Pigeons are monogamous birds which means they live in pairs. They reach the sexual maturity at the age of 6 months (some a little earlier, some later) and the reproduction is started at the age of 8 months. The breeder match the pairs and close them in special created boxes for partners to get used with each other. Usually, a week is quite enough for the couple to be enclosed in the box and get used with each other. A good habit is to separate female and male in different lofts before copulation. Personally, I separate them in the winter for about 2 months before copulation and I make different pairs every year.
Female lays in the nest 2 small white eggs. The first egg is usually laid in the afternoon and the second one in the morning two days later (about 44 hours difference). Pigeon eggs weight approximately 25g, depending on the pigeon breed.
Brooding is done by both partners. The male pigeon broods during the day (between 9 am and 6 pm) and the female pigeon during the night (6 pm to 9 am). The chicks hatch after 17 days and weight around 20 g (depending on the pigeon breed).
In the first several days of life, the chicks are feed with pigeon milk which is produced in the pigeon's ventriculus (gizzard). In the fifth day, the chicks start to be feed with seeds soaked in goiter. The quantity of these seeds increases with the chicks age. When the chicks are 2 weeks old they are feed exclusively with seeds soaked in goiter.
The chicks are feed by regurgitation which means that the chicks introduce their beaks in the parents beak and the food is transferred from parents goiter into the chicks mouth.
Usually, pigeons cover their chicks in the first 6 days of life, then the chicks start to cover in leathers and parents can leave the nest more often to prepare the next eggs series. In many cases, the pigeons lay new eggs before the chicks are fully grown and out of the nest. (Every 30 days … to 45 days, pigeons lay new pair of eggs). Please read the notes below!
Pigeons reproduction notes
- It is not recommended the reproduction during moulting period and winter.
- Pigeons that have to feed need a bigger quantity of food than usually.
- The specialists say that the female pigeon is born with a specific number of eggs which are laid during its life (60-80 eggs). According to my personal experience, there are more than 80 eggs in a pigeon female.
- Reproduction of the pigeons that are (or will be) engaged in race competitions needs a different approach.
- All of the pigeons should be vaccinated 6-8 weeks before the reproduction season starts.