Bird Health and Happiness
Written by: Arianna Pleitez
You may have seen this common dove in pet stores. It's a very smooth looking bird with soft features and a very graceful demeanor. It is well known as a good natured bird, friendly to humans and easily tamable. The Ringneck dove originated in Africa and has been domesticated for many hundreds of years. Actually, this specific bird, as it is known today, is not known to exist in the wild. Because of how long the bird has been domesticated, there has been much selective breeding and many different color mutations have emerged. Some are quite elegant. Since there are about 40 different color variations to choose from, finding one that suits your fancy should be fairly easy. The color that is thought to be closest to a “wild” color is a simple brownish gray, with the color being darker on the wings and back and lighter on the underbelly area. The head is a delicate shade of brownish gray that has a very faint hue of blue or perhaps purple. There is a black ring that wraps around the back of the neck, but does not extend to close the circle at the front of the neck. In other words, the ring looks more like a letter “C” curving around part of the neck than an actual full ring. The most popular color is undoubtedly the white dove. The white dove and the fawn, or light brown, have been top picks for a thousand years or so. Other colors include peach, tangerine, pied, and frosty.
The Ringneck dove requires small seeds or pellets as food. There are some pet stores that carry commercial dove food, but not all will have this type of food available. A simple parakeet food will suffice, as long as it is supplemented with powdered vitamins and plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, and a protein source, such as cooked beans. The Ringneck is not a hook-billed bird and will not shell their seeds. Instead they ingest grit to help breakdown the seed shell. Provide a bowel of grit for this purpose. Also include in the cage a cuddle bone or other source of calcium such as crushed egg shells. This type of bird loves to bathe, so providing a large bowl of water at least once weekly for splashing around will make your bird happy and provide some entertainment for you.
This small bird, measuring about one foot in length from head to tail, is charming to say the least. They enjoy the company of people as well as the company of other Ringneck doves. They are not known to be as affectionate as most hook-bills, but they certainly aren't wild. With patience, they can be finger tamed, but aren't really shoulder-pets. They make a soothing “coo” sound and can even make a sound that is described as a high pitched laugh. Very different than the chirps or squawks of many of the other popular captive birds. Their wings generally aren't clipped, so space to fly should be provided from time to time. From what I have read, many owners let their birds flit about their house on occasion. Aviaries are great for allowing flight as well.
Cage Sizes: These birds need lots of room. So go for the largest cage you can afford.
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