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Free flight birds can be at risk from a variety of predators. Birds that are not use to free flying are especially at risk. Free flyers must first be accustomed to their home before allowing them to fly.

Brown dove - Wikipedia

If they are new to the dovecot, you can put a mesh cover around it until they become familiar with their accommodations. Once they know their home and where their food is they will return in the evening. It is recommended that you feed them sparingly in the morning, providing the bulk of their feed in the evening to encourage them to return. We must stress that many of the small doves have very poor homing instincts! Putting small doves, like the domestic White Dove and Ringneck Dove, in a free flight situation could mean the loss of your pet.

These birds would likely be lost, possibly perishing of starvation, predation, or exposure. They enjoy it and it is good for their health. For a small number of birds a wallcote is probably the most practical. Built against the side of the house, preferably facing south or southwest, a wallcote is a waterproof shelter consisting of compartments and a porch or landing board.

The compartment size is dependent on the the type of bird. For a medium sized pair of birds a compartment can be about 26" 67 cm wide, 18" - 20" 46 - 51 cm deep, and 16" 41 cm high with an entrance that is about 5" - 6" 13 - 15 cm. The landing board can be about 8" 20 cm wide and can also serve as a place to put heavy crocks for food and water. You can add more compartments as the number of birds increases. This is a shelter and landing platform mounted on a free standing pole.

This type of cote is often more decorative than practical however. Find bird food for pet doves and pet pigeons: Bird Supplies. Weekly you should wash all the perches and platforms. Periodically disinfect the entire bird house and accessories with a mild bleach solution. A total hosing down and disinfecting of an aviary should be done yearly, replacing anything that needs to be freshened such as old dishes, nests, and perches.

Most species will live together peaceable if they are given plenty of room. In too small an area they can be very aggressive as well as during breeding season. All doves and pigeons can be somewhat territorial, and there are some species that are extremely so and very aggressive.

Be sure to research the behaviors of the birds you want before putting them together with others.

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Be very careful about adding a new bird to a cage with existing birds. Most doves and pigeons are territorial by nature. They may be protective of their space and will not appreciate a new roommate, possibly even killing the newcomer. Many species can be house with other birds in an aviary, such as finches and parakeets, but aggressive species should be housed separately. Doves and pigeons do not mix well with cats, nor do they do well with dogs.

This is the ideal pet as it will become quite tame and devoted while wild doves and pigeons generally remain cautious and on their guard. The wild birds will be shy and reserved and will seldom become overly affectionate. When you first bring your bird home, give it about a week or so with very little disturbance and don't let it out of its cage.

There is much for it to become familiar with just being in its cage. Give it a chance to know you and get comfortable. After it is comfortable with you and its accommodations, then you can let it out to start exploring the rest of the home. Doves and pigeons enjoy time out of the cage daily. A pet dove can become very people oriented.

They like to walk around and will roost higher up. Some are free flyers that like to travel around. All these birds will need flight space. If you keep your bird in a cage they will need time out everyday to fly or walk about.


When resting, doves an pigeons do not tuck their head under a wing like many birds do, rather they hunch down pulling their head between the shoulders. In general the tropic or subtropic species are the easiest to breed. All the birds in this family are monogamous, meaning they mate for life.

However they will generally take another mate if something happens to permanently remove the chosen mate. Sometimes a male will kill his mate. Many doves and pigeons are not easily sexed though there are a few species that are dimorphic, having distinctive markings differentiating the male from the female.

Birds Families

If the sex is not visually obvious, it can be be determined by either a surgical probe, endoscopy, which can be done by many veterinarians or by a DNA testing, usually a blood sample or a few plucked feathers sent to be diagnosed in a lab. Most breeders will keep young birds in a pen together until after the first molt and let them pick their own mate. This usually works, though sometimes what you think is a pair is two of the same sex.

If a pair lays three or more eggs, then you have two hens. In the wild they will construct a nest or platform using a few twigs, grasses, roots, and maybe a few leaves. They will often build their nest on a rocky ledge or in the branches of trees or shrubs, but sometimes they just use the old nest of others doves and pigeons or other birds. For many species you can provide a nest platform or a shallow box, pan, or basket. However, only a handful of doves are commonly available as pets, with the diamond dove and the ring-necked dove as the most popular pet dove species.

There interactions are fun to watch and some consider their cooing pleasant. Doves are found in every part of the world; the exception being the Antarctic. The popular diamond dove is native to Australia, and the equally popular ring-necked dove is native to Africa. Doves have different housing needs than parrots. Doves are unable to climb up the cage bars like parrots ca; instead they move about by flying back and forth, which makes a wide cage an important feature. Offer a variety of perch styles and of varying diameters, which will help promote good foot health in your dove.

Doves also need opportunities for bathing. Doves, unlike parrots, need grit in their diet because they eat their seeds whole. Also, their droppings may harbor the growth of fungus, which causes histoplasmosis. Other pests may live on these birds, including fleas, lice, mites, ticks, and other pests. Pests may also infest nests such as stored product pests.

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If you discover pigeons roosting on your property, contact a professional immediately to discuss a proper course of pigeon control. To prevent or get rid of pigeons, homeowners need to make roosting and nesting areas inhospitable. For proper pigeon control, fill in access to voids, slope resting areas, and prevent landing by using devices. Scare balloons, plastic birds, or plastic snakes rarely work except for a very short period.