Doves are terrific pets. However, many individuals have yet to find this kind of bird. Why? Outside, doves are meant to fly about and crap on automobiles. Why should you keep them as pets? There are many causes for this.
Size – They are medium-sized birds that range in length from 4 to 8 inches. Smaller doves may be readily raised in cages at home. Larger doves are often maintained in flying cages or, in some cases, outdoor aviaries. These are not to be confused with pigeons! That is a whole other species of bird!
Maintenance is similar to that of bigger birds. Their food consists of a high-quality finch seed/pellet mix supplemented with dark greens and cut up fruit and vegetables. We had to boost their meals with vitamins since the doves we bred didn’t appear to like them. Doves are one of the few birds whose diet must include grit. Look for high calcium grit derived from digestible components such as cuttlebone and oyster shell. Our birds were given a specific dove seed mix consisting mostly of millet and chip peas. Greens and vitamins are added as supplements.
Our “special” white doves were given a specific diet since we didn’t want them pooping all over the place when we brought them to “functions.” More on it in a moment.
Noisy? Absolutely not. Doves, as opposed to parrots, produce a delightful “cooing” sound that provides a pleasant ambience to the house.
Cost? Most common doves are fairly cheap. Some specific breeds of “display” doves may be rather expensive. However, the typical ringneck or white dove costs roughly $20. They are quite simple to breed and extremely resilient.
Doves like interacting with humans. They are simple to teach with your fingers and do not bite. This makes them an excellent first bird for little children. After touching small birds, students will be able to quickly go to bigger birds and learn how to care for them.
Ringneck and Diamond Doves are the most common doves. Ringneck Doves are available in nearly 40 different colour varieties.
Diamond doves have grown in popularity as a pet. They are one of the tiniest dove species, having a grey body and an off-white breast and stomach. Many have wing feathers that are blue or chestnut in hue. They are tough and seldom get ill unless they are neglected. They may be kept in a cage alongside other birds like finches. Because these birds mate for life, many individuals maintain a pair. They have been known to live in captivity for at least 15 years.
We reared a large number of white doves. With our aviary, we had a side business. We leased out our doves and painted cages for weddings, funerals, and other important occasions. It was quite an experience to observe a cathedral full of wedding guests listening to a dozen doves coo as the wedding rites were taking place. The cooing served to ease the grief during funerals, and the dove’s role in religious rites is vital to many communities.
The difficulty is that many individuals desire to do “dove releases”. Unfortunately, the birds employed in such rituals are white racing pigeons rather than doves. When you release a regular dove, it does not return to its nest as pigeons do because it lacks homing instincts. If you release white doves, you are merely sending them to their death, unless they can adapt to live in the wild and evade predators.
If you decide to maintain a few doves, bear in mind that they will need a cage large enough for them to flap their wings and exercise. Doves must be able to fly, thus their wings are not generally clipped. Doves can’t climb like other birds like parrots, and they can’t get away from danger unless they fly. Losing such capacity might have psychological consequences for the bird.
They do generate a significant quantity of dander. You can sprinkle them, but some people simply put them in the sink and spray them. I’ve spoken with a couple dove owners who physically wash their birds with mild dish detergent. This was the only proper technique to thoroughly clean a White Dove.
Do not leave doves in a draughty environment. While they can survive chilly temperatures, they cannot endure draughts. They are also very sensitive to smoke and scents, so keep them away from cooking areas.
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