Thanks to a donation from Doug, I'm not so keen on quail meat...and besides, the missus won't eat it.

However, by coincidence I came upon the fact that pigeon is one of the most popular meats in Cairo. So I got thinking and Googling.

Those quail wranglers out there may be able to offer us a ruling vs a vs . Key point I think is this:

  • A 500 g squab is produced from 3 kg of feed, giving a feed conversion ratio (FCR) of 6:1.

Aside from the economics, how about that: 500 grams!

Just so you aren't put off by the language:pigeon  meat is called squab. Sydney prices suggest that a dressed squab (350-500gm) will cost you $23-28 each.

As for the wherewithal:

As for why...

  1. Pigeons get domisticated quicker than other types of livestock, which means anyone can raise them.
  2. You can raise pigeons almost anywhere. They can be raised in your backyard and even roof top of your house.
  3. When they are six months of age they can start to produce at least two baby pigeons per month on average.
  4. The baby pigeons take about 18 days to hatch out of the egg and be suitable of eating after 3 to 4 weeks.
  5. You don't need to spend lots of money in building a pigeon house and they don't need lots of space.
  6. The cost of pigeon food is very low, and also pigeons turn to search for food on their own, which will save you a lot.
  7. It's meat is very tasty with lots of nutrients. As a result it has a great demand on the market, a nice income opportunity.
  8. They are very resistant to diseases as a result they don't get ill easily.
  9. Their feathers can be use in various products such as producing feather toys.

There seems some good logic in play here. Pigeons also seem to fly under local council regulatory radar in a way that chickens and ducks do not.

So I'm asking our quail peoples to make a ruling.

egypt_pigeon_houses.jpgPigeon houses at Mit Gahmr, Egypt

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  • Well, my feeling is that:

    • Pigeon are worthwhile considering for urban food production as they offer a good size meat, manure and occasional eggs  requiring a short time to raise.
    • Pigeons are bigger than quail, so one kill is a feed for the family table.
    • But if you free-range pigeons, you contribute poo to the neighbourhood --and I see that as a major complication in a suburban setting here in Austrlia as I don't see it being tolerated in many suburban situations. Of course, if you kept your flock small, the pollution issue is less.
    • Similarly, if you kept your flock housed in a loft -- they would be house bound.
    • But then:why raise pigeons for slaughter when you can raise free range chickens?  But then, chicken is $8 per kilogram and pigeons are $40. However, unless you raise from chicks or eggs homegrown chicken would be much more expensive and roosters are a no-no in the urban milieu.
    • But day old (meat) chicks sell for $6!
    • Chickens -- mine anyway -- will eat anything. Recycle everything they eat into manure. Pigeons much less so.
    • All poultry are infection risks from wild bird species --as in viruses, as in zoonotic diseases like COVID-- so I'd expect pigeons out and about to be a greater risk of bringing disease home, although they are reputed to be stalwarts against infections.
    • Rabbits -- on the other hand...are great for meat. But with rabbit keeping  being illegal in Queensland and with the cost of vaccination (which may be essential) -- they are not an option.

    So the question is, I reckon.:

    •  Day old chicks vs pigeons vs quail.
    City Chicks | Meat Chicks - for eating
    meat chicken, meat chicks, meat chickens, chickens for eating, table birds
  • They are a lot easier to raise and breed with little intervention required. I'll have to knock one of Paul's and eat it. I can't get Roz to do quail. I doubt she'll go pigeon. You know me though. Valerie sat too still at the Christmas party and I tried to bite her leg. 

  • Paul and Kerry raise pigeons. Their feedback was very positive but I will leave that up to them to share more accurately. 

    The fact that they free range is a double edge sword. In the last 2 countries where I lived they were considered pest and likely to harbour disease. They call them rats of the air and were not to be fed under any circumstances. This was in both cases in big cities with lots of opportunity to catch all manners of ills. Having had the stories of a family who killed pigeons for meat only to find them full of worms really put me off. Yet occasionally you would find them at the supermarket. Not one for me but this is rooted in personal history. 

  • Well, that certainly sounds interesting, Dave. It'll be fun to chase up on the details through the links you supplied. 

    Don't they always end up roosting on the neighbours' roofs?

    • Good point:Pigeons prefer to sit on the highest point in the area (they originate from rock doves, remember). If your neighbour’s house is much taller than yours, there is a high likelihood that they will spend most of the day sitting and pooping on his roof. If this is the case, you may want to have a talk with your neighbour before growing the flock above a few pairs.

      There's a guy here who has a serious pigeon loft -- I'll check out the area.

      • Build them a house with a cage. Look them in for a while and that becomes home forever. 

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