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You won't find a dove painting the nursery or rearranging furniture, but the bird does have specific needs when it comes to feeling confident and safe within their nests. Nesting boxes will help. You can make nesting boxes from a variety of containers and easily obtainable materials. Doves aren't terribly picky, but they do have preferences for selecting a place to raise their young.
Milk jugs make simple nesting boxes for doves, and they may help keep eggs and babies from falling from the nest, a contributor to the high mortality rate of fledgling doves. Cut a hole in the side of a plastic milk jug, large enough for the mama dove to enter and exit easily. Hang the jug securely from the side of the cage, making certain the container is level. Nesting materials of twigs and grasses should be added, leaving 1 full inch between the nest and the entryway of the container. Eggs roll easily and may fall from the container when too much nesting material is used.
A Tisket, a Tasket
A small basket will afford a decent nesting experience for your dove. As with milk containers, baskets, whether plastic or wicker, should be properly secured to ensure they remain level. You can add nesting materials or a premade nest, available at most retail pet stores. Due to the shallow nature of a basket, the premade nest, attached with double-sided tape, is less likely to be pushed from the nest container, keeping eggs and hatchlings from harm's way.
Think Inside the Box
A suitable nesting place can be as simple as a cardboard box. When you're choosing a box, consider size carefully. Dimensions should be 8 inches long, 4 inches wide and 3 inches deep, large enough for doves to be able to move about and small enough for the family to feel secure. Cardboard will soil quickly, so a heavier box may hold up better until the hatchlings are ready to leave the nest. As with other containers, nesting materials should be added, leaving an inch between the nest and the top of the box.
Walk the Plank
A dove can be contented to build a nest on a plank or platform secured to the side of the cage. All nesting containers should be level, but it is critical that the platform be level and well-secured. Nesting materials may be placed in the bottom of the cage, as your mother dove will build a nest just as she would in the wild. Twigs should be placed across the bottom of the cage in order to prevent them from falling through. Regardless of the type of nesting container or materials, a dove, like all mothers, has the instincts to keep her family safe in their little home.