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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone!

I have a question for all you experienced dove owners out there. It's probably one you have heard a lot, but the situation I have is a bit specific and I haven't really found a 'clear' answer.

One year ago, I purchased a young male wildtype ringneck dove named Milo. He was just 'coming of age' and had no mate. Being the dunce that I am, I only got the one, and have been working with him ever since. Unfortunately, he is still very timid and very finger shy. When I put my hand in the cage flat, he puffs up a bit, but when anyone points a finger anywhere near him, he will box, bite, and begin to bow-coo at them. He will take food from my hand, but if I wiggle my fingers even just a little bit, he will jump at them and bite. He is also flighty when taken out of the cage. The more I work with him, the more he seems to get worse. He is obviously lonely as he calls pretty much all day even when I am in the room.

I have decided on getting him a mate Monday and introducing them using the method in the stickies. She is a two year old un-mated ringneck dove of the same color. She is about as tame as him---tolerates human contact but would rather avoid it.

My question is, do you think that 1) Milo will begin to be more calm and happy once he has another bird to interact with, 2) I can train and tame both of them at the same time, and 3) if so, how should I go about doing it? I don't expect them to be cuddly, but would like to be able to handle them without stressing them out and having them fly away or peck my fingers.

Finally, is there a link to a guide or someone kind enough to tell me, once they hatch their first clutch, the best way to tame and bond with them? I would really enjoy taming a baby from scratch, but don't know how (or WHEN) to begin. I don't want to mess up and have them abandon the nest or something.

Sorry for the stupid questions, but this is my first experience with these kind of birds. I only have experience with breeding poultry; which the chicks are pretty much self-sustainable from day one. ._.

Thank you for your patience,
~Kasi
 

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Getting him a mate would make him lots happier, but wouldn't help with training them. They would have each other and wouldn't need interaction from you. Usually lots easier to tame a bird and bond with him or her if they are a lone bird. But I think they should always be kept in pairs for the birds happiness and comfort.

Might be easier to tame the babies if you are patient and are ready to spend enough time with them. I don't have doves. I have pigeons, and have always found it easier to tame the babies of friendly birds, as they are friendly toward me and the babies see this and therefore aren't afraid of me. If the parents aren't friendly and relaxed with me then the babies pick up that cue from them, and they won't trust you. I handle them to check them out when just a couple of days old, but handle them more after about a week when I change out the nesting material every couple of days to keep it clean. I feed the parents treats at the nest box often and the babies see that I don't bother the parents and get pretty used to me. By a few weeks old they are learning to take the treats along with their parents. Easy when the parents like me. Much harder when they don't trust you, as they get defensive and will peck or wing slap you when you go near the box. This teaches the babies not to trust you. If one parent is friendlier than the other, I will interact that way when the other one isn't around.

Have you tried getting him used to you with treats? Do you spend a lot of time around
him?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Right now he is in my bedroom. I have been spending about an hour a day trying to train him (15 minutes at a time), but have yet to find the right treat. I have tried mealworms, broccoli, raw peanuts, and millet spray so far, and he pretty much ignores it or strikes my hand when I try to treat him. I really wish I could find a comprehensive step-by-step training guide for this, as I have no idea what I am doing wrong. I have never grabbed at him, am always slow and soft spoken, and don't even pull my hand away when he pecks. It's really discouraging.

I can get him to step up and eat seeds from my palm, but he always puffs up beforehand. He only seems to strike at pointing or wiggling fingers. I can't have him sit on my hand for more than a few seconds before he flies up on top of my curtain rod. I can get him to step up on my hand to take him back down without him freaking out, but it's kind of a pain.

EDIT: Do you think I should continue to keep them both in separate cages until they are more trusting of me?
 

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All birds love peanuts. He probably doesn't even know what they are. You should offer them chopped up to bite size. But until he knows how good they are, he won't want them. I mix a little in the feed for a while, so that eventually they will try them. Eventually they will. Once they do, they love them.
I don't think keeping them in separate cages will help, unless in separate rooms. But if it has been a couple of years that you have had him, then this may be as friendly as he will be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cool, I'll do that. I have a ton of raw unsalted peanuts (they're my favorite, too. LOL)
I am going to also try some other vegetables and keep trying. It may take a while, but I won't give up on him.

I'm really hoping that when he has more stimulation it may reduce some stress, and *maybe* help him out some. Though it may make him more stand-offish--- As long as he is happy than that is all that matters. Like you said, maybe this is as tame as he'll be. I don't know how he was treated before I got him, and he was already a little over a year old. Maybe something happened while he was young that got him to not trust people. *shrugs*

Anyways, Thank you so much for your help. I will be posting on this forum a lot, I think. I will keep a journal of our progress to share in the future.
 

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I agree with you that you don't know how he was handled, or not handled before you had him. That does have a lot to do with it. Would be great if they could talk.
Right now we are trying to work through issues with a rescue dog we have that was badly treated in the past. 3 steps forward..............one step back. That's how it goes. I hope you will continue to share with us. Let us know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, and bless you for taking in a rescue. It's hard to get them to trust again, but worth it 100%. My dog is a rescue too.

As for keeping you updated: I brought her home today and saw an IMMEDIATE difference in Milo's demeanor. He is going absolutely crazy trying to get to her in her quarantine cage, which I expected. However, he is also not pecking at me when I go to pick him up! I don't know if it will last, but he even will sit on my hand. Maybe he's just exhausting himself, but we'll see. *fingers crossed*

Also, the female seems to be...for a lack of a better word, vibrating. She sounds like a purring cat. Is this normal??
 

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You may need to keep the female in another room until time to introduce them. He may be too rambunctious with her there, and really quarantine means different room. If she were carrying something contagious, he could pick it up being in close quarters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Oh shoot, okay. I didn't even think about that. He's gotten calmer now that I put a barrier in between them, but I will be moving to my brother's room until we figure out more about her health. Taking her to a vet tomorrow.

EDIT: I called the lady I got the bird from---she said not only does she feed this parakeet feed that has red and green food coloring, she uses cherry stone grit and she also fed some fresh veggies last night. She told me that if it doesn't clear up by tomorrow to give her a call and she will take her to the vet herself.
 

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Parakeet feed will not be enough for the doves. They need a good dove mix with other things in it. I honestly wouldn't worry about the droppings. That's normal when they are nervous. Doubt that it means anything. See how they are in a couple of days.

What I read on that grit is that it is used for different things, but can be used for chicken grit, then probably really too large for pigeons, and what I read on it said it was just crushed rock. A good pigeon grit has calcium, minerals, and things that will help with the health of your pigeon. He really should have a good pigeon grit. One bag will last you for a very long time. Just keep in a closed container.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Oh, I know! My male 'Milo' is on a "Pigeon & Dove" formula and I use 3 parts chick grit with 1 part oyster shell for him. The parakeet food is what the woman who I got the female from was on. I plan on switching her food over slowly to the good stuff. ;)
 

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A good Hi-Cal pigeon grit would be much better as it's made for pigeons, and not chickens. Stuff for chickens is much larger. I love the Kaytee Bay-mor Hi-Calcium pigeon grit.
 
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