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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » Tail Feathers Breaking (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

brendan_670
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I have two doves and I am having a problem with one of them. One keeps breaking tail feathers. The other one is fine. I have put hardware cloth at the bottem but isn't making much difference. If anyone could help me that would be great.

Brendan
Dave Scribner
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Brendan, are the perches set far enough away from the bars of the cage so the tails don't hit them? Do they have enough room to fly around or do they hit the sides of the Café when they excercise?

I'm not sure what you mean by broken. Are they physically broken or just all frayed?
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brendan_670
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By braking I mean snapping in half. Their tails don't hit the sides when they are on their perch. They don't have much room to fly around but the cage I got was big enough according to a ringneck dove caresheet. What would you guys recomend for minimum cage size?

Brendan
Dave Scribner
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At a minimum, two doves would require a 24" x 24" cage. Something is causing the bird to hit the sides of the cage. Could be fighting, mating, excercising or something may be scaring it. Is you cage outside or inside?
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Bill Hegbli
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Another reason could be the diet. Are you giving them food that contains oils or vitamins in there food or water.
Dave Scribner
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Diet could be a factor but since Brendan said his other dove is doing fine, it would make sense that both birds would be afflicted if this were the cause.
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Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Doves hate to back up. (Going forward should not break feathers.) Are they just so new that they back to the rear of the cage when you open the door or feed and water them? That should go away in time but it does break feathers that will have to be replaced. A cat carrier has a smooth bottom and will solve that problem but create another. They are messy. On the road I often use them to save tail feathers and "hide" them.

Doves usually calm down very quickly. Invest the time with them to assure them that you are the safe place. Just be there. It's OK to read a book or watch TV or listen to music at the same time. It sounds like they are retreating while watching a threat. Playing hard to get in forward motion is much safer. In time you'll wish they would get out of your way so you can attend to their cage. Then they'll own you!

Enjoy!

Bob Sanders
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Autumn Morning Star
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Hey Dave and Bob! Good suggestions guys! My money is on the mating dance as the culprit. The dove with the broken tail feathers is likely a male, scruffing his tail up and down while he dances for his mate. The female rarely dances so she rarely breaks feathers. Males make a mess of their tail feathers when they dance if the floor of the cage is wire. Watch your doves and see if you think this is the reason behind the feather mystery.

Mr. Dove will eventually molt and lose these feathers. Even if you trim them he will scruff them again against the hardware cloth on the bottom of the cage.

I use newspaper and paper towels on the floor and my cage is plastic bottomed. I think it is a ferret or rat cage. They never scruff up their tail feathers like they did in their wire cage during courting. Please let me know if this helps.
Autumn
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