About The Birds
THE ONLY BREED OF DOVE THAT SHOULD BE USED FOR A DOVE RELEASE SERVICE IS A ROCK DOVE!
The White Rock Dove aka White Homing Pigeon can find their way home from distances of up to 600 miles. Their homing instinct is phenomenal, their stamina incredible. When rared by an experienced and caring individual, these birds can live for over 20 years.
When released from your wedding or event, they will be trained to home, and your handler will probably let you know they have got home safely as soon as they get home themselves - which is usually long after the birds have arrived.
Although the birds have a natural homing instinct, as their keepers, we must ensure they are fit and healthy.
We do this by having them out for as long as its daylight, taking them on regular training flights, and giving them an appropriate and balanced diet. The fanatics amongst us will have their nutrition sorted for the time of year, breeding and the distance they will be flying.
Breeding time is usually February to April, although they would happy breed most of the year! The birds will take around 10 days to lay eggs after they have got a bit smoochy with each other, then a further 18 days for the eggs to hatch.
Both parents take it in turns to rare the young, and in the early days produce milk from their crops to regurgitate into the throat of the baby. There are usually 2 young and usually one of each sex - but that is not always the case.
When the birds reach between 3-4 weeks old, they can eat by themselves, but are still a long way off flying even though by 6 weeks they look like adults.
Once they are confident flyers, they will start their training. This is simply putting them in a specifically designed transporter, and taking them a few miles away from where they live and repeating the process until they have flown the length and breadth of your coverage area.
Only these birds are capable of doing this, which is why no other breed of dove should be used.
PLEASE DO NOT USE FANTAIL DOVES OR GARDEN DOVES, EITHER BY BUYING THEM YOURSELVES OR HIRING SOMEONE THAT ONLY KEEPS THESE BIRDS!
To use fantails or garden doves would not only be extremely cruel, but they are very unlikely to even fly off at your event, MAKING A BIT OF A FARCE OF THE SERVICE. If this was at a wedding venue, the staff at the venue would need to alert someone - usually a pigeon fancier, dove release company or the RSPCA that there are vulnerable birds within their grounds. You would get reported, and possibly charged with cruelty to animals.
if you buy doves, they most probably will be in a dreadful condition by the time you try releasing them, and will look bad on your photos!
If your budget does not allow you to hire in a professional to do this for you, please do something else instead!
This is the man for the job. A beautiful, very clever, and extremely athletic Rock Dove. Same as a homing pigeon, and the only breed you should use for release purposes. Long sleek tail makes it identifiable agains the fantail and garden dove.
Has a low bushy tail or concave tail, and cannot fly very far. Would easily get tired and lost if released away from its home
The Fantail, beautiful and easily tamed, but slow off the mark and not very good at flying. This one would perish for sure if released at an event.