I’m looking for a pair of small doves that I could keep and breed indoors, and hopefully tame. Any suggestions?


Cock diamond doveThe best choice would be a pair of diamond doves, so-called because of the attractive, diamond-like spotting over their wings. They are a little smaller in size than budgerigars, and so can be housed in a large indoor flight cage. Diamond doves will feed mainly on a mixture of small seeds such as millet, plus a little soft food. They also need grit, cuttlebone and some chopped-up greenfood such as chickweed.
 
Although the natural form of these doves is pale grey, other colours have now been bred. These include silver, cream and even a russet shade. Sexing is straightforward, as males have more prominent red skin around the eyes when in breeding condition, as seen in the photo here. Pairs will nest in a canary nest pan, requiring some nesting material, as sold for canaries.
 
The hen will lay two eggs, and both members of the pair share the incubation duties, with hatching taking about 14 days. The chicks will leave the nest after a similar interval, often before they are able to fly well. If they are handled regularly at this stage, the young doves should soon become finger-tame. Their calls are not loud, but they do sound slightly mournful rather than musical, in common with most other pigeons and doves.