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How to "unbond" bonded bird?

Ephy

Walking the driveway
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Hey,

My dove (Baby, age 24 ish) loves men.

He loves to be held and pet and especially loves being held and pet by my husband.

Ive just started to learn more about what it means to "properly touch" birds without simulating them to bond to a human and see them as their mate. The more I learn, the more i am upset and worried.

My dove LOVES head and neck pets. He especially loves them from my husband. He will sit for hours kissing back and being pet.



He will bring him gifts (rarely brings me gifts) qtips, or straw...nesting materials.

We never realized how bad this was. We just thought he loved us an loved to be held. Seems so obvious now and we feel stupid for not realizing.

My husband works terrible hours, so he will not see the birds for a day or 2 at a time..and now i am noticing how stressfull this is for my dove.

It never really "clicked" before now...but my dove will coo endlessly all day and night when he is not around. And now that i know why..it just breaks my heart.

How do we go about correcting this while keeping our dove healthy and happy?

Please help! I just want my old Baby to be happy.

Picture is of just Baby and I, watching a late night movie together. :)
 

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Kiwi's Mom

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@Sodapop&Co. has doves, and @Monica is great with training and behavior.

Unfortunatlly I don't have any advice, but hopefully someone can help.
 

Zara

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Birdbabe

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Unfortunately, your dove picked hubby, there's not much you can do,, its hormonal season, just spend as much time with him as you can,,no more neck petting! Pet the feet, kiss the beak,,,let him bring gifts,,it will be over soon.,,My one dove coos all day, according to hubby. When I get home, I let him do " Dove stuff"..hes so mad, he hops at me and pecks my feet..I pick him up and kiss him,.. he gets over it..
 

Serin

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Please do not treat a dove like a parrot!
Doves can be pet on the back and all over and you should do so with a bonded bird. If he is lonely now, petting him less will only make it worse. Ideallly you should spend time with the bird when he is alone. He will quickly befriend you as well. Doves are very social and do not form single person bonds like parrots.
That he is 24 is a testament to the care he has gotten his life has been good.
I pet my pigeon everywhere.
They are not parrots. They do not get hormonal aggressive. And a male will not be stimulated to lay eggs - even if it were a hen though, most doves and pigeons lay regardless of petting on a regular rhythm, with or without a nest.
 

JLcribber

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Please do not treat a dove like a parrot!
Doves can be pet on the back and all over and you should do so with a bonded bird. If he is lonely now, petting him less will only make it worse. Ideallly you should spend time with the bird when he is alone. He will quickly befriend you as well. Doves are very social and do not form single person bonds like parrots.
That he is 24 is a testament to the care he has gotten his life has been good.
I pet my pigeon everywhere.
They are not parrots. They do not get hormonal aggressive. And a male will not be stimulated to lay eggs - even if it were a hen though, most doves and pigeons lay regardless of petting on a regular rhythm, with or without a nest.
Interesting. :)
 

Monica

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I do feel that any animal can become overly bonded with a human - this includes dogs and cats. Two species that, generally speaking, you can pet *all over*, but they can still choose a human. I remember years ago, growing up, my family had male/female sibling cats. The male was my mothers cat, the female was more my sisters and I cat. Although either cat would spend time with people, both spent more time with specific people, by choice. My current cat will love on anyone who gives him attention but he only asks (demands?) me for food.

My dog? He's supposed to be a "family dog", but clearly has a preference for me. This was quite obvious the first week I brought him home - at nearly 4 years old. He wanted nothing to do with the rest of the household and had separation anxiety from me - despite not quite being bonded to me yet. After the first week, he started being alright with the rest of the household. A year and a half later, his separation anxiety is *far* better than it was before - but he still has it. I'll ask him if he wants to go outside and he clearly says "No" by laying down. I go outside without him, he then gets upset that I went outside without him. If *I* go back inside and ask him if he wants to go outside, he just lays back down. However, if someone else lets him outside, he'll go outside. If anyone else goes outside, he could care less. I've heard that dogs who have separation anxiety are actually just anxious about being alone. As long as someone is there, they're fine. With my own dog, it's clearly separation anxiety from *me*.


Baby (dove), is still an animal. An animal that craves attention, or at least giving it (as males are opt to do), and I can still see such an animal becoming over-bonded with one person. I will not claim to be an expert on doves at all, let alone knowledgeable on care, but I have seen it where it's recommended to have two. The most care I've done with a Columbidae type bird (doves and pigeons) would be two domestic pigeons and one wild pigeon I've picked up off the streets. (I've picked up more - but those 3 in specific had more 'care') One of the domestic pigeons I held overnight until I contacted the owner and returned the bird (bird had "fallen" out of the sky and landed in the street in the dark - could have been ran over), another domestic pigeon I had for several days while trying to figure out how to get the bird back home (which was about 120 miles away, in another state, over a mountain range! was trying to eat bugs off a windshield at a shopping center) and the wild one (found next to middle median on a bridge) I think I also kept overnight until I could figure out who to drop the bird off to for care and rehab. (one of the local vet offices who's in contact with a local rehabber)

In short, my knowledge on caring for such birds is rather limited. However, the OP is still noticing some less than desirable behaviors. A bird that is upset when his preferred human is gone. A bird that has clear preferences on who he likes, which may be linked to over-cuddling the bird. It is said that doves mate for life. Many people parrot this, for.... parrots! Which indicates that they can still form strong bonds with their chosen mate. (I don't necessarily believe that birds 'mate for life', but that's an entirely different topic...)



So IMO, if Baby doesn't accept the same attention from both humans and doesn't treat both humans equally, it wouldn't hurt for the favored human to "back off" on some handling. Not to say they shouldn't handle Baby, just that maybe they need to change how they interact with Baby. Not only that, but it can help to encourage independent play. I don't know if doves and pigeons enjoy "playing" like parrots do, however foraging is still one great tool! This could be as simple as having some real (or fake) grass and spreading food throughout the grass, or it could be having some medium sized pebbles (or sand? if sand is okay) and mixing food into that. Maybe a container of hay instead with some food sprinkled in it. I'm not sure what the ideal foraging activities would be for doves (as compared to parrots), but that's just a couple of ideas!

Alternatively, training! Training tricks to help engage his mind and give him direction. It can be a fun way to interact with any pet. Recall training, turn around, maybe even 'big eagle', retrieve (aka 'fetch') or any other number of behaviors. There's not very many videos on training *pet* doves (plenty of "show" doves and pigeons though! or training them to fly back home...) though here is one on teaching a dove to fly on command - which appears to be a great video overall!

 

Ephy

Walking the driveway
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Thanks for all the great replies.

I think I was most concerned because Baby would coo endlessly and my heart would ache because from what I had been reading, it meant he had an unhealthy bond with a human (my husband)and it was our fault. We didnt really know any better but It kinda felt like we failed him by having him bond "as a mate" to a human.

I started to think his endless cooing for his mate(my husband) was making him depressed and unhappy.

Baby and I do have a good relationship. He has his mood swings with me, but he lets me pet him and snuggle him. He give me kisses too and accepts hugs and kisses.

Every night, Baby and I sit together and watch tv or movies, eat together or preen..lol like if i start to brush my hair, he will clean his feathers, tons of sleepy beak grinding, so cute!

He does not do well with going to bed early, so he will sit in his "day" cage right beside me on the couch late into the evening and we just kinda hang out until I put him to bed. He LOVES being with people.

I guess I just got upset reading about how he may be not be coping well without his "mate" and felt we were doing him wrong and not even realizing it.

He is not a parrot, and it is hard to find information about birds that are not parrots. Maybe i read too much into it.....
 
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Ephy

Walking the driveway
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199
I will try some of the foraging suggestions, and thanks for the video!

Maybe I can try to distract him or just interact more directly with him on the day after my hubby goes back to work. When endless cooing is at its worst.
 
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