White Dove There are many varieties of the dove that vary in
color. Some of the more popular varieties of dove are: Ring-Neck
Dove - A grey colored dove with a dark ring around its neck.
White Dove - A gentle, hardy bird. Diamond Dove - An attractive
speckled miniature. Traits: If properly cared for, doves can
live up to 15 years.
Doves are not typically a bird that
can be handled, although there are a few rare cases. They are
better as pets to be watched and listened to as opposed to being
handled. Doves are active, amusing and the males tend to have a
soothing song (sounding like a soft cooing). Be careful when
mixing varieties, as all breeds do not get along. Doves are
social birds and prefer to be kept in a colony setting. If
breeding is not desired females can be kept together without
difficulty. Doves also require the ability to nest and do best
with an open nest. Old shoe boxes or a small cat litter box
works well for this.
Feeding: A dove's
metabolism is very active and can starve to death in as little
as 24 hours if it does not eat. Doves should eat a staple diet
of fresh fortified finch seed, parakeet seed or pellet daily.
Doves only eat off the top of what is offered, so be sure to
check the food daily. Besides a variety of seed mix or pellet,
offer chopped dark green and yellow vegetables, and a variety of
fresh fruits in addition to a protein source like mature
legumes, hard cooked chopped egg, and grated cheese. Remove
fresh fruits and vegetables within 2 hours of offering to
prevent spoilage. If the bird gets too much liquid from the
fresh fruits and vegetables, the droppings could become runny.
Stop the fresh food for a day to see if this is the reason.
Doves require fresh water each day. Wash and rinse their water
cup out thoroughly prior to adding fresh water to reduce
bacteria growth. Millet Spray also makes an excellent supplement
for doves. Powdered vitamins can be lightly sprinkled on the
fresh food, but putting it in the water can encourage bacterial
choosing a cage for your dove, remember length is more
beneficial to the bird than height. Doves enjoy flying,
therefore, the larger the cage the better. Ideally the cage for
a pair of doves should measure a minimum of 36 " long by 14"
high and 10" wide. Perches are an essential part of the cage and
should be chosen to suit the feet of the dove. Approximately 3"
of perch space per bird is best. A variety of perch sizes,
shapes, and diameters will help exercise the bird's feet and
toes. Place perches strategically to prevent droppings from
contaminating water and food dishes and to prevent the tail from
hanging in dishes or on the floor.
Toys, such as
bells and mirrors, in the dove's cage will keep your bird
entertained. Always have a cuttlebone to supply your dove with
calcium and prevent beak overgrowth. To aid the bird in keeping
itself clean, we recommend placing a suitable size birdbath in
the cage on a weekly basis. Place your dove's cage at eye-level
in a bright area free from drafts and direct sunlight.
Doves and pigeons are very hardy birds. Seldom do they get sick
if they are well cared for. Many are very cold hardy but they do
not handle being in an environment that is wet, cool, and
Signs of Illness: Some of the signs of illness to be aware of
are abnormal behavior such as sitting for longer than usual or
being abnormally quiet, closed eyes, fluffed feathers, head
nodding or head to one side, balance problems, sharply
protruding breast bone, dirty vent, and slimy droppings.
Common Illness: Some of the more common illnesses your dove or
pigeon could contract are pigeon pox, internal parasites such as
threadworm, roundworm, or tapeworm, external parasites such as
mites or ticks, wounds, salmonellosis, and parrot fever also
known as psittacosis. An ailing dove or pigeon should be taken
to a avian veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.