Carneau Pigeon

The Carneau pigeon is a breed of domestic fancy pigeon. It was developed over many years of selective breeding in Northern France and Southern Belgium.

This breed and other varieties of domesticated pigeons, all are descendants from the wild or feral rock pigeon. It is named from the Carneau, France and was developed as a utility pigeon for eating as squab.

These birds were originally a very low maintenance bird that would fly freely in the fields. But over time, they were bred to be heavier and today they are the second largest domesticated pigeon breed after the King Pigeon

And the breed has traditionally been popular as a fancy, show breed. However, read some more information about the breed below.

Carneau Pigeon Characteristics

The Carneau pigeon is a large breed of domesticated pigeon with impressive appearance and often either white or red. Body of these birds is slender and proportional, with light feathers and pinkish white skin.

Their head is broad and round from the wattle to above the eye, and then gradually slope down to the nape of the neck.

They have a prominent frontal and a nicely developed back skull. Their beak is short, stout and of medium length. Their eyes are prominent, round and bright and colors vary depending on the bird’s color.

The cere is round and finely textured, and bright red in color. Their breast is broad and prominent and of good symmetrical proportion, and it also should be slightly behind the point of the beak.

Wings of the Carneau pigeon are strong and held closely to the body. The flight feathers should be about one inch shorter than the tail feathers and carried over the wings.

The tail should be wedge shaped and extended one inch beyond flights.

Neck of the Carneau pigeon is of medium length and strong, thick and well-proportioned to the body and head. The back should be broad across the shoulders and wedge shaped from the shoulder to the tail.

Both legs and feet of these birds are of bright red color and featherless. Average body height of these birds is approximately 13 inches, and average body weight is around 967 grams.

Physical Characteristics

The Carneau Pigeon is a large and robust breed, known for its imposing appearance. On average, they measure around 40 centimeters (16 inches) in length and weigh between 550 to 700 grams. The Carneau Pigeon boasts a well-developed chest, broad shoulders, and a slightly rounded body shape, giving them a regal stance.

These pigeons have a thick and smooth feathering, which comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Some common color variations include solid white, black, blue, red, yellow, and pied. The feathers are tightly packed, providing them with excellent insulation and protection from the elements.

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The most striking feature of the Carneau Pigeon is its prominent and well-rounded head. They have a broad forehead and a strong beak, which is slightly curved. The eyes are large, expressive, and typically have a bright orange or red iris. These features contribute to their captivating and majestic appearance.

Temperament and Behavior

Carneau Pigeons are known for their calm and gentle nature. They possess an intelligent and inquisitive disposition, making them highly trainable and easy to handle. Due to their friendly and docile nature, they are often sought after as pets.

Unlike some other pigeon breeds, Carneaus are not known for their strong homing instincts. They are more suited for exhibition and show purposes, as they are generally less inclined to fly long distances. These pigeons are content to remain in their loft or aviary, provided they receive proper care and attention.

Breeding and Reproduction

Breeding Carneau Pigeons requires careful consideration and planning. Selecting high-quality breeding pairs is essential to maintain the breed’s standard characteristics and traits. When selecting breeding stock, it is crucial to choose individuals with good health, desirable conformation, and strong genetic lineage.

Carneau Pigeons typically reach sexual maturity at around six to eight months of age. They are monogamous birds, forming strong pair bonds. The breeding season usually begins in spring when the weather conditions are favorable.

The female pigeon typically lays two eggs, which are incubated by both parents for an average of 17 to 19 days. The parents take turns incubating the eggs and caring for the newly hatched chicks.

Carneau Pigeons as Show Birds

Carneau Pigeons have gained significant popularity in the world of pigeon shows and exhibitions. Their striking appearance, regal posture, and unique characteristics make them an excellent choice for competitive events. Show standards are set for the Carneau breed, focusing on their physical attributes such as head shape, body structure, feather quality, and coloration.

During competitions, Carneau Pigeons are judged based on their adherence to these standards, with the aim of identifying the finest specimens of the breed. Exhibiting Carneaus requires diligent care, grooming, and presentation to ensure they are in prime condition for the show ring.

Carneau Pigeons as Pets

Beyond the show arena, Carneau Pigeons can make wonderful pets for dedicated bird enthusiasts. Their calm and friendly nature, combined with their striking appearance, make them a captivating addition to any aviary or loft.

However, it’s important to note that Carneau Pigeons may not be as affectionate or interactive as some other domesticated bird species like parrots or budgies. They are more inclined to observe and explore their surroundings rather than seeking constant attention or physical interaction.

To provide a suitable home for Carneau Pigeons, a spacious and secure loft or aviary is essential. They require enough room to stretch their wings and engage in mild exercise. The enclosure should also be well-ventilated and protected from extreme weather conditions. Additionally, providing perches, nesting boxes, and a variety of toys or enrichment activities can keep them mentally stimulated and prevent boredom.

Proper nutrition is crucial for the well-being of Carneau Pigeons. A balanced diet should consist of high-quality pigeon feed, which can be supplemented with fresh fruits, vegetables, and grit for digestion. Fresh water should be provided at all times, and it is advisable to consult with an avian veterinarian to ensure the appropriate diet for your pigeons.

Maintaining good hygiene is vital to prevent diseases and ensure the overall health of Carneau Pigeons. Regular cleaning of the loft, including removing droppings and providing fresh bedding, is necessary.

Pigeons are susceptible to parasites such as lice and mites, so regular inspections and appropriate treatment are essential to keep them free from infestations.


Carneau pigeon is raised mainly as a utility bird, and also raised for exhibition purpose. It is raised as a utility pigeon for eating as squab.

Special Notes

The Carneau pigeon is of excellent temperament, and it is second only to the King Pigeon in terms of placidity. It is a curious bird and if kept as a house pet you do need to keep an eye on them as they have a tendency to get into everything.

It is actually a very social bird and will interact with other birds and with humans. These birds usually put few demands on their owners, as long as they are well cared for.

Although they are raised mainly for utility purpose, but they are also good for raising for show or exhibition purpose.

Their average lifespan is between 7 and 10 years. However, review full breed profile of the Carneau pigeon in the following chart.

Breed NameCarneau
Other NameNone
Breed PurposeMainly utility, also exhibition and pets
Special NotesBeautiful birds, attractive large appearance, good for raising as pets, very good for general or utility purpose, excellent temperament, social birds, 7-10 years average lifespan
Breed ClassLarge
WeightAround 967 grams
Climate ToleranceAll climates
Flying AbilityGood
As PetsGood
ColorCan vary
Country/Place of OriginNorthern France and Southern Belgium

Interesting Facts about Carneau Pigeons

Carneau pigeons are believed to be one of the oldest breeds of pigeons, with the first records of them dating back to the 16th century. Here we are going to share some interesting facts about Carneau pigeons.

  1. Carneau pigeons originated in France in the 16th century. They were developed by crossing Spanish monk pigeons with local French pigeons.
  2. They are known for their large size. They typically weigh between 500-700 grams and can grow up to 40cm in length.
  3. These pigeons have a distinctive appearance. They have a broad chest, a curved beak, and a short, thick neck. Their feathers are smooth and silky, and they come in a range of colors including white, black, blue, red, and yellow.
  4. Carneau pigeons are known for their friendly and docile temperament. They are easy to handle and make great pets.
  5. They are intelligent birds and can be trained to perform a variety of tasks. They have been used as messenger pigeons and have even been trained to navigate using the sun and stars.
  6. These pigeons have a relatively long lifespan, with some birds living up to 20 years or more.
  7. These birds are omnivores and feed on a variety of foods including grains, seeds, fruits, and insects.
  8. Carneau pigeons are prolific breeders and can produce up to eight clutches per year. The eggs incubate for around 18 days before hatching.
  9. They are attentive parents and take turns incubating the eggs and caring for the young.
  10. These pigeons are frequently used in pigeon racing due to their speed and endurance.
  11. They pigeons are generally healthy birds, but they can be susceptible to a number of diseases including avian pox, respiratory infections, and mites.
  12. They are not currently listed as endangered, but their numbers have declined in recent years due to habitat loss and hunting.
  13. Carneau pigeons are often exhibited at pigeon shows and competitions around the world.
  14. These pigeons have soft and silky feathers that are highly valued by the fashion industry for use in clothing and accessories.
  15. They are a popular breed for pigeon fanciers who enjoy breeding and showing them off at exhibitions and competitions.
  16. Carneau pigeons are known for their distinctive cooing vocalizations, which can vary depending on their mood.
  17. While Carneau pigeons are not migratory birds, they have been known to travel long distances in search of food or a mate.
  18. Pigeons, including Carneau pigeons, have been symbolic in many cultures throughout history. They have been associated with peace, love, and fertility.
  19. Carneau pigeons are adaptable birds that can thrive in a variety of habitats, including urban and rural environments.
  20. The genetics of Carneau pigeons are complex, with many different traits affecting their appearance and behavior.
  21. Carneau pigeons are a popular breed of pigeon worldwide, with many enthusiasts keeping them as pets or breeding them for exhibition.
  22. Breeding Carneau pigeons requires a great deal of knowledge and expertise, as well as a lot of patience and dedication.
  23. The history of Carneau pigeons is closely tied to the history of pigeon breeding in general, which dates back thousands of years to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians and the Romans.

Best Tips for Caring Carneau Pigeons

Carneau pigeons are a beautiful and intelligent breed of domestic pigeon. They require proper care and attention in order to live healthy, happy lives. Here are some tips for caring for Carneau pigeons:

  1. Carneau pigeons require adequate space to move around freely and stretch their wings. A spacious aviary or loft is recommended with enough room for perching, nesting, and flying.
  2. Proper ventilation is essential to maintain good health for your Carneau pigeons. A well-ventilated space helps regulate temperature, humidity, and keeps the air clean.
  3. Keep the living environment of your pigeons clean by regularly disinfecting the loft or aviary and removing any waste or debris. Clean the food and water bowls daily and provide fresh bedding.
  4. Fresh water is crucial for the health and well-being of your Carneau pigeons. Keep the water bowl clean and refill it daily.
  5. Provide a balanced diet that includes a variety of grains, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Ensure that the diet provides adequate protein and calcium to support healthy growth and development.
  6. Supplement the diet of your Carneau pigeons with vitamins and minerals to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients. Consult with a veterinarian or avian specialist to determine the appropriate supplements.
  7. Monitor the food intake of your Carneau pigeons to ensure they are eating properly. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and health problems, while underfeeding can result in malnutrition.
  8. Grit and mineral supplements are important for the digestive system of your Carneau pigeons. These supplements help break down food and aid in nutrient absorption.
  9. Carneau pigeons require nesting materials to create a comfortable and safe environment for their young. Provide soft materials such as straw, hay, or wood chips.
  10. Carefully monitor the breeding of your Carneau pigeons to ensure that they are healthy and not overburdened. Excessive breeding can lead to health problems for both parents and offspring.
  11. Adequate light is necessary for the health and well-being of your Carneau pigeons. Provide natural light or install appropriate lighting fixtures in the loft or aviary.
  12. Carneau pigeons are intelligent birds that need mental stimulation. Provide toys, perches, and other forms of enrichment to keep them entertained and engaged.
  13. When introducing new birds to the flock, quarantine them for at least 30 days to prevent the spread of disease.
  14. Schedule regular checkups with a veterinarian or avian specialist to monitor the health of your Carneau pigeons and detect any potential health issues early.
  15. Observe any changes in the behavior of your Carneau pigeons, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or unusual vocalizations. These changes could indicate a health problem.
  16. Maintain an appropriate temperature in the loft or aviary to ensure the comfort and health of your Carneau pigeons. Avoid extreme temperatures that can cause stress or illness.
  17. Prevent parasites such as mites, lice, and ticks by regularly cleaning and disinfecting the living environment of your Carneau pigeons. Consult with a veterinarian or avian specialist for appropriate treatments.
  18. Provide proper perching for your Carneau pigeons to prevent foot and leg problems. Avoid perches that are too small or smooth, and provide different perch sizes and textures.
  19. Carneau pigeons require a dust bath to maintain healthy feathers and skin. Provide a container filled with sand or dust for them to bathe in.
  20. Monitor the dynamics of your Carneau pigeon flock to ensure that there is no aggression or bullying. Separate birds that exhibit aggressive behavior.
  21. Keep the environment around your Carneau pigeons quiet and calm. Loud noises or sudden movements can cause stress and lead to health problems.
  22. Protect your Carneau pigeons from predators such as cats, dogs, and birds of prey. Ensure that the loft or aviary is secure and install appropriate barriers.
  23. Practice good hygiene when handling your Carneau pigeons to prevent the spread of disease. Wash your hands before and after handling the birds and avoid contact with sick birds.

The Carneau pigeon is a beautiful and intelligent bird that has been bred for centuries for its meat, eggs, and beauty. Its distinctive appearance, gentle nature, and unique vocalizations make it a popular choice for pet owners and racing enthusiasts alike.

However, owning a Carneau pigeon requires a significant amount of time, effort, and resources, making it a commitment that should not be taken lightly. Hope this guide has helped you! Good luck & may God bless you!

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