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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » The next step with my doves (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Dabek
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United Kingdom
142 Posts

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Hi,

I am hoping David will see this message (he usually does) as all of his advice is great.

My doves are fairly new. They are tame and and are used in a dove pan. But I want to use them in my stage act (manip).

What is the next step to take with training them for pockets, etc.?

Also, is there a good way to stop them from messing so much when they are set up and once they have appeared?

What is a safe time to stop feeding them before a show?

Magical regards,

Paul Dabek
Doveman
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55 Posts

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Paul,

I have been performing with doves for over 5 years now.

The way I trained them in holders or pockets is to simply put them in them to get used to the feel. You could place them in the holder and put the bird on a counter for 15 to 20 minutes. The bird will try to get out at first, because its not used to it.

I used General Grant's one hand release because of the simplicity of it. I no longer use a holder for my productions. I use invisible dove harnesses for my productions.

As far as when to feed the birds? I feed my birds late at night and I take the food out in the morning. I do this for two reasons: #1 - The birds will have all night to do their duty before the show; and #2 - I perform in the evening and the birds are hungry after the show. I never let the birds eat all day long. They also could become overweight and they will respect you more if you have them on a schedule.

Hope this helps. Good luck! Smile
Dave Scribner
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Assistant Manager
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
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Hi Paul and thanks for the compliment. I try to give the best advice I can. Since your birds already sit on your finger, much of the training is done. I'm not sure what you have done with them so far but you need to get them used to movement. Have them jump or fly from one hand to another if they don't already. This is just a matter of gently tossing them until they get the idea. Once they get used to the feeling that you'll always have something for them to land on, you shouldn't have a problem with them flying away.

As Doveman said, they also need to get used to sitting in the holder. Putting them in one and leaving them on a shelf or counter for awhile will help them feel safe. After they've been in the holder for a few minutes, pick them up, open the holder gently and let them climb out. They should flap their wings but stay on your finger. Just practice this over and over. I always practice in bright light with music playing loudly. It gets them used to the stage and theater environment.

Doveman's method of feeding them at night is good. They get used to eating late and it should control the bird droppings for the most part.

If you haven't purchased Tony Clark's videos yet, you should. Tony has a wealth of valuable information on doves from beginning to end. Of course, you can always ask questions here. I or any of the other dove workers on the Café would be glad to help.
Where the magic begins
kingsnqueens
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Oklahoma
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Hello Dabek,

I second everything that Dave suggested (he's sooo good!), but I'd like to offer this.

Just, it's important to let your doves become confortable in their harness and pockets, it's just as important you become comfortable with your job.

Once you decide whether to work out of your coat, robes, etc. (I work out of my vest, & keep my coat for topits), then it's time for you to find your work zone (pocket locations, etc.)

I suggest making dove dummies. Some dove worker's use rolled up socks. I prefer to make cloth bags shaped like a dove, and stuffed with filling to an average wieght of a dove.

Now while your doves are learning to feel safe in their harness and pockets, you can start feeling comfortable wearing and using your pockets.

You should practice your steals & productions with your dummy doves, finding & changing pocket placement until it becomes second nature to you.

If you do this practice rehearsal, first you'll find that you and your dove will become a team when you start using your real doves.

Now start slowly, trying each dove in all the different pockets and sleeves.

Soon you will begin to tell which dove is better at which pocket & production, cloth harness, invisible harness, etc.

When all this hard work is done, you begin forming a routine, first with your dummy doves, and then with your birds. Allow them to pick the job they're best at and most comfortable with. Then use them only for that particular production.

Okay, now it's time to make your dove routine fresh, new, and exciting. Go out & knock 'em dead!

Good Luck & Good Magic! .... Manyfingers
Dave Scribner
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Assistant Manager
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
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Outstanding advice, Manyfingers. One thing I'd add to using a dummy dove, (my wife actually makes dummy doves for me the exact size of my birds). Pay attention to the length of the dummy as well as the actual size. I've seen so many magicians perform excellent steals, only to have the tail of the bird showing. Don't cut off the real tail, Smile Smile just practice so it doesn't show during the production. And how come we don't have any dove smilies to use? I'll have to bring that up to the rest of the staff. Smile
Where the magic begins
Dabek
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United Kingdom
142 Posts

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Great. Thanks guys.

Dabek
DJ Trix
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Inner circle
1028 Posts

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So from what time to what time at night should I put the food in?

Do I just put in 2 full bowls and let them fill up if I have 2 birds? Someone told me 2 teaspoons.

And how long should I leave the food in?

Thanks
magician81
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singapore
293 Posts

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Cooked food is hard 30 mins -- always remember the 30 min rule for cooked food.
never try, never know
Dave Scribner
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Assistant Manager
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
5075 Posts

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DJ, if you were in a room with 12 dove workers and asked how to feed your birds, you would get 12 different answers, all of which would be correct.

For me, I put one tablespoon of seed per bird in the cage at night before I go to bed. I take the seed dish out in the morning. You can adjust the amount of seed up or down depending on how much your birds eat.

Feeding them at night gives them all day to do their business; however, no matter how hard you try, there will always be the chance for an accident. We've all had that happen. Make sure, however, that you change the water at least twice a day to keep it clean.

A couple of times a week, I also put a strip of milet in the cage during the day for a treat.
Where the magic begins
Luke Sherratt
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The Isle Of Wight, England
246 Posts

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Hi,

Are you the same Paul Dabek from Shropshire who works for Practical Magic?

Luke Smile
We're 106 miles from Chicago, we have a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses
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