How Many Eggs Do Pigeons Lay?

Considering the number of pigeons we see out in the world, it is pretty understandable that pigeons easily overbreed. They can lay quite a good number of eggs every year, bringing a whole new number of squabs.

How Many Eggs Do Pigeons Lay?

Intro Video - Backtobirds
Intro Video - Backtobirds

Pigeons are capable of laying as many as 24 eggs in a year for they can mate around 8 times, a year!. Two eggs will be laid at once, the second following the first by a day or two. In the wild pigeons are less likely to lay unfertilized eggs due to conditions being harsher.

Pigeons who are kept in cages will lay more eggs as they will have more excess energy that can create the eggs, rather than other processes such as movement or keeping warm.

They can mate and lay eggs based on the abundance of food availability and warmth. Pigeons generally prefer warmth than the colder climates. They prefer to mate when the conditions are favorable.

Let’s look at their breeding habits and how they go about laying and hatching their eggs.

Pigeon– Mating and ovulation Patterns

Pigeons mate for life, meaning that they get into pairs and only breed within that pair.

A female pigeon’s ovulation cycle is around 30 days. However, their ovulation period—when the egg is ready for fertilization—is up to 15 days which is longer than in most birds and humans.

However, a pigeon will not begin this cycle if its body needs energy reserved for elsewhere. If the weather is freezing or the female does not have enough food, she will not begin the process of readying an egg.

A female pigeon in perfect conditions can lay as many as 24 eggs a year, meaning that pigeons can multiply quickly in the right conditions. This ability to breed so rapidly makes pigeons a problem in built-up areas and populated cities.

When the female is ready for fertilization, males can tell. A male pigeon performs a mating ritual in an attempt to woo the female. If the female is won over, they then start to build a nest together. They then mate, and the female lays a fertilized egg soon after

Once a female lays the egg, both she and the male work to incubate the egg. Then, they take turns to sit on the egg and keep it warm. The pigeon that is not warming the egg will then protect the nest or gather food. 

A pigeon’s fertilized egg needs to stay warm or else the embryo inside will die. The little eggs are very fragile and will take longer to hatch if the temperature is just a few degrees lower than needed. It is the reason why pigeon nests are seldom seen, as they are tucked away in safe and insulated spots.

What Do Pigeon Nests And Eggs Look Like?

Pigeon nests are made out of small twigs and sticks. They will be positioned high up on ledges such as balconies or window ledges. Pigeon eggs look like smaller chicken eggs. They can be white or brown in color.

If you see what you suspect to be a pigeon nest with an egg in it, it may have been abandoned. If the egg is left unclaimed then you can dispose of the nest. Wait a few days to be sure the pigeons aren’t coming back.

Pigeons are very secretive in nature, and hence prefer to nest in heights well hidden from human eyes. It is very rare that you spot an abandoned nest with pigeon eggs for two reasons. 

  1. One among the two parent pigeons always stay in the nest, incubating their eggs as they need warmth. 
  2. The parent pigeons might have abandoned the nest in case they suspect humans having trespassed their babies.

Can You Eat Pigeons Egg?

Although you can eat pigeon eggs, eating the ones you find in the wild is not advisable. Pigeon eggs you eat in restaurants are farmed in safe and regulated industries. Although Pigeons in the wild are less healthy, it’s better not to take the chance over one egg.

And, it is not really easy to get pigeon eggs, as the parent pigeons are really cautious about protecting their little ones. So, if you chance upon meeting an abandoned pigeon nest, you should also consider if the eggs have some problem in them. 

You should make sure to cook the pigeon eggs really well before consuming them, as cooking completely will kill the parasites in them. Also, pigeon eggs are really small in size, and hence you will need a lot of them to feel a satisfying omelet. 

One need not be afraid of pigeons attacking them in case they trespass on their eggs. The Parent pigeons abandon or stay away from their little ones for too long if humans by chance touch or misplace them. The absence of incubation/food for a long time will gradually weaken the little ones making them die eventually.

Final Thoughts

Twenty-four eggs a year seems like a lot of eggs for one pigeon to produce. However, many of those eggs will not result in an adult bird. Pigeons live hard lives and are faced with massive competition for food. A baby pigeon’s odds of survival are stacked against it.

If you are keeping pigeons for their eggs, make sure you give them enough food and warmth, as well as a comfortable coup, and they should reward you with eggs. The eggs are edible but are smaller than chicken eggs.

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