Can you feed a pigeon water?

Yes, you can feed a pigeon water. Pigeons need water just like any other animal in order to survive. Providing a bird bath or other clean water source is a great way to give pigeons access to the water they need.

Why do pigeons need water?

Pigeons need water for the same reasons all living creatures need water:

  • To prevent dehydration
  • To aid in digestion
  • To transport nutrients and oxygen throughout their bodies
  • To help regulate body temperature
  • To remove waste from their bodies

Without adequate water, pigeons can become dehydrated and suffer severe health consequences. Like humans, pigeons need fresh, clean water every day to survive.

How much water does a pigeon need?

The exact amount of water a pigeon needs will vary based on factors like:

  • Age – Baby pigeons need more water relative to their size than adult pigeons.
  • Size – Larger pigeon breeds require more total water than smaller breeds.
  • Diet – Pigeons eating dry seeds and grains need more water than those eating moist vegetables and fruits.
  • Climate – Pigeons in hot climates need more water to stay cool.
  • Activity level – Active pigeons require more hydration than sedentary ones.

As a general rule, pigeons need around 15-20ml of fresh water per 100g of body weight daily. So a 400g pigeon would need about 60-80ml or 2-3 fluid ounces of water each day.

Natural sources of water for pigeons

When living wild or feral, pigeons get moisture from natural sources like:

  • Puddles and birdbaths
  • Lakes, ponds, streams
  • Morning dew on plants
  • Fruits and berries

Pigeons are resourceful and will seek out and consume any fresh, clean water sources they can find. Rural pigeons may have more limited access to water than urban flocks living alongside people.

Providing water for domestic or pet pigeons

For captive pigeons kept as pets or living in an aviary, providing a consistent, adequate source of fresh water is essential. Options include:

  • Water bowls or crocks – These should be sturdy enough not to tip over and large enough that the bird can’t foul the water.
  • Automatic waterers – These hook to a water line and refill automatically as needed.
  • Bird baths – These can be placed inside an aviary or loft.
  • Misting system – Misting the aviary cools the space and provides moisture pigeons can lick off their feathers.

The water vessel should be cleaned and refilled daily to prevent contamination. Placing it away from food minimizes mess.

Providing drinking water for wild or feral pigeons

If you wish to provide drinking water for the wild or feral pigeons in your area, good options include:

  • A bird bath or shallow bowl at ground level.
  • An elevated birdbath with a ramp or perches for access.
  • Dripping water from a hose or sprinkler onto a platform.

The water source should be in a quiet spot away from predators. Change the water daily to keep it clean. Birdbaths with circulating water or aerating fountains help prevent mosquito breeding.

What kind of water should you give a pigeon?

Pigeons should be given clean, fresh water that is suitable for drinking. Avoid providing:

  • Stagnant or stale water
  • Water with lawn or crop chemicals
  • Salty or contaminated water
  • Water shared with chickens or wild birds

Tap water is fine in most cases. Well water should be tested to ensure it is safe. Filtered, bottled or distilled water are also good choices. For pet birds, some avian veterinarians recommend adding vitamins and supplements to the water a few times a week.

Helping pigeons drink

Pigeons use a sucking action to draw water into their beaks. Those that are old, ill or injured may have difficulty drinking on their own. Options to help them include:

  • Holding a shallow dish up to the beak so they can sip
  • Offering water in a narrow dish they can submerge their beak in
  • Gently dipping the beak in a cup or bowl of water
  • Using an eyedropper or syringe to place drops of water in the mouth

Avoid forcing water into the pigeon’s mouth as this risks aspiration. Patience and repeating the process may be needed for weakened birds.

How can you tell if a pigeon is dehydrated?

Signs that a pigeon may be dehydrated and needing more water include:

  • Dry, wrinkled skin
  • Sunken eyes
  • Inelastic skin that is slow to retract when pinched
  • Dark or thick urates
  • Little or no urine production
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Panting with an open beak
  • Loss of appetite

If a pigeon displays any of these symptoms, provide fresh water immediately and monitor their condition. Call an avian vet if their condition does not improve promptly with increased hydration.

Dangers of dehydration in pigeons

If a pigeon does not get enough water, it can suffer adverse effects including:

  • Impaired digestion – Water is needed for proper food breakdown and absorption.
  • Constipation – Dehydration thickens digestive materials causing painful blockages.
  • Poor circulation – Blood flow is reduced without adequate fluids.
  • Seizures – Electrolyte imbalances can disrupt nerve function.
  • Kidney failure – The kidneys need water to filter wastes from the blood.
  • Heat stroke – Dehydration impairs the bird’s ability to cool itself.
  • Shock – Critically low fluid levels lead to circulatory collapse.
  • Death – Pigeons deprived of all water will eventually die in a matter of days.

Ensuring pigeons always have access to clean drinking water is crucial to avoiding these negative outcomes.

Can pigeons drink too much water?

It is rare for a pigeon to drink more water than it needs provided the water is clean and FRESH. Exceptions include:

  • Young squabs – Newly hatched pigeons may over-drink if hand-fed water that is too cold. This can lead to crop slowdown.
  • Excess minerals – Abnormal calcium or other mineral levels may increase thirst and urine output.
  • Liver disease – Liver damage allows toxins to accumulate that increase thirst.
  • Kidney dysfunction – The kidneys improperly process fluids leading to excess drinking.
  • Diabetes – Elevated blood sugar pulls fluid from the tissues, increasing thirst.

In most cases, excessive water consumption resolves once the underlying health issue is corrected. Restricting water intake is rarely advisable.

Tips for providing pigeons with water

Follow these tips for successfully giving pigeons the water they require:

  • Always keep fresh, clean drinking water available.
  • Change water daily or more often if it gets fouled.
  • Use a suitable water container – big enough, stable, easy to clean.
  • Place multiple water sources around their living space.
  • Provide water away from food to minimize mess.
  • Make sure water is accessible for juveniles and less mobile birds.
  • Check that all birds are drinking normally.
  • Clean water vessels thoroughly to prevent harmful bacteria.
  • Avoid sudden temperature changes when refilling water containers.
  • Increase hydration during hot summer months or egg incubation.

Meeting pigeons’ year-round need for water

Pigeons require water in all seasons, not just summer. Their demand increases at certain times annually:

Season Increased Water Needs
Spring Water for bathing and mating
Summer Replenishing fluids lost to heat
Fall Preparing for migration and winter
Winter Offsetting dry food lacking moisture

Adjusting water availability and hydration methods to suit the season helps keep pigeons healthy all year round.

Common pigeon diseases related to water intake

Some common pigeon diseases involving disrupted water use include:

  • Canker – Mouth lesions make eating and drinking painful.
  • Paratyphoid – Intestinal infection causes severe diarrhea and dehydration.
  • Ascites – Fluid accumulation in the abdomen limits room for food and water.
  • Sour crop – Fermentation reduces appetite and nutrient absorption.
  • Circovirus – Damages the liver and impairs fluid balance.
  • Psittacosis – Respiratory infection causes thirst, dehydration and wasting.

Ensuring prompt veterinary care for sick birds optimizes their water intake and recovery chances.

The water requirements of pigeon squabs

Growing pigeon chicks or “squabs” need extra water support. Key points include:

  • Parent pigeons provide crop milk to hydrate hatchlings.
  • Older squabs drink water from a parent’s beak or bowl.
  • Shallow, narrow bowls allow squabs to submerge their beak.
  • Avoid forcing water into a squab’s mouth.
  • Squabs poop more when adequately hydrated.
  • Weigh squabs regularly to ensure they are growing.
  • Consult a vet if squab seems underhydrated or weak.

Monitoring water intake and excretion helps ensure squabs thrive.


Providing pigeons with fresh, clean drinking water is essential for their health and survival. While their specific needs vary, most pigeons require 15-20ml of water per 100g of body weight daily. Offer water in stable bowls or bird baths that are kept clean and refilled daily. Monitor birds for signs of dehydration like lethargy or poor skin elasticity. Increase water during hot or active periods. Meeting a pigeon’s year-round need for water ensures they remain happy and healthy.

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