Pigeons can be seen everywhere in your neighborhood. They live alongside you in your neighborhood and have been with humans for almost 5000 years. They are very adaptive birds.
They had survived the times when they were used as messengers, even in wartime, to deliver the messages, they have survived urbanization, and now the large buildings are their homes.
Still, people have this urge to pet this beautiful and intelligent bird. That’s why most often, the question of a pigeon’s life span arises.
A Pigeon’s Life As Pet
An average lifetime of a pigeon is 3-6 years in the wild, but, as a pet, they can live for 10-15 years. So yes, they can live as long as any other pet can live. But their life depends on how you keep them.
There are a few basic things that a pigeon requires to live a peaceful and long life. First of all, they need a hygienic place to live. Keeping them packed in a cage, especially a dirty one, takes their life even sooner than they die in the wild.
Then you need to feed them right. First, they should have access to food and water all the time. Pigeons are not picky when it comes to food. There are a large number of foods you can give them.
You can give them cereals, grains, boiled eggs, bread, etc. Then there are healthy vegetables that will do no harm to your pet, such as lettuce, peas, spinach, etc. You can also give them fruits, seeds, and nuts.
There are readymade foods available in the market which pigeons enjoy. Healthy food is the key to a long life.
Life in captivity
The most famous reason for breeding pigeons was to send messages over long distances. So, pigeons had been served as a form of long-distance texting.
Being able to stay alive for long under the right circumstances, pigeons were a perfect bird to raise and depend on.
People have historically used pigeons:
- as a source of food,
- to collect their waste, used for fertilization and to make gunpowder,
- as a messenger, of course,
- And in sports.
Cutting down life expectancy
Pigeons had a hard time reaching old age in captivity back in the days. They were used as food. In ancient times as a delicacy, later becoming a part of the usual diet, which would have affected pigeon age even more.
Moreover, pigeons were used during wartime to send messages to allies, as they are able to fly up to 60mph and quickly reach their destination to deliver the message.
Pigeons were the best choice in times when lives depended on information getting to the right people on time. It is no wonder that many of them didn’t survive the flight due to many dangers and challenges along the way. This inevitably cut the pigeon’s lifespan.
These days, pigeons thrive in captivity. People keep them for different purposes, but usually for sports like pigeon racing.
Unfortunately, the racing pigeon’s lifespan is only about one year, as many die or disappear during the races. Some claim that they are even killed off to make room for younger birds.
There are people who keep pigeons as pets or for shows. One famous breed is called the American Show Racer and they are, evidently, a great pet to have as they can live for up to 10 years and are not difficult to tame.
In the wild
Wild pigeons are a favorite meal for the peregrine falcon, so in the wild pigeons live up to 3 years because of these birds of prey.
Many places, like the UK and Italy, have an abundance of pigeons, swarming the squares at a whiff of food. These feral pigeons don’t have predators. But people are their main threat as are diseases, pets, and accidents.
Feral pigeons are called this way because they came from captivity, escaping and starting a life of their own. Someone should have warned them that this may shorten their lives, but perhaps freedom was more important.
Maybe the possibility of this bird living up to 15 years doesn’t excite you as much as it would a so-called pigeon fancier, but the fact is that their life expectancy and resilience made them a great human companion for centuries.
Should Pigeons Exercise to Live Longer?
Yes, it is a must for every living being. Pigeons should take short walks when the weather is good. They can fly, bathe, and play to keep their body flexible.
Unfortunately, many pigeons develop diseases or problems in captivity as their bodies go stiff. It invites an early demise, cutting their life short.
What Causes a Pigeon’s Death?
The most common diseases in pigeons are- Lice, worms, canker, mites, mycoplasma, flies, coccidia, respiratory infections, etc. These are the most common causes of death.
Related Read: Pigeon Diseases | Common sick pigeon symptoms & Behavior
A pigeon’s life depends on all these factors. When they eat good food, they exercise regularly, and if they stay away from these diseases, then they can live with you happily for 10-15 years.