Acquired: Bred bird myself
Congleton, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Posted Sep 15, 2012
I love these brick-coloured birds... and if you have ever seen one you will know why. They were originally bred from wild field pigeons, so they are more active than many other utility breeds. Originally they would forage for themselves in the fields as they raised squabs in dovecotes, but breeding has made them a much heavier bird now and less able to fly.
They make extremely good parents and their crop milk is very rich. Indeed, if you are raising them for squabs the squabs will be ready for market in 30 days. Like most pigeons they produce two eggs in each clutch and will typically raise two overlapping clutches at the same time. If growing commercially you need to stagger mating to ensure a steady supply of squabs.
As in any farming practice you always get individuals who are injured or have problems for one reason or another. These are invariably taken into the house and are raised until healthy. Some can be returned to the dovecot or coop, but others cannot and often they end up being house pets. These hand-reared Carneaus are affectionate birds and enjoy the company of humans. However, they do have an insatiable curiosity and can be viewed as destructive, because they want to investigate and be in the middle of things. So if you have a Carneau in your house be ready for breakages.
As Carneaus were developed from field birds they need a varied diet and the usual seed mixes should be supplemented with greens (kale and dandelion are good) along with the occasional worm and grub. The protein in their diet should be increased if they are raising chicks as they need this to produce the rich crop 'milk' which they use to feed the chicks.
Larger squabs are produced by crossing Carneaus with King Pigeons. Though quite active, they are calm birds and can be used to calm other pigeons such as Wood Pigeons raised for game. Carneaus can make excellent house pets and the white form is favoured for this. In the US, Carneaus were outbred with King Pigeons to give larger birds and you can get two types 'giants' and more gracile 'standard' birds. Because of their King Pigeon heritage the giants are the better pet.