What Do Doves Eat

When compared with pigeons, doves are slightly slimmer and have a length of about 12 inches. Mourning doves are quite common and have soft gray-brown bodies. Rock doves are also quite common, and they’ll eat many types of grains and seeds.

Also called feral pigeons, rock doves are classified as opportunistic feeders, so they’ll eat bits of bread, popcorn and cake. They even eat discarded chunks of animal protein, such as the leftover meat on chicken bones.

The doves that are able to eat seeds have evolved with a special digestive system, so they’re able to process the seeds properly. You can find these doves pecking at grit and storing it inside of their gizzard.

Almost all doves are seed eaters, but there are some that will eat vegetables and fruit. The seed-eating varieties can be fed bird seed, cockatiel mix and finch mix. They can even be given semi-soft types of dog food.

It’s important to realize that our knowledge of birds and nutrition is constantly changing. In the wild, doves like to eat many different types of fruits, berries, greens, seeds and grains. Depending on the situation, doves might also eat some snails, earthworms or insects.

In Captivity

If you have a pet pigeon, you need to feed it a balanced diet. The staple of any bird diet is seeds. You can purchase formulated pigeon seeds. A commercial diet for a pigeon should consist of vegetables, grains and seeds.

When eating nothing but seeds, pigeons can develop calcium deficiency, so a balanced diet should consist of about 50 percent seeds. There are different commercial diet formulations for resting and performance birds.

You can use commercial pellets for 50 percent of a dove’s diet. Some great food sources include finely chopped vegetables. However, avoid avocado because it can be toxic.

Mourning Doves

Despite the name, these birds aren’t actually mourning the death of a loved one, but they might get upset if they don’t have access to their favorite foods.

Mourning doves forage all over the ground, and they prefer walking over hopping. As popular North American birds, mourning doves are attracted to many of the same seeds that are loved by other birds.

They prefer to eat sunflower seeds, safflower, millet, canola and corn.

Baby Doves

A baby dove thrives on crop milk, which comes from the crop glands of both of its parents. A cycle of incubation is used to create the feed. The parents of baby doves actually eat lots of seeds and consume water while they’re out of the nest.

They let the mixture soak in their crop, which is used for feeding purposes. The absolute most-critical time during a baby dove’s life is when it’s first born, and during the first few days, survival can be quite difficult.

Most people don’t know that doves, like 10,000 other types of birds, have something called a crop. The crop is basically like a built-in pocket, and it serves as a great way for doves to store additional food.

Doves in the Wild

You’ll find that doves love to eat a variety of foods in the wild. Most of their diet consists of seeds from cultivated crops. These are things like peas, millet, sorgum, wheat and corn. If cultivated crops aren’t available, doves will eat grass and weed seeds.

White Doves

These winged creatures feed almost exclusively on seeds. Some of their favorite snacks are millet, popcorn kernels and sunflowers. They’ve also been known to grit that comes in the form of crushed oyster. If you want to feed these animals, you can mix soft foods in with some of the seeds mentioned.

Turtle Doves

The turtle dove is a beautiful creature, and if you plan to raise one that you’ve found, you need to make sur that you care for it correctly. These birds can be quite difficult to see because they’re known to perch inside of thickets or leafy trees.

Turtle doves represent purity, innocence and enduring love. The diet that these birds enjoy is a bit bland, and they’re not the biggest fans of insects or snails. They would much rather eat various types of seeds, such as sunflower, safflower, millet and canola.

Turtle doves are known for their gentle nature and unbreakable bond. All types of doves are very symbolic for everything Christmas.