest of the pigeons, but with a rounder body shape.
Are all fat pigeons overweight?
This is not necessarily true. In many cases, it is common for a pigeon to appear fatter than it actually is.
Pigeons are known to puff up their feathers when they feel ill or cold. This is done in order to give warmth and relaxation to their bodies.
Hence, a pigeon that appears fat might actually not be fat at all.
Can obese pigeons fly?
For a pigeon to not be able to fly because of its weight, it would have to be extremely obese. This is a rare scenario.
There are times when some overweight pigeons find it difficult to fly just after consuming a large meal. However, they are usually able to fly after taking some rest.
In order to protect themselves from predators, it is very important for a pigeon to be able to fly with ease. This ease keeps on reducing with a consistent increase in large amounts of fat in a pigeon’s body.
What does it mean when a fat pigeon sits?
Pigeons are not known to sit often. It rarely happens, and when it does happen, it is usually a sign that something is not right with their health.
While sitting is not just limited to fat pigeons, an excess amount of weight can be an indicator of underlying health conditions.
If a sitting pigeon is not able to fly even after being approached, it indicates serious health concerns.
Health risks of obesity in pigeons
Pigeons, in their natural habitat, need to be able to defend themselves against predators. Not being able to do that is one of the biggest threats that obesity poses to pigeons.
However, it can lead to a number of other health risks in pigeons, like the following:
- Fatty liver
- Respiratory distress
Related Read: Can Pigeons Eat Bread?
Dietary measures for pigeons to prevent obesity
An ideal diet for pigeons includes a combination of appropriate amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber. Their mealtimes should be predetermined, and large meals should be avoided.
It is also important to make sure that they are getting enough food to provide energy for flying.
Hence, a balance between the number of meals given in a day and the portion size of those meals is the key.
Pigeons are known to eat anything that they find edible. This is why it is important to make nutritious foods easily available to them. It is equally important for pigeons to fly regularly.
With a good diet and adequate exposure to open spaces for flying, it is quite easy for pigeons to maintain a healthy amount of fat in their bodies.