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Dove Care Tips

March 15, 2023

Are you interested in adopting doves? These gentle, pretty birds are almost like the cats of the bird world. They spend much of their time relaxing and sunbathing, but can also be quite cuddly and affectionate. A Fort Myers, FL veterinarian discusses dove care basics below.


Doves are very sociable, and really should be kept in pairs. For two, you’d need a habitat that is 32’ x 32’ x 21’. However, get the biggest cage you can. The cage bars should be less than 3/8” apart: otherwise, your pets may get stuck or try to escape. Stainless steel is a good choice as far as materials go. If you get a coated cage, make sure the coating isn’t toxic.

Location is also important. Doves are happiest in quiet, comfy spots, where they can observe their owners without feeling exposed. Doves don’t climb, so it’s crucial for them to have room to fly around. If you can’t provide a flight habitat, birdproof a room to let them out in. 


Doves should have several perches, in various strengths, sizes, and materials. Change these out frequently to keep things fun and fresh.


Your feathered pals will also need some entertainment. Foraging games are popular with doves. You can make many fun toys out of paper, soft wood, or cardboard. Ask your vet for more information. 


Your doves will need fresh water at all times. They also enjoy birdbaths. Provide water bowls that are large enough for Polly to bathe in.


Doves require UV light, so you’ll need to add lighting above your pets’ cage. (Note: putting the cage near a window isn’t sufficient, as glass filters the light out.) This is especially important for females. Doves lay a lot of eggs, and need Vitamin D and calcium for the shells.


You can give your doves pellets, supplemented with fresh, safe veggies. You’ll need to add grit to your birds’ food to help them digest seeds, which they swallow whole. Like any other pet, doves also enjoy snacks and treats. Ask your vet for specific advice, including safe and unsafe foods.


Unlike parrots, who sometimes scream like car alarms, doves make soothing coo sounds. Pay attention to your winged pals, and spend lots of time with them!

Our Advice on Dove Care Tips in 2024

What size cage is suitable for keeping doves, and why is stainless steel recommended for the cage material?

A cage measuring 32′ x 32′ x 21′ is ideal for keeping doves, with stainless steel being recommended. Stainless steel is preferred because it is durable, easy to clean, and resistant to rust and corrosion. The cage bars should also be spaced less than 3/8″ apart to prevent the doves from getting stuck or attempting to escape. A spacious and secure environment ensures the well-being and safety of the doves in captivity.

What accessories are essential for dove cages, and why should perches be changed frequently?

Essential accessories for dove cages include various perches of different strengths, sizes, and materials. Perches should be changed frequently to provide mental stimulation and prevent foot problems like bumblefoot. Doves spend a lot of time on perches, so offering a variety ensures their feet remain healthy and strengthens their muscles. Rotating perches also keep their environment dynamic and engaging, preventing boredom and encouraging natural behaviors like exploration and exercise. Regular perch changes contribute to pet doves’ overall well-being and happiness in captivity.

What enrichment activities are recommended for keeping doves entertained?

Recommended enrichment activities for doves include foraging games and providing paper, softwood, or cardboard toys. These activities stimulate their natural behaviors, such as exploring, pecking, and problem-solving. Foraging games encourage mental stimulation and physical activity, keeping doves engaged and entertained. Additionally, rotating toys regularly prevents boredom and ensures continued interest in their environment. Enrichment activities are vital for promoting pet doves’ overall well-being and mental health, helping to alleviate stress and boredom associated with captivity.

What dietary requirements do doves have, and why is grit necessary?

Doves require a diet consisting primarily of pellets supplemented with fresh, safe vegetables. Grit is essential in their diet to aid in digestion. Since doves swallow seeds whole, grit helps grind food in their gizzard, facilitating digestion. It is a natural aid for breaking down hard seed shells, ensuring optimal nutrient absorption. Additionally, providing grit helps prevent digestive issues and promotes overall gastrointestinal health in doves. However, offering the appropriate grit size for their species is crucial, as excessive or inadequate grit consumption can lead to health problems.

How do doves’ vocalizations differ from those of parrots, and why is spending time with them essential for their well-being?

Doves emit soothing coo sounds, distinct from parrots’ loud, sometimes disruptive screams. Spending time with doves is crucial for their well-being as it strengthens the bond between pet and owner, fostering a sense of security and companionship. Regular interaction also provides mental stimulation, preventing boredom and loneliness. Furthermore, attentive observation allows owners to closely monitor their doves’ health and behavior, enabling early detection of potential issues. Overall, nurturing the relationship with doves contributes to their emotional and psychological welfare.

Do you have questions about dove care? Contact us, your Fort Myers, FL pet clinic, today! 

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