Is it Legal to Keep Pigeons as Pets?

Pigeons are good birds to keep as pets because of their peaceful nature. Furthermore, they are intelligent, beautiful, and they don’t snatch or steal our food items. Therefore, it is easy to keep them by making appropriate arrangements for their food, shelter, and well-being.

Is it Legal to Keep Pigeons as Pets? It is legal to keep pigeons as pets in most US States. However, laws vary from region to region. For example, in Chicago, it is illegal to keep them in certain city areas. In California, you can keep them by taking prior permission regarding their numbers and keeping them outdoors only. In Minnesota, you have to get a permit regularly for maintaining a certain number of pigeons.

Various state laws regarding keeping pigeons as pets

Pigeons are beautiful and gentle birds if you have sufficient space to accommodate them and fulfill their other requirements.

However, various states have their local laws and ordinances regarding the legality of keeping pigeons.

Chicago is the only state in the US that has a complete ban on keeping all kinds of pigeons as pets.

The decision has a basis of several complaints from people regarding the birds’ cooing noise, feathers, and droppings from their neighborhood.

You can’t keep them even inside. Despite various appeals from the pigeon racing community and other rearing enthusiasts, the ban on keeping the bird as a pet is valid, and nobody can go against it.

Otherwise, they have to pay the penalty and punishment for violating public rights.

California has its local laws and ordinances in various cities and zones regarding keeping pigeons and flying them.

You have to check your zoning before having pigeons as pet birds. For example, in Burbank, you cannot go beyond 25 birds at your home.

There is no limit or restriction in Van Nuys city regarding domesticating birds, but you must have permits worth $220-$230 to fly them or be involved in pigeon racing.

You also have to follow the general ordinance of keeping the birds in pens with proper care.

Animal Control officials can come to inspect your loft, and in case of violations, you have to pay a fine.

Minnesota is another state with different laws in its cities. For example, you must take a fowl permit in Minneapolis city before purchasing birds like pigeons, ducks, and chickens.

Requirements for the license are signed consent from your neighbors, proper knowledge and certificate of keeping birds, and local approval from Community Planning and Economic Development in the city.

The annual permit fee can vary from $30-$80 depending on the number of birds from 1 to 30.

Moreover, animal control authorities will inspect your aviary or pen for proper shelter, safety, and livability of the place.

Mandatory requirements for Keeping pigeons as pets

You also have to satisfy the animal and wildlife control requirements besides necessary permissions or approval from state authorities to keep pigeons as pets. They will check if the living conditions are safe and suitable for the birds.


Food is the mandatory requirement for any living being, so is for pigeons. Animal cruelty protection laws enforce you to feed the birds according to their needs appropriately.

Other conditions are fresh and clean water. Keep clean water accessible for birds all the time. Replace it with new daily to prevent foul smell.

Quantity and frequency of food depend on the age, diet, and specific period of the pigeon life cycle.

Its nutritional value should be good, palatable, and free of contamination for the birds.

You should remove the leftover food items daily to ensure a healthy and clean environment before it gets rotten.

Moreover, store it in the proper place for use over a long time. Any violation of the fowl protection laws, you have to face cancellation of your permit as well as heavy fines.


The second most important requirement for pigeon rearing is freedom from discomfort for proper living space.

Whether indoor or outdoor, it should be well ventilated, well lit with sufficient space having a sense of safety and comfort.

If you keep them outside, you should build an aviary with rodent-proof flooring and security from other predators.

There must be space for laying eggs and newborn babies. Clean the area daily for their poop and thoroughly clean it every week.

While keeping them indoors, you should arrange for a good-sized cage or pen with a proper sitting and resting area.

Moreover, it is not safe to keep them with other animals or birds as pigeons are peaceful and quickly get hurt or fear.

Good care

Reasonable care of keeping pigeons is to ensure their well-being from unfavorable conditions, environmental factors like weather, and aggressive species like cats or big birds.

Some people tie their birds’ legs to restrict them inside. It is cruel behavior, and local police can arrest you if somebody reports any misbehavior with your pet.

Keep them in their loft to ensure their enjoyable living. You have to complete a fowl education course before applying for a permit.

Why pigeons are not allowed as pets in some States?

US wildlife service and other city administration authorities have imposed specific ordinances to keep pigeons as pets.

Their purpose is to ensure human health, safety, protection of personal property, or any other damage or loss to the public. 

Spreading disease/public health issues

Pigeon dropping is the main factor for keeping them inside your home. They can carry many diseases that can be dangerous for human beings.

The fungus can grow in their droppings and can be a cause of lung disease histoplasmosis.

Therefore, you should take extreme care while cleaning their waste using gloves.

Some people also use small pants or diapers if they have 1-2 pigeon pets at their homes.

Despite the fact, you can get an allergy due to its feathers spread and other 2-3 diseases due to birds.

Contaminating water supply

Pigeon droppings and feathers can get access to the city water supply. It can contaminate it and spread disease and foul smell in the water.

They even make nests on rooftops or anyone drinking water from the tank or well.

People in Chicago have filed complaints regarding pigeons contaminating the water supply resulting in a ban on their domestication.

Damage to building paints

Vents in the buildings are the favorite spots for pigeons to make nests and breed. It damages the building’s appearance due to its claws and droppings on the walls.

Few of them make nests in exhaust fans, causing them to choke, resulting in a fire in unfortunate circumstances.

Therefore, US laws prevent anybody from feeding wild or domestic birds at public places due to the spread of waste and disturbance to the common public.

Damage to vehicles

Small birds like pigeons in the form of a loft can sit in a vehicle parked under a tree. Their droppings and claws can damage the car paints.

Therefore, it is illegal in certain zones to keep them as pets without people’s consent in certain areas of your neighborhood.

Damage to the public property has severe legal repercussions if neighbors file a complaint against you.

Not permitted by building owners

Some building owners make this clause a part of the rental agreement that you don’t keep any birds or animal pets at your home.

Their cooing noise and making mess due to scattered feathers and droppings are the main reasons for banning their rearing.

Moreover, you have to take a permit in a few states like Minnesota, and for that, permission from your neighbors and the homeowner is mandatory for keeping pigeons as pets.

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