According to the White Dove Release Directory of America, the white doves used for release in ceremonies, such as weddings and funerals, are actually white homing pigeons. Homing pigeons have the innate ability to find their way back home from distances up to 500 miles; ringneck doves do not and are used as display only. If you have enough outdoor space, a love for birds and a desire to create a business that focuses on the ceremonies of life, then a white dove release business could be the best way to fulfill your entrepreneurial dreams.
Build a loft. Homing pigeons need a loft that is roomy enough for them to fly around inside. The main thing to remember when constructing a loft is to plan plenty of open window space so the birds can receive fresh air. You will want to cover the windows with heavy-duty wire that is tight enough to keep out squirrels, rats and other animals that could be harmful to your pigeons and doves. Plan space for a medicine cabinet inside the loft -- you'll need to vaccinate your birds. The International White Dove Society can train you to give vaccinations to defray veterinarian costs.
Place a birdbath and feeding area outside near the loft. After proper training, you will release your birds once a day to fly within the neighborhood and they need somewhere to feed and bathe.
Purchase ringneck doves and homing pigeons from a reputable International White Dove Society member. It is important to purchase your birds from a member of the society because they have experience with the dove release business and offer healthy birds. It is best to purchase untrained birds that are young, say 45 days old or less. This ensures they will not try to return to the original owner’s loft. You will want to purchase at least 12 homing pigeons, because it is very difficult to mate very young birds. Also, purchase a set or two of ring neck or turtle doves for wedding displays.
Train the homing pigeons. Before you can operate a dove release business, your pigeons need to be fully trained to return home within a 50-mile radius. Start training by driving them less than 1 mile from home and watching their return for up to two weeks. If you have made the loft an environment that nourishes the birds, then they will definitely return home. Keep adding mileage to the training excursions until your birds are trained to return home from all of your targeted market areas.
Prepare ceremonial readings. White doves symbolize very sacred things to many people, such as closeness to God and the Holy Spirit. In weddings they symbolize unity of marriage. At the release of white doves, your clients will want to hear a reading based upon their particular ceremony. For example, at funerals many people quote Psalms 55:6: “Oh that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away and be at rest.”
Price your release and display services. Check the directory of the International White Dove Society for competition in your area. If there is more competition, price your service lower. If you are going to be operating the only dove release business in your area, you can price at a higher rate as customer demand allows.
Advertise your business. Place a listing in your local yellow pages under wedding services. Create a website that lists the distance you are willing to travel for ceremonies. Also, include all services, such as readings, that are offered with your service. Create and distribute business cards at networking events, such as your local chamber of commerce meet and greets. Attend local bridal shows, bringing your display doves along with brochures advertising your business.
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