Pigeon Feeding & Dove Feeding

Pigeons and doves make unusual yet wonderful pets, and need a healthy, balanced diet to thrive.

However, if you’re considering adopting one of these birds as a pet, you might not know what to feed a pigeon or a dove.

In this article, I will cover the basics on what to feed your pet pigeon and dove, to ensure that they are getting a balanced, nutritious diet.

Keep reading to find out more. 

Your pet bird’s nutritional needs should never be overlooked, and it’s fundamental that you are feeding them a balanced diet.

Poor nutrition is a common reason why birds suffer with health conditions.

To make sure you’re feeding your pigeon or dove the right type of foods, you will need to make sure that you consult with a veterinarian to discuss their nutritional needs.

What Should You Feed Your Pigeon?


There are a variety of foods that are safe to feed your pigeon, but commercial pigeon pellets should make up around 50% of a pigeon’s diet alongside seed and fresh produce.

You will be able to find commercial pigeon pellets or seeds available at a feed store. 

Pigeon grit is a complete mineral supplement that is specifically formulated for pigeons.

However, due to the controversy that surrounds feeding your pigeon too much of it, you should offer your pigeon crushed eggshell as an alternative for calcium.

If your bird seems to prefer one food item and is leaving others, reduce how much you give to them, or stop feeding it to them temporarily.

This is important to ensure they get a balanced diet, and will help to promote the consumption of other foods.

Fruits And Vegetables

You can feed your pigeon a variety of fresh vegetables as a treat, such as leafy greens, peas, and cauliflower.

You must offer fruits and vegetables in a separate dish to the pellets and they must be washed thoroughly to remove any harmful chemicals.


You will need to make sure that you give your pigeon fresh water on a daily basis in a deep dish.

Pigeons also love to bathe, so you should provide them with a special bowl to do this in.

That being said, you will need to make sure that you are cleaning out their water bowl and their bathing bowl on a regular basis to ensure that their cage is as hygienic as possible.

How Much Food Should You Feed Your Pigeon?

When you first get your pigeon, you will need to feed them around 2 tablespoons of pellets or seed.

This is likely to be too much, but you will be able to gauge how much food to give them by the amount of food that is left over. Once you know this, you can adjust their diet accordingly.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to adjust the food until the amount you provide your pigeon in the morning has been completely consumed by evening.

This is important, as you don’t want to overfeed your pigeon on a long term basis.

It’s also important to note that pigeons are ground feeders, so you will need to provide their water, seed, and grit near the bottom of the cage. 

What Should You Feed Your Dove?


Doves have small beaks and do best with small-sized pellets and seeds, which you will be able to find at your local pet store.

There are many different types of seeds and pellets available on the market that are specific to one breed or multiple, but your vet will be able to advise you more on this.

Again, you should avoid feeding your grit, but occasionally supplement your dove’s food with eggshell for an added boost of calcium.

In the same way that pigeons are ground feeders, doves should be fed near or on the ground.

Fruit And Vegetables 

Fresh vegetables are also good, such as carrots, broccoli, snap peas, dandelion greens, kale, edamame, and bell peppers work great.

However, vegetables with a high water content offer little nutritional value and should generally be avoided.

You should also avoid some vegetables, such as avocado, as these could potentially be toxic to birds.


Always make sure that fresh, clean water is available for your dove to drink. Depending on the quality of your tap water, you might want to consider giving your bird bottled water. 

You should also always make sure that you’re regularly cleaning out their water bowl.

How Much Food Should You Feed Your Dove?

Similar to pigeons, you will want to start feeding your dove two tablespoons of feed.

However, you will also need to adjust this feeding appropriately until they are eating all of their food by the evening.

In Summary

Both pigeons and doves require a healthy, balanced diet and their nutrition should never be overlooked.