Pigeons are one of the most resistant pests in modern day cities , Source: Andriyko Podilnyk / Unsplash

Genk: Contraceptive feed led to a 25%-drop in pigeon population

Genk: Contraceptive feed led to a 25%-drop in pigeon population

Some residents, however, have continued to feed the pigeons with regular feed and the authorities want to address that issue

Last week, authorities in Genk, Belgium, reported that the local program for curbing the pigeon population by using contraceptive bird feed was a relative success. Local officials claim that the pigeon population has decreased by around a quarter in just a year.

Many European cities are struggling with an explosion in pigeons as the number one urban pest. Local authorities from across the EU have employed different methods to deal with the problem, ranging from contraceptive corn, mixed with Nicarbazine, which is a drug that can deal with internal parasites in birds, to actually using birds of prey, like the city of Bucharest in Romania.

Assessments in Genk

Genk officials implemented contraceptive pigeon feed to curb the population in two neighbourhoods, as the VRT reported. Local officials claim that in the span of one year, the population has dropped by around 25%.

The city chose the locations because they were the most populated by the birds. One was in front of city hall and the other was the Portavida welfare campus. According to estimates, Genk had around 300 pigeons. Alderman for Animal Welfare Anniek Nagels explained that in one location the population dropped by around 28% while in the other by around 24%. However, after an initial decline, the numbers have stabilised.

Alderman Negels explained that this is due to some residents continuing to feed the pigeons in those two places. The city will now try to find out who these residents are and convince them to stop or switch to the contraceptive feed. The official pointed out that the first option for local authorities is to open lines of dialogue with residents rather than fines.

Additionally, the contraceptive feed programme will continue as it has proven to be an effective measure for limiting the bird population. At the same time, officials do not plan to expand the programme to other parts of the city.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU