How to Build Toys for Ringneck Doves

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A brown paper lunch bag can become a foraging toy.
A brown paper lunch bag can become a foraging toy. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Before making toys for your ringneck dove, learn from the pros who manage zoos and aviaries -- and think about enrichment. Experts at the Smithsonian's National Zoo define animal enrichment as "the process of providing stimulating environments for ... animals." So, the toys you make should challenge your dove's natural instincts to forage and bathe. These seed eaters dine from the ground and need plenty of water so as not to dehydrate.

Think Like a Ringneck

Get inside your dove's head to answer the question: If I were a ringneck dove, what would I like to do? Watch your dove for clues. When is your dove most active? Does it favor a certain corner of the cage? Doves eat seeds whole and need grit to digest. They like safe places. A creeping fig tree or asparagus fern near the cage provides both cover and a toy.

Foraging Toys

A corrugated, cardboard cat scratch, or Kittyblock, can become an avian foraging site. Don't use the enclosed catnip. Sprinkle your dove's favorite seed mix along the corrugated surfaces. Enlarge crevices for pieces of apple; place the block or board in the cage. Or, let your dove forage from a lunch bag. Cut an entry on the side of a brown bag. Place seed inside the bag; fold the top over; place in cage.

Straw Wreath

Straw wreaths can serve as dove playgrounds. Buy a natural straw wreath that is not coated, sprayed or painted. Hang the wreath with a single piece of hemp, cotton or jute string. Pieces of pure cotton material tied in small bows allow your dove to shred, an action like preening. Tightly tie bird-safe bells from a pet store to the wreath. Your dove may use the wreath as a swing or resting spot.

Get Creative

Place an ice cream cone on its side in the cage; add seeds and apple pieces. Hang a cuddle cozy made of polar fleece. Take a six-inch fleece strip and tie smaller fleece bows onto the main strip. Or fold six-inch strips in half and thread them using a cotton twine and needle. Fill a 2/3-cup dog bowl with water; set it in the cage for a dove bath.

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