Contraception of pigeons
The City of Brussels is testing a new method to control the pigeon population: contraception. Each day, at a fixed time, the pigeons receive a dose of contraceptive corn kernels.
Rock pigeons adapt well to city life. It is also in the city that they find a lot of unsuitable food, but with which they can reproduce throughout the year (12 chicks per year). Moreover, they have few predators. The result: a pigeon overpopulation and a lot of nuisance. That is why the City is now testing contraceptive corn kernels.
The City of Brussels has already installed 5 distributors of contraceptive seeds:
- Square Clémentine
- Place Anneessens
- Parvis-Notre-Dame of Laeken
- Cité Modèle
- Place Willems
New distributors will be placed in other quarters of the City of Brussels.
The corn is covered with a medicine against parasites for birds. But that medicine has a side effect: contraception.
No, this side effect is temporary. All you have to do is stop the corn intake to get young pigeons again.
No, the active substance is present on the seeds in a very low dose. People need to eat kilos of it to feel the effects.
In order to be a risk, the grains must remain after the passage of the pigeons. This is not the case because the amount is calculated on the basis of the pigeon population.
If seeds are left by accident, the other birds are not at risk because they have to eat them every day to get the contraceptive effect. Moreover, sparrows, tits and other small birds in the city do not eat corn kernels.
Dogs and cats do not eat corn kernels either. The amounts needed for a contraceptive effect are so large that dogs or cats should eat the daily dose of the pigeons every day.
No, feeding wild animals is prohibited by the general police regulation (article 35). The pigeons don't need us. In the wild, a pigeon spends 90% of its time searching for food. When a pigeon is fed, it becomes lazy, spends less time searching for food and more time on reproduction. There is enough food in the city.
At the Square Clémentine it is counterproductive to feed the pigeons, because feeding would disrupt the test.
The first seed distributor was installed at the Square Clémentine in the autumn of 2019. At the start of the project there was a population of approximately 250 pigeons. The decrease in the pigeon population in July 2020 was 50%.