Pigeons can live with minimal care, but they should not have to live a low life. The better care you take of your birds/animals, the healthier and happier they will be. Any animals you own depend on you for their feed, health and happiness, don't let them down.
If you are keeping Pigeons you should have at least a few basic Pigeon Books on your Book Shelf. If you are going to Race or Show your birds, you will need more books on the subjects. The more you know through reading book and visiting Internet Websites on the subject, not only the healthier and happier your birds will be, but you will learn tricks to give you a competitors edge.
Below is just a bit of what every Pigeon Keeper/Fancier needs to know.
I have found that when it comes to feeding animals there are as many opinions as there are people that keep them. Some will tell you that "Winged Rats" or "Flying Rats" as some call Pigeons, can eat anything. And to some degree they can. Of course they will not be as healthy or preform as well as those that are feed a balanced diet for Pigeons. Those Pigeons that live near the Feed Mill or the Park near your home are not as healthy nor could they fly as well (racing or homing) as birds that are fed well and had their health looked after by a kind and caring Pigeon Keeper. Some think that those Feral Pigeons live long lives because those people always see them hanging around Feed Mills and or Parks. The truth is, Pigeons breed well and produce babies, so what those folks are seeing is Pigeons indeed, but not the same ones year after year.
Since there as so many opinions I have always read up on diet written by successful keepers. You would do well to do the same. Listen to what the Pigeon Keepers that are winning at Shows and or Races are feeding. Read up on all the types of food there is for Pigeons to eat. I am sure you will find that most are feeding a good blend of seeds and peas and natural foods as well as providing a good quality grit for their birds. Many will also feed veggies that are human grade.
I am not sure why folks have to be told, I just do not understand, but here is goes, your birds and animals need fresh clean water daily. If you would not drink it, then it is not for them either.
Now and again you will/might add vitamins and or dewormers to the fresh clean water you give them. It seems there are many ideas on how to and what and how often to add these items to the water, so do your research and choose the best way for you and your birds.
Pigeons, especially working birds, do need vitamins added to their water approx once a week. If you feed a good and healthy diet to your birds they will not need the vitamins as often or as much as birds that are not getting a good healthy diet that is designed for Pigeons and or the type of work your Pigeons will be doing.
DRY AND NO DRAFTS. Your Pigeon can live in a variety of cages and or Lofts. They need room to roost, nest and fly. Pigeons are fine when it is cold out but need to be out of the direct sunlight, wind and need to have no drafts in their housing. Most and far most, the cage/loft needs to stay dry. Most serious keepers have a bathing area away from the bedding on the cage floor.
Set up your Pigeons so that not only will cats, raccoons, dogs and or other animals not be able to get to them, but also that the Pigeons will not be worried from the other animals either. Set your birds up so that cats can not sleep on top of their cages, not at your dogs eye level so that it or other dogs stand and bark at the birds (train you dogs not to do this also), or that other animals can not get into the cages or lofts. If your cats do sleep on top of your cages add a board so that the cats can not see the birds and the birds can not see the cat.
CAGE SIZE PER BIRD
Pigeons will use round Parrot like perches, but they prefer flat surfaces or V shaped perches. There are many ways to create these type of perches for your birds. Again, not Rocket Science. Scrap pieces of 2" x 4" boards could work well for your set up. If you choose to use Parrot type round perches use different circumstance sizes to keep the birds feet healthy. Use large sized dowels or branches. Know that if you use branches from trees you may be bringing in lice and diseases from wild birds to your Pigeons. You will be better off and safer as well as save money on medications if you start with the proper Pigeon perches from clean wood to begin with.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Keeping your bird cages and or lofts clean is not only important for your birds health but also your own. Many people, bird keepers have injured their lungs with the bird duct and dander that comes from birds of all types. Good ventilation in your cages and lofts will reduce the amount that gathers. Wearing a mask when you clean, especially in a loft, will help keep the bird dust and dander out of your own lungs. Keep your birds habitat clean and don't let this as well as the waste build up.
When you bring home new birds do NOT put them in with your other birds. Do NOT bring in new birds, NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE FROM and put them in with your birds.
Set up a small Quarantine Cage/Pen/Loft and put any new birds coming in to your place in that area for a minimum of 30 days. Feed these new birds last. Do not use bowls or waterers or nestboxes from that these birds have been using in your existing or birds you owned earlier cages.
You never know what the new birds might be carrying. It might be as simple as lice or as deadly that it will wipe out your entire flock. When I bring home new animals I deworm them with Ivomec. Ivomec also kills internal parasites. I give the new animals vitamins and slowly, if it were different, feed them the diet my existing animals are eating. I trim hooves, claws, toenails, or whatever needs trimming, and let the new animals settle into the sites and sounds of our place.
When a person keeps any type of animal, birds included, they should have some items on hand at all times. It is not Rocket Science nor does on need a degree to treat their own animals for most ailings. Deworming medications, Wound Salves. If you keep Pigeons you should have a Meds Box or First Aid Kit for them. Items such as Nail and Beak Cutters should be kept there as well as Dewormers, Lice Powders, as well as Medications for common ailments/diseases such as Ridzol and or Metronidazole for Canker; Amprolium for Coccidiossis; Ampicillan or Baytril for Salmonella. You can buy these items at a Good Farm Store or On Line from Pigeon and Dove Product Suppliers. You can also buy your vaccines from them and give your Birds their "Shots".
If you own Pigeons are Working Birds, ie they have a job such as racing, showing, dove release, 4H project, food for your table, or the like, you are a foolish person if you are not taking the time with your birds, if you are not feeding them the correct diet, if you are not caring for their health and well being. If you have working birds you need to own books, join clubs and learn all you can about all you can do to keep your birds at their best. It might seem expensive to you at first. But the truth is, it will cost you much more in the long run not to spend the time and money it costs to care for them as best you can. Not only will you birds be healthier, it will give you a winners/winning edge.