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JustinDavid
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Hey guys, I know the encyclopedia says that you can clip a doves tail to the end of its wings, but is that true? Their tales are just looking horrid.. especially from invisible loads.
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Dave Scribner
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Yes you can trim the tails back that far. I don't but you can. I do try to trim the tails feathers up once in awhile. Why are they getting messed up during invisible loads? The doves should just be sliding out.
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JustinDavid
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Oh no, not on the way out, on the way in. They are just getting frayed out a little bit. I use Tony Clark's method of getting them in but it doesn't cover the tail.
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Dave Scribner
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That makes more sense. I should have realized that's what you meant. Here's another method similar to Tony's. Instead of wrapping plastic or card around the body of the bird, get a plastic sheet protector from the stationery store. Roll the dove into the plastic so you have a long tube with the dove inside. Take a second tube a little smaller in diameter and use is as a plunger to slide the dove into the pocket. That will protect the tail.
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JustinDavid
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That's a really great idea. I only clipped the tail about an inch away from the tail.. so this way its not too long, and not too short. He looks alot cleaner now. BTW I never got back to you on the pied doves after training. They are working great. Two are the Mom and Dad, and the Mom is a housewife, lol, I don't use her in my show. The Dad works great. You were right, a little patience and some TLC and they are yours.

Justin Smile
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Lou Hilario
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Why do you need the clip the tail feathers? It doesn't look natural. Aside from that, they will appear smaller and look more like a chick or bird. Why don't you just make longer dove pockets and holders.
One of my magic friends do it with his doves and I hate the look of it. I never clip my dove's feathers. Just spray the underarms with water before you load them if you want to prevent them from flying.
If the tails are soiled, your cage is too small. Smile
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JustinDavid
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No matter how long the dove holder is, it's not going to the stop the tails from being ruffled on an invisible load. I don't cut them incredibly short, just an inch away from the end of the wings. It makes life easier on my part. Also, the cage for my doves is huge. It's an african grey's cage. They don't have any droppings on their tails either.

As for the water under their wings, that's a really cool concept, never thought of it.

Justin
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Dave Scribner
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Remember, we as magicians are the only ones that know what the bird really looks like. If all the birds have short tails, then the audience will just think that's the way they are. General Grant clips the tails on all of his birds whether they're from invisible harnesses or not. If you trim them correctly with a rounded end, they still display nicely when produced. When sitting on a perch, 9 times out of 10, the tail is going to be away from the audience anyway. I'm not condoning cutting them, but sometimes it is necessary to trim them up.
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JustinDavid
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Yeah, if I clip one I clip them all. It doesn't look right when there are 2 birds with long tails and 3 with short.

As for the rounded end.. I came up with cutting them strait across then cutting the sides on an angle, and they look really great when fanned, and when strait.

Their tales were just getting too frayed, and they were cleaning them non-stop to get them back to normal, and they just couldn't. So when I clipped them they seemed to be much more comfortable. Thanks for the info guys!

Justin
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sperris
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I didn't know General Grant used invisible harnesses? I could have just read that one wrong...I'm way overtired and jet-lagged. I will sometimes just slightly trim their tail feathers, the backs of my pockets have small slits in them so if needed the dove's tails will stick out the back a little. Just my two cents...

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JustinDavid
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Smart move with the slits.. as for invisibles I don't think he does.. but I'm not positive. At least I haven't seen him use one.
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Dave Scribner
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Dan, no, the General doesn't use invisible harnesses but he clips the tails so they are all short. That was my point. It was the was the way I typed not the way you interpreted. All his birds tales are trimmed, they all look the same and everyone thinks they look really nice.

Justin, trimming straight across if fine if it works for you and they look good. That's the point. I round them but it's just a personal preferrence.
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Bob Sanders
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Dove tails are a constant problem. If the problem is color and it's show time NOW, there are three solutions. One is to cut the tail shorter. I have done it but I strongly advise against it unless you have several dozens of birds and can replace that bird next week.

The other two methods are about the same as each other. People who show horses have a spray product called "Show White" they spray on horse's white legs and white face markings before the horse show. It will work and is fair about not coming off on your clothes. Too much will "blue" your birds. The second color option you get at the drug store and that is Crux. It is a spray powder for jock itch. It will come off on your costume but it will get you through the show. (It works well for shoes and boots that are hard to get on too. And, advice from an old cowboy, it will make rope and leather slide easier.)

Dan and Justin are both taller than me. I'm just 5' 9". On full size adults, there is plenty of room for six real dove pockets in the coat. There is no reason dove pockets won't hold the dove full tail and all, unless they are too small for a dove. Open backs are a possible solution if the only choice is to use the existing pockets. Otherwise, have them made by a professional costumer who knows how to sew for a dove magician. If you are a pro, you can't afford not to. There are several good costumers in Las Vegas, New York, and just about every city where there is a real theater. Real doves have real tails. That is important to your show. Ask Jeff McBride or Alice Cooper about the concept of filling the stage to make you bigger than life. They will tell why they use wands, canes, flags, fans, etc. to fill as much space as possible.

I wish the problem would just go away. It won't. But discolored and frizzy tails are temporary problems. Cutting tails is a temporary solution that results in a permanent problem when the dove starts dropping feathers. The bird in my picture here is exactly as they appear on stage. Look at how much of the display is really wing and tail feathers. Use them to your advantage and come out flying instead of flopping.

Magic is too much fun to cut short.

Bob Sanders
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JustinDavid
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I have General Grants double load pockets. I also have pied doves which are generally larger then javas. It is honestly pretty hard to fit full length tails in there.

Justin
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Bob Sanders
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Justin,

Pied doves are usually larger. (I really wish they all looked alike the way white doves do. And I really think they are a superior animal to the Java white doves in every way. In real life, if you do transpositions with doves that don't match, it is really hard to sell to the audience.) But I use pieds too when I can.

However, I have no more trouble with pied dove tails than with white ones except for the compartments of my gloves to doves and doves in balloons. Remember that Tony Slydini was also a tailor (He frequently made his students' coats.) and Pete Peterson furnished the ones I've used for the last twenty-five years. I will admit that I have never used the General Grant pockets. (If you were born in Alabama, saying General Grant could get you shot. They're not forgetting the "War of Northern Aggression". They were not real sure about W.T. Grant. Just ribbing you , again.) However, it doesn't sound like I would want to even try them if the first assumption is that I must reduce my load.

My priority is to find a container to fit my load, not a load to fit the container. There are many "dove" props I won't use because they don't fit real doves. I have to sell the show, not someone else's container that the public never sees. They do see my doves. It's my show. Therefore, I'm just not willing to produce parts of birds when I can produce whole ones.

As the customer, magicians have rights too. Insist that the props actually fit the loads as advertised. Magic is an honorable profession. We deserve professional props. Vote with your checkbook. You can bet your employer/audience does!

Bob Sanders
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JustinDavid
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I just received two Tony Clark pockets in the mail today and they are awesome. They are just regular rectangle pieces of fabric that they were meant to be. Very smooth, and very straight.
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Jason Purdy
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I use three I.H. productions. I don't clip the tails. Never have a problem from loading... My problem comes from the wire mesh in the bottom of my cages. The males get ruffed up a bit from the bobbing up and down (from courting)... but I try to fix it with my fingers. Kind of like a ziplock bag.

Many magicians will trim just the tips. But eventually the tail gets shorter and shorter as they re-trim.
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Jason,

I really like your photo here. After visiting your website, it looks like you may be well versed on promotion and promotion techniques. (Old marketing professors love to see that!)

You are right, cage bottoms are the greatest threats to good-looking dove tails. Rule #1 is to never put a rabbit in a wire dove cage. There is something about rabbit urine that I think could make plastic rust in the desert. The other thing is to have narrow grid cage bottoms. The best house I had for my doves was in Arkansas, most of my doves were in walk-in aviaries with a concrete floor. It was easy to keep clean with the waterhose, was easy on the doves' tails and, best of all, the doves would come to the top at eye level to make it easy to pick which ones were going to be used in the shows that week. It really wasn't that expensive, but I just have not ever built them like that again. (Here I think chipmunks cutting wood and wire to get in would drive me nuts. Our dogs just watch!)

I'm glad to see someone else who takes his time to load doves. It really shows in the productions.

Bob
Bob Sanders

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