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Doocots

A Doocot, doucat or dove-cote is a pigeon-house. They vary greatly in appearance. In Scotland the usual type is gabled and crow-stepped, but occasionally you come upon one of quite different style.

Doocots are few and far between these days, and there is still a tendency to demolish those that still stand. This is a pity, for in itself the doocot not only forms a link with mediaeval times, it often marks the site of ancient buildings of which nothing now remains. For example, a doocot stands in the open fields at Bonnyton, near Bridge of Dun, and is the only remaining sign of the castle that once was there.

Others that come readily to mind are. those excellent examples at Tealing and Kilspindie.
Decorative though they were, these pigeon-houses were primarily for the purpose of having a supply of pigeon-meat on hand. By an Act of James IV. in 1503, every laird was to have a park with deer, fish ponds, rabbit warrens and “dowcatis.” And no doubt this “grow your own food” drive resulted in many doocots being built about that time. It should be remembered that cattle were then largely slaughtered and salted down at the approach of winter as there was a lack of winter-feed. No doubt the fresh pigeon-meat was welcome, as a change from the salted fare. 500 breeding pairs of pigeons was about the average for each doocot.

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