Acquired: Pet store
Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
Posted Feb 14, 2014
I've always liked birds and owned cockatiels in the past, but my daughter has always been afraid of them for some reason. So it was a surprise when she came home and announced that she wanted to own a bird.
Thinking it might be a way to teach her more about birds, we agreed to let her get one if she took proper care of it. She decided to get a Ringneck Dove from a local pet store. Not long after, we named the dove Harley.
There wasn't much of a learning curve with Harley. He's easy to care for and doesn't require a great deal of maintenance. As a dove owner, you must be sure he has food and water at all times. You'll also need to add grit, just as you would for any seed-eating bird. In addition, we put toys in his cage as well, also adding a mirror and nesting material as well.
More than anything, it's important to talk to doves and interact with them. Some say it's better to have two doves together, but we've never gotten Harley a partner. He seems okay with it, though.
Interestingly, our smaller dog, Bandit, is a bit wary of Harley. Bandit is an Aussie Shepherd mix and usually isn't cautious or reticent about much, but she is when she's around Harley. Bandit mostly observes Harley and doesn't try to approach him. In fact, on occasion Harley will ride on Bandit's back, which is a funny sight to see.
Although these doves are typically clean and groom themselves regularly, Harley's cage can get messy with waste, so it's important to keep it clean on a regular basis. Our daughter takes care of the cleaning and upkeep, although we all socialize and play with Harley. If you get a bird for a child, be sure he or she is old enough to handle the responsibility of caring and feeding their dove.
We've had Harley for over five years now, and he seems content to just 'be.' He coos when he's happy and seems curious about the things that go on around him. My daughter is still afraid of most birds, but she's grown comfortable with Harley. If you're looking for a mellow pet to hang out with you and chill, a Ringneck Dove may be the right choice!