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*francis
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I have recently aquired two female doves. One is slightly smaller, and quite passive in comparison to the larger more jittery 'flighty' one.

For the first two months I had them living in a cage inside, at that time I handled them every day. Since I moved them to an outside aviary, they fly away from when I approach them, and when I perch them on my finger they fly off the to perch, until I get them both on my finger, and walk out of the aviary. Once out they are a bit better. but still take off every so often. which , of course, I don't want.

My question is, how do I get my doves to like me, and to feel safe and comfortable on my finger or shoulder. And to come to me, at least let me come to them, inside their aviary. I don't need them to do any fly backs, just want them to feel secure and safe with me.

Also, can you produce doves outside?

Answers and suggestions will be of much help.

Yours, keen beginner in dove magic

Francis
*question or comment from Francis Chouler - magician from across the seas in South Africa
Bob Sanders
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Most birds are easier to control outside of their personal territory.

What I do is take them to a small room like a bathroom where I can reach (with a short stick) any place there is to land. I keep the dove flying until it lands on me (anywhere). Then it gets a treat and is allowed to stay there. After about a week, the bird will consider me the "safe place" to be. If she lands on your head (which is quite normal) the first time or two let her. Then wear a hat she can't hold to when she lands. She will pick another spot. Keep her flying until she picks the right spot. Reward her and let her stay there a while. Move her and start over.

There is a bird sitting on the back of my chair as I write this. They enjoy just being around after a while.

Remember that doves escape up, always. Start her low enough that the right place is up.

(I never recommend that others do dove magic outside. But, Yes! I sometimes do it myself. It's not a wise thing to do.)

Good Luck!

Bob
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Regan
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Excellent advice Bob.

Regan
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RJE
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I have to say there is another way of looking at this issue. I like many magicians care about my doves and wouldn't want any harm to come to them. Having said that, I don't let my doves fly. Their cages are spacious, but not large enough for them to do anything other than hop. I do a lot of outdoor shows with them and have never lost one yet.
xxxRoyxxx
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RJE, you are a magician and not a bird expert in any way. I can tell because you do not seem to know that to have healthy doves, they must exercise ie. fly in their cage and spread their wings, not just hop. Believe me, it makes a world of difference; I am lucky since my father is a bird breeder, so he is able to educate me on things that magicians (not all of them) don't know about their birds.
**Francis** The easiest/quickest/best way to get your birds to like you is to get yourself a pair of doves; one male, one female of course and mate them. Once the baby/ies have outgrown their nest and are feathered, you begin to handle them; Believe me, you will be imprinted into their mind for life! In a positive way, of course, and they will be your best friends forever! ROY
Bob Sanders
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RJE,

I have never ever lost a bird at a show either. I have lost them in the yard.

I have 18 cages of birds that don't have room to fly in their cages. (The cages are 18" x 24" and 18" high.) Those are breeding cages. I have two "guest" cages that are 24"x24" and 18" high for special projects (training, sorting, holding for some other magician, etc.).

Breeders without babies are used in the shows if they have really pretty feathers and most do. There they get to fly. Otherwise, I make no special effort to see to it they fly. They don't seem to care. Some are 12-16 years old. In nature doves don't fly great distances.


Roy,

I totally agree with you that imprinting an animal is the best loyalty device in animal training. Lucy's geese have to be imprinted for her act. I have had imprinted doves and they were nice. Currently, I have about a hundred doves and none are imprinted.


However, I will also say that within a week almost any dove handled correctly can be ready for stage magic. In my experience, I have often used doves in a show that have never been used in magic. They were borrowed from a zoo, pet shop, farmer, etc. There was zero training. I did not fly them. Flying doves can ruin the timing in your stage show because the doves don't care about the music. The audience does. To me every movement in magic to music is exactly the same every show. Flying doves don't play by the rules. It is not a pet show.

I also have 8'x8'x8' walk-in cages. Flying is possible there. The doves rarely fly. They still hop if possible. Birds there don't outlive the ones in the smaller breeder cages. Babies in the walk-ins do not do nearly as well as the others.

Years ago I raised parakeets commercially in Arkansas for the largest pet supplier in the USA. I agree they should fly. Respiratory problems are probably the number one killers of parakeets. Parakeets do like to fly long distances. But they are not doves.

There is another item you addressed that really bothers me. You said,"RJE, you are a magician and not a bird expert in any way."

You may know more than the rest of us and you may know all of RJE's qualifications. And you be qualified yourself to judge them. If that is true then I'll owe you an apology. If any of that is not true I take exception to your statement.

There is nothing mutually exclusive about being a magician and a bird expert. Many people can walk and chew gum at the same time. Some are even magicians. Why not consult a white tiger expert? Can you name two that are magicians? Most of us can.

Most of the really accomplished magicians I have met in my forty plus years also held graduate degrees. Both my wife Lucy and Billy McComb are also MDs. They are also very experienced entertainers who also do stage magic.

Being a magician is not a disability for being an expert in any other field. Look around and ask. You will find an unusually high number of Magic Café members who are also PhDs, Medical Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Dentists, CPAs, Entrepreneurs, Deans, Elected Officials, etc. There are 168 hours in a week. Working 40 a week at something is hardly fulltime. It is less than 24% of the time. It does not disqualify one from being an expert in any other area. In pro rodeo, a bull ride is 8 seconds. I have had friends that were either pro bull riders or rodeo clowns and also lawyers, professors, or veterinarians. They were very serious about both jobs! And they were very qualified for both.

If you are a magician, my point is, don't let the misdirection of one set of skills lead you to believe that the rest of the prop is empty. It rarely is! Even magicians know that.

Enjoy your dove magic.

Bob
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xxxRoyxxx
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To whom it may concern...
I will, again, reiterate my statement that doves need to have room to fly. They need that freedom and it keeps them healthy. I used to have mine caged up and they couldn't fly; they were miserable (like pet-shop birds). They have now been in their new cage for several years and they love it; they always fly! They especially do so after cleaning their cage; it's as if they know and enjoy that their cage is tidy...
After-re-reading my statement though, I do apologize to RJE, I did not intend to attack you. It does seem I imply that one must be a bird-expert if handling birds for magic. As we all know, it is not totally necessary but helpful (and good for the birds) to know a bit about the animals one owns... Also, I do know it is possible to be both and expert in two fields at once. Roy
Dave Scribner
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Sorry Roy, I have to agree with Bob on the flying situation. Like him, I keep my birds in 18" x 18" x24" cages all the time and have done so for years. I don't have 100 birds like Bob but I have had as many as 35 and have never had any trouble with them not flying. I work with them everyday and the ones in the act never fly off once they are free to do so. I put them on a perch in my basement while I practice and they stay right there. As Bob said, doves do not fly well and they prefer to sit or walk on the floor rather than fly.

I've never had a "miserable" bird. They know me when I come to the cage, sit on my finger for hours, and even when given the opportunity to fly, they don't. They seem quite happy to me and have never had health problems with any of them. I've sold quite a few doves in the past and always receive compliments on how well they look and how healthy they are.

Maybe Bob and I are just lucky that our 100's of birds over the years haven't had any problems and didn't wish to fly but I doubt it.
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xxxRoyxxx
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Good for you both! As long as your birds are happy. Guess my birds are just a bunch of wierdos that enjoy stretching and flapping their wings every once and a while! And they seem to be happy too. ROY
Bob Sanders
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Roy,

Come to think of it, my doves have always enjoyed playing in the lawn sprinkler better than flying off. They will come to a running water hose! Maybe that’s why yours are raising their wings. Do you give yours water playtime? They love it!

When we are filling the regular dove waterers, the birds will raise their wings and beg to get misted with the hose. Perhaps their cue is being misread. Try it!

Bob
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Dave Scribner
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Roy, all we're saying is this is a personal preference. Each dove worker has his own methods and ideas. Whatever works for you is fine. As in most situations, there isn't a right or wrong method here.

You stated
Quote:
"doves need to have room to fly. They need that freedom and it keeps them healthy"
.

Bob and I are simply saying that isn't necessarily true based on our experience. If allowing the birds to fly all the time still allows a properly controlled dove during a performance, then fine. Keeping a maximum of two birds in a cage of the size Bob and I use still allows them room to flap their wings for excercise.

You're birds are not a bunch of weirdos, they're just handled in a different method than that used by some of us.
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xxxRoyxxx
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I agree with you Dave. Bob, I do give my birds water-playtime in the summer, of course. All I'm saying is that they are birds, after all, and they do enjoy to have freedom to some extent...ROY
RJE
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Roy, apology accepted.

I have been working with doves for over 20 years. They are kept in breeding pairs and the cage size is similar to Bob and Dave's, about 18 x 18 x 24" They seem to be happy and live long lives. Their cages are cleaned regularly and fresh water, food and grit is given to them every day.

Over the years, I have had many baby doves hatch and grow into fine birds. I do not claim to be a dove expert, nor a professional breeder. But if their perkiness, friendliness and acceptance is a sign of their physical and mental health, then I don't think they're doing too bad.
*francis
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A question for Bob,

Thank you for all your helpful replies everybody. Bob, what treat do you give your doves? I have my two doves in a walk in aviary with bunnies on the ground. It doesn't do any harm to have the birds in a large aviary
Does it?

Also, one of my doves has recently started to fluff up its feathers and look disheveled. While the other is sleek and beautiful, does it mean the one is sick? If so what do I do? It was sitting in the sun on the floor of the cage this morning; normally it sits on its perch.

One last question... what kind of 'hutch' should a dove have to get out of the cold or to mate, sit on eggs etc.?

Thanks guys, your responses have been very helpful.
Francis
*question or comment from Francis Chouler - magician from across the seas in South Africa
benscholz99
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I personnally would never produce my doves outdoors. I don't know what I would do with myself if they got lost or hurt.

Ben
Bob Sanders
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Quote:
On 2004-11-06 07:09, *francis wrote:
A question for Bob,

Bob, what treat do you give your doves?

I have my two doves in a walk in aviary with bunnies on the ground. It doesn't do any harm to have the birds in a large aviary
Does it?

Also, one of my doves has recently started to fluff up its feathers and look disheveled. While the other is sleek and beautiful, does it mean the one is sick?

If so what do I do?

One last question... what kind of 'hutch' should a dove have to get out of the cold or to mate, sit on eggs etc.?



Treats...
Doves work cheap. On the road, grains of the cheapest, plainest, unpopped popcorn is a great dove treat. At home, they get the small black sunflower seeds or milo (called grain sorghum in some places) for treats. We also feed a lot of milo regularly. They never waste it. But if milo gets wet it will stain feathers.

Walk in Aviary...
I like walk in aviaries. It greatly reduces feeding and clean up time when you have a lot of birds. Other people like just looking at them because it is a more "park like" setting. I can leave them a bathing pool all the time and a sandy beach to sun on and take dust baths. That is just too messy for small cages.

They also have problems. We have storms here. The last big one was called hurricane Ivan. One tree hole will let out all the birds or let in animals that think doves taste good. Doves do not successfully raise as many young in a community cage. Sometimes catching the bird you seek is difficult without disrupting the whole community. I did try keeping young chickens on the ground in one of these with doves. The chickens would not let the doves on the ground.

What do Fluffed feathers mean?...
Usually they don't really tell you much. For many doves it just means they are at home and comfortable. In doves, I never read it as "go away". A dove in fear will slick down its feathers in preparation to take flight.

Doves will fluff up in sickness and health. Look for other signs.

Nest? ...
I have two kinds of nests: planned and unplanned. My planned nests are either 6" pottery saucers about 2" deep or metal hanging baskets (in walk in cages only). The saucers work many times better than the hanging baskets for raising doves. They don't move or flip over. They will work fine without other nesting material. Baskets must have nesting material (straw). If Mamma is not happy, she will throw it out.

Doves are terrible nest builders. Often they simply nest on the ground with no apparent plan. Once a nest is started, you can usually move it into a pottery saucer in the very same place and life goes on uninterrupted. Moving the nest even inches away stops the nest. You are wiser just to give the eggs to another family. Remember that doves only set two eggs successfully at a time. However, they may stop with only one egg. I often replace pied dove eggs with the eggs from white doves. Pieds and ring necks are better parents.

I worry more about too much heat than too much cold. Doves are native here year round. I do give them good perches under shade. Frozen water is the greatest hazard. They need lots of water.

Did that finish my homework assignment?

Enjoy!

Bob
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Dave Scribner
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Francis, here's a few more treats that doves love.

diced apples
bananas
Leaf lettuce
peanut butter
hard boiled eggs (with and without the shells)
Frozen peas
pieces of bread

None of which should be given in large quantities but only as treats.
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*francis
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Thanks guys. great help. unfortunately I suffered a terrible loss today when one of my doves, Rebecca, simply took off into the sky, never to be seen again in transit from cage to house for the daily practice session. I am quite sad and I think my other dove, Erin, is slightly lonely now as a result.

Francis
*question or comment from Francis Chouler - magician from across the seas in South Africa
Bob Sanders
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*francis,

TONIGHT leave a stick to perch on sticking through the cage so that a bird can perch on it inside or outside the cage on the same perch. It may surprise you to find that one bird attracts the other to the perch if they have been together for weeks.

Of course put the whole cage, safely, but out where the escaped bird can see it. It is OK to put a board or something on top to cover just the top of the cage. It is OK to shine a light on it all night too.

It's a long shot but it works about half the time.

Good Luck!

Bob
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George Ledo
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Gawd, this brings back memories!

Many years ago, at 18-19, I did a dove act (I was one of about a million guys who based their act on the Chavez/Pollock idea). I kept my doves in a cage about 2' x 3' x 4' and let them out in the basement regularly so they could fly if they wanted to. After a while they didn't -- they just sat on my finger or wherever they started out from.

Back in those days, there was a major controversy about clipping the wings, clipping every other feather, and similar brilliant ideas. I never did; those birds had huge wingspans and looked beautiful when produced from a silk. I used them in numerous large venues, including a huge shopping center and a legitimate theatre, and they never even looked like they wanted to fly away.

Incidentally Smile the first one's name was Dammit. True story. When I first got her and started training her, she would fly all over the basement, from the most inaccessible corner to the second most inaccessible corner, and back again. At first I was patient, walking back and forth trying to get her to perch on my finger. I'd stick out my finger and say, "perch" just like the books taught you. After a while, I finally got tired and started saying "perch, dammit." Sure enough, that's when she started perching. The name stuck.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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