What Do Pigeons Eat?
When we think of the humble pigeon, we often think about the hundreds that flock to Trafalgar Square and we can’t help but consider them as vermin. However, pigeons are becoming more common in our gardens. Like any other garden bird, they need help throughout the harsher months with food supply. If you want to help your resident pigeons out, check out the sorts of food they enjoy eating.
Pigeons are gannets and will eat pretty much anything you put in a feeder or on a bird table. However, to keep them in tip-top condition, you need to consider the food that is beneficial to their health. In the cooler months, when food is scarcer, consider leaving out some fat-laden suet balls. These can be picked up cheaply in garden centres and supermarkets across the UK. Pigeons need fatty foods to top up their reserves and to help them to survive cold and frost-laden nights. Try to establish a feeding routine - this will enable the pigeons in your garden to recognise when feeding times are. Early morning and dusk are the best times to ensure your pigeons remain healthy.
Seeds, Oatmeal, Raisins
In the warmer months, consider swapping your fat-rich treats for more protein-heavy foodstuffs. Black poppy seeds, oatmeal and dried fruit such as raisins, sultanas, and apricots can ensure that the pigeons in your garden stay feeling full for longer. In the hot, balmy weather, many pigeons begin to moult, making a protein-rich diet even more important.
Pigeons will eat anything, including grubs and insects. Consider putting out a seed mix on your bird table that includes mealworms and waxworms. These boost the protein content of their diet and can prevent the pigeons in your garden from going hungry. Pigeons are inherently lazy birds that can grow fat very quickly. Fat is great in the winter, but for the summer, focus on the protein. Fat balls can also go rancid in the heat of the summer sun which can result in poorly pigeons.
To really boost the protein in the pigeons’ diet, consider putting out some canned pet food. While the pigeons will enjoy this highly scented food, so will magpies, crows, cats and even foxes, so only put this out at the set feeding times and limit the quantity.
When pigeons are breeding in springtime, food shortages can occur during wetter periods. Being the UK, wet springs are the norm, so ensure that you leave out extra grub for the pigeons when chicks have been born. Having a set place that they can go to when looking for food to feed their young will result in healthy pigeon fledgelings.
Don’t assume that because pigeons are larger garden birds that they can look after themselves. Like many of our native bird spices, they need help to survive harsher weather and food shortages. Follow this guide and you can keep the pigeons in your garden healthy and see them thrive all year round.