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Pigeons perfect for permaculture!

Posted by fabaceae_native z6 NM (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 5, 12 at 14:50

The history of the pigeon is surely a fascinating one, and unknown to most people. Up to the present day, when the chicken has become the most numerous and most often eaten domestic species, pigeons were easily the most important domesticated animal, being raised by the millions in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Middle East, and Europe.

All the negative connotations surrounding feral city pigeons (that we introduced) have concealed their importance, making it a shame that pigeons are not incorporated more into agriculture systems. Consider the following traits of pigeons as perfect for permaculture:

-- Pigeons are hardy, tough birds
-- Pigeons survive on much less food than chickens
-- Pigeons raise young throughout the year, regardless of light levels and temperatures
-- Pigeon young are still esteemed table delicacies, fetching many times more than what you would get for chicken
-- Pigeon eggs are also edible, being substantially larger than quail eggs
-- Pigeon manure is arguably the richest possible, and can be used fresh in the garden due to it's unique chemical composition (it won't burn like other high nitrogen manures can)
-- Pigeons are quiet: what sounds they do make are pleasing to the neighbors
-- Pigeons are beautiful and varied: they are almost matched in variety of breeds only by the dog.

So maybe it's time to start bringing back the pigeon to farmyards, gardens, and homes, as it has so much to offer...

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Pigeons perfect for permaculture!

Replying to my own post just to move it along...
It looks like this is one of those useless forums, as most of the new posts are unanswered, and older posts are well, OLD!

RE: Pigeons perfect for permaculture!

I think you just need patience on a subject this arcane on an already arcane forum. I'm sure you raise a good point, not an area with which I'm familiar, and hope you get some thought-provoking, informative inputs.

But I can say that I've always wondered why people in cities don't eat more pigeons? Why just complain about the poo? Aren't they just free food flying around? I wonder the same thing about the "chicken problem" in Miami. Seems like hungry/thrifty people would be out there catching a free dinner. And it seems like somebody's missing a business opportunity there - make it an "ecotourist" thing. "Come to Miami and catch your own wild chicken dinner!"

But back to your issue, I think the powers that be have done an excellent job of convincing Americans that anything not regularly available in a grocery store is not worthy of being consumed, or something only "rednecks" would eat.

I think you forgot something - tastes like chicken, right?

RE: Pigeons perfect for permaculture!

Well, at least there are some active members on this forum!

You're right that this is a pretty random topic, I posted after noticing a few posts on the subject of pigeons from years back (on this or maybe on the composting forum). Thought it might be of interest for people to read anyway...

Anyway, here's a picture of my passive solar adobe dovecote inspired by those in ancient Egypt. Sorry for the poor quality photo, I haven't had time to get a better one...

RE: Pigeons perfect for permaculture!

And here's the real thing from Egypt, except that it's still in operation! Monumental structures like this exist all over north Africa, Greece, the Middle East, and wherever the Roman Empire spread into Europe...

RE: Pigeons perfect for permaculture!

Interesting photos and concept.

RE: Pigeons perfect for permaculture!

Pigeons were an important winter food here in the past. They supplied fresh meat in the winter and medieval dovecots survive in many places. Nowadays when we eat pigeon, which we do quite often, it is nearly always wood pigeon (Columba palumbus) which is bigger than the rock dove/feral pigeon and is a major agricultural and garden pest species. It occurs in large flocks and eats grain, seedlings and greens. If we don't net our winter brassicas, wood pigeons will strip them bare.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood pigeon recipes.

RE: Pigeons perfect for permaculture!

Thanks for chiming in flora!
I never realized there was a temperate pigeon species that regularly feeds on anything other than seeds and berries. I'm guessing people hunt the adults from the wild? Here in Western North America the native Band-Tailed Pigeon is also a highly prize game bird, but certainly not a pest and is becoming rare in some places.

After googling the wood pigeon I can imagine why folks would choose it over the feral pigeon for hunting (larger size, pest control, maybe more abundant than the latter in rural areas where hunting is more appropriate?).

But I can't help mentioning that among the domesticated pigeons, there are several varieties bred for the table that dwarf any wood pigeon in size. Of course the adults are rarely eaten, but rather the squabs, which are still quite large and apparently far superior in quality than older birds.

RE: Pigeons perfect for permaculture!

Hi again - wood pigeons are just shot by farmers as part of their pest control, much as they would do with rabbits. I wouldn't really call it hunting, which is much less common here than in the States.

They can destroy a brassica crop. Not my picture but this is what they do.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood pigeon damage

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