courtesy of Mary Ellen Robinson

Ringneck doves need a cage big enough for them to flap their wings without touching their wing feathers and tail feathers on the cage bars. A large cockatiel cage would be suitable. For ringnecks, the larger width and depth size is more important than height. 1 or 2 perches per cage is enough...The cage sizes I have in my aviary for breeding pairs are 18x18x24, 20x20x30, and 24x24x32...

My Ringnecks are accustomed to eating their food and drinking water out of open bowls placed on the bottom of their cage. Avoid placing their bowls under perches, or the food and water will get soiled.

My Ringnecks do well on a good wild bird seed mix, or a small hookbill mix. They also need a small dish of grit and oyster shell available at all times. Ringnecks swallow their food whole, and the grit helps them grind the food up internally for better digestion. The oyster shell is added for the calcium, important to an egglayer’s diet...

Fresh water is essential to the health of all birds. Occasionally you can offer your doves an additional large bowl of water to bathe in. They are comical to watch while bathing...Ringnecks are generally very clean birds...You can also mist them with a light spray of water from a clean spray bottle, in place of a full bath...

Ringnecks LOVE treats! Some like to nibble on greens pinned to the bars of their cage, or eat them when chopped in a treat bowl. They also enjoy spray millet in their cages. Cornbread or whole wheat bread crumbled, are also big favorites. They enjoy cooked and cooled mashed sweet potato, cooked and cooled couscous, cottage cheese, shredded cheese, shredded carrots, and a hard boiled egg, cooled and mashed with the shell included! (More added calcium!) Offer these a few times a week, and only a spoonful per bird. Be sure to remove the leftovers (if any) after a few hours, so that the food doesn’t spoil...

Ringneck doves are sweet natured and naturally tame. Give them a day or two to settle into their new home, and begin to finger tame them. Talk to them and let them get used to your voice and movements. Coax them onto your finger inside the cage, and then gently take them from their cage. They will fly around the room, but will not fly for long and will settle down quickly. Patience and time will pay off, and soon you will have a wonderful new friend...

Recommended Resources


The American Dove Association Website- If you own doves, I encourage you to join today! http://www.doveline.com/

The International Dove Society is a wealth of information for anyone interested in doves... http://internationaldovesociety.com/

Dr Wilmer Miller has long been recognized as an expert in Ringneck genetics and development. http://www.ringneckdove.com/

The Dove Page-Another website absolutely packed with information on doves. http://www.dovepage.com/

Diamond Doves-a website devoted to these very popular small doves.


A personal favorite! A website devoted to Raising Pet Doves. This site is wonderful! http://www.petdoves.com/

Recommended Books

Not much is written on doves in book form. But I highly recommend these two books...

DOVES: A Complete Pet Owners manual by Matthew M. Vriends, Ph.D. This book is put out by Barron’s Books

Diamond Doves: A Guide to Color and Care, by Jeff Downing. This book can be ordered on Jeff’s Diamond Dove website listed above, or by email at: djds@erols.com, or call 1-800-878-9501

This is a recipe I bake at least once a week, to feed my breeding and pet doves. It is very simple to make, and is relished by all my birds here.

Homemade Bird Bread


2 boxes(8 1/2 oz each) corn meal muffin mix

3 eggs

2/3 cup milk

1 packet or tablespoon brewer’s yeast

1/4 cup high protein baby cereal flakes

1/4 cup raw wheat germ

grated carrot, sweet potato or yam. (I usually use 1 or 2 carrots)

Mix all ingredients and pour into a greased 9"x13" cake pan. Preheat oven at 400 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes or until done. I usually let the cake cool, and cut it up into squares, and freeze them, so that I have a piece of cake whenever I need it. Just take what you need out of the freezer and let it thaw, and you’ve got a fresh baked, healthy treat for your birds. I offer this to pet birds a few times a week, and to parent birds that are feeding their young every day. Just crumble a bit of the cake into a treat bowl and watch them gobble it up! :)