According to the White Dove Release Directory of America, the white "doves" used for release in ceremonies, such as weddings and funerals, are actually white homing pigeons. White Ringneck doves are used as display only. Homing pigeons have the innate ability to find their way back home from distances up to 500 miles; Ringneck doves do not. This is an important fact for the owner of a white dove release business because the restocking of inventory is greatly reduced by the return of the homing pigeons to their loft. If you have enough outdoor space, a love for birds and a desire to create a business that focuses on the ceremonies of life, then a white dove release business could be the best way to fulfil your entrepreneurial dreams.
Build a loft. Homing Pigeons need a loft that is roomy and offers them the ability to fly around inside. Plans for constructing a loft can be purchased from several online resources. The main factor to remember when constructing a loft is to construct plenty of open window space so the birds can receive fresh air. You will want to cover the windows with heavy-duty wire and place the wire tightly enough to keep out squirrels, rats and other animals that could be harmful to your pigeons and doves.
During this time you will want to place a medicine cabinet inside the loft and include vaccinations that are needed for homing pigeons and Ringneck doves. The International White Dove Society can train you to give vaccinations to defray veterinarian costs.
Place a birdbath and feeding area outside near the loft. After proper training, you will release your birds once a day to fly within the neighbourhood. At this time, they will feed and bathe themselves.
Purchase Ringneck doves and homing pigeons from a reputable International White Dove Society member. It is important to purchase your birds from a member of the White Dove Society because they have experience with the dove release business and offer healthy birds. Doves and homing pigeons should cost you about £16 plus shipping, as of October 2010. It is best to purchase them untrained and very young, 45 days old or less. This ensures they will not try to return to the original owner's loft.
You will want to purchase at least 12 homing pigeons, because it is very difficult to mate very young doves. Also, purchase a set or two of ring neck or turtle doves for wedding displays.
Train the homing pigeons. Before you can operate a dove release business, your pigeons need to be fully trained to return home within a 50-mile radius. Start training by driving them less than 1 mile from home and watching their return for up to two weeks. If you have made the loft an environment that nourishes the birds, then they will definitely return home. Keep adding mileage to the training excursions until your birds are trained to return home from all of your targeted market areas.
Prepare ceremonial readings. White doves symbolise very sacred things to many people, such as closeness to God and the Holy Spirit. In weddings they symbolise unity of marriage. At the release of white doves, your clients will want to hear a reading based upon their particular ceremony. For example at funerals many people quote Psalms 55:6, "Oh that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away and be at rest."
Price your services. Most dove release ceremonies start at £113, as of October 2010. You want to create pricing for display of your Ringneck doves at weddings. Check the directory of the International White Dove Society for competition in your area. If there is more competition, price your service lower. If you are going to be operating the only dove release business in your area, you have the ability to price at a higher rate as customer demand allows.
Advertise your business. Place a listing in your local yellow pages under wedding services. Create a website that lists the distance you are willing to travel for ceremonies. Also include all services, such as readings that are offered with your service. Create and distribute business cards at networking events, such as your local chamber of commerce meet and greets. Register and attend bridal shows, bring your Ringneck display doves along with brochures advertising your business.
Things you need
- Large outdoor space
- Ringneck doves
- Homing pigeons
- Bird loft