Birds

How to Mix and Make Food for Ring Necked Doves



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Ring necked doves make interesting and good pets. Their needs aren't great, they tame easily, and their vocalizations can be quite soothing. Having them as pets does mean that they need good feed, though, if you want them to be healthy and to live a long time.

There are many kinds of doves, including pigeons, and most species look enough different than other species that it isn't difficult to tell the difference. For instance, a ring necked dove doesn't look much like a pigeon in coloration, as they are primarily gray without the iridescence commonly shown in pigeons.

However, the feeding habits are very much alike for most doves. In the wild, doves primarily eat seeds, though they also occasionally eat small insects and worms. This can be used to raise your birds to be healthy, while also saving money in the process.

Wild bird seed provides many of the types of seeds they like to eat. However, they are also quite fond of small sunflower seeds and millet. A good seed mixture will include extra amounts of both of these kinds of seeds. Sunflower seeds, in particular, contain oils and fats that are useful for the bird during the winter months.

If you have access to the seed, a pretty good combination can be 3 parts millet seed, 2 parts grass or grain seed, and 1 part sunflower seed. Though the doves enjoy occasional fresh green seeds, this mixture should be dried.

In spring, when high fat concentrations are neither needed or desired, cut back on the sunflower seeds and start supplementing the dove's diet with fine grass clippings and untreated grass seed. This gives more variation than you will likely get by buying feed at a pet store, and the grass also serves as an excellent source of bedding for when the birds begin to nest, as the grass dries out.

For extra protein, which insects provide in nature, a small amount of crushed dry cat or dog food, mixed in to their food, can help the doves. Keep the amount of this low, however. Too much protein in their diet can cause trouble for the doves, especially if they aren't used to it. They may also enjoy an occasional treat of small earthworms or meal worms.

Another treat they may enjoy is fully ripe fruit, such as cherries, diced apples, or pears. These are sugar sources, but again, this is a treat. It isn't meant to become a large part of their diet.

In parks and the likes, pigeons are often fed bread crumbs. Too much of this food isn't good for the pigeons, nor is it good for ring necked doves. They may love eating it, but it doesn't give them the nutrients they need. If they get filled up with bread, they are also aren't likely to seek better food sources.

Year around, fine grit, like that sold for parakeets, should be made available to the doves. This can be mixed in with the feed, or provided in a separate container. Strictly speaking, doves don't need grit as do birds like chickens and parakeets. However, they still benefit from it, and in the wild, they pick some up as they are foraging for food.

Doves are one of the easiest pet birds to feed. It can still be worthwhile to know what foods they do best with, and how to mix or find your own.

Ring necked doves make interesting and good pets. Their needs aren't great, they tame easily, and their vocalizations can be quite soothing. Having them as pets does mean that they need good feed, though, if you want them to be healthy and to live a long time.

There are many kinds of doves, including pigeons or rock doves, and most species look enough different than other species that it isn't difficult to tell the difference. For instance, a ring necked dove doesn't look much like a pigeon in coloration, as they are primarily gray without the iridescence commonly shown in pigeons.

However, the feeding habits are very much alike for most doves. In the wild, doves primarily eat seeds, though they also occasionally eat small insects and worms. This knowledge can be used to raise your birds to be healthy, while also saving money in the process.

Wild birdseed provides many of the types of seeds they like to eat. However, they are also quite fond of small sunflower seeds and millet (both common in wild birdseed). A good seed mixture will include extra amounts of both of these kinds of seeds. Sunflower seeds, in particular, contain oils and fats that are useful for the bird during the winter months.

If you have access to the seed, a good combination can be 3 parts millet seed, 2 parts grass or grain seed, and 1 part sunflower seed. Though the doves enjoy occasional fresh green seeds, the mixture mentioned here should be air dried.

In spring, when high fat concentrations are neither needed nor desired, cut back on the sunflower seeds and start supplementing the dove's diet with fine grass clippings and untreated grass seed. This gives more variation than you will likely get by buying feed at a pet store, and the grass serves as an excellent source of bedding for when the birds begin to nest, as the grass dries out.

For extra protein, which insects provide in nature, a small amount of crushed dry cat or dog food, mixed in with their food, can help the doves. Keep the amount of this low, however. Too much protein in their diet can cause trouble for the doves, especially if they aren't used to it. They may also enjoy an occasional treat of small earthworms or mealworms. These are available in many pet stores, and worms are frequently found in the yard.

Another treat they may enjoy is fully ripe fruit, such as cherries, diced apples, or pears. These are sugar sources, but again, this is a treat. It isn't meant to become a large part of their diet.

In parks and the likes, pigeons are often fed breadcrumbs. Too much of this food isn't good for the pigeons, nor is it good for ring necked doves. They may love eating it, but it doesn't give them the nutrients they need. If they get filled up with bread, they are also aren't likely to seek better food sources.

Year around, fine grit, like that sold for parakeets, should be made available to the doves. This can be mixed in with the feed, or provided in a separate container. Strictly speaking, doves don't need grit, as do birds like chickens and parakeets. However, they still benefit from it, and in the wild, they pick some up as they are foraging for food.

Ring necked doves are one of the easiest pet birds to feed. It can still be worthwhile to know what foods they do best with, and how to mix or find your own. This can save effort, time, and expense, while helping the birds to be healthy and happy.


More about this author: Rex Trulove

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