When a pair of adult (9-12 months old) Ringneck Doves
are placed together it will usually take anywhere
from a couple of weeks to a couple of months for them
to begin the breeding cycle if they are compatible
(rarely a problem). The pairing process begins almost
immediately when the birds are placed together. The
male begins to do all he can to impress the female.
Ringneck Doves do very well breeding in a ratively
small cage. Ringnecks are not typically community
breeders so one pair per cage or flight is advisable.
If the flight is large enough for separate territories
to be established then a few pair will usually do
ok together. I raise my Ringnecks in cages that are
just "18 H X 18" L x 24" W. These are pretty close
quarters but they typically do well. Introducing a
pair of Ringnecks to a cage is an important time.
Not only are they getting used to each other (if never
before introduced), they are also getting used to
It is good to have a nest in place about the time
the birds are put into the cage so there is not any
cause for alarm later after they are already getting
used to the cage. Begin by placing a nest container
in the cage with the pair of birds. No doves are known
for their nest building expertise. Ringneck Dove nests
are generaly flimsy structures with just a few twigs
seeming thrown together. It is important that you
help them by placing "nesting containers" in the flight
for them to buld nests in. Nesting containers can
be elaborate or simple. They can be constructed of
wood or could simply be an old tupperware dish. I
use a nest pre-formed out of paper that I get from
a poultry supplier. Most doves prefer open nests,
not covered. Nest building takes place throughout
the breeding cycle. The male does most of this by
simply dropping a few provided twigs or bits of hay
into the nesting container.
Male Ringnecks primarily display their interest in
a female by making a long drawn-out sound called a
coo. This coo-ing generally takes place in three sitiuations,
all of them part of the courtship. The first cooing
situation is when the male simply sits on the perch
and coos to let the other doves know that he is "in
the market." The second situation when the male has
spotted the female he is interested in and is doing
his best to convince her he is a nice guy. He is showing
off. This is known as the "bow coo." The male coos
with the same sound as the first situation but it
is accompanied by rythmic bowing before the female
as though he is worshiping her (go figure). Once the
female is convinced, the male then will climb into
the nest and coo with the same sound again but this
time he is in what looks like a permanent "bow." He
kind of "flutters" his wings very lightly to get her
attention and let her know that he has found a suitable
Here for a 14 second video clip of the bow coo
(video by Greg Sweet).
Here for a 5 second video clip of the wing flutter.
The actual copulation usually takes place sometime
between the bow coo and the wing fluttering. It takes
a week or so for the eggs to develop. All this time
the male is also "driving" the female to the chosen
nesting site. He will literally chase her to the nest.
This usually looks more rough than it is but on occasion
injury may result so it is wise to keep an eye on
Eggs & Incubating
Ringneck Doves lay two eggs which hatch after 14 days.
The young are then fed by the parents what is called
"crop milk." Crop milk is produced in the crop of
the parents and the young put their beaks inside the
parents throats and slurp it down. Within a few days
the parents add seed to the diet of the young. The
young then leave the nest three to four weeks later.
It is not uncommon to see some pairs lay all year
beginning on a new clutch every six weeks. This really
is not recommended because it is unhealthy for the
birds. Feeding and taking care of young really takes
its toll on the energy of the parents. After three
or four clutches, the breeding for that year should
stop by either removing nesting materials or separating
There is some discussion that some of the color varieties
are less prolific than others due to the gentetic
load they may carry. I have had this problem with
Diamond Doves and Zebra Finches in the past but not
much problem with Ringneck Doves. It often seems as
though the more rare varieties "know" that we are
waiting for them to breed and so they get nervous.
There is probably some truth to this. Too much attention
can be a problem. It is wise to just stick to the
daily watering and feeding and leaving them alone
to "do their thing."
FOOD & WATER