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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » A dove's wings (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Daniel J. Ferrara Jr.
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OK, I bought my first dove about two months ago (one of the best purchases I've ever made). The nice lady in the store clipped his wings for me so that I could train him without him flying all over the place.

Now, two months later, we have become very comfortable working together. However, he still can't fly. How long does it take for his feathers to grow back?
kingsnqueens
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Hello Dan,

It's hard to say how long it will take for your dove's wings to grow back.

It depends on the birds health, and what it is getting nutritionally.

Don't worry though if your bird is taken care of, it's wings will be fully feathered in no time.

When our babies are born it amazes me how fast they go from ugly naked chicks to beautiful cooing doves.

Dan if you don't mind a little advice, most dove workers don't clip wings. If I may recommend when you can, get my teachers book on Doves by Marian Chavez.

For training your dove to fly, and return to you. Check out Tony Clark's video's & book.

There are many other wonderful videos, books, teachers out there.

If you keep checking out this thread
(Polly Wants a Cracker) you'll find many sources to continue your education in dove magic.

If I can help please let me know, and good luck & good magic with your doves!

............... Manyfingers
Dave Scribner
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Dan: I agree with manyfingers here. To me, clipping the wings so the birds don't fly is like having your ankles broken when you're young so you don't run away. Training is the key. If you've read my previous posts you know how much I care for my birds and I cringe when I hear about clipping. I trim my birds tails and even that sometimes bothers me.
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Daniel J. Ferrara Jr.
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Thanks for the advice guys. When I bought the bird, the lady in the pet shop seemed so eager to clip his wings that I figured it was fine. Now that I see how long they have taken to grow back and how uncomfortable my bird seems to be, I wish that I had never agreed to let her clip them.

Also, I just ordered one of Tony Clark's videos. I can't wait until it gets here.
Thanks again,
Dan
Dave Scribner
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Dan, good decision on the video. Don't worry too much about your bird. He'll get over it. The feathers are hollow and he feels no pain. Just a little unbalance perhaps. A lot of dove workers clip the wings. It's just my personal preference not to.
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zaubern
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I have to agree. I personally hate the look and thought of clipped wings. I think a dove looks so much better with full wings flapping. Much prettier production. The only part I clip on my doves is their tails and that is just enough to smooth out any imperfections. If you have a well-trained dove that is comfortable with you, you shouldn’t have any problems. Just work with your dove and spend time with it.
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glodmagic
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Tails look better if you make a nice clean arc of the cut. Like a good haircut, it takes out the uneven and makes for a prettier look not to mention allows them to fit comfortably in a production appliance.

For those who insist on clipping there are a couple of methods:

*Every other feather (sawtooth) prevents full elevated flights and keeps them flying at head height (off the stage trusses) if done correctly.

*One wing only slightly less: makes an uncomfortable unbalanced flight, discouraging a fly away.

To purists this is sacralidge but not all birds have a good attitude (same as humans) and I have had performing birds that are a pain in the a** that still deserve to perform for non flight productions. None have complained to me that they need to see a therapist or want to share my meds.
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Harry Murphy
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General Grant clips the tails. He blunt cuts them (straight across) because it is fast and easy. The flapping wings are what people see and remember. I had watched Grants a number of times over the years (more than 15 years and more than 50 performances) before I discovered that he clipped the tails! I just didn’t notice!
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sperris
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Yeah usually, depending on your location and climate, the doves go through molting cycles. Mine usually start to have a huge one in February in preperation for spring. They molt A LOT of feathers, so you may not have to wait too much longer.

sperris Smile
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boltt223
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I used to clip my doves wings, but after talking to everyone here, I decided to start training the young doves without clipping. It may be me, but it seemed easier to work with them and they seemed to be more comfortable during training. Smile
Bob Sanders
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Clipping feathers is always a touchy subject. My first advice to anyone is DON’T. My second advice is to own a lot of birds. Birds are constantly in different states of feathering.

How much of the above do I do? OOPS! For doves, I never clip wings ever unless there is an injury to be dealt with. (That takes the bird out of the act for nearly a year.) It will not keep an escaping bird from trying to escape. It will make the magician look like he has impaired birds that flop around on stage and try to fly but physically cannot. It will cause some of the audience to become more concerned about the health and safety of your birds than the merits of your act. It will mark your birds as incapable of natural acts for a real bird. (Careful, next the audience looks at you!) Real healthy birds do fly. There is nothing wrong with producing a real bird. You are a magician! Why not produce a real bird? McDonalds can produce parts and parts.

If you need another bird to keep the count right for your next trick, produce it. (I always have a spare bird ready to produce in an emergency. No one ever has to know he is available.) Check with Oscar for a good zipper dove bag to keep loaded and handy. It will give you much peace of mind in a tense moment. Of course, there are hundreds of options available. There is simply no point in clipping wings of a show dove. They are easy to catch after the show.

I must confess that I sometimes trim tails. My real reason is because doves will get tails rust stained on rusty wire cages. (The real solution is to replace rusty cages. But I am only 58. I will do that later.) On the road I use cat carriers. Rust is not the problem there. However, the doves with the prettiest tail feathers will manage to hit high-speed reverse and ruin some tail feathers. There are times when a trim job is the only option. Any feather cut across the main quill is a feather scheduled by nature to be soon dropped. A gap is coming and you will need another bird to use then anyway. Back to suggestion #2. Have a lot of doves.

I do know that it is a common practice for many to shorten tails to fit props. I simple don’t agree with that. Buy a better prop that will really hold a real dove. My favorite dove harnesses come from Pete Peterson. Two real advantages of those harnesses are that they are actually live dove sized (with tails) and it is nearly impossible to injure a bird that is in them. (OK, you could smash anything.) I have never ever injured a dove in a show or rehearsal. But I see it often. The key is not making it possible for the dove to raise its wings away from its body until all is clear.

These rules do not apply to climbing birds like parrots. But most dove handling rules do not apply to parrots. Lucy and I do have a parrot (Dobbie) who must have clipped wings. At times we wish he were good to eat. But then there is no blue food.

Bob Sanders
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JJDrew
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Quote:
On 2003-12-28 16:40, Bob Sanders wrote:

These rules do not apply to climbing birds like parrots. But most dove handling rules do not apply to parrots. Lucy and I do have a parrot (Dobbie) who must have clipped wings. At times we wish he were good to eat. But then there is no blue food.



Why does he have to have clipped wings? What differences are there in training doves vs. climbing birds? I ask because my parrot is going through his first moult and his wings are growing back (they were clipped when I got him). I still haven't decided whether to keep them clipped or have him free flighted. The parrot-training books have some very strong arguments in favor of clipping (they abound with anecdotes of free-flighted birds accidently flying into ceiling fans, or pots of boiling water, or toilets where they drown), but of course it seems a shame. The majority of dove people on this forum are also clearly against the idea.

What are your feelings on the subject? Does it make a difference (for or against) that my parrot goes with me everywhere and is therefore outside in the open a lot? Does it make a difference that he has no fear of natural enemies like cats and dogs?
Mr. Muggle
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Tony Clark's tapes are really good, and you will learn some valuable information by watching them. I have a black'd out room just for training my doves per his instructions.

There are many ways to stop a bird from flying. For example instead of clipping the feathers spray a little water in the armpits of the birds, soaking the feathers. (make sure you have a steril bottle)

The water is a temporary effect, and it's better IMO than trimming the feathers. But if you spend time & train your birds, you shouldn't have to do anything to stop them from flying.


MM
"Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it because you're not really looking. You don't really want to know the secret... You want to be fooled." - The Prestige (2006)
Bob Sanders
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JJDrew,

Great questions! Dobbie has to have clipped wings because he is still too wild. His socialization was started too late. We are making progress after two years, but too little to live with him otherwise. With clipped wings, he likes to hitch a ride from us. Otherwise, he just goes where he wants to at the moment. He sees playing chase as just a fun game. And he is just a little too courageous for his own good. We have four dogs and a cat. He is perfectly willing to work with us, if he can’t fly away. I don’t think that’s called loyalty. He has plenty of wrecks anyway.

As to your second question about hazards and parrots, we have never lost a bird or had one badly injured from training activity. My greatest problem has been other animals. Hawks, cats and snakes top the list. I did ship some doves to a theme park once that lost them to rats in a storage area. The kitchen is essentially off limits. I really prefer training in a bathroom with no window so I can control the light. (I understand that Tony Clark uses a dark room the same way. Tony Slydini probably taught him that too.) Controlling the training environment comes from training horses in a round pen as a young cowboy. Eliminate all the unnecessary stimuli you can. Birdbrains are basically visual.

I think it is very good that your parrot goes with you. He accepts you as the “safe place” to be. That is very important. The odds that you can effectively control two different animals at the same time are very low. Even cowboys really let one animal control another. We use one horse to control another horse or cow. The fact that your bird trusts you is just something another animal will use to get him. Be careful. He may expect you to protect him from something you don’t control.

For your question about the difference between training doves and climbing birds, there are some rather long answers out on Dove Hotline that I wrote years ago. The most basic difference is that doves go to sleep in the dark. However, climbing birds will tend to explore rather than sleep in a new dark environment. It can ruin your whole day on stage.

Doves are also quiet. Parrots are not. Doves will tend to stay perched as long as their feet are comfortable. Parrots like to search. You will never get sued for a dove bite. Some parrots can cut off a finger with great ease. Parrots come in more colors than doves. Parrots are probably smarter than doves. Doves can learn a trick but not a sequence. It is easier to keep doves than parrots in a hotel room. Doves travel better than most tropical birds. Parrots live longer at home than doves. (This is not true on the road.) People who are allergic to doves and parrots are rarely allergic to waterfowl. Audiences don’t know much about either doves or parrots. They are just live birds to most audiences.

Mr. Muggle,

You must have some exposure to British magicians. Wetting under the wings is a very old European trick still in use by many to reduce the risk of a dove flying. The reason it sometimes works is because they use very cold water. If you have ever watched doves play in water, being wet is no incentive not to raise their wings or fly. (Typically they do raise their wings to play in the water.)

I have never known a professional dove magician in America (from 1963 to date) who wets the doves for that reason. In American theaters, I don’t think it is very effective. American theaters are very air-conditioned to improve oxygen density, reduce odors, and improve guests’ comfort. Wetness dries quickly and the temperature is rather cool if you are inactive. Besides that, wetting feathers causes them to stick to silks, harnesses, and costumes and to pull out. Even minimal handling makes more sense to me. Lucy will tell you that we very frequently use a new bird immediately on stage. Training is nice; it is not absolutely required for most magic doves. Most never fly anyway. In choosing birds to use for the week, first I look at feathers. A veteran dove with missing wing or tail feathers misses the show. In the last thirty years, I doubt that I have replaced a half dozen doves for being too flighty. It really isn't a problem, if you equip your show to handle it anyway.

Enjoy!

Bob
Bob Sanders

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JJDrew
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I read the Dove hotline site. The information there was extremely interesting and I learned a lot!

Thank you for your in-depth response to my question. I really appreciate it.
flourish dude
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I founfd that taping the last 3 wing feathers towards the end works well. All your doing to teaching them not to fly. after they get use to doing what they need to be doing they will not fly away.
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1Show4U
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I don't have any doves in my act but very curious as to why the Doves don't fly away from the performer. So, they are trained not to by the performers? How big of a task is this and does any fly away and never come back in training?

Thanks
Matthew

Quote:
On Aug 3, 2004, flourish dude wrote:
I founfd that taping the last 3 wing feathers towards the end works well. All your doing to teaching them not to fly. after they get use to doing what they need to be doing they will not fly away.
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Bill Hegbli
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1show4U, they don't fly away because they trust you, and feel safe with you, because you feed them daily, handle them daily, and clean their cages weekly.

In new surrounding, they can still fly away, as doves seek the highest place to perch. That is why you have purchases available for them that you have so they learn that that is another safe place to perch. Some people put a food cup and water dispenser at the back of the perch, this also encourages them to say on the perch.

Things you learn when you have a new friend to live with.
Dave Scribner
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Quote:
On Feb 2, 2018, 1Show4U wrote:
I don't have any doves in my act but very curious as to why the Doves don't fly away from the performer. So, they are trained not to by the performers? How big of a task is this and does any fly away and never come back in training?

Thanks
Matthew

Quote:
On Aug 3, 2004, flourish dude wrote:
I founfd that taping the last 3 wing feathers towards the end works well. All your doing to teaching them not to fly. after they get use to doing what they need to be doing they will not fly away.


Even the most well trained dove will fly off once in awhile no matter how comfortable they are with you. There are many methods to inhibit this including water under the wings and I shudder at this option, trimming the flight feather (should never be done and isn't necessary)Nothing replacing training. It takes about 6 weeks of daily attention, petting, talking, and gently tossing. You start tossing from hand to hand a short distance and gradually increase the distance. Finally tossing it out for it to return. The more attention you pay to the doves, the better the chances of it not flying off.
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Nikita
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Working with the doves for some years - have to say that it's about character. One my pair is very calm, they even don't like to fly at home, better walking and they like to spend time on the ground pecking everything around.
And the other two are more wild - they immediately fly away, make crazy pirouettes and like to spend time very active, sometimes even fighting with each other and first two doves. They don't afraid of me (I can take it from any place easily by the hand) and also they fly to my hand always when hungry, but all the other time they are very independent and like to conquer the summits))
But back to the topic - I don't trim the wings, because don't like its look.
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