For several centuries, the dovecotes were an essential element for the local economy. In addition to the meat consumption, which was rapidly renewed thanks to the high and rapid reproduction capacity of the pigeons, the dovecotes also served to recover the droppings from the pigeons. Called "columbines", these excrements rich in nitrogen and phosphoric acid, were used for the manure of the fields. Before the advent of chemical fertilizers, columbine will remain the best fertilizer for farmers. The size of the dovecote was always in line with that of the domain where it was and its height was used for the young pigeons to find their nests. The interior fittings of the pigeon lofts, whatever their shape, were functional for the rational exploitation of the columbine, the visit and the cleaning of the nests and the taking of the eggs.
Pigeonnier de l'hôpital de Montauban ©poulbou_24
Visible in the courtyard of Montauban hospital. Large dovecote of several meters.
Pigeonnier des Farguettes ©F.Annie
Dovecote visible in the neighborhood of Farguettes east of Montauban towards Léojac.
Pigeonnier du golf de Lestang ©GolfdeLestang
Visible at the arrival of golf Lestang.
Their location is chosen away from the tall trees that can shelter raptors and sheltered from prevailing winds and the walls were smooth to prevent predators crawling to catch the pigeons. With about forty dovecotes, Montauban is a privileged destination to discover these architectural works well present in the Tarn-et-Garonne. Most of these dovecotes are in private homes, some are not accessible or in poor condition. On the other hand, other people make a point of honor to maintain the frame and are a marvel for the eyes.