reminder: All articles and posts on my website are written by me and from my own perspective (Sophie The Pigeon) and often I'm typing it aimed at other birds 😉

Pigeon & Bird Articles – Food & Drinks

In this article I will talk about food and drinks for us pigeons. I will give some basic advice and/or guidelines and tell you my recommended ‘best practices’. Please note that my advice and guidelines are intended for (rescue) pet pigeons, and not for racers, show & competition pigeons or breeder pigeons!

Additional Articles Tip

I have also some other articles which cover additional topics like dangerous foods & drinks, and for example which human foods are safe for us pigeons. these articles can be found on these pages:
Toxic and bad Foods (& drinks)
Safe Human Foods & Drinks

It is highly recommended to also ‘dive into’ these pages, because it covers a lot of additional topics, dangers and treats for us pigeons.

Drinking Water

Let’s first start of with the ‘easy one’: Drinks for your pigeon(s). Pigeons should have access to fresh drinking water at all times throughout the day. You can just use regular tap water for this. If you however live in an area where you suspect or know that the tap water isn’t safe or ‘clean enough’ for your pigeons to drink, then you might want to choose to use store bought bottled water.

Do note though, that if you use store bought bottled water, that you should only give your pigeons ‘plain water’ without any artificial enhancers, purifiers, flavors or anything like that.

You should give your pigeon(s) fresh drinking water at least once a day, but my preference would be twice a day; once in the morning and once towards the middle of the day or early in the evening. If however the water got dirty (due to the pigeon pooping in it, food got into it, feathers go into it, from ‘stamping’ in it etc etc), then it is is highly recommended to give it an ‘extra change’ of fresh water.

When refreshing the water do make sure to rinse and clean the drinking bowl thoroughly.

Size of the drinking bowl
Make sure that you don’t give a drinking bowl which is ‘to big’, chances are that your pigeon(s) might start using it as a bath, and thus making their drinking water dirty. A pigeon (depending on it’s size) drinks between 25ml to 45ml of water per day on average (the 45ml being for a wood pigeon of about 400grams). You do not need to measure the water (as in limiting it to the ‘required amount’), just make sure they have plenty of fresh water.

Please do realize that the 25ml-45ml is an average indicator! I myself for example has a 35ml ‘travel cup’ me and my pet humans take along with us when we are ‘out and about’ on short trips, and often when it’s a very busy/active day (like in lots of flying in the park), or when it’s very warm outside, I can easily drink the entire 35ml cup and then still drink quite a lot the rest of the evening when we are at home from my ‘big bowl’. So if on occasion there are days where your pigeon(s) seems to drink (a lot) more than other days, this is not directly a reason for concern. If you pigeon however drinks a lot for multiple days, you should consult an avian veterinarian as soon as possible, because there could be something (seriously) wrong with the your pigeon.

NOTE: If your pigeons do still try to bathe in their drinking bowl (even if it’s a smaller one), then this is often basically an indication of them saying that they want to bathe. I have also written an article about bathing pigeons, which is definitely worth reading if you don’t know how to bath your pigeon(s) yet.

Other drinks besides water
You should in essence only give your pigeon(s) water as drink, but there are some alternatives possible as ‘treat’ every now and then. You can read about those on my Safe Human Foods & Drinks page. But in general your pigeon(s) should just have fresh drinking water available at all times.

Adding supplements to the drinking water or not
Unless recommended or instructed by an avian veterinarian to treat a disease, infection or anything alike, we personally would like to recommend to not add any additives, supplements etc to the drinking water at all. We (me and my pet humans) are not saying you should not use any supplements at all (you will read about these a bit further in this article), but we would recommend to use supplements which can be mixed with or ‘sprinkled over’ the food instead. This for example ensures that the water won’t ‘go bad’, and is because some supplements might not dissolve well in water. But this is a personal preference of me and my pet humans. You might choose (or get recommended) to do otherwise, and that’s just fine. This is just my/our personal advice 🙂

What is your advice about Apple Cider Vinegar?
You can find lots of information on the internet about using Apple Cider Vinegar (often shortened with ACV) for pigeons by mixing it (about three times a week) in their water. This advice is most often given for racing pigeons, but here and there also for show and pet pigeons. It is said to have several health benefits for the pigeons, but it can definitely also have (very) negative health effects if the dosage is done incorrectly.

If you want to know more about using ACV and why, then I would like to recommend you to research (a lot more) about it on the internet, because there are a lot of websites discussing this topic. Me and my pet humans however don’t use it, unless it is necessary to ‘restore some balance’ or so, and then still only when it’s actually recommended by my (avian) veterinarian. Personally me and my pet humans don’t like to use ‘preventive medication’ and they just want me to live on a ‘natural/wild diet’ as much as possible (aside from my snacks and calcium & vitamin supplements in my food).

But this is just a personal preference of my pet humans which have been discussed with our avian vet. If you do want to know more about it, I yet again highly recommend to research a bit more on the ACV topic.

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It is very important to provide your pigeons (or doves) with a (professionally formulated and) well balanced diet. Often you’ll read about that pellet food is the best choice because pellets often (should) contain all the nutrients needed for your bird(s), and they aren’t able to only pick the seeds they like. But sometimes it can be very difficult to find the correct pellet type for us pigeons (or doves). Here in The Netherlands (at least in my home town and online), it’s quite difficult to find good quality pigeon pellet food in normal quantities for just one or two pigeons.

Me and my pet humans however also prefer the more “natural eating experience” for me (when being able to pick from different seeds), and when using an high quality seed mix supplemented with vitamins, your pigeons will get all the nutrients they’ll need. Especially if you also provide them veggies or fruits often (discussed later in this article).

Pigeon seed mix or dove seed mix

What type of (balanced) seed mix you’ll need all depends on the size of your pigeon or dove, and it’s beak size. General rule of thumb is: Dove seed mixes are fine for either pigeons and doves, but pigeon seed mixes can contain seeds (often the while corn pieces) which are too large for doves.

But this problem with seeds being too large can however also apply to smaller pigeons or fancy pigeons with a smaller beak. I myself (being a rather smaller sized fancy pigeon, and having a rather small beak for a pigeon) do eat both type of seeds though. Despite the fact that I every now and then do pick a piece of (whole) corn from my dish, I prefer to eat the seeds and such which are a bit smaller.

So when deciding which type of seed mix you’ll need for you pigeon, it might be best to either consult a professional like an avian vet for some advice, gain some advice on forums which are about your pigeon’s breed or ask to a qualified and experienced (in regards to pigeons) pet store employee.

Greens and Vegetables

Lots of websites will recommend you to feed your pigeons greens and vegetables like for example (but not limited to): silverbeet, collard greens, kale, broccoli, corn etc. And YES this is definitely a good and healthy thing to do for your pigeon(s), but it can be difficult for some pigeons to accept it as food(s).

I myself for example (Sophie The Pigeon), almost (literally) refuse to eat any of them. All I often do it just coo at them very angry and then after a while I will ignore them completely. It doesn’t matter if my pet humans hand it to me from their hands, or if they put it in a small (extra) dish, I will often just refuse to do anything with it.

My pet humans (and my vet) really don’t know why I’m doing this, and neither do I to be honest 😛

However, persistence is key in this situation, my pet humans just keep offering me my vegetables and greens every now and then, and sometimes I do actually eat (just a very little bit) from them.

Overall it is good (and important) for the health of your pigeon to also eat vegetables and greens, but if your pigeon (often) refuses greens and/or vegetables, it is not “the end of the world”, given that he or she does have a very well balanced seed/grain or pellet mix as it’s main food. If you then also use supplements (like me and my pet humans do), then it is not ‘that much of a big deal’ if your pigeons don’t eat their greens and vegetables. However, it is obviously better for them if you do manage to get them to eat it.

TIP: On my Safe human foods and drinks for pigeons page you can find lots of foods you can also give to your pigeon(s).


Same as for vegetables and greens, it is recommended to give your pigeon(s) some fruits every now and then (for example once every two to three days). I myself are once again (just like with the vegetables and greens) quite picky on what I want to eat when it comes to fruits. Basically I (yet again) refuse to eat any of them most of the time, but from time to time I will actually enjoy some (chopped) pieces of banana, tomato, melon, peach etc.

Don’t overdo it with the fruits though, because fruits often contain lots of (natural) sugars, and just like for you humans, too much sugar(s) isn’t good for us pigeons either.

TIP: On my Safe human foods and drinks for pigeons page you can find lots of foods (and fruits) you can also give to your pigeon(s).

Supplements, Vitamins and Calcium

I would personally highly recommend giving your pigeons additional Supplements, Vitamins and calcium, you can read a bit more about this on my dedicated Supplements and Vitamins page here

Toxic and Bad Foods (& Drinks)

There are also a lot of foods (and drinks) which are bad or even toxic for us pigeons, me and my pet humans have written an extensive page about these Toxic and bad foods (& drinks) on this page, which I would highly recommend to read.