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20140125_101051

Elmo pigeon

My two pigeons live indoors since they are both disabled and bonded to humans. I have written a lot in the past about their special needs and their requirements for living indoors, especially stressing the importance of ensuring their emotional needs are met as well as their dietary ones. One of the latter requirments are minerals. Out in the wild pigeons will find and eat minerals to supplement their diet (as do many other animal species), but where in my household are Elmo and Georgie going to find these minerals?

When I bought the first red mineral pick-pot I was amazed at how quickly Elmo knew that it was for eating and at how much he enjoyed doing so. When out in the garden Elmo would always eat some dirt, so I knew he had the need for minerals, but how did he know that the pot contained them? Whatever the answer, Elmo started a love affair with the pick pot and I had to ensure that I had a steady supply of them (previous posts about the subject: Pet pigeons can be so silly sometimes… and Pigeon video introduction)

After a house move I had to think of where to put the pick-pot so Elmo could enjoy it. I had concerns about putting it in the kitchen – which is where it was in our previous home – because the spillage was great (Elmo is not a neat eater!) which left the floor stained pink. So this time I placed the pot in Elmo’s little corner near his food and water since the area is covered with a cloth that I can wash.

What did Elmo do? He ignored the pot completely. Instead, he’d walk into the kitchen and look about for the pot there, even though it is a completely different kitchen with a different layout. Elmo seemed to have it in his head that the pick-pot belonged in the kitchen. I kept showing Elmo where the pot was near his food but he would simply ignore it and walk into the kitchen. I watched him do this for a while before I gave in and put the pot in a corner in the kitchen. Elmo immediately went up to it and ate some minerals. Pigeon 1, human 0.

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Elmo is reunited with his beloved mineral pick-pot.

I left the pick-pot in the kitchen for a week then moved it back into Elmo’s area in the living room. I didn’t want the minerals to stain the floor and I also wanted Elmo to have access to them all the time (he’s not allowed in the kitchen when we’re out at work). Thankfully, Elmo realised that the pick-pot was now in his area and continued to use it there, so I am now happy with the knowledge that he isn’t going without at any point. :)

In other news, Elmo briefly perches on our door. He didn’t look impressed with being so high up – since Elmo cannot fly he’s always at a floor level – so we quickly took him down. :)

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Being inspired by the post Planting Greens For Your Pigeons and Doves on The Rescue Report – and knowing how much Elmo loves lettuce and cabbage – I decided to grow some greens for Elmo to eat.

Elmo is very attracted to anything green – in fact, my green work uniform always puts him in a good mood towards me. As soon as I change into my normal clothes he reverts back to pecking me with gusto! It’s amazing. One minute I’ll be in my uniform and Elmo wants to feed me and hang out with me, the next minute I’ll change and Elmo will view me as the enemy. I don’t know what he sees when he looks at me in the uniform. Strange. :)

So when my husband and I were at the garden centre I had a look at different salad/vegetable seeds available to plant. Since I’m not very good at keeping plants alive I didn’t want to buy anything that would be too complicated to grow (my fern and two cacti are still alive but I think it’s pure dumb luck), so I chose a cress growing kit to start with.

Elmo watched me “plant” the seeds with interest and after a few days (after careful watering) some growth could be seen.

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I was excited. Soon ideas of sprouting seeds and beans as well as growing a lush garden of salads and other greens sprang into my mind. I was to be the queen of the garden! I had visions of Elmo gorging himself on the fresh food with enthusiasm and appreciation. It was to be a magical new era for us.

Sadly, this was not the case. The cress grew beautifully and I was as proud as anything. I placed the cress in front of Elmo and he simply glanced at the cress and walked away. He wasn’t even intrigued. Not one bit.

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As you can imagine I was heart-broken. After all my hard gardening work and fretting over the seeds – waiting, wishing, hoping for a strong crop – Elmo didn’t even want to try it. Is it because it was cress? Would Elmo prefer something else? I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to go through all that work a second time if he’s not going to appreciate it. :D

I have to say, though, the cress went beautifully with the cream cheese on the sesame seed bagel I had for lunch. :)

Maybe Elmo would have tried the cress if it was in a bagel?


There was once a time when my husband and I could sit down and have a meal with no interruptions or drama. Our two pigeons have changed this. What should be an easy sit down meal becomes a war ground – a pigeon on either side of us, staring at our food, climbing onto our lap towards the food. Any unattended food has to be guarded by the remaining person lest Elmo jumps onto the plate. Most meals must be eaten with our bodies leant over the plates, protecting them from the pigeon trying to get to it.

Why don’t we simply put our pigeons away while we eat? That would be a simple solution but we don’t want to. Call us overindulgent if you wish! :)

The smell of popcorn, as mentioned in previous posts, is enough to get Georgie’s and Elmo’s beaks watering. Other welcomed food are oven-baked chips and pancakes. Elmo is particularly partial to anything green such as lettuce and cabbage, however, his second all time favourite is rice mixed with any kind of meat, e.g. beef strogonoff and chili con carne. Funnily enough Elmo won’t touch plain cooked rice. It must have some sort of meaty sauce mixed with it.

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Elmo tucking into pizza!


An introduction to Georgie, our semi-blind feral pigeon:


Who would have thought that a pigeon would like beef stroganoff, but Elmo loved it!! Silly boy! :)