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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sharing this in the hope that other fanciers won't make the same mistake. We bought a pair of diamond doves at a pigeon show on October 17th. They were beautiful, healthy birds. I had a long chat with the owner and was confident they were healthy and well cared for. We didn't go home for several hours, so they were in a box all that time (this was after dark).

I quarantined the new doves in our house in a small parrot cage. The food and water dishes on this cage are near, but not on, the floor of the cage. I took the covers off the dishes to make sure the little doves could find their food and water. They were very skittish (used to being in an outdoor aviary) so I gave them as much space as possible.

Around Wednesday or Thursday of last week the little hen wasn't looking so good. Droppings looked okay and she was eating, but increasingly listless. She fluffed her head feathers and her eyes looked "squinty" but I didn't see the blinking behavior I've seen in young pigeons that haven't found their water.

By Friday she was clearly in trouble. I added an antibiotic mix to the water, but she was going down fast. On Saturday morning my husband picked her up and held the water to her beak. She drank and drank and drank. I felt sick. It had been a week and it seemed she must not have known where the water was! I assumed she did because I had seen the male drink, and he was just fine. I realized with horror that the squinty look to her eyes was probably due to dehydration.

A few hours after getting that good drink, she looked much better: no longer puffed up and she was eating well. We kept her on low heat and changed the water back to plain water. I surmised she was not ill, but thirsty and I didn't want to overdose her on antibiotics. We were hopeful she would recover.

But the next morning, she was in bad shape again. She passed a few normal looking droppings but stopped eating. We kept coaxing her to drink and she she did have a few sips of Pedialyte but were were unable to save her and she died last night.

I called the breeder and he said lack of water very likely was the problem; he has heard of this happening to other fanciers with diamond doves. He told me the stress of being at the show all day and in the box for several hours could have contributed.

I feel terrible. :( I've never had this happen to a bird in my care before and it seems like such a rookie mistake. With new doves and pigeons I normally dip their beaks in the water to make sure they know where it is. I always do it for youngsters fresh out of the nest, too. In the case of these tiny doves I didn't dip their beaks, primarily because they are so small and skittish. That and the fact that when we got home with them it was late at night. (Also not recommended.)

So...if you're getting new diamond doves I highly recommend finding out where they are used to being fed and watered (usually the floor) and in what type of container, and use the same type. These doves were accustomed to being fed and watered on the floor of their aviary and it's possible that even though the dishes in my cage were a few inches above the floor, it kept the little hen from recognizing her water dish. Oddly enough, she had no trouble finding the food, which was at the same level.
 

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Thank you for telling us, Cathy. It's a very sad story. My experience with diamond doves was similar.
 

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Thanks for the reminder, it could of happend to any of us...sometimes you just don't want to bother them in their new home and forget about the water "showing"....I had to do that with one of my hen jacobins, she was blinking and sitting still, I held her beak to the water and she drank alot...I felt so bad, but just figured she knew as the others were drinking...I was lucky I noticed in time...Im sorry you lost your little one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you so much for the input, Charis and Spirit Wings. I think I'd have caught on sooner if I'd seen blinking...with her eyes squinted she just looked sick. Still, I should have figured it out.

I even read up on diamond doves in my dove book but didn't see anything specifically related to this issue.
 

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I'm so sorry this happened. Of course, with them you didn't want to grab them and dip their beaks, as they were already skittish and you didn't want to scare them further. Again, very sorry this happened. They are somewhat fragile in so many ways, it seems . . . I know many people have problems keeping them sometimes. I hope you feel better and are able to find a new mate for the little guy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you, MJ. The breeder is very graciously giving me another hen. He lives over an hour away and I'm going tomorrow because I feel so bad for the cock and don't want to make him wait for a new companion.

I knew from talking to other people that diamond doves are very skittish but I wasn't quite prepared for just how nervous they are. They freaked out every time I looked at them. Even my tiny orange-cheeked waxbill finches are calmer. The male diamond dove has since calmed down but he's still not happy when I'm near the cage.
 

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I know this was difficult for you, since you are so diligent in caring for your birds. Hope the new bird settles in smoothly.
 

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My ringneck dove Sophie was the same way when she came here.She was fine once she got to drinking though.I'm so sorry you lost your dove.Thanks for sharing your story.
 

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I'm so sorry about your dove. I appreciate your recounting of this sad tale though. Water is such an essential element of life that I would never guess that a bird (or any other creature) would not know to find the water dish. From now on with any new bird, I'll be very alert to see that they are drinking.

I hope your male dove now has another mate and that both are becoming calmer and used to their new surroundings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks to all for your kind words. I got the new hen on Wednesday as planned and she is settling in well. Both have calmed down a lot. It's a big change for them after living outdoors in a large aviary, but they're young and hopefully will adjust to living in the house. Their permanent home will be larger than their quarantine cage.
 
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