We feed pigeons bread all the time. At this point, a person feeding pigeons bread is a part of our natural landscape. But is this healthy for them? Do pigeons eat bread?
Pigeons eat bread, they pretty much eat anything they can. Pigeons in cities don’t have access to the foods that they find in the wild so if you give them bread they will eat it. But them eating bread isn’t healthy for them, bread isn’t very nutrient-rich and can cause malnourishment.
Do pigeons eat bread?
Pigeons are opportunistic feeders, they eat almost anything, people don’t call pigeons rats of the sky for nothing.
They can eat fruits, vegetables, seeds, waste, snails, and insects as well. We generally see people feeding pigeons bread, but this isn’t the best food to give them.
Don’t get me wrong, feeding pigeons is a generous thing to do. But bred isn’t best for pigeons
Below are reasons why bread is bad for pigeons:
Low in nutrients:
Bread may be edible to these birds but it is not actually good for pigeons. It’s true that bread contains fiber, calcium, some lipids, vitamins, minerals, and even amino acids but these minerals are in low quantities in bread.
This food doesn’t necessarily deliver empty calories but the food isn’t nutrient-dense either. Bread may be ok for humans but it’s not the best food for pigeons.
The nutrients found in bread are not sufficient for pigeons’, especially if the birds are eating bread on a regular basis.
Bread is filling:
Bread will make the pigeon feel fuller much quicker. This full feeling stops these birds from wanting to eat more foods that may deliver better amounts of nutrients and can keep the bird fit and healthy.
Feeding pigeons bread consistently can cause the animal to become malnourished. Animals become malnourished when the food they eat is of a poor quality and is not nutrient-dense.
These birds can eventually die of malnourishment
Bread can be a choking hazard:
If the piece of bread that you give the pigeon is too large, larger than the bird’s throat, then the bread can choke the bird or give it a digestive block.
Birds have no one to help them when choking, these animals can choke to death on bread.
Moldy bread can be toxic:
In addition, if you are feeding pigeons moldy pieces of bread, this can be fatal to the bird. Bread mold is toxic to pigeons and all other types of birds as well.
Moldy bread can kill pigeons. Bread mold can also give the bird a fungal infection called Aspergillosis.
This article is a more in-depth look at the negative effects of giving pigeons moldy bread
Rather than feeding them bread that has a low nutrient value, fills them easily and may be a choking hazard, pick up some bird feed and feed it to the pigeons. This is a delicious and nutrient-rich bird feed you can give to your pigeons.
What do pigeons eat?
The best diet for a pigeon would be a combination of seed, grains, greens, fruits, berries, insects, earthworms, and snails.
You can also get pigeon feed that contains a mix of vegetables, seeds, grains, and even additions such as brewers yeast, minerals, and vitamins.
If you own pigeons and are looking for something else to feed them you can feed them a pellet diet. This is an ideal diet for pigeons. This bird feed mix offers a combination of all these
Also, remember to feed fruits and vegetables to your bird. Give them vegetables with a high water content like iceberg lettuce. They love potatoes as well, read more about it here.
In addition, always make sure that the bird has access to fresh and clean water. Pigeons need to drink lots of water to stay healthy.
What shouldn’t you feed pigeons:
You shouldn’t give your pigeons food that isn’t healthy for you. This includes junk food, junk food doesn’t offer pigeons the necessary nutrients that birds need to stay healthy.
In addition, you should avoid giving your pigeons foods like chocolate, foods that have caffeine in them and alcoholic beverages as well. Avocado is said to be toxic to pigeons as well so avoid giving them this.
You should avoid feeding pigeons salty foods, they love salt it but isn’t good for them. These birds need more water than other types of birds and salt dehydrates them.
Human food will give the pigeons bacteria especially if it’s meat. The pigeons won’t be able to fight off the bacteria that infects them and this can be fatal.
Why you shouldnt feed pigeons:
When you start to feed pigeons, especially if you feed them on a regular basis, you make them too used to getting feed by people. This applies to feeding pigeons in the wild or feeding pigeons in urban environments.
Feeding them makes them less likely to do what they are designed to do: find food for themselves.
You’re feeding rats:
All the foods that you’re feeding pigeons aren’t all eaten by pigeons. Some birds won’t eat the food that you give them. This leaves the food available to rats.
Rats are scavenging animals and will eat anything they can find. Having food out increases the chances of a rat infestations developing
Do pigeons eat rice?
Yes, pigeons eat rice, there is an old wives tale that warns that rice will make pigeons explode, this is a myth.
The myth states that when a pigeon eats rice, the rice will cause their stomachs to expand and tear. This will supposedly lead to the death of the bird. This is far from the truth.
Pigeons will eat cooked rice, white rice, brown rice, black rice, and even uncooked rice, it can be good for them. The pigeons will eat all sorts of grains if they need to. The uncooked rice won’t likely attract other birds though.
Read more about this debunked myth here.
Will pigeons starve if I stop feeding them?
Pigeons will not starve if you stop feeding them. Feeding them can actually cause more harm than good.
Pigeons are very resourceful animals and will simply look for other food sources if they can’t get food from you.
If you don’t feed them, and other people don’t feed them in urban areas, the flock will move on to somewhere where there is food available.
However, if you don’t feed pet pigeons in your care then yes they will starve.
If you own baby pigeons you can feed them until the stage where they can feed themselves. This article explains when baby pigeons can start to feed themselves.
In conclusion, you should not feed pigeons bread on a regular basis.
Bread has a low nutritional value, will fill the pigeon up making them disinterested in eating something else that is possibly more nutrient-rich, can choke them, can get clogged in their digestive system and if the bread is moldy it can kill the bird.
If you can, rather buy a bag of pigeon feed and throw some feed to the pigeons.
Pigeons do well on a balanced healthy diet just as we do, they can eat cut-up fruits and water-rich foods. They eat seeds, grains, pellets, snails, insects, and other small animals.
Remember to also give them lots of water, pigeons need more water than other animals.