Learn How to Raise Pigeons for Meat

Learn how to raise young pigeons, or squabs, for highly desirable meat. Squab’s can be costly to raise but are highly desirable to upscale restaurants.

| March/April 1970

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    Squab is more costly to buy and raise, but is also highly desired by upscale restaurants, creating the potential for profit.
    Photo by Fotolia/Margo Harrison
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    Squabs at two weeks old.
    Photo Courtesy of USDA
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    House is shown with open front. Wood or cardboard partition can be used to close two thirds of opening for winter months. Note that feed trough, water fountain and grit hopper can all be "serviced" without entering pen.
    Illustration by Ed Robinson
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    Squabs 24 hours old.
    Photo Courtesy of USDA
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    Squabs at 3 weeks old.
    Photo Courtesy of USDA
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    A 3-1/2-week-old squab. This bird will be ready to eat when fully feathered underwing in another week.
    Photo Courtesy of USDA

  • Squab
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As we've said, we chose geese as our secondary poultry project, and we don't go in seriously for squabs. We thought we should include squab raising in our homesteading guide, however, for those people who would want to raise them, particularly folks who live in the more crowded areas where there are city zoning regulations against chickens and other poultry. There are very few cities or towns that have strict ordinances against keeping pigeons.

In preparing this section about squabs we've visited a number of squab raisers and we've done a good deal of studying and reading. What we tell here is what we'd want to know before we started a new project.

Squab is one of those dishes that are usually thought of as being expensive, delicious and reserved for epicures. You can't even buy squab at most meat markets. Many people haven't so much as tasted this mouth-watering treat.

And yet, if you decide to have another poultry project in addition to chickens, you'll find squabs to be both interesting and delicious. Also, pigeons are among the easiest kinds of poultry to raise, among the surest of success.

They are not really cheap, though, even when you raise your own. They will cost you about half as much to raise as to buy, which means they will cost you about 35 to 50 cents apiece, depending on the price of feed at the time and other factors. Still, when you consider that one squab is about all one person can eat at a sitting, and that they are such a treat, the cost isn't so high at that.

Another point to remember is that it is just about as easy to raise twice the number of squab you will want for your own family, as it is to raise barely enough. You can then easily sell the surplus to cover all your costs (first class hotels and restaurants are always in the market for squabs), or you can swap the surplus with neighbors for things they raise and you don't or you can make presents of squabs to friends.

8/10/2016 11:42:21 PM

Can pigeons be skined like pheasant and quail?

henry sterenberg
7/10/2008 8:43:46 PM

i very,very much liked your articals on pigeon squabs raising .butchering and your picture of the fly area, i didn't get a or see a print on nests boxes,or landing pearches,i was wondering if u can send my information on this on my email address,i have highflers and homers,i have a nest box 12"times12"and 16" deep,i want to get some king birds,will they have enough room 4 that dimesions,i just wondered on this,please send some infomation on this God bless,take care,henry here in ontario,canada



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