All the other pigeonniers of this style that I have looked inside were fitted with wicker baskets or clay pots for the birds to nest in. In contrast, the four walls of M. Albouy’s pigeonnier are lined with 300 pigeonholes fashioned from local clay and a bamboo framework. These provided a safe and comfortable environment where amorous pairs of adult pigeons could raise their squabs, or baby pigeons. Safety in this context was short-lived, like the baby pigeons. Before the juveniles reached 28 days and might fly away, the big bad owner came along with a basket and stole them for his supper.
Writing in his seminal work on agricultural science published in 1600, Olivier de Serres tells us: ‘He whose home is provided with a pigeon tower…will never see his household short of food because [it] will provide him with fresh meat as surely as a well-stocked larder.’