Pigeons are small birds that can be highly rewarding to own. Their funny sounds are but one aspect that makes them some of the most interesting birds. However, owning one is a substantial financial commitment. Many costs go into bringing a pigeon home and there are several monthly costs you’ll have to consider. On average you’re looking at around $20–$50 per month.
In this guide, we’ll look at every cost associated with owning a pigeon so that you can figure out exactly what to expect. Budgeting is vital to ensuring that you can meet this bird’s needs, and it starts with understanding how much everything costs.
Bringing Home a New Pigeon: One-Time Costs
When you bring a pigeon home, you’ll often have to pay for the bird and everything that goes with that bird. Even if you purchase from a rescue, you can expect to pay adoption and transport fees that accompany the bird. Breeders are often one of the more expensive options for purchasing a new pigeon. However, they are also one of the most reliable.
A free pigeon is uncommon, as most birds are acquired from a breeder or adopted from a rescue group. If you’re lucky, you could find a pigeon needing a new home through a friend or internet advertisements.
You may want to be wary of free pigeons, as well. Often, there is a reason why these birds are free. Free birds may not have been cared for properly, for instance.
Adopting a pigeon is often challenging, as few rescues around specialize in these animals. Pigeons aren’t as common as cats or dogs. However, depending on where you live, you may be able to find a pigeon occasionally available for adoption.
In these cases, adoption fees can range from $50 to $200. Adoption fees typically include a health check, basic care, and sometimes initial supplies like food and bedding.
Purchasing from a breeder is often the best way to adopt a pigeon. Professionally bred pigeons often cost anywhere from $50 to $500. However, some may cost up to $1,000—it depends on the breeder you purchase from.
It’s important to research any breeder before purchasing from them. Be sure they run the proper health checks and are reputable.
Initial Setup and Supplies
You’ll need a cage and other supplies for your pigeon, too. Many people purchase more than one pigeon at a time and the more pigeons you’re housing, the more equipment you’ll need to purchase. Supplies can be relatively cheap if you shop around and only have one or two pigeons. However, premium options can quickly raise the prices.
List of Pigeon Care Supplies and Costs
|Food and Water Dishes||$5–$20|
|Vitamin and Mineral Supplements||$5–$20|
How Much Does a Pigeon Cost Per Month?
Pigeons are relatively inexpensive and low-maintenance pets. A cage is the most expensive cost associated with owning one, but you only have to purchase that once. After the initial setup fees, you’re looking at very little monthly upkeep.
However, you must purchase some items for your pigeon, including food.
Pigeons don’t require much upkeep in terms of healthcare. The biggest expenses are their food, which costs less than $15 a month. You’ll pay very little to care for your pigeon every month unless they get sick and you need to purchase special medication, but this is fairly rare.
Pigeons require a specialized diet, but this diet isn’t typically that expensive. Most foods are available in bulk, and pigeons do not go through much food each day. Therefore, you may pay as little as $5 to feed a single pigeon for the month.
Of course, premium foods do exist and are more expensive. However, even these shouldn’t cost more than $15 a month for a single pigeon. Naturally, the more pigeons you have the more you can expect to pay.
Medications and Vet Visits
Pigeons don’t require many vet visits and even when they do it’s relatively inexpensive. You may have to pay for a quick checkup each year, which includes vaccinations and other expenses. However, this vet visit may cost as little as $20. Therefore, yearly, you’re paying very little for vet care.
Of course, if your pigeon gets sick, you may have to pay for more. It depends largely on the disease and how early it is caught.
Pet insurance for pigeons isn’t widely available and difficult to find, and you’ll likely need to go for exotic pet insurance plans. You may want to consider putting some money back for any sudden illnesses or injuries that befall your pigeon.
How much you put back is largely up to you. However, you don’t necessarily have to make this a monthly fee. You can put back a small amount as necessary, or you can put back one lump sum to cover any potential medical costs.
Your pigeon will need their bedding replaced regularly, and you may want to invest in bird-safe cleaning supplies for cleaning up their cage. However, none of these things should be expensive. You can purchase cleaning supplies and bedding in bulk, which can lower your costs substantially. A single pigeon won’t need much bedding, so it may take very long to get through a single bag.
|Cleaning Supplies (optional)||$5–$10|
Pigeons don’t require much entertainment. You’ll want to outfit their cage with perches when you first purchase one but these won’t need replacing very often. Sometimes, you may want to mix up the perches to stimulate your pigeon mentally.
You can also purchase bird-safe toys for your pigeon. These include balls, bells, and puzzles. You can choose from tons of pigeon-specific toys on the market. However, you can also find many DIY options online.
Whatever you choose, you won’t be paying very much for it. Pigeons are small birds, so their toys are very small, too. Therefore, they’re often quite inexpensive.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Pigeon
Owning a pigeon is inexpensive, with most costs going toward food, bedding, and the odd veterinarian exam. The monthly cost varies according to the number of pigeons you own, their dietary requirements, and whether they are indoors or outdoors.
However, no matter your situation, paying for the monthly upkeep of your pigeon isn’t going to be very expensive. Compared to other animals, pigeons are one of the cheapest you can own.
Additional Costs to Factor In
While owning a pigeon isn’t typically very expensive, there are some other costs you may want to keep in mind. Pet sitters, emergency vet treatment, and household damages can occur when owning a pigeon and these costs can be quite expensive.
Pet sitters’ expense is an important thing to consider while owning a pigeon. When their owners depart for lengthy periods of time, pigeons can grow worried and frightened, making it critical to hire a dependable and experienced pet sitter to care for them while they are gone. Depending on your location and the pet sitter’s experience, this might range from $15 to $50 each day.
Finding a pet sitter experienced with pigeons and other birds is extremely difficult. If you’re set on hiring a pet sitter that’s very experienced with birds, you may find yourself paying quite a bit more.
Another possible cost of having a pigeon is emergency veterinarian care. While pigeons are typically robust and resilient birds, they can occasionally become ill or wounded. The cost of veterinary care varies according to the severity of the problem and the veterinarian’s location. Owners of pigeons should budget between $50 and $300 for emergency veterinarian care.
Without pet insurance, you’ll have to pay all of these costs out-of-pocket, which is why we recommend having a little bit saved up.
Pigeons can also cause property damage if they are not properly watched or become scared or anxious. Scratched furniture, damaged carpets or floors, and droppings on surfaces are examples of this. While the cost of mending this damage varies depending on the amount of the damage, it is critical to consider these prospective expenditures when purchasing a pigeon.
Finally, certain pigeons may require behavioral therapy. Pigeons can become hostile or exhibit unwanted habits such as biting or plucking feathers. To overcome these challenges, owners may need to spend on training or consulting services, ranging from $50 to $150 per hour.
Owning a Pigeon on a Budget
Owning a pigeon on a budget is simple. They’re one of the cheapest animals to own, making them a great option for those looking to save money.
Saving Money on Pigeon Care
Buying pigeon food and supplies in bulk is one method to save money. Purchasing larger amounts of birdseed and bedding might be more cost-effective than purchasing smaller supplies. Also, mixing your birdseed mix might be less expensive than purchasing pre-packaged mixtures. (And it can be healthier, too.)
Another approach to save money is to feed your natural pigeon foods like fruits, veggies, and seeds. This may be a great method to boost their nutrition while reducing the quantity of store-bought birdseed required.
Give your pigeon lots of physical and mental activity to avoid boredom and undesired habits. This can be accomplished using low-cost toys like paper towel rolls or cardboard boxes. While it may cost more to purchase extra entertainment items upfront, it can prevent poor habits from forming later on, which can be extremely expensive to fix.
Several veterinary clinics and animal shelters provide free or reduced-cost treatments, such as vaccines. It could be worth looking into these possibilities in your region to help you save money on routine veterinarian care for your pigeon. For instance, in my area, a specialty bird store brings in a veterinarian for inexpensive services quarterly.
Owning a pigeon is relatively inexpensive. After purchasing a pigeon and the initial setup, you’ll pay very little monthly for upkeep. Most of the pigeon’s cost will come from the food it eats. However, a single pigeon eats very little, and you may spend as little as $5 a month on their food.
The biggest expense by far is the cage, which often costs at least $150. However, you can find gently used cages on sale, which can help you save money. After purchasing a cage, you shouldn’t need to purchase one again.
Finally, the cost of keeping a pigeon varies depending on individual circumstances. Still, with good care and attention, these delicate birds may provide their owner’s joy and company for years.
Featured Image Credit: Stockphoto Mania, Shutterstock