Read CHAPTER I of Raising P.V. Squabs for Profit, free online book, by John S. Trecartin, on

Is there profit in raising squabs?

Of the question of profit in squab raising, there is no doubt. Squabs are coming into use more and more every day, not only as a delicacy for invalids, but also for hotels, restaurants, catering establishments, and household use.

The first question is naturally of the market for them. The Hebrews, who entertain lavishly, are among our largest customers. They buy the squabs alive, as their poultry has to be prepared according to the Jewish Dietary Laws. The hotels in all large cities use enormous quantities of squabs, and we have had to freeze large quantities for them in the summer in the past few years, so as to insure them a steady supply through the winter months. We have frozen as high as 5,000 squabs for a single hotel in one year, and now we make a practice of always keeping a reserve of frozen squabs, to meet the winter demands.

The prices of squabs are for the most part regulated by the large cities in the vicinity. Commission merchants are always anxious to buy in any quantity and they send out weekly quotations as to what they are paying for squabs. The prices to butchers, hotels, and consumers of all classes, are based on these quotations and naturally the direct sale to the consumer, cutting out the commission man, commands a much higher price.

The following table is made up of the quotations Conron Bros., New York City, paid for squabs during the first week in January in the following years:

1912 Squabs weighing 9 lbs. to the dozen $  4.75
1913     "              " 9 lbs.     "        "   4.75
1914     "              " 9 lbs.     "        "   4.75
1916     "              " 9 lbs.     "        "   5.50
1919     "              " 9 lbs.     "        "   9.25
1920     "              " 9 lbs.     "        " 11.00

Squabs are graded according to the weight of one dozen. That is, one dozen squabs weighing twelve ounces each, would weigh nine pounds to the dozen. We have taken that weight squab as a basis, as that is the average weight squab produced from good breeders.

The cost of raising squabs depends entirely on the price of feed and the number of squabs produced during a given period. Before the war, it cost $1.25 a year for feed for one pair of pigeons. At present, the cost per pair for feed is $3.00, according to our records. Now, how many squabs will a pair of pigeons produce in a year? That question we cannot answer, but we know how many squabs we have produced from our breeders. In 1919, we raised an average of 14.3 squabs per pair, for our entire plant. Our average pen production ran from 10 to 16 squabs per pair a year, and as we always select our breeders for their fast breeding qualities and plump squab, we fully expect to average 15 squabs per pair in 1920.

Considering the useful breeding life of a pigeon, which continues for five years, the question of profit in raising squabs should answer itself.

The selecting of breeders will be treated in full, further in the book.