Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder),
Bred bird myself,
Rescue / shelter organization
Hephzibah, Georgia, United States
Posted Nov 16, 2012
I have bred, owned, and rescued many, many species of animal in my lifetime, but if I have to choose the perfect pet regardless of age or experience, it would have to be a Ringneck Dove.
Before going any farther, yes, there is a lot of work, expense, and even potential for disease such as Pigeon Breeder's Lung in doves kept outdoors, but I am focusing strictly on birds kept indoors for this review.
These docile, hardy birds neatly combine the tractability and potentially affectionate nature of a parrot with the simple, inexpensive care requirements of a finch.
Incapable of screaming or biting, they are perfectly safe even for small children to stroke or hold so long as parents supervise them to ensure that the birds are not harmed.
Housing and care are simple. A single pair can live quite contentedly in a 24x24 cage with a perch and nest box. Mine like to nest in tupperware containers full of straw wired to the back of the cage.
Newspaper, if changed at least every three days, it an ideal substrate.
Royal Wing Classic Mix has proven to be an good base feed for my doves with laying crumbles mixed in for mating pairs. Each bird gets 1/8th cup per day.
Keep the cage clean, food and water dish topped up and fresh, and you can have 20 years with an indoor pair of doves.
God bless them, while Ringneck Doves are very sweet, they aren't exceptionally bright. They take to the Step Up command well, and some exceptionally bright individuals may learn their names and to come when called, but expecting much more of them is asking too much.
Each bird has an individual voice, and the sound of the coo will vary from bird to bird. While most cooing is low and rich, similar to an owl's hoot heard from a distance, it can range from exotic and musical to high pitched and obnoxious.
Everyone knows that doves coo, but the Ringneck in particular makes three other sounds as well. The scientific name Streptopelia risoria loosely translates into Laughing Turtledove. The laugh can be anything from the soft hehehehehe to a the loud HAHA! challenge laugh to the exceptionally aggressive intimidation laugh that sounds downright maniacal. AHAHAHAHAHAHA Aaawwww!
In addition to cooing and laughing, Ringnecks also prrrt softly to their young, mates, and hands with which they are familiar and cluck boo! at anything that scares them into defending themselves.
On a mushier, personal note, these charming, elegant, sweet little birds can best be described as being a lot like what what would happen if toddlers could fly. I have video on my youtube channel of my bottle raised hen, Sami, having gotten into a dish of pasta and stained her feathers red with sauce. Not two weeks before, she'd still been following me around, tapping what ever she could reach with an outstretched wing and squeaking for her bottle, despite having grown out of the need for it.
While they are beautiful decorations in an aviary, and their cooing is wonderful relaxation therapy, I urge you to let them be more than that. You will find no sweeter, funnier, or more pleasant companion.