The carneau pigeon is a dual-purpose (fancy/utility) pigeon. Its large size and plump body qualify it for meat production. And its overall beauty and elegance make it a popular show bird. However, its friendly and calm nature has made more pigeon fanciers interested in keeping it as a pet.
The comprehensive guide below explores full details about this Belgium & French-born pigeon breed, including its history and origin, its physical appearance and characteristics, behavior and personality, diet, housing, and life expectancy. We have also discussed how to take care of your carneau pigeon as a pet.
Carneau Pigeon Quick Facts:
|Scientific name||Columba livia domestica|
|Breed purpose||Utility (primarily), exhibition, pets|
|Weight||560 to 850 grams|
|Lifespan||Around 10 years|
Origin and history
The carneau pigeon traces its origin to Southern Belgium and Northern France.
It was once a free flyer but with continued selective breeding process, it has become heavier and more of a domestic breed, and now it lives by fielding.
Like most of the other pigeons, this breed was developed over years of selective breeding. And is a descendant of the rock pigeon (Columba livia).
Fontaine family, based in Northern France, played a critical role in pigeon breeding circles back in the year 1992.
It’s less clear if they were involved in breeding this breed.
However, they clearly documented its breeding process, stating that it was developed as a result of crossing the French mondain (a large ancient pigeon breed raised for meat production) and rock dove.
The primary purpose for this breed was for squab production. This explains its large size and plump/meaty body.
A typical carneau is a large-sized and heavy breed of domesticated pigeon. Mind you, carneau pigeon is the second largest domesticated pigeon after the king pigeon.
The bird’s bright-colored eyes make it even more attractive. Its prominent eyes have color that varies depending on the color of the bird.
Its head is broad and appears round from the wattle all the way to the skull top. The neck is medium-sized and strong. And its beak is short and stout.
Carneau pigeon boasts strong and extended wings—with a wingspan of approx. 60 to 70cm—which helps hold its body pretty tight. It also has a wedge-shaped tail extending up to an inch in length.
A mature carneau pigeon grows to an average height of 13 inches and weighs approx. 640 to 740 grams.
Its legs and feet are bright red colored and bare (not covered in feathers).
Just like many other domesticated breeds, the carneau comes in a variety of colors, including yellow, red, and white.
Other color variations include yellow or red with white wing rose, yellow or red with white lower back, and yellow or red with white lower back and white wing rose.
Some carneau varieties also feature entirely reddish-brown colors. Their skins are usually white and pinkish and their feathers are also usually colored.
The most popular color variety for the carneau pigeons is red color.
Its most distinctive features include a compact body, medium-sized head, upright carriage, slightly large wings and tails than the white King pigeon, chestnut body color, and tail that clears the ground.
The carneau pigeon exhibits personal traits such as being docile, calm, and sociable.
It is a friendly and curious bird that likes interacting with other birds as well as with its owner. This makes them great pets for bird enthusiasts.
They also coexist with other breeds of birds without fighting. You’ll often see them gather in groups with fellow carneau birds and interact through vocalizations, grooming, and other behaviors.
When the breeding season arrives, these birds tend to engage in courtship behavior just like other pigeon breeds. This behavior ranges from cooing to chest puffing, head bobbing, etc.
These pigeons are also intelligent and easily trainable birds. Mind you, the white carneau pigeons were extensively used in B. F. Skinner’s famous work involving schedules of reinforcement.
Proper diet for this bird includes seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits. You can provide your pigeon with store-bought pigeon food which is sure to provide it with all the necessary nutrients.
However, you should also provide it with vegetables and fruits to help add variety to its diet and ensure it gets all the nutrients its body requires for a healthy life.
Grit is also essential to help with digestion as well as supplement its mineral intake. Don’t forget to provide your pigeon with clean and fresh water daily.
Since the carneau pigeon is quite big, you should provide it with a spacious aviary that enables it to freely fly around and exercise.
Also, these birds are strong and agile flyers, so you should ensure you provide them with plenty of space for stretching their wings and flying around to exercise.
If you’re keeping pairs for breeding, you’ll also need to provide them with nesting areas for the breeding process.
Ensure the aviary has plenty of perches for your pigeons to rest on and shelter them from harsh weather elements as well as predators.
Carneau pigeons as pets
Carneau pigeons make good pets as they’re low maintenance and require minimal care.
They’re calm and peaceful, which makes them a good choice of pets. Not to forget, they’re sociable and will peacefully coexist with other birds.
However, you’ll need to take proper care of these birds to keep them happy and healthy and ensure they live long.
To start with, you should feed them a balanced and nutritious diet. Make sure you supply them with clean and fresh water daily to keep them well hydrated.
Provide them with spacious housing where they can comfortably move or fly around to exercise.
You should also keep their aviary clean to keep the pigeons clean. Get rid of any uneaten foods or droppings, and replace the bedding as necessary.
Also, disinfect the space regularly to prevent the spread of various diseases.
Carneau pigeons are great breeders and aren’t demanding when it comes to the breeding process.
You just need to provide them with a suitable nesting area and leave them to do the rest. They’ll lay their eggs and incubate them until they hatch into young chicks.
The pigeons are also excellent parents and will feed and rear their offspring until they’re old enough to survive on their own.
Since these are domesticated birds, you can easily control their breeding to help you increase the breed variety.
For instance, you should choose mating pairs based on your desired characteristics and traits, e.g. color, size, and overall health status.
The average price of a carneau pigeon is around $100. However, it’s possible to get a carneau bird for a much lower price of around $50 or much higher, up to several hundred dollars.
The price of this bird is affected by key factors such as breed quality, location, age, color, and even the breeder.
Some breed qualities and colors that are favored for shows and exhibitions may cost way higher.
Carneau pigeons can live for around 10 years or more with proper care and attention. Key factors that influence how long this pigeon lives include the diet you feed it, its environment, and even genetics.
You can help prolong your pigeon’s lifespan by feeding it balanced nutrition, housing it in a clean and spacious environment, and taking it to the vet for regular checkups to keep it free of any diseases that may reduce its lifespan.If you’re interested in learning more about different pigeon breeds, you might find our articles on Antwerp Smerle pigeons and Old German Owl pigeons helpful. Our article on Antwerp Smerle pigeons provides an in-depth look at the breed’s history, characteristics, and care, including tips on feeding and breeding. Meanwhile, our article on Old German Owl pigeons explores the breed’s unique features and provides guidance on how to raise and care for them. Don’t forget to also check out our article on Carneau pigeons for more information on this fascinating breed.
Carneau pigeon is a dual-purpose breed used for both utility and exhibitions. It’s one of the largest domesticated pigeon breeds. This large size and plump body initially suited it for meat production. However, the bird is currently used for shows and exhibitions or as a pet. Its varied coloration and beautiful body shape make it a great show bird. Keep in mind that this bird is calm, peaceful, and sociable, making it a great pet bird. It’s also low-maintenance and easy to care for. With proper care, it can last for up to 10 years or more.