Dove Caresheet


11401 NE 195th St. Bothell, WA  98011

(425) 486-9000 PHONE  (425) 486-9002 fax


Indoor cages should be as large as possible to allow doves to flutter from one side of the cage to the other side. Powder coated cages are recommended to reduce the risk of heavy metal toxicity. Rope perches, natural wood perches, and flat perches of various diameters should be provided. Dowel rod perches are not recommended, as they tend to cause pressure sores on the bottoms of the feet. Newspaper should be used to line the floor of the cage.


There are a number of commercially available pelleted pigeon diets; one of these should be the primary food source (at least 80% of the total diet). Fresh chopped greens, soft (cooked) orange to yellow vegetables (e.g., squash, sweet potato, etc.), hard boiled or scrambled egg, and pieces of whole grain bread can be fed as occasional treats. Grit is necessary if doves are eating grains/seeds, but not if they are eating a pelleted diet. Mineral supplementation (oyster shells) is necessary if only grain and seeds are fed.


  1. Trichomonas or “canker” – very common; can lead to severe disease, breakdown of the crop epithelium, and sepsis. Clinical signs are head-shaking and yellow plaques in the mouth.
  2. Chlamydiosis or “one-eyed cold” – conjunctivitis; signs are commonly in one eye but can be in both or only in the upper respiratory tract.
  3. Coccidiosis or “cocci” – the most common sign is weight loss or “going light.” Most pigeons have coccidia present in the gastrointestinal tract.
  4. Viral diseases – Viruses usually cause immune suppression, hepatitis, and/or death.
  5. Bacterial diseases – including E. coli and salmonellosis or “paratyphoid.” Bacterial infections can cause green diarrhea, joint infections/lameness, and respiratory infections.

March 30, 2015

Content of this Care Sheet Courtesy of:

The Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine 

11401 NE 195th St. Bothell, WA  98011

(425) 486-9000 PHONE  (425) 486-9002 fax