This charming, canary-sized bird is an ideal choice for those drawn to doves but unable to meet the space requirements of Ring-Necks and other larger species. Both wild and captive-bred strains are beautifully colored and possess a wide range of pleasing calls. Diamond Doves tame easily and make responsive and affectionate pets, often bonding quite strongly to their owners.
Please see Diamond Dove Natural History for more information on these fascinating birds.
Enclosure and Physical Environment
Provide your doves with as much room as possible – the minimum cage size for a pair would be along the lines of the A & E Victorian Top Cage (28” x 15”). If kept in a cage of this size, the doves should be let out for exercise on a regular basis. Larger bird cages are preferable if you are not able to give your birds much free-flight time
Diamond Doves spend a good deal of time on the ground, and do best in a solid-bottomed cage. Remove the bottom grate from your cage, as such will lead to foot problems.
The cage should be located in a draft-free room that receives a good deal of sunlight (but beware of over-heating). Diamond Doves love to sunbathe, and will gather in sunlit spots with wings and tails fanned.
As window glass filters out the sun’s beneficial UVA and UVB rays, be sure to provide your doves with a full spectrum bird bulb (Please also see my article Providing the Proper Type and Amount of Light to Pet Birds). These little doves are quite alert to their surroundings, and definitely enjoy looking out a window.
However calm your doves may be by day, they will likely respond frantically to unusual nighttime noises (this is true of most birds, but particularly so for doves). If nocturnal disturbances are possible, leave a small bulb lit at night so that the birds will not crash into cage walls if startled. R-Zilla’s Incandescent Nightlight and similar bulbs (designed for reptiles, and usually tinted red or blue) provide light and some heat but will not disturb the birds’ sleep cycle.
Diamond Doves are ideally suited to outdoor aviaries, and in such situations will display their full range of natural behaviors to best effect.
Heat and Humidity
Diamond Doves hail from harsh Australian environments, and are consequently quite hardy despite their fragile appearance. Temperatures of 50-90 F are handled easily, and humidity is rarely a concern (if kept outdoors, however, they should be provided a dry shelter). Drafts should be avoided.
Diamond Doves consume a varied diet in the wild and should be provided with the same in captivity. Please bear in mind that doves swallow seeds whole, without cracking them – most commercial pigeon or dove foods (seed or pellets) will be too large for these little fellows to handle.
I suggest as a basic diet a mix consisting of 50% Pretty Bird Premium Food for Canaries and Finches and 50% white millet. To this add a daily ration of pre-crushed Lefabre Premium Daily Pellet Diet for Parakeets, which will assist in their getting enough Vitamin D3 (especially important if the doves do not have access to unfiltered sunlight). You can also offer some Goldenfeast Australian Blend, but some of the ingredients are bulky and will need to be crushed.
Diamond Doves will also enjoy picking at millet sprays and sprouting grass sprout pot. Finely grated sweet potatoes, carrots and various greens should also be provided. Hard-boiled eggs (ground with shells) should be offered once or twice each week, especially to nesting females (this is not always taken).
Finch grit must be available at all time – doves cannot grind ingested seed shells without it – and Avitron Liquid Vitamins should be added to the drinking water.
Check back next Monday for the rest of this article.
Image referenced from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Golabek_diamentowy.jpg. Author M. Betley, under the GNU Free Documentation License.