Diamond doves are small, bluish-grey, long-tailed birds distinguished by the deep crimson skin around their eyes. The diamond dove is one of the smallest of the Australian doves, about 8 inches in length and weighing only an ounce. Although they are delicate in appearance, diamond doves are actually hardy birds, and easy to breed and raise. The diamond dove chicks will be largely taken care of by the parents, all you need to do is provide a nest box, adequate nesting materials, food, grit and water. You should have baby bird formula handy in case of an emergency where you might need to hand-feed a baby.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Large cage or aviary at least 4-foot wide
- Nest box or plastic berry container
- L-shaped bracket
- Dried grass hay
- Dove or finch seed mix
- Romaine lettuce
- Food bowl
- Water dish
- Baby bird formula
House a breeding pair of diamond doves in a cage or aviary that provides them at least 4 feet of space to fly from perch to perch.
Hang a nest box or plastic berry container from an L-shaped bracket in the cage or aviary. Diamond doves will nest in almost anything, even their feed dishes if a nest box isn't provided. The bracket should hold the nest box at least 4 inches from the cage wall to protect the birds' tails. Hang the nest as high up as possible and place it behind a branch or in a secluded spot in the cage or aviary. Placing the nesting site out of sight will encourage birds to use it.
Line the nest box with dried grass hay. Nesting material should almost completely fill the box. Leave nesting material on the floor of the cage as well. After the chicks hatch, the parents will cover fouled nesting material with fresh.
Feed breeding diamond doves dove or finch seed mix. Diamond doves also need to have grit at all times and appreciate fresh romaine lettuce to supplement the seed diet. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times.
Watch for an egg to appear in the nest box. The female diamond dove will lay one egg and the adult birds will cover the egg from the start, but not sit on it tightly until a second egg is laid two days later so that both eggs will hatch at the same time. Both the male and female birds will probably share time sitting on the eggs, which should hatch after about 12 days.
Leave the nesting birds alone as much as possible. Diamond doves are dedicated to the care of their chicks and because of their fidelity to babies are often used by dove breeders as foster parents to other species of dove chicks that are abandoned by their parents. Never lift a dove to look into the nest; the bird could be startled and accidently hurt the baby chicks under it. Chicks will be ready to leave the nest in about two weeks.
Tips and warnings
- Be prepared for more baby doves very soon. Diamond doves will immediately lay another clutch of eggs when the first chicks leave the nest. Most breeding pairs will produce a new batch of chicks each month for 10 months out of the year.
- Have baby bird formula and a small syringe handy in case of emergency. On rare occasions, a baby bird may fall from the nest and need warmed and a supplemental feeding before returning it to the nest. Follow feeding instructions that come with the bird formula.
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