King Pigeon

King Pigeon
Scientific NameColumba livia domestica
Common NameKing Pigeon
Care LevelModerate
Lifespan5-7 years
Adult Size13-15 inches
DietSeeds, grains, legumes, and greens
OriginDomesticated
TemperamentCalm, docile, and sociable

History & Domestication

King Pigeons, as their name might suggest, are the regal members of the pigeon world. Originating from domestication, these birds are larger than many of their pigeon counterparts. Historically, the primary purpose behind their cultivation was for meat, given their more substantial size and more generous meat yield. Over time, however, as pigeon racing and exhibition became popular, King Pigeons found a new role in the ornamental and pet world.

The transition from being primarily raised for meat to beloved pets and show birds highlights human appreciation for the pigeon’s gentle nature, beauty, and ability to form bonds. King Pigeons, with their distinct size and gentle demeanor, have become favorites in bird shows and as pets worldwide.

Size

One of the most distinguishing features of the King Pigeon is its size. These birds, robust and well-built, typically range from 13 to 15 inches in length, making them one of the largest domesticated pigeon breeds. Their robust stature is complemented by a broad chest, giving them a distinct appearance.

Lifespan

When provided with proper care, nutrition, and a safe environment, King Pigeons can live anywhere from 5 to 7 years. Some well-tended birds have been known to live even longer. As with all pets, factors like genetics, diet, general care, and living conditions play a role in determining their lifespan.

Breeding

Breeding King Pigeons requires a bit more attention compared to other pigeon breeds due to their size. Because they’re larger, nesting accommodations need to be more spacious. These pigeons are monogamous, often forming strong bonds with their partners. A typical pair will produce several clutches a year, with each clutch containing 1-2 eggs. Both parents share the responsibility of incubation and feeding the chicks once they hatch.

Unique Features

Besides their notable size, King Pigeons possess a serene beauty that many bird enthusiasts admire. Their plumage, which can range from pure white to varying shades and combinations of gray, black, and blue, often has a sheen, making them stand out. Their broad chest, upright posture, and proud bearing further enhance their majestic appearance.

Behavior and Temperament

King Pigeons are known for their calm and docile temperament. They are less flighty compared to other pigeon breeds, making them great for families and those new to bird-keeping. Their sociable nature means they thrive on interaction, whether with their human caregivers or other pigeons. They are known to form strong bonds with their caregivers, often cooing or seeking attention when their favorite human is around.

Handling

Thanks to their calm disposition, King Pigeons are relatively easy to handle. Gentle and consistent handling from a young age is recommended to ensure the bird is accustomed to human touch. It’s always best to approach any bird, including King Pigeons, with slow and deliberate movements to avoid startling them.

Grooming Needs

King Pigeons, like their smaller counterparts, require minimal grooming. They are proficient at self-cleaning and will often be seen preening their feathers. A shallow bowl of water provided occasionally will allow them to bathe and clean themselves further. Regular checks for any signs of dirt or damage, especially on their feet or around the beak, can help catch potential health issues early.

Diet & Nutrition

King Pigeons thrive on a diet of seeds, grains, legumes, and greens. Commercial pigeon feed, often available in pet stores, is a balanced source of nutrition. However, supplementing this with fresh vegetables, fruits, and occasional protein sources like legumes can offer additional nutrients. Freshwater should be available at all times.

Temperature

While King Pigeons are relatively hardy, they do best in mild temperatures. A well-insulated and draft-free coop or aviary is essential, especially during colder months. In scorching conditions, providing shade, ventilation, and constant access to fresh water is crucial.

Common Health Issues

While they are robust, King Pigeons can be susceptible to common pigeon ailments. Parasitic infections, respiratory issues, and fungal infections are among the potential health concerns. Regular health checks, proper sanitation, and a balanced diet can prevent many of these issues or catch them early.

Habitat Requirements

Given their size, King Pigeons require spacious accommodations. Whether they’re kept in a coop, aviary, or even indoors, ensuring they have enough space to move around, stretch, and fly is crucial. Nesting areas should be adequately sized, and protection from predators and extreme weather conditions should be a priority.

Cost of Care

The initial cost for a King Pigeon can vary, depending on its pedigree, purpose (show bird vs. pet), and age. Beyond the initial purchase, caretakers should budget for food, potential veterinary care, habitat maintenance, and any accessories like nesting materials. Proper planning ensures these majestic birds receive the care they deserve and thrive in their environment.

King Pigeon FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)