What do doves eat? Are they easy to feed?

Doves are one of the most beautiful creatures out there. They have a majestic look, and if you are thinking about petting one, doves can be a great choice. They are calm, have a long lifespan, and, most importantly, low-maintenance birds, but what do doves eat? Can they eat chicken food?

Not only for petting, but dove is also quite popular among backyard birdfeeders. If you wonder how to draw doves to your backyard by food, you have to know what kind of food doves eat regularly. So, in this article, I’ll talk about the types of food doves eat and how you can attract them to your backyard. So, without wasting any time, let’s bring some doves to your backyard through proper nutrition. So what do doves eat?

Feeding a Dove: Types of food

What do doves eat? While doves eat a wide variety of food, the diet is slightly different for wild and pet doves. As doves are known as omnivorous, their diet is primarily plant-based with an occasional mix of insects. Below, I tried to cover all the food items doves typically eat and are necessary for proper nutrition and growth.

What do doves eat?
What do doves eat?


What do doves eat? The seed has remained an integral part of the dove’s diet. There are hundreds of seed options to feed your doves, and they will eat everything happily. Alongside seeds, you can also use different grains to add variety to the menu.

However, one thing to note here is that you should never use seed as the only diet. Keep the usage under 50-60% in the menu. You can find different seeds/ seed mix packs specially manufactured as dove food on the market. They’ll provide balanced nutrition for your doves.

Vegetables and fruits

These are another substantial part of the dove’s diet. As I mentioned above, doves are omnivorous. So, you can easily feed them all those sweet fruits you eat at home, including blueberries, strawberries, grape, apple bananas, or watermelon. Adding these fruits and greens to the diet will promote an overall healthier diet.

However, you should keep a few things in mind when you add these items. First, make sure everything you add is organic as chemicals can be harmful to the dove’s health. If you fail to manage completely organic fruits and veggies, at least wash them thoroughly to eliminate any harmful chemicals.

Also, when you are serving, don’t forget to cut them into tiny pieces, so it’s easier for the doves to eat and digest those foods.


As an omnivorous, a dove’s diet also partly contains some insects. As the secondary source of their food requirement, doves really enjoy eating insects like ants, cricket, snails, and different types of worms. These are also entirely safe for doves to eat. Your pet dove might not be interested in insects, but they might even prefer it over seeds and greens for the wild ones.


Vitamins are an essential part of any nutritional diet, and your doe’s diet is no different. Though most of the food mentioned above has different vitamins, doves can only absorb a small portion of it. So, it’s not a bad idea to mix some externally. Vitamins will eventually help the doves maintain their metabolism and help with different bodily functions, just like humans.

How to attract birds to your backyard?

As I mentioned earlier, doves are widely available and quite popular as backyard birds. They are lovable, gentle and if you are into birds, you can spend hours just watching them roaming in your backyard. You need to understand that the doves won’t come to your backyard independently despite the availability. As a ground feeder, the simplest yet most effective way of attracting doves to your backyard is by offering food, water, and shelter for them. Here is how you can do that.

Bird feeder

The best way to attract doves is by food. But instead of scattering it all over your backyard, you can try providing the food in an organized manner. For that, you’ll have to set up a bird feeder in your backyard. If the doves in your area are bigger, I recommend setting up a bigger feeder. Once you install the feeder, load them with the foods I mentioned above. Try to add as much variety as possible to keep the nutritional value balanced.

Water feeder

Every living being needs water to survive. So, that applies to birds too. Only providing food won’t be enough as water is equally important as food for birds. Not only for drinking, but doves also use water to keep themselves cool and clean their feathers.

Especially in summer, it gets challenging for doves to find water. You have to take advantage of that by setting up a water feeder in your backward. This way you’ll be able to attract a lot of doves, especially during the hot months of summer.

By providing shelter and nest

This technique might be a bit challenging compared to the first two, but if you want a more permanent gathering of doves in your backyard, this is the best way to go. Not only for doves but shelter and nesting can also be very appealing for any birds due to the lack of space for natural nesting.

Shelter and nest will provide safety, weather protection for the doves, and most importantly, a constant supply of food from you. The doves will feel safe and comfortable in the shelter, but it’ll increase your work as you’ll have to clean the shelters regularly to keep your backyard clean.

Final Thought

What do doves eat?Here we are at the end of this article. As a fellow backyard birdfeeder, I know how important it is to provide proper nutrition for the birds, whether you are just feeding them or petting them. Now that you have gone through my article, you should know about the proper food routine, minerals and vitamins doves need to stay healthy. Now all you have to do is follow this routine, and you’ll be able to attract doves in your backyard easily.

About the Author
The Poultry Feed Team

The Poultry Feed Team

I am Ehsan from The Poultry Feed Team. We all started out as poultry novices ourselves, so we know just how confusing it can be to try and figure everything out on your own. That's why we're here! We want to help you become the best caretaker of these lovely feathered animals.