Pigeons are granivorous birds. Pigeons in the wild eat a variety of grains along with berries, fruits, seeds, green leafy vegetables, etc. They also occasionally catch a small worm or an insect that is easily available for prey. But what grains do pigeons eat?
The pigeons that live in cities are feral pigeons. These pigeons have adapted to living in busy cities. A majority of feral pigeons are entirely dependent on humans for food. They eat whatever is available to them. These birds also eat human food such as cooked rice, bread crumbs, vegetables, eggs, dairy, etc. Sometimes, you can also see them scavenging the dustbins for food.
However, eating human food is not suitable for pigeons. They contract diseases that sometimes prove to be lethal to these birds. As human food contains a high amount of salts and sugars, it is advisable to not feed it to your pigeon regularly.
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What Grains Do Pigeons Eat?
Pigeons eat a variety of grains and seeds. Cereals provide them with the nutrition required at different stages in life. It is good to feed pigeons a mixture of different grains. Some of the grains liked by pigeons are
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- Corn – Corn is the best grain for pigeons. It has low fiber and hence is easily digestible by the pigeon. Corn is one of the fattiest grains and also contains vitamins in good measure. One drawback of corn is that it is low in protein and amino acids. You can have 25% of corn in the pigeons’ feed.
- Barley – Pigeons do not like to eat barley because of the presence of crude fiber, which is hard to digest. Eating a high amount of barley stunts the growth of young birds. However, a small portion of barley in the feed helps to clean the intestines of the bird. Ensure that barely do not make more than 15% of the feed.
- Wheat – Wheat is rich in protein and sulfur. It also contains a good amount of fat. Moreover, pigeons love to eat wheat. This grain provides the birds with all the nutrients and vitamins. Wheat should make up to 25% of the feed.
- Millets – Millets have high protein and low fat. They are good for pigeons and should make 25% of their diet. Sorghum and Pearl Millets are two of the most nutritious millets that can be fed to these birds. Pearl millet or bajra is energy-rich and is a good choice for winters. It helps pigeons to maintain their body temperature during the cold winter months. However, it is best to avoid bajra during summers and switch to other millets such as ragi, foxtail millet, etc.
- Rice – There is a popular myth that pigeons should not be fed rice as it makes the pigeons burst. However, that is not true. You can feed pigeons a small amount of rice as part of the feed. Pigeons eat all varieties of rice such as white rice, red rice, brown rice, etc.
- Oats – Oats is an excellent grain for pigeons. It helps in muscle building and is also good for their feathers. Always feed raw oats or oatmeal to the pigeons and the cooked oats may form lumps in their mouth.
Pigeons eat any grain. But the above ones are healthy for the pigeon. Always mix a variety of grains and seeds to prepare a healthy pigeon feed. You can also occasionally feed fruits, vegetables, green leafy vegetables, and dairy to the pigeon. This ensures that the bird gets all the necessary vitamins, proteins, and chemicals essential for its growth and wellbeing.