What is pigeon milk?

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What is pigeon milk?

Margaret Bernard

Votes: 404

Pigeon “milk” or crop milk, is produced in the crop of the bird and fed to chicks (squabs) by the parents until they are 10 days old.

It serves a similar function to the squabs as human milk does for infants, and is stimulated by the same hormone (prolactin); but is completely different, more solid and like cottage cheese. Attempts to reproduce this substance artificially fail and result in the deaths or illness of the squabs.

It’s composed of 60% protein, 36% fat, 4 % carbohydrates, and minerals and antibodies. It comes from the fat cells (and not sweat glands, which birds don’t have) in the lining of the crop.


Claire Jordan

Votes: 9356

Who’re you calling ugly, primate?

Aaron Noble

Votes: 2729

Can humans drink pigeon milk?

One would have to catch said pigeon and they would need to check if is a lactating one. After that, you have to somehow get the bird to vomit it’s milk.

Once you have collected a sufficient amount of milk you can drink it. As soon as the milk touches your tongue you spit it out.


Because pigeon milk is literally made of garbage.

Pigeons, (especially ones from the city) eat leftover food off the street, in garage cans, and in the gutters.

Not only would this taste bad, it could make you sick.

But you could technically drink it.

Claire Kim

Votes: 8767

I think pigeons make great pets!

There are many different breeds of pigeons that people use for racing, showing, or just keep as pets. Doves are kept as pets more often then pigeons, most likely because they’re smaller and don’t have the same negative stereotype of being rats with wings.

I have a pet pigeon myself. She is a Classic Old Frill, which is a fancy show breed pigeon.

I always thought she was a boy until two eggs appeared on my bed. Here she is looking proud of her first egg ever.

Overall, pigeons make very sweet and affectionate pets.

Stefan Pociask

Votes: 678

I grew up eating pigeons in the 60’s, in New York State. I used to help my dad raise Racing Pigeons. We always had a couple dozen or so. The slow ones would go in the pot! I can’t believe that any of the people here answering that pigeons taste terrible, have ever actually eaten any. Or… they just don’t like duck. Pigeons taste like duck. Dark, moist, and fatty (but not as fatty). Delicious! But we usually had them in soup. They make a great broth, or just added to chicken soup. Mmmm… good stuff! Ours were very similar to regular old city pigeons. Except for the fact that we fed them only nice rich corn and feed. I used to fight my sisters to get the little pigeon heart in the soup. That was the prize!

Having said that, so much of this is cultural. My parents, for instance, were refugees from WWII Europe. Both of them virtually grew up in wartime Europe. Other cultures think nothing of eating dried salted crickets by the handful, as snacks. When I was in Korea, dried squid was available in every corner store and children look forward to it like candy. Frogs are eaten in other countries quite frequently. Even lamb is eaten in certain European countries far more than in the US. Eyeballs, blood, offal… all these things are common in certain cultures, and rejected by others.

Mike Leary

Votes: 9215

I’ve posted a short youtube so you can see one feed a squab. I used to raise pigeons so this process was always going on with the young to keep them healthy. The squabs would do it to fingers also trying to find the opening.

Jessica Taylor

Votes: 5753

What will happen if I eat a pigeon?

You’ll have a decent meal. That’s all. People used to raise pigeons for meat all the time until fairly recently. Apparently they’re pretty good.

Kirk A. Janowiak

Votes: 992

Can you make cheese from pigeon milk?

“Pigeon milk” is not really milk in the mammalian sense of the word. It Is simply pre-digested goop the adult pigeon disgorges for their chicks. It is composed mostly of the food the adult has previously consumed mixed with digestive juices from the adult’s upper digestive system. It might be better considered a kind of “pigeon pablum” rather than “Pigeon milk.”

So, no, you cannot make cheese from it, but you could make a watery porridge.

Donna Fernstrom

Votes: 4460

The pigeons used to carry messages are called homing pigeons. These pigeons are particularly good at remembering where they live, and finding their way even when they’ve been transported tremendous distances away from it. If you want to be really sure your messages will get through, you’ll give the pigeons a few trial runs first, to make sure they know the way.

You take the pigeons from their home, put them into cages, and transport them to your location. When you want to send a message, you strap it in a special lightweight case to the pigeon’s leg, and you let the pigeon go.

It simply flies home, that’s all.

Pigeons don’t fly anywhere else — only home.

The advantage to a pigeon-borne message is that it’s unlikely to be interce…

Kirk A. Janowiak

Votes: 9999

Young pigeons are called Squab. While you may see squab used for older birds in some culinary circles, it is more honest to call them “pigeon.”

In the small city where I grew up, we had lots of “coops” (the place where you keep/house your pigeons) around the city. Both the ethnic Italians and ethnic Belgians raised and raced the birds and walking down any street on the West side, you’d see coop after coop in the back yards or attached to garages of many homes. Some coops housed large flocks (say, over 50 birds), most held a dozen to 25 birds, and lots of homes had a small “coop” built into the roof of the garage that housed maybe a pair or two of fancy pigeons, like fantails, nuns, or rollers. Lots of birds were produced each year and lots of birds didn’t make the cut for the racing scene or the show circuit for the fancy pigeons and so were culled from the flocks.

Older birds that were not fast or strong enough to race and were not suitable for breeding purposes were used to make pigeon pie (like chicken pot pie, but with pigeon). Young birds that were just before or just after fledging and that showed deformities or were otherwise deemed unsuitable for future breeding or other use were sold as squab to local establishments for the preparation of a squab delicacy…or were kept for home use in the kitchen.

I do not know if there is a firm or “official” cutoff age for pigeons between squab and “pigeon” for the purpose of selling them as food, but I have come across a number of instances where the dish was labeled “squab,” but even considering some of the larger pigeon breeds (like the Kings and “Giant Runts” that can rival the size of typical heirloom chicken breeds), the size alone would indicate that the bird was more likely an adult than a true squab.

Aparna DeviMercedes R. Lackey

Votes: 1775

Such an interesting question. Thanks to your question, I learned something new today!

The following birds have been known to produce “milk.”

Pigeons: The milk in pigeons, called crop-milk, high in protein, is produced by a sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop- a thin walled, sac-like chamber that stores food situated at the bottom of the esophagus.

Doves too have been found to produce crop milk.

Greater Flamingos: The milk produced by these birds is high in fat content than protein, and it’s production is not limited to the esophagus, but also in glands lining the entire upper digestive tract.

Emperor Penguins: In winter, while the female penguin is out at sea looking for food, the male penguin stays behind, keeping the eggs warm for an entire 2 whole months. If the female hasn’t returned by the time the chick hatches, the male feeds it milk secreted by the esophagus.

Apparently pigeon milk contains more fat and protein than cow or human milk!

References and Images in comment.

Sugar Bouche

Votes: 8744

Pigeons are considered to be one of the most intelligent birds on the planet. They are very affectionate.

Pigeons love to cuddle with each other and give their mate light pecks around the neck and head. When one bird of a pair returns to a nest they often greet each other with very low, raspy coos.

“Pigeons Recognize Human Faces. If you shoo a pigeon, that bird is likely to remember you and know to stay out of your way the next time you cross paths, according to a new study. Researchers found that wild, untrained pigeons can recognize individual people’s faces and are not fooled by a change of clothes.”

They like human contact and are easy to train and tame. They are especially affectionate to those that feed them. They love being cuddled and petted. Pigeons make fateful and loyal companions to humans.

Yahoo Free Images.

Vishnu Madhusudan

Votes: 9262

You could try Wikipedia first. . .Crop milk

Crop milk is a secretion from the lining of the crop of parent birds that is regurgitated to young birds. It is found among all pigeons and doves where it is referred to as pigeon milk. Crop milk is also produced by flamingos and some penguins.

Donna Fernstrom

Votes: 7736

Do all species of pigeons eat the same type of food?

No, definitely not. The extinct passenger pigeon, for example, was a specialist at eating acorns.

Pigeons and doves are omnivorous birds and exactly what they eat varies depending on the environment they evolved in. This Nicobar pigeon won’t be eating the same things as a mourning dove.

Of course the bird most people think of when you say ‘pigeon’ is the domesticated rock dove. There are many different breeds of domesticated rock dove, but they are all the same species, so all domesticated ‘pigeons’ eat the same diet (ideally). Of course they will eat whatever is available if they’re free-roamin

Morgan Chandler

Votes: 4650

What kinds of pigeons are good for squab?

The nice plump, properly cooked kind. Type of pigeon, irrelevant.

Qasim Abbas

Votes: 1867

How long does a baby pigeon take to eat on its own from birth?

I’ve noticed that at about 3 weeks they’ll start to pick at seed on their own, but the parents will keep feeding them. I’ve also noticed that between 3 and 4 weeks and into the 4+ week time period, it becomes mostly the cock-bird that feeds the young; especially if the hen is down on another set of eggs by then.

Coen Mulder

Votes: 5063

Do pigeons attack people?

Pigeons do not attack people, ever. A nesting bird will hit you with their wings when you try to come close to the nest. You will feel the hit, but it will not break your fingers or so.

I often see people duck or even run away from flying pigeons, on a square for instance, out of fear of the ‘attacking pigeons’, but that just shows they know nothing about pigeons. Pigeons are just flying away, maybe very close to your body or face, but they’re not ‘after you’. They’re just sweet animals that feel threatened themselves, hence they’re taking flight.

Peace Engel

Votes: 9920

Do pigeon’s chicks feed on milk produced by their mother?

Yes. Of course, birds don’t lactate in the same manner that mammalians do. They don’t have a mammary gland and therefore aren’t mammals. Pigeons and some other birds like penguins and flamingos, do produce something called crop milk. It comes from the crop which is an organ in the throat. Crop milk is similar to mammal milk in that it is made of mostly fat and protein and is used to feed growing young. The production of crop milk is also stimulated by the presence of prolactin, the same as mammals.

Mercedes R. Lackey

Votes: 7499

Can pigeons swim?

They can float for a brief period of time, but cannot swim.

So can owls.

(He’s being given a bath by his Japanese owner. And since your daughter will probably want to know, no, she cannot have a pet owl, it is illegal in the US.)

Pascal Piedfort

Votes: 5433

How are pigeons as food for humans?

the best domestic bird you can eat!

Close to wild ones, to be cooked rare as far as the breast is concerned.

Extremely delicate.

Pay attention to the fact that the pigeons you cook are never the ones you see flying in the cities .

They are specially grown and fed to be later on consumed.

A gourmet treat

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