King Pigeon is native to the United States and has been developed over years of selective breeding. It’s one of the largest domesticated breeds of pigeons—with males weighing approximately 1.5 to 2.5 pounds while females weigh between 1-2 pounds.
These birds are mainly used for meat production due to their large sizes and plump bodies and are even a delicacy in some cultures.
In this king pigeon guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the breed including its origin and history, appearance, behavioral and personality traits, diet, habitat, suitability as pets, cost, and so much more.
King Pigeon Quick Facts:
|Scientific name||Columba livia domestica|
|Breed purpose||Exhibition, utility, pets|
|Weight||1 to 2 pounds|
|Cost||$100 to $200 per bird|
|Lifespan||10 to 15 years|
Origin and history
The King pigeon originated in the United States in the late 1800s and is a result of years and years of selective breeding. Similar to other varieties of domesticated pigeons, the king pigeon is a descendant of the wild or federal rock pigeon.
It’s interesting to note that this pigeon breed was developing by crossing up to 4 breeds of older pigeons namely the Homer, Duchess, Runt, and Maltese. Each of these breeds was selected for a specific reason.
The Homer was selected for its alertness while the Duchess was selected for grace, Runt was sects for its size and body, and the Maltese style and compactness made it to the list.
Currently, the King pigeon is a quite popular breed of pigeon not just in its native region but also in many other parts of the world.
King pigeon is well known for its large body size—it’s the largest of all the domesticated pigeon breeds. The average weight of a mature king pigeon is around 570 grams, though some individuals can weigh as heavy as 900 grams.
This pigeon also has a spot on the list of the most beautiful pigeon varieties. It features a round, full body shape in addition to a broad and muscular chest. Besides, it has a large and broad tail.
It also comes in a variety of colors, with gray and white being the most common colorations. The most popular King pigeon colors include: white, silver, blue, red, black, yellow, dun, and more.
King pigeons generally have bare legs with no plumage and no crest on their heads.
Note that distinguishing male king pigeons from females can be quite challenging as both genders look pretty similar. However, examining the birds closely can help you easily identify their gender.
Behavior and temperament
King pigeon is a gentle and docile bird. Its calm temperament and friendly nature make it a suitable pigeon breed for keeping as a pet.
It’s also worth noting that this bird isn’t highly active compared to some other pigeon breeds, and may spend most of its time perched or walking inside its coop or aviary.
However, the female can turn aggressive during the breeding period as it tries to protect its eggs or baby chicks. So, you may want to avoid disturbing it during this period.
King pigeon diet
King pigeons usually eat a variety of foods such as seeds, grains, fruits, and veggies. You can feed your king pigeon commercial pigeon food which is usually a mixture of corn, peas, safflower, oats, milo, etc.
To ensure variety in their diet, you can also offer the pigeon other food types such as dandelion greens, wheat grass, spinach, blueberries, apple, etc. Just make sure the type of fruits or vegetables you feed it is non-toxic and safe for it to eat.
Your pigeon will also require clean and fresh water for drinking and bathing. You can use a large plant saucer or ceramic casserole dish as a water dish for your pigeon, and make sure you clean it every day when refreshing their water.
The water you put in the dish should be around 2-4 inches deep for your pigeon to comfortably and safely bathe in.
King pigeon habitat
King pigeon requires a healthy and comfortable living space. Ideally, you want to come up with a coop or aviary that’s pretty spacious.
Remember, king pigeons are the largest of the domesticated birds and will require pretty spacious housing to live in and comfortably fly or move around. Get a cage with plenty of horizontal space to allow your bird to stretch its wings and fly around freely.
You can buy a ready-made coop or aviary. Or if you’re the creative type, you can create a DIY pigeon aviary by turning a play gym or a shed into an aviary for your feathered friends.
Make sure you equip the cage with enough perches and shelves for your birds to lounge in. Nesting boxes are also essential not just for nesting purposes but also for helping the pigeons feel cozy.
And don’t forget to make your outdoor aviary predator-proof. Ensure there are no weak spots in your aviary design that a predator such as a raccoon can exploit to get to your birds.
The birds are easy-going and calm and you don’t have to install a double door in their cage to keep them from flying. Nonetheless, you should still ensure the door stays closed—just in case.
King pigeons as pets
King pigeons are popular breeds among pet bird enthusiasts. They make great pets due to their calm and friendly nature.
However, you’ll need to take good care of it to keep it happy and healthy. For instance, you should provide it with a healthy diet as we’ve just discussed above.
Provide your bird with a comfortable living space and avoid keeping the aviary crowded to ensure a healthy and clean environment for your pigeons.
Keeping the housing clean is essential to ensure your bird doesn’t easily get sick due to an unhealthy environment.
Clean the food and water dishes every day. If possible, consider getting two dishes for each purpose. This way, you can easily interchange them when one is drying and the other one is serving food/water.
Clean the cage or aviary once a week by scraping the poop and hosing it down.
King pigeons are also excellent breeders and will do it easily if you keep them in pairs.
After successfully mating, the female usually lays around 2 eggs per clutch which will then take around 17 days to start hatching.
We found this interesting video showing the stages of breeding in king pigeons from courtship to nesting, incubation and hatching baby pigeons.
King pigeon uses
Domestic all-white pigeons are mainly bred for meat due to their large body sizes and meaty bodies.
They are usually sold as a squab (which is around 4 weeks old), which is considered a delicacy in dishes like roasted squab or squab pie in parts of North Africa, North America, China, and some European countries. (Source).
However, the use of this pigeon for commercial meat production has declined for years as consumers have moved on to more ethical and sustainable protein sources.
Most folks now keep these pigeons for shows/exhibitions or as pets. This bird has a show variety.
This special breed goes by the name Show King which distinguishes it from the utility breed. Note that this show breed is dual-purpose and can also be used for squab production.
King pigeon price
The price of a king pigeon can be anywhere from around $10 to $200 or more. However, some breeders may charge you more for higher-quality breeds of this pigeon.
As always, we advise you to look for reputable breeders when buying a pet pigeon to ensure you get a healthy and high-quality bird.
You can also adopt a pigeon from your local rescue organization, which is more affordable compared to buying from a breeder.
King pigeon lifespan
The king pigeon typically has a lifespan of around 10 years, though it can live some more—up to 15 years or more—with good care.
As with other pigeons, the exact lifespan of your king pigeon can be affected by a variety of factors including genetics, diet, age, living condition, and overall health.
You can help your king pigeon live longer by providing it with a nutritious diet, and a comfortable living space with plenty of room to fly and move around.
Regular checkups by a vet also help ensure your bird stays healthy and helps extend its lifespan.If you’re a fan of fancy pigeon breeds, you might be interested in our articles on Jacobin pigeons and Ice pigeons. Our article on Jacobin pigeons provides an in-depth look at the breed’s unique features and provides guidance on how to raise and care for them, including tips on feeding and breeding. Meanwhile, our article on Ice pigeons explores the breed’s history, characteristics, and care, including tips on housing and health. Don’t forget to also check out our article on King pigeons for more information on this fascinating breed.
The King pigeon’s large body size makes it the king of all domesticated birds. It’s also a beautiful bird whose all-white attractive appearance has earned it a spot in pigeon shows and exhibitions across the world.
This breed is quite calm, gentle, and full of personality, making it suitable for raising as a pet. It’s a great option whether you’re looking for your first pet pigeon or want to add a new breed to your flock. With good care, your king pigeon can live for around 10 to 15 years.