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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Before a week ago I didn't know anything about doves. Still pretty much don't, so everything below was just based on (hopefully) common sense.

Little more than a week ago I saw a very young ring neck dove sitting on the grass. Wasn't doing much, but I ignored it - lots of birds here, and they do their own thing. It slept between some flowering pots we have standing around.

Saw it again a day or so later - something seemed off. It didn't quite eat the seed we scatter in the garden, just randomly pecked at the ground. I walked closer, and it didn't fly away! It was then I realised I couldn't see its eyes. Tried to catch it with a towel, but it flew off into the next garden.

A day later I saw it again. This time it was just sitting on the ground, head towards the wall. No reaction to me approaching. Managed to catch it.

At this point it's worth noting that it is only slightly smaller than the mature ring neck doves, with all its feathers are already fully developed - the typical brown of fledglings who need to camoflage themselves on the ground. The head, however, seemed very bald - just very dark what appeared to be skin. The one eye was almost completely covered by a flap of hardened yellow substance. The other eye was completely glued shut by the same substance. I used a wet qtip / earbud to dissolve and then wipe away the substance over both eyes. Over the next few days I did so twice more.

So, I am thinking that was its first time of being able to see. This was just less than a week ago.

Since then it has developed a very good appetite. but it still seems to have some coordination issues - sometimes missing a seed. Where the other birds just swallow a seed whole, this dove still wobbles its head back and forth to get it down. Flying has improved, but it's still a little clumsy. The rest of its head finally feathered and it's now walking around with a permanent bedhead. It now sleeps on a high sill in an area facing out over the garden, and spends the day outside on walls, on the ground, in trees, etc.

I am the only one this dove has 'close' contact with. It allows me within a few feet when it is inside. Outside, that perimeter is a bit bigger. I give it a handful of seed in the mornings and late afternoons before it settles in. I also throw a handful of seed in the garden during the day so that it can learn from the other birds, and develop social skills. It's flight/scare response is now a lot better than a few days ago.

So finally, we get to the question: I have plans to move within the next few months. As such, I don't want it tame - it needs to forage for itself. Am I doing it right? Will its coordination pick up to ensure that it is able to eat as fast as the other doves so that it has a fair chance at competing for food? How long before it starts sleeping outside?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
 

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Can you post a closeup photo of him? Is he still struggling to eat and swallow the seeds? How long has he been in your care? I know in Cape Town and surrounding areas there has been an outbreak of paramyxo virus that causes neurological symptoms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Unfortunately this photo is the best I can do. While I was taking it, it went outside again and now sits on the telephone line (usually at this time it has found a nook in the aforementioned room).

The bird (not sure whether male or female) has been in my care for a week now. Initially its stool had green in it, and I also saw a few tape worms in one sample. But since about two days ago it leaves rather firm brown and white droppings, and the yellow substance around its beak is completely gone. Its coordination is also gradually increasing (though I'm worried because it's not yet a dextrous flyer).

It used to be lethargic, just sitting in the sun all day. But today it was a bit more active than usual. Went missing for a bit, and then pecked around for seeds with the other birds. Also knows to come to the door when it can't find any seeds lying about (we have an army of regular doves and cape sparrows (mossies) that simply hoovers up anything lying around).
 

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Rather keep him in the safety of your home until he is completely healed and able to fly well. Right now he is easy prey for a predator. Is he having trouble swallowing? Can you check deep inside the beak and back of the throat for yellow growths. Use a flashlight to check. Canker is also common amongst youngsters, but can be treated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As things stand he hasn't returned yet, and I doubt he will tonight. As said, he last flew up to a telephone line, which is right next to a few trees with dense foliage.

I doubt I will be able to catch him to check in his mouth, unless he is perhaps indoors and eating (but even then he is now very alert whilst feeding). Plus, after the previous times I had to catch him, he is very wary of me walking around with a towel in my hands.

Thanks for all your help so far Marina.
 
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