The king pigeon breed is a large and robust bird with an upright posture. This breed is known for its gentle and calm temperament, making it an excellent choice for beginners and experienced pigeon enthusiasts.
This breed of fancy pigeon originated in France in the mid-19th century. They are also raised for meat production and are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world.
In this guide, I will explore the king pigeon breed’s characteristics, history, and care requirements.
Physical Characteristics of the King Pigeon
King pigeons are a breed of domestic pigeons that baffle people with their large size and distinctive features. These birds fascinate many bird enthusiasts because of their unique appearance and traits. Let’s focus on the physical characteristics of this breed:
Size and Weight
King pigeons have a significant size and are known to be larger than other domestic pigeon breeds.
- Male king pigeons are generally larger than females and can weigh between 1-2 pounds.
- The average length of an adult king pigeon is around 33 cm (13 inches) tall.
- The wingspan can be as large as 75 cm (29. 5 inches), making them an impressive sight in flight.
Plumage Color Variations and Patterns
Concerning plumage, king pigeons come in various colors and patterns.
- White: the most common color of king pigeons and typically seen as a symbol of ‘peace.
- Silver: they have a grey-like hue to their feathers and are popular in pigeon shows.
- Blondinette: a light cream color that can appear as an off-white, beige, or pale yellow.
- Black: black king pigeons are rare to find but an impressive sight when seen.
- Red: they have red feathers that look darker or brighter depending on the lighting.
Unique Features Like The Crop and Muffs
King pigeons have a few unique features that set them apart from other breeds. They have a crop, an enlarged pouch-like structure in their throat to store food. They also have muffs, puffy feathers around their feet, and eyes, giving them a distinct appearance.
The crop is one of the most distinctive features of king pigeons, making them look swollen around the neck area. The crop serves as a reservoir from which the bird can draw food, providing extra energy for activities like flying or mating.
The muffs, on the other hand, are not functional and are purely ornamental. They are formed by elongated feathers around the bird’s feet and tufts of feathers above the eyes. These feathers give king pigeons a unique look, adding to their overall appeal.
Temperament and Behavior of King Pigeon Breed
King pigeons have a friendly and docile temperament, making them popular as a pet for bird lovers. This breed’s unique characteristics make them fascinating creatures to observe.
Let’s examine how king pigeons behave in different environments, their instincts and tendencies, and training and socialization tips.
Behavior in Different Environments
King pigeons adapt quickly to different environments, making them a great pets for city dwellers. They are known for their calm and gentle nature, making them ideal for indoor living.
- King pigeons thrive in large spaces, so if you have a backyard, you should give them access to it.
- These pigeons tend to be very social, so you should keep them in pairs to prevent them from getting lonely.
- King pigeons are not very good at flying due to their muscular bodies, so you should avoid keeping them on high balconies or rooftops.
Natural Instincts and Tendencies
Like all birds, king pigeons have instincts that control their behavior. It’s essential to understand their nature to care for them properly.
- King pigeons instinctively peck at things. This behavior helps them find food in their natural environment.
- They prefer the company of other birds, as they are highly social animals.
- When stressed, king pigeons often retreat to a quiet corner to rest.
Training and Socialization Tips
Training and socializing your pets are essential for their well-being.
- To socialize king pigeons, you should get them used to human interaction from a young age by hand-feeding them.
- You can train your king pigeon to come to you by offering them food or treats. This will make it easier to take them out of their cage.
- These birds are intelligent and can be trained to perform simple tricks like standing on your finger or jumping on and off a platform.
Housing and Feeding Requirements for King Pigeons
If you’re considering raising king pigeons, knowing how to provide them with a suitable housing environment is essential. Here is the complete guide for you.
Suitable Housing Options
When it comes to keeping king pigeons, they require adequate shelter to ensure their safety and security.
- Outdoor lofts: King pigeons are well-suited to outdoor lofts, which should be spacious enough to move around freely. The ideal loft size for a pair of king pigeons is 3 x 4 feet.
- Indoor cages: Indoor cages can also be an excellent choice for king pigeons. The ideal cage size for a pair of king pigeons is 8 x 4 feet with a height of at least 6 feet.
- Nest boxes: King pigeons love nesting, so providing them with a suitable nest box is essential. The box should be at least 18 x 18 inches, with an opening of 6 inches.
Ideal Environmental Conditions
King pigeons thrive in specific environmental conditions that mimic their natural habitat.
- Temperature: King pigeons prefer moderate temperatures between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything lower or higher than this range can cause health problems.
- Ventilation: it’s crucial to provide good ventilation in the pigeon loft or cage to prevent respiratory problems due to poor air quality.
- Lighting: pigeons need plenty of natural light to keep them in good health. Ensuring their living space is well-lit with plenty of windows or artificial light sources is best.
- Cleanliness: maintaining a clean living environment is essential to the health and happiness of king pigeons. Make sure to clean their living quarters regularly to prevent the build-up of dirt and waste.
Recommended Diet and Nutrition
The key to keeping king pigeons healthy and happy is their diet and nutrition.
- Feed your pigeons high-quality pellets and grains, which should make up most of their diet.
- Supplement their diet with fresh fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, and broccoli.
- Provide your pigeons with clean drinking water at all times.
- Avoid feeding them bread or other human food items, which can harm their health.
Health and Care Guide for the King Pigeon
Proper health and care are essential for keeping King Pigeons, also known as Utility King Pigeons, in good condition. Here’s a guide to help you maintain the health and well-being of your King Pigeons:
Common Health Issues and Diseases
King pigeons may suffer from various health issues and diseases like any other pet. As their caretaker, it’s crucial to be aware of some of the most common ailments so that you can quickly address them.
- Respiratory infections
- Feather plucking
- Lice and mites infestation
- Trauma, especially wing injuries
Signs of Illness to Watch Out For
As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to be on the lookout for any signs of illness so that you can spot health problems early enough. If left unaddressed, some health issues may result in permanent health damage or even death.
- Drooping wings
- Fluffed feathers
- Weight loss
- Reduced activity level
- Soiled vent
Proper Care and Grooming Practices
To keep your king pigeons healthy and happy, keeping up with regular care and grooming is essential.
- Provide a clean, spacious, and well-ventilated living space
- Supply fresh water and high-quality pigeon feed daily
- Clean and change the bedding regularly to limit the risk of infections
- Schedule an annual check-up with an avian veterinarian
- Monitor the pigeon’s weight closely
- Trim the feathers when necessary to prevent flight
- Bathe the pigeon regularly to keep its feathers clean and shiny.
The Breeding Process of the King Pigeon
Breeding King Pigeons, also known as Utility King Pigeons, involves several steps to ensure the health and well-being of the birds and the successful reproduction of offspring. Here is a general overview of the breeding process for King Pigeons:
Selecting Healthy Breeding Pairs
- Choose mature, healthy pigeons for breeding. They should be free from diseases and deformities.
- Assess their physical characteristics, including body size, shape, feather quality, and color, to ensure they meet the breed standards.
Providing Suitable Housing
- Set up a clean and spacious loft or cage for the breeding pairs. Ensure adequate ventilation, lighting, and protection from extreme weather conditions.
- Nest boxes should be provided for the pairs. King Pigeons prefer secluded and dark nesting spaces.
Courtship and Mating
- Allow the pairs to spend time together to facilitate courtship. Pigeons often choose their mates.
- Once the pair has bonded, they will mate. Pigeons mate for life and usually have several broods together.
Egg Laying and Incubation
- The female pigeon will lay one or two eggs. The eggs are usually laid a day or two apart.
- The male and female take turns incubating the eggs, each taking shifts of several hours.
- The incubation period typically lasts around 18 days.
Hatching and Rearing Chicks
- After the incubation period, the eggs hatch, and the parents feed the newly hatched chicks with “pigeon milk,” a secretion produced in their crops.
- Chicks grow rapidly, and both parents continue to care for them, providing warmth and regurgitated food until they are old enough to eat solid food.
6. Weaning and Independence
- Chicks are weaned and become independent at around 4 to 6 weeks of age. They start eating solid pigeon feed provided by the breeders.
- At this stage, young pigeons can be separated from their parents and placed in a separate section of the loft or cage.
Health Care and Monitoring
- Regularly monitor the health of the breeding pairs, chicks, and the loft environment.
- Provide a balanced diet, fresh water, and suitable grit and minerals to meet the pigeons’ nutritional needs.
- Maintain accurate records of the breeding pairs, hatch dates, and any noteworthy observations. This information helps in managing the breeding program effectively.
- Pigeon breeders often follow specific breeding cycles, allowing the pairs to rest between breeding attempts. This helps maintain the health and reproductive capability of the birds.
The king pigeon breed is an excellent choice for a gentle, easy-to-care-for, attractive bird. Its unique appearance and characteristic muffs and frill make it a standout in any flock.
As with any bird, proper care involves a balanced diet and a clean living environment, but king pigeons are generally resilient and have few health issues.
Whether you are a seasoned pigeon fancier or just starting, the king pigeon is an excellent choice for a beautiful, friendly bird that will surely bring joy and entertainment.