Doves are very easy
to look after but, first of all you will need to home your doves, and they
will need daily attention during the homing period. It is a useful time to
get to know your birds.
When you have ordered your dovecote, it will arrive together with any other accessories, but we await your instructions before sending on the doves. This gives you time for setting up.
When your doves
arrive they need to become accustomed to their new home and to their
surroundings, and to establish themselves as a new colony in your
dovecote. This usually takes around six weeks and is called the "homing
period". It involves confining the birds to the dovecote and we provide a
choice of methods for this.
THE HOMING NET
This is a large net (10 x 9m for Tuckenhay and 10 x 12m for Gatcombe and Avonwick) that you drape over the dovecote and then stretch out as far as possible, and hold down around the edges with planks or lengths of wood. It allows the doves access to all bays of the dovecote and acts like an aviary allowing the doves to fly up and down from the ground and use the dovecote more or less as they would when free. You would need to supply a shallow dish of water and feed the birds on the ground. There is a picture of this method in our Picture Gallery
This is a steel cage that you attach to the dovecote. It allows access to one bay of the dovecote and has a hinged door for feeding and watering the birds during homing. It comes complete with cups for food and water and a pickstone grit. Grit is required by the birds for digestion and it is important that they have access to this while they are confined above the ground. The homing run is provided flat packed with full instructions for assembly. It is suitable for one pair of doves. A second pair can be homed in the same run at a later date if required.
WHICH TO CHOOSE?
If you are concerned about confining the birds in a cage, preferring to see them with relative freedom, or if you wish to home more than one pair of doves at the same time, then the net is for you. We have homed thousands of doves in this way with very few problems, however if you have persistent cats or foxes that may pose a threat whilst the birds are unable to flee, then it would be advisable to choose the homing run. Whether you decide on the run or net, full instructions on setting up, homing and release are provided.
CARE OF YOUR DOVES
Once your birds have been released, all that is required is a handful of food per pair per day and access to a reliable water supply nearby. Hoppers are best kept for holidays or when you are not able to feed daily. Dove food can be reordered from us as required and is delivered to your door.
Cleaning out of the dovecote can easily be done with a trowel and bucket and is only required about once or twice a year.
Your dovecote will fill naturally over time with young doves being reared inside the cote by their parents. They need no special attention from you. Breeding can be restricted by the use of artificial eggs, and we do provide a "dove recycling service" if you require it.