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Pigeons 101

Martha Stewart Living Television

No matter where you go around the world, one of the few constants is the presence of pigeons. In fact, there are hundreds of pigeon breeds, including Victoria crown, tumbler, fantail, and Jacobin -- all of them descendants of the European rock dove, a bird first domesticated more than 5,000 years ago. Some pigeons are bred for their homing skills, while others are bred for show or food.

According to pet expert Marc Morrone, all pigeons (and their dove cousins) are intelligent, gentle birds that make great pets. Keeping these birds happy and healthy is simple. You'll need a large cage that's at least 18 inches long with a bottom grill to help keep the cage clean. To keep stray seeds and feathers from making a mess outside the cage, you can purchase a mesh seed catcher. Pigeons love to bathe, so be sure to provide your bird with a bathing dish or mist it daily with a spray bottle of water. Pet stores sell commercial seed mixes designed for pigeons, but they'll need some grit or gravel to aid digestion. Make sure to provide fresh water regularly, along with a water-soluble vitamin supplement and some fresh greens.