The Forgotten Livestock

I suppose there are actually many kinds of forgotten livestock, and I’m only pointing out one. The Pigeon. Relegated to the impractical role of show and contests by most, the Pigeon was a bird that was found on every farm, and generally used and encouraged, though no one would have thought they needed to go out of their way to see that the Pigeon stayed there!

The farmers before the day of big ag accepted Pigeons as part of life, and used them because they were always there. They did not think about the uses of the Pigeon on the farm – they did not need to. They were always there, they did what they did, and the farmer did not have to worry about the tasks that the Pigeons carried out. It was done, so there was no thought regarding any need to manage the job.

Pigeons are always on the lookout for an easy meal. They like to hang out in barns. Not only are there eves for roosting and pockets for nesting, there is feed to cleanup. If the Pigeons clean up the feed, then it does not attract rodents, or other pests.

Plenty of other uses for Pigeons on the farm – for meat, for feathers, manure, animal food, etc. Pigeons were there, so they might as well be used. After decades of dwelling in cities and suburbs, we’ve gotten out of that habit. We often overlook resources, simply because we are not used to using them, or even owning them.

We haven’t just forgotten Pigeons. It isn’t just Pigeons that used to be useful and are now classed as a nuisance. We are that way about many things. Having turned our world upsidedown by compartmentalizing things and removing ourselves from nature.

Pigeons are one small part of it. One that may be easier to recapture than others. If you take a look around, you’ll probably find others. I’d love to hear about them.

UPDATE: Our book Raising Pigeons for Meat: Reviving the Forgotten Livestock is now available for Kindle, on Amazon, or in PDF format on our Firelight Heritage Farms Books website.

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