Doves are a type of bird that make wonderful family pets. They are small, gentle, and easy to care for, making them an ideal pet for those who are new to owning birds. Doves come in a variety of colors and sizes, so you can find one that fits your lifestyle and personality.

Doves have been kept as pets since ancient times. In fact, they were one of the first birds to be domesticated. They are known for their gentle nature and peaceful cooing, which makes them a great addition to any home.

Doves have a long history of being symbols of peace and love. During World War I and II, they were used as messengers in combat zones. 

Doves are beautiful birds that have a variety of different colors. The most common color is white, but there are gray, tan and some brown ones as well. They are generally docile and gentle birds, and are a popular pet. 

Doves are generally quiet birds who like to spend their days cooing and fluttering around. They are often kept as pets because of their gentle nature and ability to bond with humans. 

Doves are very hardy birds and can live for up to 20 years with proper care. They are medium-sized birds, growing up to 6 inches long. They thrive in pairs or flocks in a very large enclosure. Given enough room, Doves will climb, play, and fly around their cages. They are often found in pairs, or flocks of three or four.

Doves are generally quiet birds, but they can become quite loud when frightened or angry. They are often kept as pets because of their gentle nature. They’re very social birds, and enjoy having friends around.

Doves also enjoy interacting with their owners. They can be taught to do simple tricks, like flying to a perch or following a finger. They also love to be petted and will often come up to their owners for attention.

Doves need a balanced diet of seeds, fruits, vegetables, and other small insects. They also need access to fresh water and a variety of toys and perches to keep them entertained.

Overall, Doves make great family pets. They’re gentle, easy to care for, and can give your family years of companionship and entertainment. If you are looking for a pet that is low maintenance and full of personality, then Doves may be the perfect choice for you.

Dove Information

  • Average Height: 4 to 6 inches
  • Average Weight: 4 to 6 pounds
  • Coat Colors: Gray, white, pink, and brown variations 
  • Grooming Needs: Low 
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: Yes
  • Good Pet: With early socialization and training, yes
  • Safe with Children: With training
  • Good with Other Doves: Yes
  • Good with Other birds: Yes
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes
  • Training: They learn fast 
  • Weight Gain: Normal
  • Health Concerns:  Trichomoniasis, Pigeon Pox, and Coccidiosis
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 10 to 20 years

Physical Appearance of Doves

Doves have tiny, narrow beaks and their heads are relatively small in comparison to their body size. Their legs are short and their heads bob back and forth as they walk. Their color varies from one species to another. Most Doves are either gray, brown, or white.

Temperament of Doves

Doves are peaceful birds that make great pets for new bird owners. They enjoy human contact and are loyal to their caregivers. They enjoy being petted and cuddling with their caregivers. You’ll know they are happy when they make beautiful soft coo’s. They almost never show any aggressive behaviors like biting or scratching. Doves are startled by loud noises and have a tendency to hide if they are startled or afraid.

Training Doves

When training a Dove, patience will be needed. At first they can be stubborn, but after some handling they become more receptive to training. The first step toward training them is giving them lots of attention and handling them more often. A Dove enjoys being gently touched on their wings and also on their feet. Once your bird becomes comfortable with your touch, you can start to train them. 

Doves can be trained to sit calmly on your shoulder. They can be encouraged to sit on the shoulders for longer by offering treats such as millet and wheat. Another trick they can be taught is to follow commands like ‘sit’. 

Your Dove can even learn some whistling commands. For better results with whistling commands, you can buy a bird whistle to help you imitate a Dove call.  A bird whistle will also help you have consistent whistles, because some people have difficulty repeating whistles.

Habitat Requirements for Doves

Just like other birds, Doves require a comfortable and spacious habitat. Here are some of the requirements for a great habitat for your Dove.

Housing Doves in a Cage

Small Doves can comfortably live in a bird cage but bigger ones or a group of Doves should live in an aviary.  An aviary offers your birds lots of space to fly giving them maximum comfort. 

Common Ground Doves, Diamonds, and Ringneck Doves are small and can live in a cage. The cage should be large enough that your bird’s wings don’t touch the wires of their cage when flapping their wings. 

The ideal cage size meant to house a pair of Ringneck Doves should be 4’ long by 3’ wide by 3’ tall. We recommend that for each additional Dove, you increase the size of the cage by 8 inches to length, width, and height. 

When using a cage to house your Doves, the bar spacing should be less than ¾ inches. With more widely spaced bars, your Doves can escape their cage. 

Your bird’s cage should have a solid wall on one side of their cage. The solid wall helps make your Doves feel secure. They will always know that nothing can sneak up on them from that direction. Their security wall gives them one less thing to worry about.

Perches are a necessity in a Dove’s cage because they help maintain your bird’s healthy feet and help trim their nails. In one cage, there should be about 3 perches in different sizes and textures. In a standard cage, it’s a must to have a ¾ inch perch, a 1 inch one, and a 1.5 inches perch. Perches that imitate hardwood or faux leather ones are the best for your Doves. 

Housing Doves in an Aviary

The aviary should be placed outside and should have a strong frame and mesh to keep predators away. The aviary should be big enough so that you can stand or sit on a chair inside. Mourning Doves are medium sized birds and the best for being kept in an aviary. 

The floor of the aviary should be made of poured cement because it’s easy to clean and maintain. Place feeding bowls on the floor because Doves enjoy eating from the ground. 

At the top of your aviary, construct a roosting nest where your birds can rest. On the roosting nest, place different sized and textured perches. The aviary should be placed facing light so that there are no shadows inside. The location should be shielded from the wind for maximum comfort of your birds. 

Maintenance of a Dove’s Habitat

Everyday, sweep any food leftovers or bird waste from their cage or aviary. A thorough cleaning of the habitat should be done once a week. Your birds habitat should be free from direct sunlight and wind. Direct sunlight may raise the temperatures in the habitat making their living space uncomfortable. A Dove does well in temperatures ranging between 50 degrees and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remember to clean the feeding bowls thoroughly as you clean the cages.

Doves Compatibility with Children

Dove’s compatibility with children varies drastically from one species to another. A significant number of birds are compatible with kids. Kids should be taught how to safely handle your bird. Mishandling can cause them to be scared or even lead to injuries like broken wings.

The Attention That Doves Need

Doves are low maintenance but require companionship either from their family or other Doves or bird species. When a Dove wants attention, it makes cooing sounds that can either be soft or loud depending on their need. 

A Dove may demand more attention from its caregiver especially if housed alone. If you have more than one bird in a cage, they tend to bond and require less attention from their owners. 

Health Concerns for Doves

Doves rarely get sick but just like other pets, there are some common illnesses that can afflict domesticated Doves. Here is a detailed guide on the illnesses to look out for.


Avian Coccidiosis is an infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites belonging to the genus Eimeria. These parasites are commonly found in poultry and other birds as well as pet birds, and can cause severe damage to their intestines and other organs. Vaccines are available for some species, but usually do not provide complete protection from all forms of this disease.

Symptoms of Avian Coccidiosis

The Symptoms of Avian Coccidiosis can vary depending on the species of bird and the type of Eimeria present. Generally, birds infected with coccidiosis may experience a variety of symptoms including:

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Dehydration
  • Anemia
  • Listlessness
  • Weakness

In more severe cases, bloody stools or respiratory distress can be common.

Always clear the droppings from the cage as soon as possible to prevent contact. Clean and disinfect their drinker often. It’s also important to give clean water to your birds at all times to avoid contamination. 

Coccidiosis can kill your bird within a few days and it’s important to get treatment from your vet.

Canker (Trichomoniasis)

an illustration of a sick pigeon

Avian Canker, also known as Trichomoniasis, is a parasitic disease that affects birds. It’s caused by the protozoan parasite Trichomonas gallinae, which is found in pigeons and other wild birds throughout the world. Ingesting food or water contaminated with the organism can lead to infection. The disease can affect a wide variety of avian species, including pigeons, doves, parrots, and canaries.

Symptoms of Avian Canker (Trichomoniasis)

Symptoms of Avian Canker (Trichomoniasis) vary depending on the species of bird, but typically include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Ruffled feathers
  • Oral lesions

In pigeons specifically, the disease can cause respiratory problems like sneezing and nasal discharge. If left untreated, Avian Canker can lead to death.

Pigeon Pox

Pigeon Pox is a viral disease that affects pigeons and doves. It’s caused by the avian pox virus, which is transmitted through contact with infected birds or their droppings. Symptoms of pigeon pox include raised lesions on their feathers, feet, legs, beak, and eyes of infected birds. The lesions can be filled with pus or scabs that can make it difficult for your bird to fly or eat.

Pigeon pox can be very contagious and can spread quickly through a flock of pigeons or doves. The virus is also capable of surviving in the environment for extended periods of time, making it difficult to eradicate from an area.

Bathing and General Grooming for Doves


A Dove enjoys bathing in a bowl of water to keep their feathers healthy and shiny. Giving your Doves a warm bowl of water three times a week should let them bathe enough to keep them clean and healthy. If you want to interact with your birds more, some people will mist them with warm water from a spray bottle.

Mite Spraying

Mites love to feed on birds which can cause them discomfort. While your Dove is grooming, you can mite spray them using a spray bottle. It’s best to spray them in the morning so that your bird has enough time to dry through the day.

Nail Trimming

Doves need to have their nails trimmed every 2 to 4 weeks so that they don’t overgrow. It is possible they can overgrow to a point where they can hurt your bird. Gently hold your bird before trimming their nails because they will likely try to get away. 

When trimming the nails of your Dove, make sure you don’t trim near the quick. A quick is the red looking line running along the nails of your bird and usually has blood vessels. If you accidentally cut through the quick, your bird will bleed and they’ll want to escape your grip.

If it’s your first time trimming your bird, you can ask your vet to show you the best way to clip their nails so that you know how to do it on your own. If you own a stubborn Dove, it’s okay to take it to a vet every time it needs trimming to avoid possible injuries in the process, but it might get expensive. 

Beak Trimming

Your Dove’s beak trims evenly on its own. If you find that the beak tends to overgrow, offer more chew toys to help your bird trim their beak. If the problem persists, visit your vet to have them trim it down for you.

Feeding Doves

Doves can eat a variety of foods, like seeds, pellets, vegetables, and supplements. Seed mixes should make up the majority of your bird’s food. You’ll find many seed mixes in your local pet store and online. Most mixes meant for Doves and pigeons contain millet and safflower seeds. To avoid overfeeding your bird with seeds, feed them about 2 tablespoons per bird per day. 

Pellets are great food for your Doves and are often enhanced with calcium making them even better for your Dove. It’s also okay if your Dove is refusing to eat their pellets. Try mixing the pellets with seeds until they get used to them. 

Fruits and vegetables should make up a significant portion of your Doves diet. Some of the best fruits are apples and tomatoes (yes tomatoes are a fruit as much as many of us think it’s a veggie). Avoid feeding your Doves avocados because they contain persin, a chemical that’s toxic to Doves. Good vegetables for your Dove are carrots, peas, cabbage, kales, spinach, and broccoli. Make sure to finely chop the fruits and vegetables to keep your Doves from choking on their food. 

Make sure that your Doves have clean water in their bowls everyday. Remember to clean the feeding bowls thoroughly to avoid contaminating their food and water which can cause illnesses. 

Related Questions:

Can Doves Eat People Food?

Doves can eat people food, but in moderation. For example Doves can eat a small amount of lean meats and cheese. Don’t feed Doves chocolate, junk food, soft cheese, caffeine, or alcoholic drinks because it will make them sick.

Are Doves Good Beginner Pets?

Doves are great pets for inexperienced pet owners. They’re friendly, fairly calm and get along well with both people and other birds. They live well in just about any climate, other than a cage for them you really don’t have to do much to take care of them. One of the best parts is that they don’t bite, making them a great family pet!

Author Profile
A woman with curly hair holding a cat.
Contributing Author & Social Media Expert

Maryna is an animal expert that has had dozens of animals in her life over the years. She has never found an animal that she didn't love immediately. It seems like every year she finds kittens that have been abandoned by their mom and she nurses them to health and finds homes for them. She contributes her vast knowledge about animals and family pets to our website and we're forever grateful to have her working with us. She's also an amazing graphics designer and has designed all of the social media images that we use across all platforms.