All about backyard birds

What do doves eat and what to feed them, BEST DOVE FOOD

The Morning Dove coo-coo sound is so familiar to people, bird watcher in particular know this sound well. The doves make this sound when claiming territory, looking for mates or nesting.

This birds will find lots of nest sites just like pigeons, under bridges, on human houses and buildings.


Doves are little slimmer than pigeons and are about 12 inches in length. Mourning Doves are different color to, and have a soft gray-brown slimmer body and a gray patch on the bird head.

Black dots are found on their wings and a single black spot can be seen behind and below the eyes of these birds.

When perching you'll see a long tapered tail showing. In flight dove  tail has a white-edged shape and color.

two doves

Doves Feeding Habits – Best Dove Food & What do Doves Eat?

It is not so hard to keep doves as pets, you just need to provide a natural diet. Doves will also come happily at bird feeders, and you can attract them easily. If you provide Pigeon & Dove Seeds on the platform these birds will be every day visitors. They like white millet, safflower and cracked corn. Pigeons will come to at this food if provided, and maybe other birds. This food is also great for pets doves.

Doves and pigeons are best feed on a platform feeder

Cereals are best dove food and the main component in pigeon and dove diet and are important for growth and raising young. Cereals contain and are full of about 70% carbohydrates, 8-12% protein, 3-8% fat and 2-4% mineral and are great food for doves. Cereals are full of vitamins E and B but somewhat poor in vitamin A (corn is an exception, as it contains vitamin A in its component).

Wheat is highly appreciated by pigeons and doves, but must be given in smaller quantities then other food, because it is rich and full of  carbohydrates doves can become “fat” and have problems. Keep the wheat in the dove diet at lower amounts.

Corn is also very appreciated food in dove diet and can be given every day. Cracked Corn has a very high energy value that makes it good when birds are having young, it is rich in proteins and carbohydrates and this will help the doves digestibility. The corn has a high caloric value so don’t over feed the doves with corn to reduce the chance of “fat birds”.

Fruit and greens are good additional  food for doves, and you can give them from time to time if you keep doves as pets, or of you feed them in the wild.   Your doves will love you for the veggies you give them, it is good to chop them: carrots, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, green peas, apple, banana, Etc. The birds will eat this healthy snack 3-4 times a week if you can provide it to them. This green diet is excellent to keep the doves body with all of the nutritional element it needs to stay strong for years to come. But keep in mind that what do doves eat as the main diet is still seed.

You can buy good pigeon and dove mix food that contain all of the proper nutritional values for the normal and healthy dove. You can check quality Pigeon & Dove Seeds here that is full of all the right nutritions for doves. It is the best food for doves.

If you have found or rescued a fledgling dove that is still young and cannot stand and maybe has a rubbery beak there is a chance that it is suffering from a calcium and vitamin D3 deficiency that can be fixed with proper diet.  Doves that have clenched feet and feathers that look like it has not come out of their sheaths may be also suffering from Vitamin B2 deficiency...there is a chance to fix this problem, it is coming from the diet they have had as a baby. This can be corrected and doves can recover with calcium and vitamin D3 supplement you can include in the diet, such as Zolcal D or Calcivet and a vitamin supplement such as Brewers Yeast can help a long way, so don't give up on the baby dove, there is a good chance it will recover if you provide proper nutrition.

What do young doves eat? Check the what to feed a baby pigeon section.

dove bird

Dove Basic Habitat

Doves like to live in open land, and next to trees and bushes that provide nesting places. You can find them in the urban areas and where ever humans live. The only place where they don’t live is dense forest. You can find doves in your back yard if you have open lawn, some trees and scattered shrubs that provide protection.

If there is a source of water and bird seed, doves will be regular visitors. If you provide a nesting place dove will gladly come and nest, but they don’t like to be touched and nest must be left alone.

If you keep doves as pets here is a great Doves (Complete Pet Owner's Manual) Topics include caging, nutrition, health, behavior, breeding, and genetics of common pet dove species. And you can go ot doves as pets section of this pages for more info on pet doves care.

Dove Nesting Building Habits

The nesting period starts at March, and nest will be build. It si made of twigs, grass and pine needles of sort. The nest is not strong and sometime you can see true it. Do not touch it and leave the bird to finish it alone.

If the dove gets startled it can fly away from the nest and eggs can get moved, even fall out. That’s why never touch it or come to near the nest. . If you like to bird watch use binoculars. Doves reuse the nest and will come back to use it more than once in one season.  Breading season is from April to October.

dove bird

Unlike most birds, these birds tend to incubate their eggs continually. Since the male and female look alike, it appears the same bird is incubating the eggs the whole time.

Doves alternate in egg incubation and will switch to go to feed. It may seem that one bird is all the time in the nest but don’t worry, they just look alike. Usually a male dose a daytime shift, and a female will come to incubate in the night.  

Not to worry, the switch was made while you were not looking and the birds are fine.

If you want to attract doves you can provide them with a dove birdhouse.

dove bird house

 Check the Lovey Dovey Original birdhouse here.

Make sure that a birdhouse is away from doors, as you dont want to make to much noise, and never touch the birds as they get stressed easily and can leave the nest. If you provide food next to the nest in a platform doves will happily come and eat while sitting on the eggs and they dont have to go to far to get food when feeding young.

Dove Lifespan

The average dove lifespan in the wild of first year birds is 1 - 1.5 years. First year is most difficult for birds and they have a mortality rate of 60 - 75 percent and also adult birds have a mortality rate of 50 - 60 percent. For most of the wild songbird the first year  is the most difficult and most mortality happens then. If these birds survive and live true their first year they can live normally up to 4 - 5 years in the wild. In captivity they will live longer. If you have doves as pets you can expect them to live longer than in the wild with balanced diet and good medical aid. Doves are great for elderly people and kids. They love humans and will bond to them easily when keept.  

Read more: 

What do cardinals eat

What do finches eat

What do sparrows eat

What do checkadees eat

What do orioles eat

what do woodpeckers eat

what do pigeons eat

What do ducks eat

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