Species group: Domestic Fancy Pigeons
Other common names: N/A
Scientific name: Columba livia domestica
One of the most popular pigeon varieties, the King Pigeon was created in the U.S. in the late 1880s as a dual purpose breed that can provide food or an elegant show bird. While the original birds were pure white, the fancier can choose from an assortment of colors today.
The King Pigeon is a large, stout bird with a short beak and well rounded chest. With a thick body, short tail, and long legs, these birds appear to be standing at attention. Utility King Pigeons stand with a normal pigeon posture. Show King Pigeons have a more compact posture with an upward pointing tail. Several colors and patterns are available including white, pearl, brown, red, and several barred patterns.
850 - 1050 grams (30 - 37 oz.)
29 - 30 centimeters (11.5 in.)
7 - 10 years
Behavior / temperament:
A placid and laid-back bird, King Pigeons put few demands on their owners. They like to be social with humans and other pigeons.
Healthy pigeons acclimate easily to most any weather conditions. Most pigeon fanciers keep their pigeons in a large outdoor aviary called a loft although King Pigeons also enjoy living as a household pet. There should be a minimum of 4 square feet of floor space for every 2 birds. An aviary 4 feet in width and 6 feet in length can house a maximum of 12 birds. Overcrowding can result in disease outbreaks and fighting. Ease of cleaning, providing enough space, protection from predators, and giving the choice to be protected from the elements are key elements to designing a healthy outdoor habitat. If you are not planning on breeding or are not prepared for the added responsibility of more birds then separate the sexes otherwise they will breed. Aviaries and cages must be cleaned daily to maintain a healthy environment for both the birds and owners. In addition all hard surfaces and housing should be disinfected monthly using proper disinfection procedures. This is done by first by scrubbing with a soap and water, then rinse thoroughly, and lastly applying a disinfectant such as bleach per the label instructions.
Pet pigeons need a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutritious seeds, produce, and some pellets. Providing healthy foods for your pigeon helps to maintain their feather condition and helps to ensure a long and healthy life. A bird on an all seed diet with limited choices will become fat and more easily susceptible to disease. To start, the majority of their diet should be seeds such as grains, hemp, flax, grass, oat, and thistle. Beans are an excellent source of plant proteins. Greens such as kale and dandelion should be offered daily. Formulated pellets help to supplement any nutrients missing in their diet. Wild pigeons regularly eat ants, slugs, and snails and pet pigeons will readily eat these as well. Wild bird seed mixes should never be fed as these are low in nutrients. Fresh, clean water and food should be available at all times.
Written by Dyfed Lloyd Evans
rewarding, White King Pigeon
special bird diapers
The King Pigeon
Before my younger brother won a baby king pigeon in a frat party, the thought of living with a bird, or being a friend to one, had never crossed my mind. I met Olivia the first time when she was just under two weeks old, a tiny squab making the magical turn to a squeaker but already passionately jumping about. Since then, I have learnt a lot about the King Pigeon.
The King Pigeon is a descendant from the Rock Pigeon (Columba livia). It is breed of domestic pet pigeon first appeared in the US in the 1890s as a cross-breed of the homer, maltese, runt and duchess pigeons. This is where it gets its body size, style, alertness and grace.
Appearance and behavior
If you have seen the king pigeon in person, chances are it was a pigeon show. This bird is deemed beautiful for its round and stylish shape and wide range of shiny to mate feather colors and patterns to plain white or brown and everything in between. An adult pigeon weighs about 25 oz. with a ‘lump’ appearance. Both male and female king pigeons look alike, you can tell gender identification by their interactions. The king pigeon is a sweet and amiable pet that finds it easy to put up with humans but it is rare because of its value in bird exhibition..
From jadedlust Nov 3 2014 3:15AM
White King Pigeon (Utility) For Squab Production
Like many fancy pigeons, the king pigeon has a fancy form and an utility form and the utility form is farmed for meat. This review is about the utility form.
I know that this is typically used as a fancy bird these days, but my father went to France as a child and he used what he saw there to bring the dovecote that we had at the head of one of our barns back into use. We had King Pigeons and Red Carneaus (Utility) along with a few rescued wood pigeons (or wood pigeons that had paired with one of our domestic pigeons) for raising squabs.
Though the method of raising pigeons for squabs originated in France, the White King Pigeon was developed in America through crossing the King Pigeon with racing pigeons. This kept the white plumage, but increased breast size compared with the body. This breed has been exported world-wide for meat production.
All domestic pigeons are descended from the wild Rock Pigeon and pigeons were one of the first animals domesticated by humans (we have records of their being kept in Egypt and Babylon over 5000 years ago in dovecotes that look similar to the ones we have today). Apart from France, the use of pigeons to raise meat as squabs is a dying art in most of Europe (it was very common in Britain until the 1920s). It is an increasingly popular pastime in Australia though where both the King Pigeon and the Red Carneau are being imported and raised for meat.
Of all the domestic pigeons the King is the largest and gives the largest squab. The King Pigeon is a very upright bird and its size makes it stand out. As a result it's good for showing. It is characterized by a short, stocky, body, a well-rounded body, a large head and pinkish-white skin. The feathers are tight which makes the bird attractive and nice to stroke. Adult birds are heavy and can weigh up to 1 1/2 lbs. The white king is classed as a variety of the king pigeon.
Traditionally they are housed in dovecots, though modern breeders will probably use a skillion-roofed shed with an enclosed flight area. In all cases, pigeons need a double nest as the female typically lays a second clutch of eggs before the squabs have fledged and a double nest allows the male to feed the first clutch of squabs whilst the female broods on the eggs.
Pigeons seems to have a preference for coarse nesting materials and pine needles, straw and wood shavings are ideal. The nest spaces should be fitted with nest bowls as this prevents the squabs from falling out (a squab that has fallen onto the nest floor is prone to cannibalism).
Pigeons form into bonded breeding pairs and they can begin breeding from the age of 6 months, which is when males and females should be introduced to one another. A pair of breeding pigeons can yield up to a dozen marketable squabs a year (each with a finishing weight of up to 600g).
I think it is best to allow pigeons to choose their own mates (though some breeders use force mating). When you allow natural mating you can identify bonded paris as the male struts around his chosen female. Mark such pairs with coloured and/or numbered leg bands for later identification.
When ready to mate, move the mated pairs into individual pens or into individual cells of a dovecote. If possible, stagger matings as this will allow for continuous production of squabs. After the eggs are laid, there is a 17 day gestation period. Each female will lay tow eggs, though the second egg may not be laid for 1 or 2 days after the first. The female will typically lay a second clutch when the first pair of squabs are 14 days old. Though both parents feed the squabs the male will do the lion's share of feeding. Pigeons produce a nutritious secretion in their crops and it is this that the squabs will mainly eat. This is very energy-rich and ensures the squabs grow fast and put on weight readily. Because of this you should supplement the pigeons' diet with bought feed when they are rearing.
If a squab dies during the first 2 weeks of rearing you can move in a squab from another nest (this makes the chick-less pair lay another pair of eggs sooner, maintaining production). Pigeons are not fussy eaters and prefer grains (crack maize if using this as a feed). If you are raising squabs for breeding, these should be left in the nest with the parents until at least 6 weeks old, so that they learn to feed and drink. They can then be removed to a separate rearing area where you can sex them.
If raising on a small scale or for your own use you can improve squab weights by hand rearing from about when they are 10 years old. They can be given beaten egg using a syringe fitted with a narrow tube and they can be fed on pigeon grain ration (this must be soaked in water for 4 hours beforehand to soften).
Squabs are usually ready for the meat trade when they are about 28 weeks old (they will be fully-feathered under the wings). Typically they will be between 1 and 1 1/2 lbs in weight at this time. Squabs are eaten either whole or as just breast fillets.
Rearing pigeons for meat is quite labour-intensive which is why the practice has died away. Yet, it can be very rewarding too. The breeding pairs can be hand-reared and they become very affectionate. Just be aware that close association with pigeon can yield to 'pigeon fancier's lung' which is an allergenic immune disorder where white blood cells in the lungs attack proteins in pigeon feathers and droppings breathed into the lungs and then go on to damage the lungs. For safety, if you are interacting with large numbers of pigeons wear a face-mask..
From DLlE Sep 4 2012 9:15AM