Do Pigeons Eat Insects

Do Pigeons Eat Insects? Is It Safe For Them?

Pigeons may suffer from protein and minerals deficiency for sticking with grains. If you have pigeons as pets, you should consider serving them with protein supplements. And insects could be an option as a protein supplement.

But do pigeons eat insects? Is it safe for them? Yes, pigeons can eat insects though they don’t like it. They only eat these to meet their nutritional requirements. And these are excellent sources of nutrients. But excessive intake of insects can be harmful to pigeons.

Throughout this article, we will discuss how safe or risky insects will be for pigeons. So, if you are also concerned about the health of pigeons, keep reading till the end!

Can You Feed Insects To Pigeons? 

Yes. You can feed insects to Pigeons as they are capable of eating insects. Proper nutritional supply is necessary to keep them healthy.

Generally, the natural food on their diet list are seeds, grains, pellets, and vegetables. These foods may not always be sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of your pets. In this case, you may have to search for additional food as nutritional supplements.

Can You Feed Insects To Pigeons

There are many products available in the market for pigeon nutrition. Manufacturers produce those products with different pellets enriched with vitamins and minerals. So, if you want to feed something additional, you can feed those food items to your pet doves or pigeons.

Also, they can eat human food, which will serve them with essential nutritional values. So, you can feed your pigeons a portion of your daily food, which will also help them to grow healthy.

In particular, they can eat insects according to their health needs. But you should always choose an alternative for insects to feed your domestic pigeons.

Do Pigeons Like Insects?

No. Pigeons don’t like insects much; they may choose any other alternatives instead of it. Generally, they eat different types of bugs and flies when they can’t get sufficient food from their surroundings.

Both domestic and free pigeons love to eat grains, seeds, pellets, fruits, and vegetable. Generally, domestic ones will get a sufficient amount of food and mandatory nutrients from the sustinence you supply. Thus, they will be least interested in eating any bugs.

Do Pigeons Like Insects

On the other hand, city dweller doves fed on various types of restaurants’ leftovers. Hence, they might not need to look for any protein supplements. Typically, they are fond of human more than bugs or flies.

But those birds living in the wild might face food scarcity in winter. They might not find any grains, seeds, and suitable fruits to live on. In this case, for survival reasons, they will choose to eat insects. That means they don’t like insects, and they only eat them when there are no options left for them.

Risks For Pigeons Eating Insects

There are a lot of risks for pigeons eating insects that you must know. Here are the following risks:

Risks For Pigeons Eating Insects
  • Eating insects a lot may result in an unhealthy and unbalanced diet for this bird
  • Insects may contain numerous microorganisms and parasites. This may cause various types of microbial diseases in them
  • Pigeons may fall sick due to massive protein intake 
  • Sometimes, they may also get stung by insects while trying to eat those
  • Getting stung by poisonous insects may lead them to death 

Why Shouldn’t You Feed Insects To Pigeons?

Though pigeons are capable of consuming insects, you should try to avoid feeding them. There are numerous reasons behind not feeding them insects, such as:

Why Shouldn't You Feed Insects To Pigeons
  • Generally, pigeons are granivorous and like to eat grains over any meat items
  • Insects have high salt content, and feeding them regularly may increase the salt level in these birds’ bodies. This will be hazardous for them
  • Sometimes, after feeding insects to Pigeons, their interest may shift more to these new food items. In this case, they will deny their regular supplements, which isn’t acceptable 

Can Pigeons Live Without Eating Insects?

Yes. Pigeons can live without eating insects, depending on their surrounding food sources. In a nutshell, insects contain a part of the diet list of pigeons. And domestic or pet pigeons can survive without eating bugs and flies. 

But those pigeons, rather than domestic ones, must need insects for some part of their lives. For example, during the breeding and growth period, they need a lot of proteins for their body. Also, they need to boost their protein level during winter to keep their body warmer. 

Can Pigeons Live Without Eating Insects

Pigeons typically eat insects for their nutritional value, though they don’t like them this much. That is because

  • Insects are high-protein food source, and 100 grams of insects contain 9.96 to 35.2 grams of protein. And this can aid the protein deficiency of Pigeons
  • The exoskeletons of insects contain a lot of calcium. This calcium is an essential element of bone and strengthens bones. Therefore, it will make the pigeons’ bones more robust and help them a lot in their growth period
  • Every bird needs calcium for growing the eggshell during their nesting season. Hence, pigeons will need to enrich the calcium contents in their body for adequate nesting 

Can You Feed Insects To Baby Pigeons? 

No. You can’t feed anything to the new hatchlings for the first 8-10 days, let alone any insects. During this time, they live on the crop milk their parents feed them. After some period, when they become capable of eating other food, their parents will feed them small grains. 

Those squabs are delicate and unable to eat the whole grain. Thus, if you want to feed them, serve them small pieces of grains suitable for their digestion. As their digestion system is still underdeveloped and not strong enough to digest insects, you shouldn’t serve them also.

Once those squabs grow a little, they will start eating whole grains. Then you can feed them insects, as now, they can digest them. This video will give you an idea about how pigeons eat insects while grazing.

Example: Video

If you’re interested in learning more about the specific insects that pigeons eat, you might find our articles on do pigeons eat mealworms and do pigeons eat ants informative. Our article on do pigeons eat mealworms explains the nutritional value of mealworms and how to incorporate them into a pigeon’s diet, while our article on do pigeons eat ants explores the possibility of pigeons using ants as a source of protein. Check them out to discover more about the dietary habits of pigeons.


In this FAQ section, we will answer several most asked questions about pigeons eating insects.

Q: What Type Of Pigeons Eat Insects More?

Generally, pigeons in the wild eat insects more than pigeons in urban areas. Because in urban areas, they will find many food options. Thus, they won’t need to search for insects. But in the wild, food options are fewer, and pigeons tend to eat insects more there.

Q: Do  I Need To Worry If My Pigeons Eat Insects?

No. You don’t have to worry or even bother if your pet pigeons eat insects. It’s natural for them to consume insects when there is food scarcity or nutritional deficiency. Sometimes, it’s an essential part of their food diet for survival.

Bottom Line

Sometimes, the view of pigeons eating insects can be concerning for pet owners. To eliminate this concern, in this article, we talked about “do pigeons eat insects? Is it safe for them?” Unlike other birds, pigeons don’t devour a significant amount of insects.

They only eat these when they can’t find any other food or need protein supplements. So, if you find your pet is eating insects, let them eat and try to enrich their diet with better foods. However, be careful about excessive intake because overeating insects might cause various health issues in them.

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