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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » One Dove = Hazard (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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p:m
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Toronto, Canada
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I have been reading a lot on doves the past week. I have been planning on getting just one. Now I read and have been told it’s dangerous to keep them in your room, or where you “hang out” (etc.) because of their feces. I have ALSO read that it’s only dangerous when you have more then ONE.

If I were only to get one, would having it live in a bedroom, or the living room (Where I hang out to watch TV, video games, magic, etc.) be a problem? I understand I would have to change the cage daily, water, etc., to keep everything fresh but...

Thoughts? Answers?
p:m
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Dave Scribner
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Jak, this question comes up quite often. The major health issue with birds is the dust or dander they produce. This can get into the lungs and cause severe respiratory problems for humans. With only one bird, this shouldn't be a problem unless you already have asthma or a respiratory problem.

The feces is just like any other. You shouldn't let it stand around very long. Every bird is different. Some birds do their business a lot and others just a small amount. The concern here is the actual smell rather than the anything else. There are techniques to make it easier on you. Line the cage bottom with brown paper or paper towels for example. Then all you have to do throw the paper away. I'd do this twice a week. The cage itself should be cleaned with bleach once a month. Change the water at least once a day and give them fresh food. I feed my birds every other day. I find that they are hungry enough that all of the seed is consumed and it doesn't get a chance to get stale or go bad.

The more birds you have, the greater the amount of dander and feces. This is just common sense. I wouldn't keep any more than 2 doves in a room you are living in. Make sure there is ventilation such as a window that can be opened for fresh air.

Hope this helps you get started.
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p:m
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Toronto, Canada
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Perfect! Thanks a lot! So one dove, kept fresh daily and covered at night, shouldn’t be a problem.
p:m
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mattsharpe
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I've read that air purifiers can be used too, to help take the dander and dust out of the air. I'm considering picking one up, since I have both a rabbit and dove in my room, and I have asthma.
Matt
Dave Scribner
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Jak, doves are not like parakeets. You don't have to cover them at night.

Matt, if you have asthma, I wouldn't advise keeping your animals in the same room with you but if you must, an air purifier will help. Normally, for just one bird, that wouldn't be necessary.
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p:m
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Would it make a difference covering the one dove at night, since it's what I’m used to?
p:m
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Bob Sanders
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This morning I read this to the house doctor for comments. She said there are only two things clean doves in the house could cause humans. One is histoplasmosis, which is a common disease of rural people and hunters. It is not even treated anymore. This disease is not considered a health problem unless it gives a false positive for a TB test. Then the x-rays are a health problem!

The second is one anyone with pets or kids has to deal with anyway. That is lice. The good news is that the type of louse doves get doesn’t live very long. (Try not to give the doves any human lice or diseases! And avoid passive smoke.)

It looks like we need a new source of worries!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

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p:m
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All right, so one dove shouldn’t be a problem if maintained.

Also, what size cage should it be kept in? Obviously something big enough to allow it to spread it’s wings.
p:m
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Dave Scribner
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Jak, you're fine with just one bird in your room. Just keep it clean. Note Bob's response about clean dove diseases. Just an FYI since you are new here, Bob's house doctor is his wife Lucy who is actually a doctor.

As for covering the bird at night, it won't hurt it but it isn't necessary. When the room is dark, it will just go to sleep.

I've always recommended a cage approximately 20" - 24" square, with two perches of different diameters.
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1906Alpha1906
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Hey Jak,
Glad to hear you are asking questions first...always a good thing to do. All your answers are here, so I will just chime in with one thing - Doves are not the cleanest eating animals out there. They will throw seed everywhere and frequently shed their old feathers. So, in turn, keep a good vacuum cleaner around if you plan on keeping your pet in the house just like anything else.

Watch those seeds though because they can get into places you never thought possible, and if any moisture gets on those seeds, you are in for some unwanted vegetation. "Oh, what a nice couch you have, and umm, what is that plant coming out the back?" *haha*
p:m
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Interesting. My parakeet is nuts too. He sticks his head in the food dish and starts digging. And the seeds fly EVERYWHERE! Then he goes to the bottom where all the seeds are and just has a crazy attack flap with his wings and flaps them at sonic speed so all his little tuffs and seeds again, go flying. It’s awesome. And he definitely needs a vacuum once every 2 days easily. I change his cage daily too. He is an interesting little fellow.
p:m
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Dave Scribner
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There are several solutions to reducing the amount of seed spread about from your dove.

First, reduce the amount you give him everyday until he eats everything. This is a trial and error method.

The second, while it sounds a little cruel is to only feed him every other day. This method is amazing. They are hungry when they get fed and tend to eat everything. You'll still have some spillage but not nearly as much. I have two birds that are real spreaders. I give them about 1/4 cup of seed and skip a day. When it's time to feed again, the cup is empty and there are almost no seed spillage. Don't worry if you try this. You are not starving your birds, only controlling their diet.

The third is something that isn't discussed very much. Instead of giving them seed, you can give them pellets. They are a little larger than rabbit pellets and the birds don't scatter them. It's difficult to get them started on pellets once they are used to seed however. Personally, I've always used seed but I know of a few magicians that use the pellets and wouldn't go back.
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Bob Sanders
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Jak,

An advantage of parakeets is that the cages are typically made with bars instead of square mesh. Therefore, you can take clear plastic (sheet protectors) and cut about a 4" strip to weave through the bars around the bottom of cage (below the door). It's not perfect but it helps a lot.

Keeping the feed cup low is just common sense for both types of birds.

Now you know why bird magicians can also say shop vac!

Enjoy!

Bob
Bob Sanders

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montemagic
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San Diego, CA
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There are over 40 known virus and 60 diseases directly associated with birds and their droppings, most of which you will encounter probably in the Amazon. These diseases vary in seriousness from minor stomach ailments to fatal diseases such as histoplasmosis, as mentioned above, which is the one disease which is now most common.

That being said 99.9% of the time these can be avoided by cleaning the cage FREQUENTLY, and not eating bird feces. That may sound ridiculous, but after working in veterinary medicine for years, let me tell you ... it's easier than you think. The best way to avoid eating bird feces, is first of all don't put it in your mouth.

Secondly, wash your hands. I will repeat that, WASH YOUR HANDS. Birds walk in their stool all day, then walk on you, or sit on your hand, that’s when those microscopic particles are transferred to you, then to your mouth the next time you eat. The same goes for cats and dogs, the house doctor could probably tell you about all the problems roundworms can cause you, or in most cases your children where hand to mouth parasite transfers are more common. The point when it comes to you and your pets mutual health, be clean.

I should mention that I lived for years with two doves in my 10X12 bedroom, and managed to never have a problem. There is one thing that often had me wanting to squeeze their little bodies... and that was the cooing at 5 o'clock in the morning. You can call them names, cover their cage, do whatever you want, but they will coo.

I tried everything short of sedation, and still spent mornings screaming deeply into my pillow for a higher power to make it all stop. But like all bleeding, all cooing eventually stops too, and I do miss the little $@&%#*!!!

Get him, and get him a friend. You won't regret it.
Aim To Amaze
Hokuspoke
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While maintaining a clean environment is as important for both you and the doves, I would caution about being too aggressive cleaning up after your doves. I knew a magician in the 70s who would change the papers two or three times a day yet his doves were constantly sick.

The veterinarian pointed out that not unlike infants, for doves to develop and maintain a strong immune system it is important that they are routinely exposed to some levels of bacteria. Else their immune system weakens to the point of little resistance and everything can sicken them. So, keep the environment clean but not necessarily 110% sterile.
Dave Scribner
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Changing and cleaning the cages several times a day is excessive. I'm not sure if exposing them to bacteria is good or bad. I've never heard that scenario. I change and clean my cages twice a week. Once every 3 months I give them a thorough cleaning with hot water and bleach.
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Gordon
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The seed scattering problem can also be reduced by buying dove feed. They won't have to dig for the types of seeds they like, scattering the rest.
DaveWomach
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Dave Womach
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My dove's aviary is outdoors, and is sprayed down with water 2-3 times a day. My dove's travel cages are changed daily before shows. I think a lot of it depends on how many doves you have. I have 15 doves in one aviary. It's good to clean it daily.

Hope this helps.

Dave
Magicdoc88
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I started with one dove, after 3 months added another, after 1 year , I have 7. If you are going to do dove magic you will need more than 1 for good routine. Good luck on the first one.
Christopher Starr (Toronto)
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My advise would be to buy a bonded pair of Doves. One doves can get lonely and will depend more on you for affection and support. If it is a lone male, it will coe endlessly in the hopes that it will attract a female that might be "flying by". Also, you'll find that once you get ito Dove Magic you will want more than one for the act. I am down to 2 Doves now and that is the minimum to do a Doves to Rabbit Illusion. As well if you get one then later add a pair = 3, the pair might gang up on the lone dove and peck the feathers off his head. I had this problem and had to give away my 3rd dove. I am hoping that if I add another pair that the 2 couples will get along.

I bought a nice tall parrot cage after years of havig the smaller budgie type cages. Although the cage was several hundrd dollars, it is a cage I'll have forever so it's well worth it. I like the blue baked on finish with the hammer marks. It is easier to wash down and keep clean than those flimsy cages that can get rusty and the plastic tray that can crack and break. I also like the 2 tree branch like perches that look more natural than thin dowel rods and are thicker so that the dove does not have to wrap their feet around too tightly that can casue cramps. A nice thick perch is far better then a thin one. I clean the cage once per week and I'm fine. A vacum touch up inbetween is a good idea to pick up stry seeds and feathers. I'm soon going to buy a little dust buster for the quick pick ups. My pet store sold me a spray cleaner that is all organic and is safe for the birds if any residue is left after wiping the bars. Bleach can be harmful if not really rinsed off well. Once or twice a year I think it's a good idea to take the cage outside and really wash and hose it down. If the cage can fit in your tub you can also shower it with hot water and cleanser to disinfect it every month or 2. I live in a condo building and we have a do-it-yourself spray car wash in the undergroung car park that I roll the cage down to once a year for an annual Spring cleaning. Baling soda liberally sprinkled over the newspaper on the cage floor can help keep down the smell as it does in my rabbit cage. Baking soda is cheap and is a natural deoderizer. You can also get absorbant sheets from some pet stores that help absorb the liquid and keep the smell down betweeen cleanings. Don't go crazy or get too concerned about the health hazards, even in the room you occupy the most. My doctor told me one might be expossed to the "Toxo" virus but that many people have it in their bodies but is hramless along as one does not have a seriuosly depleated immune system, ie advanced HIV. I've had rabbits, doves and other smaller birds for over 25 years and have never had any health problems as a result.

Doves do have a tendency to want to sort through the seeds and make a mess. I bought a parrot feeder cup that the birds have to stick their heads into and this cuts down on the mess a bit by catching the seeds flung side to side. My doves like millet seeds on the stalk for a treat and they have to peck it off the branch so there is little mess. Dave might have a good point about feeding a 1/4 cup of seed every 2nd day. I was just reading Tony Clark's manual and he recommends 2 tablespoons per dove given in the morning and 1 tablespoon per dove given in the evening. Doves often naturally feed in the morning and before retiring, so that method fits their schedule. Tony limits the quantity so that the birds do not get too heavy and thick, which would cut down on the speed and gracefulness of his dove productions. The 24 hours buffet can lead to overweight birds who will often eat out of boredom like us humans. That's not good for the birds or the act.

All in all doves are great and well worth the little effort. Start off with a pair though, it's no more troble for 2 than 1 and you'll have a better act and they'll have each other. You can get another pair when you are ready. It's only when you get into the dozen doves that some of the guys have that they become a lot of work, but obviously worth it if they have a whole act featuring the birds. Live birds are a big hit with audiences, but the Doves to Rabbit gets the biggest reaction for me as the children love to pet the rabbit. Give it all some thought, ask more questions, and good luck with the wonderful new adventure your magic is taking you on!
Christopher Starr
Starr Entertainment Inc.
KidShows.ca
Toronto Canada's Family Entertainment Specialists
1-866-50-STARR
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