Ah, Poor Dove!

I’d like you to meet Esther Williams. She’s a pretty ring neck dove that developed a seriously splayed leg on one side. She’s the second chick with this issue from my first pair of doves, Sky and Storm. They have produced several normal chicks before this.


The first chick that fledged with this deformity spent most of its time on the floor of the cage. This cage is outside and raised slightly off the ground. S/he could get to the food above, and the water was on the floor along with the grit. I expected this one to be a life-long pet.

051216 healthy dove
Normal Legs

Sadly, this first dove was attacked at night through the bottom of the cage. I thought the dove was dead but actually it proved to be alive. I brought it inside, cleaned the wounds and began a treatment of antibiotics. But it was no use. The poor thing died a week later.

Healthy dove chicks

I routinely pull the dove eggs so they don’t overproduce. But I worry about the hen and the toll it takes on her to keep laying eggs. So I set the eggs out for a week then put them back in. Apparently I didn’t keep good track of when I pulled the eggs. This little sweetie hatched and was raised by the parents. Oh, well.

When she fledged and I saw the problem with her leg, I felt so depressed. I don’t know why things like that happen. And I expected I would lose her the same way. I had placed a big cactus behind the cage, hoping to discourage predators, and it worked somewhat.

Esther williams
This is Esther Williams

Esther learned to fly and could navigate easily from the bottom of the cage to the roosting box. At night, she always seemed to know to go up. She had a better chance than her sibling had.

One morning, I went out and found her in the water dish. She was soaked and apparently couldn’t get herself out of the water. So I picked her up and put her in the sunshine. Later I checked on her and she seemed dry and in good shape.

The next time I found her in the water, it was late in the afternoon. I had been gone all day. The night wasn’t going to be frosty, but I didn’t think it would be good for her to stay out. So in she came. And she got her name from her habit of diving into the water.

real esther
The Original Esther Williams

She’s been moved around a bit, but seems okay. She just doesn’t know why she is in with all the hookbills. Esther is a pretty girl, but I have the fear she won’t last very long. Already her foot on her bad leg was bitten by my psycho conure, Beeby. Antibiotics, cleaning regularly, and barriers between the cages. I hope she learns to calm down around people, but whatever happens I will enjoy the gift of this sweet dove.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.

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