Updated at: 28-07-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Doves can consume just about everything that will fit into their beaks. There are several things that doves can’t digest, therefore knowing what do doves eat is crucial. Furthermore, you may readily provide them with their preferred diet.

Doves eat a wide variety of foods, including nuts, seeds, vegetables, worms, fruits, insects, and more. These foods not only provide them with the nutrients they need, but also have positive effects on their health.

What Do Doves Eat In The Wild?

What Do Doves Eat In Captivity

Due to their popularity as household pets, many people are curious about what doves consume in the wild.

Seeds and grains make up a portion of their diet in the wild, although they mostly subsist on plant-based foods they locate. When necessary, they can even subsist on small insects.

Doves are classified as omnivores, meaning that they consume both animal products and plant matter in their diets. In the wild, they eat mainly seeds, particularly those with a lot of protein.

Suet is high in protein and fat, both of which are essential to a dove’s diet. Doves also eat a lot of avocados, bananas, and various types of grass.

Doves have been observed eating the buds and fruit of attractive trees like the yellow wood tree. Doves use their beaks to crush ripe, fallen fruits in the wild and eat them.

Doves often feed on seeds or insects. The seeds, fruits, insects, and even small crabs make up the bulk of their diet, but they will consume just about everything they can get their beaks on.

Doves also eat lichens, tiny roots, and tender new shoots from plants. Doves have a powerful grit-covered gizzard that they use to smash food before swallowing, which may seem strange for a toothless bird.

What Do Doves Eat In The Captivity?

Doves subsist mostly on fruit and nut seeds. Vegetables, hay, oats, rolled oats, pellet food, and even oats are all acceptable foods for these birds when kept in captivity.

Also, while breeding near the shores of marshes or estuaries, they eat plants including saltwort (saltwater cordgrass), marsh samphire, and red vein sedge.

In captivity, they are fed a diet consisting of table leftovers like bread, as well as seeds from commercially available birdseed combinations.

In order to prevent them from becoming obese, doves are usually fed inside of a dovecote. Although doves have a voracious appetite for hay, it’s important to provide them with a variety of foods to ensure they get the necessary number of calories every day to maintain good health.

Doves are a common household pet and a wonderful companion animal. Many people mistakenly believe that liberties must be sacrificed in order to care for a dove.

Doves are not very picky eaters, and it is possible to provide a healthy diet by mixing pellets or seeds with fresh produce while keeping them in captivity.

More research on what to feed outdoor-loving doves was warranted. For instance, dove owners should ensure that the birds have access to plenty of freshwater sources that are not on their property so that the birds may drink without getting their feathers wet.

What Vegetables Can Doves Eat?

What Do Doves Eat In Captivity-2

Broccoli, celery, and spinach are all safe for doves to eat. As a result of its diet, the dove is a common sight in green spaces like parks and gardens.

You should observe your dove’s preferences to determine which vegetables it prefers. Here are some examples of nutritious vegetables that doves can enjoy:

  • Broccoli
    • Vitamins, fibers, and minerals can all be found in broccoli.
    • Benefits the body by assisting in the disposal of waste products and poisons.
  • Celery
  • provide energy and essential nutrients such carbs, salt, potassium, sugars, vitamin C, and dietary fiber.
  • Facilitates the excretion of waste products from the digestive system, the liver, and the lungs.
  • Spinach
    • Beta carotene, an antioxidant that protects cells from harm, is found in abundance in this food. Vitamins A, K, and beta carotene are among the other nutrients found in spinach. In addition, it is a great source of antioxidant protection for your eyes. Heart-healthy vitamins B1, B2, and folates can be found in spinach as well.
    • Spinach is able to aid in the removal of cholesterol from the body and the unclogging of blood vessels.

Cauliflower, cucumber, corn, and cabbage are all safe for doves to eat. Vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting, may be found in abundance in these plants. Folate is found in these foods and is essential for the process of turning food into energy and for cell growth.

What Fruits Can Doves Eat?

Doves may eat a variety of fruits, including apples, bananas, and mangoes. Raspberries and other berries are also a staple in their diet. The occasional apricot or orange is a welcome treat for them.

They may also consume fruit that is still connected to a tree or vine, as well as fruit that has fallen to the ground. They rely heavily on fruit for the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive and reproduce in the wild. Below is a list of fruits that doves can consume, along with the benefits that come from doing so.

  • Doves enjoy a variety of foods, but one of their favorites is the apple. It’s beneficial for the digestive system, the skin, and the health of your eyes.
  • Doves are omnivores and will happily devour a banana in any form. Bananas have a high fiber level, which aids with digestion, and they help with circulation and muscular growth.
  • Vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, and minerals like potassium and zinc are all abundant in mangoes. Mangoes are a great source of antioxidants and help strengthen the immune system while also aiding with digestion.
  • Doves get the water and essential nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, calcium, and folic acid they need from berries.
  • Doves enjoy eating apricots, both the fruit and the seeds. It doesn’t matter if the fruit is still on the tree or has fallen to the ground, they will consume the entire thing.

What Seeds Can Doves Eat?

Sunflower seeds are a good food choice for doves, however the seeds that are available to them may vary depending on their habitat.

Doves in Michigan mostly subsist on white oak acorns, whereas those in Texas prefer Mexican acanthus.

All depends on the kind of dove and the sort of seed that is readily available. Because of their high oil content, the seeds used are rather evenly distributed between sunflower and dry grape pellets.

Dry grape pellets, which are abundant in calories and can be easily obtained, are an excellent choice for doves’ diets.

Doves eat primarily seeds, particularly those of grasses like sorghum and millet. They are also drawn to palm nuts and acorns.

They will never, however, consume uncooked cereal or berries. They vomit their food onto their tongue and mash it up with their beaks to create a paste, which they then consume whole.

Doves may be opportunistic eaters, but they still require a varied seed diet. When the fruit is tiny enough, they will consume it as long as they don’t have to use their beak to chew it.

Doves provide a number of important ecological roles, including as disposing of waste food or consuming immature fruit and vegetables.

Best Foods To Feed Doves

What Do Doves Eat In Captivity-3

  • Protein and calcium can be found in abundance in lettuce (and other leafy greens), cabbage, cucumber, pumpkin seeds, and peanuts.
  • Doves may also eat other fruits and vegetables, such as sunflower seeds, fruit, and berries.
  • Doves are opportunistic feeders that will eat anything from sunflower seeds to birdseed mixes with cracked maize and millet.
  • Doves can get their nutritional needs met by eating grass on a neighboring lawn or garden.
  • Some commercially available bird food is also suitable for doves.
  • Do your best to leave a commercial food (such as sunflower seed mix or millet) or a little bit of scratch grain or birdseed in the cage at mealtime if you are going to be away.
  • If given only a few bites, doves will eat practically any raw fruit or vegetable.
  • Beneficial uses for mealworms are numerous.
  • Doves can benefit greatly from eating bread, just like humans can.
  • Feeding your dove fresh, cleaned fruit and veggies is recommended.

Zinc, saltwater (sodium chloride), calcium carbonate (for eggshell development), and vitamin A are just some of the vitamins and minerals a dove may occasionally need.

What Human Food Can Doves Eat?

Doves are able to eat a variety of human foods, including:

  • To dry out (apricots and figs).
  • Toasted peanuts (special care must be taken in offering peanuts to a dove).
  • Whole ears of corn.
  • Typical breakfast oatmeal (ideally cooked and cooled).
  • Eat lots of nuts and peanut butter.
  • Eat some protein-packed snacks or spread some peanut butter on some crackers.
  • Crusty bread spread with peanut butter.
  • Noodles and/or pasta with tomato sauce and assorted vegetables (add protein if desired).

Doves will consume these items, as well as safflower seed, sunflower seed, millet, wheat, wild bird seed mix, and dried mealworms, all of which are commonly found in human diets.

In general, doves prefer these foods. Providing a dove with these nutrients will aid in the bird gaining strength and vitality. The decision to freeze your food is entirely up to you, but doing so can extend its shelf life. Doves can be fed frozen food, but you should let it thaw out in a bowl first.

How To Feed Doves?

You can choose from a wide variety of foods if you own a dove and wish to feed it. However, you can’t just toss some crackers in the cage and expect them to eat. Food can be obtained in a variety of forms, but not all nourishment sources are created equal.

The following are some of the ways in which doves can be fed:

  • A bird feeder placed close to the dove’s enclosure can be used to supplement its diet.
  • As a result, doves require a platform or surface that is higher than ground level in order to reach the meal. The meal bowls are evenly spaced apart. It’s meant to instill a sense of hierarchy among the birds in the area, reducing the likelihood of fights over food and enticing them to explore the surrounding space.
  • Under the serving counter, a platform of wire mesh or perforated metal sheet provides ventilation. Doves may see through it to find food while foraging.
  • Doves are allowed to access a pecked feeder with tiny morsels of food.
  • Bird feeders are sometimes designed to be portable so that you can take them with you wherever you go (this method would not work in areas with high humidity).
  • Doves are less likely to become caught in the bird feeder if there is a branch or perch outside the cage where they can rest.
  • Sometimes leftovers are scattered around the yard to entice people to go rummaging.
  • Do it in a way that won’t tempt hungry birds to steal the treats you’ve put out for the doves.
  • Bread, cracked corn, and millet seeds are offered to the doves at a feeder.

How Often Do You Feed Doves?

Doves need to be fed at 11 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm daily. The doves will go to sleep shortly after finishing their meal, after around 10 minutes. Most birdwatchers believe that providing food once a week is sufficient for their backyard birds.

How Much To Feed Doves?

They eat whatever is around when they get hungry. They will consume as much food as possible, hence this question is highly context dependent.

But seven percent to ten percent of their body weight per day is ideal. A 130-gram dove, depending on its habitat, might consume between 13 and 18 grams of food per day, but just 6 to 8 grams per day if it must conserve its weight.

They can’t consume too much at once or they’ll become sick. A dove’s stomach will become full if you offer it too many seeds, causing it to throw up.

The digestive mechanism of the bird determines how much of something can be safely consumed. Doves should avoid eating too much of this kind of food because it is bad for their health and can even be fatal.

What Do Doves Eat In The Winter?

Doves are birds that eat seeds, grain, and other plant material. Vernal grass seed heads are a favorite food, but they also eat other plant matter, such as grain, fruit, figs, and wild berries.

However, every year they must move thousands of miles in search of sustenance in other places.

Doves and other similar birds can easily adjust their diet to the changing seasons since their digestive systems are designed to process plant food without the need for hard pieces or meat. Climate, food availability, and other variables affect this, though.

What Do Doves Eat While Nesting?

Doves eat a variety of things in the nesting area, including dirt, crumbs, twigs, and small insects. It allows the doves to consume their food and digest it more easily.

Predators’ decomposing carcasses, mites from beech and oak trees, and caterpillars from infected leaves are all examples.

What Do Mourning Doves Eat?

Mourning doves eat a diverse range of natural seeds, grains, and other plant material. In addition to pellets of corn and soybeans fortified with animal protein, they eat a variety of other foods.

They thrive in the wild thanks to their high protein diet, which allows for rapid reproduction, rapid growth, and increased longevity.

Mourning doves play a crucial role in the ecosystem by dispersing seeds of grasses, weeds, vines, and tree bark through their droppings and regurgitation.

What Do Baby Doves Eat?

Nestling doves eat a variety of foods, including seeds, green foliage, and insects. Consequently, kids will eat anything their parents provide them.

Captive young doves can be fed twice daily, and a flax seed cake supplement is recommended to meet the bird’s dietary requirements.

Dove chicks obtain most of the water they need from the liquids in the food they eat. Remember that unless they are growing at an unhealthy rate, most newborns are fed twice a day.

Parental doves feed their young largely on harvested seeds and grains. Dove chicks will eat insects if they are scarce.

What Should You Not Feed Doves?

The following is a list of foods that should not be given to your doves, along with explanations as to why:

  • Doves shouldn’t be fed peanuts, which aren’t a suitable source of nutrition for them. Doves can be sickened by the molds that can grow on them.
  • Do not feed your doves eggs because it might cause diarrhea and even death.
  • Feeding yogurt to your doves is a bad idea. This may be harmful since it may disrupt their digestive system’s usual flora and fauna, leading to diarrhea.
  • Do not give your doves oranges, as it is possible that they will eat the fruit while the skin is still on.
  • Doves should not be fed tomatoes, apples, or grapes since they might induce diarrhoea and other stomach issues.
  • After eating, it’s advisable not to offer water in case they experience any discomfort from regurgitating their food.

What Do Doves Drink?

Doves get their nutrition from a wide variety of plant sources, and they rely on rainwater collected from the soil for their hydration needs.

Doves typically rest on the tops of buildings and trees after getting a drink from the ground.

Can Doves Eat Oatmeal?

Doves can, indeed, enjoy a bowl of oats. Doves are omnivores, meaning that they will eat anything from seeds to microscopic insects.

Doves are able to digest a wide variety of seeds and grains, including oatmeal, which is a type of grain that also contains carbohydrates and protein. Doves, like most birds, are herbivores, meaning they receive all of the nutrients they need from plant matter.

Despite popular belief, doves will eat flesh, including insects like worms, crickets, and earthworms.

The question stems from the false belief that doves cannot stretch their beaks wide enough to consume oats or other cereal grains.

The theory behind this urban legend appears to be that feeding certain meals to birds may cause them to choke; this is not limited to doves and might happen with any bird.

Can Doves Eat Rice?

Doves can, in fact, chow down on rice. For all of rice’s health benefits, it’s best consumed in its uncooked form. Rice becomes more digestible when soaked for at least five minutes before cooking, and its nutritional content decreases and it becomes more like a filler after processing or cooking.

Doves are not vegetarians despite popular belief; they require animal-based protein and other nutrients that can’t be obtained from a plant-based diet. Doves have a wide diet, including both plant and animal matter.

Doves can eat rice since it grows in water. Doves get most of their nutrition from seeds and grains they find on the ground.

Doves begin the digestive process by swallowing a small amount of grain with saliva, which aids in the breakdown of starch into simple carbohydrates.

In addition, if a dove consumes a lot of rice and then defecates on it, the other birds may avoid it because they may assume it is dead or decaying.

Can Doves Eat Bread?

Doves do, in fact, eat bread, and they have a particular preference for a certain kind of bread. Doves are frequently spotted near loaves of bread, and they enjoy all three types of flour (white, whole wheat, and rye) equally.

Additionally, they are willing to consume wheat bread, white bread, whole grain bread, and sweetened bread. Doves will eat other grains like corn and oats, but they don’t provide nearly as much nutrition.

If you have a dove that like human food scraps, you should make it a routine to provide it new bread as a bedtime snack by clearing out its cage at least once a day.

Doves will eat a variety of breads, including cornbread, sweet potato bread, and bread with fruit jam.

They would eat this bread if it were accessible, but they would consume plain white or wheat bread if that was all that was available.

Doves can get the energy they need to mate successfully and keep on going even when food is scarce by snacking on bread.

They require all the calories they can get to raise their young and maintain their own bodies throughout this time.

However, doves should not be overfed bread, as this can lead to serious health problems.


Doves eat a wide variety of foods, including nuts, seeds, vegetables, worms, fruits, insects, and more.

These foods not only provide them with the nutrients they need, but also have positive effects on their health. However, it is important to not overdo it with these foods, as doing so could have serious consequences for their health.

5/5 - (1 vote)