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Profile of Cole
Hello, I have a breeding pair of doves that I have had for about 3 weeks now. Recently, I've noticed that the female is losing a lot of feathers around her head and neck. She seems to be pecking at herself. There are a few small bald spots on her head. What should I do?!?!?!

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

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Profile of circus_freak17
Dear Cole,

I had the same problem with my doves. I came across a forum that explained why this happens. If you have a male and a female the male will pick the neck feathers off of the female. I am glad I found this out because it was starting to worry me. I thought my birds had some kind of disease or something. I hope this helped answer your question. Smile Smile Smile Smile
Charles Watson
Dave Scribner
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Profile of Dave Scribner
Cole, I responded to the message you sent me on regular E-mail about this. I gave you several scenarios. Yes the male will peck at the female but usually not to the point of removing all the feathers on the head and neck. It's possible they aren't really a breeding pair but two of the same sex. Since you've only had them 3 weeks, I wasn't sure about the situation. There's a remote chance of mites as well. This can easily be treated with powder or a quick visit to the vet.

Where the magic begins
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Profile of JJDrew
The only thing that is certain is that she is not pecking at herself. Feather plucking can be a problem in some birds if they're bored or stressed (sort of like nail-biting in humans) but no bird can pluck the feathers off its own head. How would it reach them?
DJ Trix
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Profile of DJ Trix
Even if you preform head off you still could not have the bird pick the feathers of its own head!
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Andy Amyx
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Profile of Amyxdove
Once a year my birds molt (lose feathers) really bad. But they loose feathers year around. And I have a few that will lose a bit of feathers around the head and eye area. This is very normal. Some of my doves though don't lose any around the head area. Now if you see that your dove is clearly bald on top the head and sometimes around the neck area this could be picking pulling. Males will do this to other males trying to show is boss of the cage. But the males will do this to females to mate. And if you do by chance have mites you can use a mite nad lice spray by 8 in 1.
Do you know how to check for mites? If not ask. Hope all is well

best Wishes,

Andy Amyx
Andy Amyx
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Profile of Bob Sanders

The first news you want to hear is that your doves are OK. They are. Most likely you have a dove going through what is the teenage molt for some parrots. Some white doves will do this in their second year. February is also the time in the USA when many white doves go through a major molt. (It is a problem for me too in Valentine season. Why not July?)

When doves are poor roommates they tend to peck the points of the shoulders and on the backs. Missing feathers on the top of the head is a breeding behavior and usually means that the other bird is a male. (Unfortunately it doesn't tell you the sex of the dove getting pecked.)

For anyone with white doves this is the right time to fill a sock with Sevin and dust the birds and the cages. Don't forget under the wings. It will save you a lot of parasite problems in the spring and summer (indoors or out). It is also a good time to recognize breeding pairs. Longer days are coming now. The season is starting. Is she sleeping down now instead of on the perch?

Enjoy your doves.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
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