Apply to adopt pigeons who were used for research in NZ.

Thanks to our collaborative work with the University of Auckland, we are their first point of contact when they have pigeons to rehome who have been used or bred for science!

We've already rehomed several groups of pigeons in the Auckland region - some are photographed below. You can meet some of the other pigeons who we have rehomed in the past here.

While we don't have any pigeons seeking forever homes at the moment, we're gearing up for our next rehoming opportunity! Be sure to join our waitlist to stay in the loop. If you're curious about pigeon care, you can learn more below.

What you need to know if you are interested in adopting pigeons!
  • Pigeons are very social animals and need a companion to be happy. Pigeons used for research are often kept individually, so you must introduce them slowly to other pigeons.
  • Feathers, feather dust (danger) and excrement will accumulate where they live and need cleaning regularly. They can cause allergic reactions if you are sensitive.
  • While pigeons are not as noisy as parrots, they can still coo a lot (especially males).1
  • Unlike parrots, pigeons were among the first domesticated birds in human history.2 They can become very attached to their humans and will need attention.
  • Veterinary care can become expensive. While relatively hardy birds, pigeons can get sick or get mites, salmonella or other parasites.
  • The normal life span of a pigeon is between 15 and over 20 years.3 This is a commitment you need to be willing to make.
  • The animals we are rehoming are never to be used for breeding. You must also not use them for racing and, of course, never as food!
Still keen? Here is what you need to have ready for them:

Most importantly, whether you have had pigeons before, be committed to learning more about them and giving them the best possible care.

We collected some resources to get you started below.

1. Suitable Housing
The birds we get to rehome have spent their entire lives indoors; they won't be able to live in an outdoor aviary full-time. They can enjoy an outdoor aviary during the day when the weather is nice, but they will need a slow introduction to this. Make sure outside spaces are rodent- and predator-proof! Pigeons enjoy flying and need exercise to maintain good health, so they need daily access to an area where they can fly and exercise.

2. Space and Flying
An aviary/cage needs regular cleaning. If you use bedding, ensure it is suitable (such as newspaper or commercially available bird bedding). A home base inside the house needs to be at least 42” W x 27” D x 30” H (107cm x 69cm x 76cm) for one pigeon or a bonded pair. A big dog crate can be sufficient. The bigger, the better, with width and depth being more important than height.4 You must ensure safe, daily out-of-cage time in the house to exercise and socialise.

3. Set Up
Pigeons also need proper enrichment, like natural wood perches, ropes, and platforms to sit on, (bird-safe) vegetation, and nesting boxes (some will like those, and some will prefer a shelf or basket to sleep). Heavy, ceramic flat-bottom, straight-sided dishes are ideal for food and water. A big plant saucer makes for a nice bathtub.5

4. Food and Water
Ensure they have access to a nutritious diet: A well-balanced pigeon diet consisting of commercial pigeon pellets, a variety of grains and seeds, and pigeon-suitable fruit, berries and vegetables.

Avocado (contains persin) and apple seeds (contain cyanide) are toxic to pigeons and must be avoided.6

Fresh, clean water must be accessible at all times. Water dishes can get dirty quickly, so be sure to check them at least twice a day.7

5. Companionship
Be committed to having at least two pigeons and integrating them over time. The pigeons have been housed separately but are social and thrive on companionship.

6. Long-term Care
Regularly check on their health. By adopting, you are committing to caring for the pigeons for the duration of their lives - domestic pigeons can live a lot longer than wild pigeons (up to or beyond 15 years old). Look for an avian vet who has experience with pigeons ahead of time. Veterinary care, in general, can be a considerable financial commitment too.

Add your name to our waitlist:

While we don't have any pigeons in need of forever homes at the moment, we're committed to being ready for our next pigeon rehoming opportunity. Sign up for our waitlist now to stay updated!

If you have any questions about adopting pigeons, then please contact us today: adopt@nzavs.org.nz.

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