Cage Selection

 

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Selection of the correct cage is extremely crucial. The dove must be able to spread its wings fully in the width and height of the cage from the flat perch. Nothing in the cage should be above the flat perch level. This is critical for mating! The male Dove has to be able to flap his wings in order to position himself around the female Dove's tail in order to make contact to fertilize the egg. If he is unable to fully flap his wings, he will be unable to achieve proper mating. This will frustrate both Doves and cause them to become irritable and start pecking at each other until they completely reject their mate. There will be little chance that the eggs will become fertile. 

 

Even a lone Dove requires the same need for space to exercise their wings. A dove also needs its wings to maneuver around the cage. My doves have the ability to hover in their cages.

 

The cage should be no less than 16 inches wide and have a 10 inch head room above the flat perch. Hopefully, the entire cage height from the bottom would be at least 20 inches, but that is not as important as the width and height above the mating perch. If the dimensions are adequate, it does not matter how the pet store designates the cage purpose. My cages were listed as Cockatiel cages. The bars are thicker for the hook-bills which is not a factor with the soft billed Doves. The size of the cage was the most important consideration, not the bird type designated by the pet store. See the mating section for more information. You do not want the bars too far apart where a dove might trap its head between the bars or a predator might gain entry, such as a cat's paw or a snake.

 

The cage door is also important. If the door freely slides, it would come open should the cage be knocked over, allowing other pets & small children opportunity to access to your birds and you birds may also escape. A hinged door which snaps into place is a good choice. You can also add luggage locks (combination type) to secure the cage doors, or you can use leash chain type of snap hooks to secure the door. Even an alligator clip or clothes pin would help.

 

Doves love to forage for food on the ground and they would love to do so on the bottom of their cages. The only problem with that is the defecation on the bottom of the cage. It is not a good idea for the birds to be foraging through defecation and bacteria. you can leave the wire cover over the bottom of the cage so that the droppings fall through onto the paper. Small sticks and straw can be laid on the wire bottom so the male Dove can perform his duties of hunting for nesting materials. See the section on nesting.

 

All of the dishes and nests should be placed at or below perch level so it will not obstruct the space needed for mating. More info can be found in the nesting and mating sections.

 

All of the cages shown here were less than $100. All came with a stand and a set of perches and dishes. Additional dishes, perches and nest materials can be added as needed. A stand is a better choice than a table top where a cat could jump up and access the cage. Cages can also be suspended by a ceiling hook.

 

Although the stacked cages in the 3rd photo are the right size for doves, the cage wiring on the sides is large enough for a cat or rat to get into it. The dove can also stick their head through the wiring where a predator could injure them. This type of cage is only usable in a sealed aviary or in a house where you have no other pets.

 

Be sure to change the papers in the bottom of the cages weekly. Newspaper is the best choice.

 

 

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Hook for cage door