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daffydoug
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I wanted to know your feelings about the ethics of dying doves to create a more colorful act.

I have a feeling the topic will be controversial, although some of the top name dove acts use this. What say ye, gentlemen?
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Bob Sanders
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What are the ethics of dyeing doves? I answer this question constantly on Dove Hotline.

Any adult male has learned that anytime he sees a sudden change in the coloring of a natural body cover, the thing to say is "Oh! That looks great!" Being honest is not a requirement here. But we are usually dealing with someone whose color change was self-inflicted. For doves that is not true and it changes the rules of engagement.

The colors actually are pretty most of the time. I have never personally been made aware of a dove’s death ever resulting from being dyed. The practice is as old as dyeing chicken biddies for Easter. Unfortunately, baby chicks were dipped and some died from the temperature change. (Baby chicks have to be kept warm.) Even worse, the left-overs were fed (sometimes live) to hogs. That practice of selling dyed chicks is illegal now in many states. Call your state department of agriculture to see what the law is in your state.

Forget ethics, the law may answer your question in some states. Incidentally, doves are usually considered agricultural birds for hunting purposes, if nothing else. From what I understand, that is the reason the US Post Office must accept them for shipment. They can reject other birds. You can mail your doves from one location to another in the USA.

(An interesting side note here is that the conservation departments and agriculture departments frequently mark birds in other ways that do hinder flight, color protection, balance, and breeding. That seems much more harmful than dyeing a caged bird.)

I’ve seen some good acts that were actually based upon the colors of the doves. Dan Sperry does a great color changing dove.I have also seen some good acts where the colored bird is the result of a skilled lighting tech. Watch the movie version of the Wizard of Oz and watch the ponies change color. The technology is hardly new in either case (dyeing or lighting).

Would I dye my doves? Unlikely, but there is no benefit to me either. They already match my white hair which I really just don’t want dyed green or pink. For me it is impractical. Ethically, I don’t have a pat answer. I grew up as a cowboy. The health and safety of animals is very important to me.

Maybe I’ll know when I get older? Good grief! Look at all those candles! Fire!

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JustinDavid
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LOL excellent response Bob. As for coloring, I only use one colored bird in my act (now I KNOW I'm going to hear it for this Smile) She comes from a silk fountain, so I have her colored three different colors, to go along with the rainbow effect from the fountain. Anywho, being young I haven't really experienced the old school ways of dove magic. I know a few people were turned away from the magic castle decades ago for using a colored bird. It just wasn't considered right. Now, 30 years later, people are performing there with them all the time.

Referring back to what Bob said about this going on for eons, it's the same with anything else. Anytime that something is new, it either picks up right away, or it takes a long time to get used to. I don't think anyone is morally correct, just a matter of opinion. Good topic.
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sperris
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I just got back from another week at the Castle and even I got hasseled by Irene (in a nice way) about my colored doves. It still happens, especially out that way because of PETA being pretty big out there. I just tell people they taste better that way and it horrifies them so they quit bugging me.

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daffydoug
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Quote:
On 2004-01-27 10:59, Bob Sanders wrote:
Watch the movie version of the Wizard
of Oz and watch the ponies change color.

Bob


Bob, your answer was quite comprehensive and very detailed. It will give me much food for thought.

Now about the horse of a different color, I read the book The making of The wizard of Oz, and if my memory serves me here, the color change was actually accomplished by covering the horses with colored gelatin powder, like todays Jello.

They filmed the shot, and then had the horses for dessert. (I know, BAD joke.)

Quote:
On 2004-01-27 18:11, sperris wrote:
I just got back from another week at the Castle and even I got hasseled by Irene (in a nice way) about my colored doves. It still happens, especially out that way because of PETA being pretty big out there. I just tell people they taste better that way and it horrifies them so they quit bugging me.

Sperris Smile


That is precisely what I was thinking in my original post. That is why I mentioned the word controversial, because I figured if I asked the real question that was in my mind, that I would get slammed to kingdom come by a dozen guys who would tell me NEVRR to do that to my avarian friends. I have been slammed enough in other topics for my stand on Paul Harris's One and Only, and Max Maven's Four Face asssembly, that I didn't think I could take another one. Therefore I proceeded with caution.

The real question I had wanted to ask, is what is used to color the birds, and what is the technique?

I had tried at one time using food grade food coloring and a cotton ball, but met with resistance from the bird, which made it a long unpleasant process, not to mention a messy one. Also, the natural oil on the feathers seemed to repel the color. It took me a very long time to achieve a satisfactory result, and I am guessing there is a better way to do it. I just have no idea what it would be.
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Bob Sanders
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Daffydoug,

I think you are right. But the lighting tech would call changing the color with the light "covering" or "bathing" the object with "gelatin" (the colored plate) put in front of the light. (You can make them of powder.)

But the truth is I wasn't there. And I'll never forgive them for that. It must have been great!

(Don't eat the blue horses. There is no blue food.)

Bob Sanders
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JustinDavid
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Daffydoug, I simply take two tablespoons of white wine vinegar, mix it with a cup of water, and add whatever amount of food coloring I'd like. As dark as it looks in the water, it always comes out lighter. As for the vinegar, it breaks down the oil in their feathers.
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zaubern
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Andy Amyx makes a pre-mixed color. Check out http://www.andyamyx.com I have used colored birds in my act, but after a while I realized I get the same reaction with both colored and un colored. So I stopped because it was too much work for me and the birds.
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Leo B. Domapias
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Dove feathers are, by nature, waterproof. You’ll consume a lot of food coloring before you will get the correct color saturation if you apply the food dye alone.

Instead of vinegar (which I suppose leaves an odor), mix a small amount of hair shampoo with the food coloring. You have to experiment how much of each you need in a mixture to obtain the color saturation you want.

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Dave Scribner
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This subject has been discussed several times in this forum and everyone has their own method so here's mine again.


First, wash your bird twice with No Tears baby shampoo. This will remove all the oil. Next pat them dry with paper towels. Don't rub, just pat dry.

Put them in a box with plenty of paper towels on the bottom and make sure they are not in any draft. I put mine under a lamp so they don't chill. Also, if your using several colors, keep them in separate boxes.

Go to a pastry or cake decorating store and get some Professional Paste food coloring. Wear rubber gloves unless you want to look like the birds Apply the paste evenly to the bird working the color into all the feathers. Wipe away the excess and let them dry.

This is very safe for the birds and gives them very bright coloring.
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daffydoug
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Thanks, fellas! Now the light is starting to come on!
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Bill Palmer
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I worked several times with Alex Arizpe, who used dyed doves in his act. He used a food coloring to do the work. I think he got the info from the Encyclopedia of Dove Magic. Anyway, he never lost a dove due to the dye process. It is perfectly safe.
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amagician
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At least you're asking the question which means you're thinking about the birds' welfare as well as the flak you might get from some humans.
If there are proven-on-the-bird products, I believe it's okay as long as you realise you'll still get the flak!
I asked my veterinarian when I was using doves years and and he was strongly against it, so I didn't dye them.
Maybe that would be an effective way to answer those critics that will listen to your reply to their complaints - ask a well-known veterinarian.
If you get an answer that you don't like, don't get rid of the birds.
Change your Vet! Smile
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snilsson
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The real question is if your audience will accept colored doves. The answer might well be "no". Some audiences will not accept any animal being used for entertainment purposes. Know your audience and proceed with caution. You may have to kill your darlings. Ooops, that wasn't the right thing to say, was it.
JustinDavid
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I think if you use a mixed variation, they won't bother you. In my act I produce a white dove... then next I produce a red dove from the head of a rose. From then on out I either use all colored birds, or none at all. But it still shows them the natural color of the bird. And if you show that you love your birds on the stage..i.e. giving them a kiss, petting them.. showing some sort of affection to them, then the audience will know that you care.

Ben thanks for the shampoo tip, the vinegar does make them smell like a sub sandwich for a little while.

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uknavynigel
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I don't perform or use doves in magic although this subject interests me, although some may say it is cruel to colour doves, if someone in your audience is gasping at the poor coloured doves and not wow how did that bird appear from that red handkerchef and wow its red aswell, then surely you have the wrong act or the wrong audience.
sperris
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I have discussed the idea of coloring doves with other dove magicians and what colors work best and look good, etc. It is nearly impossible to get a multi colored dove, although it has been done, it usually -in my honest opinion- looks like crap. There are some magicians out there right now who use several colors on one bird and I think it looks very unprofessional because they don't do a good job and the color smears and smudges and just looks vomitous. Solid colors are way better. As far as the colors to use is up to you, but from experiences combined myself and several friends concluded that using natural colors of birds is less likely to cause a problem. If you're using reds, blues, yellows, those are natural colors for every-day birds. Once you start getting into pastels of pinks, greens, oranges, etc. you run into an unatural looking case because those colors are usually associated with a breed of parrot. Just use caution and use your brain, I think too many younger magicians are trying to be original by combining colors and make tye-dyed birds and all other sorts of nonsense. Just think of the dove, its safety, and what your end result is. If you're just coloring a dove to have colored birds and you put all your time into coloring doves and getting them to look right and no time on your act....You're gonna suck big time. A colored dove should be a bonus, or a reward to yourself when you get your act down to where you want it and if it fits YOU and your character.

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daffydoug
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Believe me, I would in no way give priority to the coloring of the birds over my practice and rehearsal time.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Daniel Faith
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I don't see where ethics even come in to play here.
You are merely coloring the doves. It doesn't harm them or cause them discomfort.
It's a preference. I know a magician that dyes his doves and think nothing of it. Personally, I would rather have white doves.
But like I said, It a preference.
Daniel Faith
DaveWomach
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Quote:
On 2004-01-27 18:11, sperris wrote:
I just got back from another week at the Castle and even I got hasseled by Irene (in a nice way) about my colored doves. It still happens, especially out that way because of PETA being pretty big out there. I just tell people they taste better that way and it horrifies them so they quit bugging me.

Sperris Smile


Just a note to anyone who TREATS THEIR ANIMALS WITH RESPECT, and has had the severe misfortune of having to deal with a member of this "organization" (PETA)... it is just that... an organization, not a government group. They have no authority. They are, using kind magic Café words... of no importance to anyone who is kind to their animals. Just assure the spokesman of this group that the animals are your main source for income, and you treat them like a child, not a prop. God knows if they were treated like some of your props, they'd all be dead.
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