Mak­ing your birds at home

Country Life Every Week - - In The Garden -

● En­sure the dove­cote has a land­ing deck—sup­plied or home­made and the wider the bet­ter—on which to place food and to help pre­vent squir­rels from climb­ing up the pole

● Don’t site a dove­cote near a wall, a hedge or even low bushes, from which a squir­rel or a cat might leap, and place it as far as pos­si­ble from trees in or­der to de­ter spar­rowhawks

● Home your birds with a fully cov­er­ing net for at least four weeks—older birds might re­quire up to six

● Dur­ing hom­ing, feed each dove with a daily half cup of dove mix or sim­i­lar (this can be found in pet shops), some grit to aid di­ges­tion and fresh wa­ter. When free, they’ll find their own wa­ter and grit. Some say that feed­ing slightly less just prior to the birds’ ini­tial re­lease will en­cour­age them to re­turn home

● Start with four doves, which will rapidly breed and oc­cupy the apart­ments in which­ever de­sign or size of dove­cote you’ve plumped for—there’s a wide range avail­able

● If your dove­cote is in dan­ger of be­com­ing over­crowded, re­move eggs and re­place them with dummy eggs. This should stop the hens from lay­ing again—but you will still need to check

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