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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » 3 dove questions (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

streetmagician_08
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Hi,

I finally got my doves. The funny thing is my aunt has been breeding white doves for years and I never knew (haha). She said the doves are tame but when I put my hand in the cage they avoid it and when I pick them up they try to escape. How do I train them to finger perch?

Another thing is the doves are dirty-- they have yellow on them. What is the best way to clean them up (get them really white)?

Finally once they get tame I saw a dove production and the dove hovered in the same place instead of the return method. How would you teach a dove to do this?

Thanks for your help.


Thayne Smile
Luke Sherratt
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Hi

To clean your doves just spray plain warm water at them out of a spray bottle. They love it and they get clean. Soap is not a good idea because you destroy the waterproof oil on them.

On the perching issue take one to the smallest room in your house like your bathroom. Close the door and clear the room. Now let the bird fly around. When he wants to land, because you cleared the room the bird has no choice but to perch on you. Start by using a wand or something as it is longer than your finger. Do it everyday for a few minutes until it perches on you outside of your bathroom.

I am sorry I can't help you with the other question. Ask Dave, he knows what he is talking about.

Luke Smile Smile
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Jason Wethington
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Luke,
The method you are describing to get the bird to land, although widely used, isn't a very good one. The dove is afraid of Thayne's hand. By wearing the bird out and then getting it to land on his hand doesn't reinforce security. It promotes his hand as a last resort to land on. In my opinion not a great way to teach the behavior.

Thayne,
Here are some guidlines to help get your dove accustomed to your hand. You will want to introduce your hand to the dove(s) while the dove is in the cage and your hand outside the cage first.

Let the bird get used to you being close to it as well as your hand. Then introduce your hand into the cage with a favorite treat (or just some pellets). Go slow, this process of actually putting your hand in the cage might take a week depending on the bird. Just leave your hand in the cage for a few minutes so the bird(s) can get used to it. Repeat this action, but don't force anything. You want the bird(s) to feel comfortable with you and you want it to feel secure on your hand. The food is an incentive for the bird to come to you. Again don't force it just let it happen.

Once the bird is comfortable on your hand in the cage, move outside the cage. After the bird is comfortable there it is very natural for them to climb up on your finger when it is introduced. The best way to do this is just place your index finger above the feet then gently press up on the belly. The bird should step up onto the finger.

Your question about the production you saw is a bit more difficult. You may have witnessed a fluke. Doves generally do not hover, it may have been looking for a perch or it may have just been confused. My philosophy of training birds is to only train natural behaviors. By that I mean something the animal does in the wild of its own volition. Hovering for doves isn't something they would normally do unless they absolutely have to.

If you are interested in learning about training, a great book is "Don't Shoot The Dog". This book explains the reward system of training also known as 'positive reinforcement'. A friend of mine named Steve Martin (no, not that one) is regarded as one of the foremost animal trainers in the world. He has a set of video tapes on training, specifically parrots, but the methods can be applied to any animal.

I urge you to do a lot of research into training before you start. Once an animal has been exposed to poor training methods it is difficult for it to be trained properly later on.

If you have ANY questions regarding this please feel free to PM me.
Jason
Dynamike
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Purchase Tony Clark's 2 video tapes dealing with doves. It tells a lot about doves. Believe me, it's worth it.
streetmagician_08
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Thanks for all the information guys!!

P.S. are doves supposed to have an odour? Mine do and it stays on your hands even after you have washed them. What do I do?

Thanks again Smile
Dave Scribner
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Lots of good advice here. You may find that your birds do not like to be sprayed, even with warm water. Of the 18 birds I have now, 6 or 7 of them hate the spray. I bought a large plastic tray like you put under plants and put about 3 or 4 inches of warm water in it. When I put it on the floor of the aviary, the birds just flock to it and have a ball.

Make sure you give the birds wheat germ in their food or water. This gives them the vitamins they need and also promotes whiter feathers. It will take a while to remove the yellow but eventually, they'll be fine.

As for training, every bird is different and every one has their own technique. Jason's approach is a good method. Here's mine when I run into the situation you have. I gently reach into the cage and leave my hand there until the bird settles on the perch. Then I gently put my hand around and over the back of the bird to remove it from the cage. I put him in the palm of my other hand and hold it in that position while I stroke its back and talk to it. Every once in a while I gently blow air in its face. I use the tip of my finger to stroke the birds head down to the back of its neck. After a few minutes of this, I release the hold and let the dove sit in my hand. It will eventually stand and walk up to my finger.

Training takes time no matter what method you use. You just have to experiment to find what's right for each dove.

As to the hovering dove, my guess is that it was a one time effect and nothing to do with training. During practice, I've had a bird hover for a few seconds between my hands sort of deciding what it wanted to do. The magician you saw performing it most likely took advantage of the situation and made it look like it was planned. That's a good lesson in dove magic. Always use the dove's natural habits to make yourself look good. For instance, one of my birds will walk up my arm and sit on my shoulder. I had nothing to do with training it, it just started doing it on its own. Now when I produce him, I just wait a few seconds and he does his little trick. I just add it to my routine and my wife (assistant) picks him up from there and puts him away.
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streetmagician_08
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Dave,

Thanks, a million thanks go out to you!! You really know your doves.


Thayne Smile
Dave Scribner
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Thayne: I forgot to mention about the odor. Yes, doves do have an odor that really can't be described. Usually it isn't that noticeable but the bathing will reduce it.
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streetmagician_08
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hey guys,

I am still having trouble with my doves. I've tried holding them but it isn't working. I think they are a few years old and haven't had any real taming. I've decided to get their wings clipped (although many people are against it, but I feel it's the only way). That way they won't be able to fly and will stay perched on my finger and hopefully get used to it.

Once they've learned and their wings grow back there won't be any need to clip them anymore. What do you guys think? As for clipping them I'm going to have a vet do it, I've found instructions but they seem too complicated. Has anyone ever clipped their own birds feathers?

What do you guys think?



Thanks Smile
Dave Scribner
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Thayne: Don't, Don't, Don't and if in doubt, Don't. Clipping the wings will not solve your problem. They will still try to fly away but will fall to the ground. You want them to sit on your finger. Patience is the key. Take them to a small room where there is nothing for them to land on. Put them on your finger and don't make any sudden moves. It may take some time but they will learn to trust you. Then you can move to a regular room.

Clipping the wings, in my opinion is like cutting off your dogs leg because he didn't stay next to your side.

Birds were meant to fly, and fly they will until you get them trained. You've only been working with them for a few weeks. They're still strangers to you. How often do you work with them and for how long?
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streetmagician_08
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Dave

You just saved me some money and some heartache. Thanks (yet once again). How long should I practice with them each day? I put them in my hand with the other one over the top and hold them like that. Is that good? This patience thing will be agonizing but hopefully well worth it. Do you know how long it will be before I see results? Thanks
Dave Scribner
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All I can say is that, the more you practice, the faster they will get used to you. When you reach in the cage, do they get excited and try to get away? Be gentle with them. Put your finger on their breast and gently push so they step up on it. Leave your hand in the cage that way for a minute or two until they get used to it. Now remove your hand gently and try to walk to the center of the room slowly while the bird is perched. Just stand there with it like that and talk to him. Gently blow air on his face. If it takes off, just go get it and try again. When it's sitting on your finger, gently stroke it's back and feathers. You may have to do this every day for a week if the the birds are really fidgety. Then start training them to fly from one hand to another.

I work with my birds at least twice a day. About an hour in the morning and again at night. Even the ones that are trained get the 2 hour session with me.
Let me know how that works out for you.
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