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 The Age Old Male/Female Debate.

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jamy
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PostSubject: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:03 pm

Hi,

I was very lucky a few months ago to re-home a lost racer with a great couple. They had found a tired and sick racing pigeon in their garden and gone onto PT to ask for advice as they hadn't had anything to so with pigeons before. They nursed him back to health and went about locating the owner who wasn't interested in getting the bird back ...so, having got very attached to it they decided to keep him and build him a home with them.

I had also been given a racer that a friend's cat had brought into her, thankfully not badly injured but tired and thin. I too tried to locate the owner and found he had died and his wife had given away, (or let go) all his birds, so this poor bird had no home to go to even if it had found it again. So I felt I had to keep her although I'm a bit crowded.
She fitted in well but was a bit overwhelmed by the boisterous behaviour of the inmates and was a little bit shy. Having watched her over a few weeks I decided she must be a hen as my only two males would show to her aswell as all the other hens and she never showed any signs of male behaviour.
SO.. I had the idea to contact this couple to see if they would like to adopt her as a companion for their bird. When they spoke to their bird's owner he referred to the pigeon as 'he', so that's what they assumed it was.

Although they live a long way up north they were really keen to take her on and made a trip down to collect her when they were visiting relatives slightly nearer to me.
They have built a lovely aviary home for the pair and they have settled in really well and are great pals.

I just wanted to give you a little history as to why we thought they might be male & female so excuse the long intro. Now today she sent me an update and asked me what I thought about their behaviour towards each other. I wasn't sure so I thought I'd ask you experienced folks.

Both birds seem very happy and good friends but as yet show no signs of being any particular sex as gfar as mating goes.
She takes twigs into a nest box but doesn't sit in there. Also is quite dominant when it comes to treats and baths, she apparently will peck him if he tries to get at the treats and he has to wait until she's finished before he can get in the bath.( Poor downtroddden male?)
Other than that she follows him everywhere and when they were in adjacent cages recently while indoors during a freezing spell, they sat as close as they could in their cages.

So Von was asking me which sex bird tends to start building the nest first, male or female?
Also is the dominant behaviour mean she's more likely a male?

I must just add their male bird isn't quite a year old yet. So could it be he's still too immature to be 'courting' her even if she's a hen?
At what age would he normally show an interest in a hen?

I'm not sure of the answers as I have more hens and only two males, and some of the hens are quite bossy between themselves when fighting over the males.

I said I'd ask about and see what anyone else thought. I know I've got it so wrong in the past.

Thanks

Janet
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Matilda
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:22 pm

Janet...I would think that which ever bird started taking twigs to the nest is a male but pigeons are masters of deception, and I could be incorrect.
I'm wondering if both pigeons are of the same gender? Also I have housed two birds of opposite gender together before and they just didn't hit it off. Could be that's the case in this situation as well.
Twill be interesting to see how it turns out though and I hope you'll keep us posted.
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:42 pm

I have two hens who are a mated pair and their behaviour is very similar to what you described. Sammy is the dominant one, and I actually thought she was a male until she started laying... That's too funny For ages there were no eggs, and though they still don't mate as such, they both lay.
So I suppose the future will tell!

Have they tried the mirror test? That's the most accurate method I've heard of -- as a rule, girls ignore it and males posture and challenge, or else admire themselves in it.
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AZWhitefeather
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:28 am

Teresa wrote:
I have two hens who are a mated pair and their behaviour is very similar to what you described. Sammy is the dominant one, and I actually thought she was a male until she started laying... That's too funny For ages there were no eggs, and though they still don't mate as such, they both lay.
So I suppose the future will tell!

* Have they tried the mirror test?

** That's the most accurate method I've heard of -- as a rule, girls ignore it and males posture and challenge, or else admire themselves in it.
* That's the question I was going to ask. I have found a mirror to be helpful in trying to determine the sex of a pigeon.
Of course the proof is in 'who lays the egg'.

** I agree

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NiteOwl
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:04 am

Could be two hens. If there is no male, then one or the other of the hens would be collecting the straw for the nest. In my loft, both will collect it. I have lots of aggressive hens that I would have thought were males. If the supposed "male" is nearly a year old, he should be showing courting behavior. Mine do that at just a few months old. You could try the mirror.
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Matilda
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:13 am

Jay...have you noticed which gender is the first to start collecting straw for the nest?
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NiteOwl
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:29 am

Normally the male starts the collecting, but I have had couples where the hen actually seemed to be teaching him how to do it. The male seemed clueless. I guess that explains why there are so many half-assed nests out in the wild. Sometimes both collect at the same time. That's what Cricket and Virgil did. I think that after over a year and a half, she was just so excited to have a mate, that she couldn't wait to get the nest built. LOL. But usually, the male has started the collecting, and she arranges it. But with two females, someone has to start. When I had two females together, it was usually the same one who would act more like the male with respect to gathering. It's hard to tell as they don't just fit into any pattern. They are such individual birds.

Luigi used to collect it and bring it to other birds boxes. Pinz, his mate had to collect it and bring it to their nest.
Here she is, saying "here goof! This is what you need to do!"
She is the one with the straw, on the left.

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Matilda
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:33 am

LOL... That's so cute about Luigi . What a helpful pigeon.

On a side note...do you realize that Virgil has been in your loft nearly a year? The time sure has gone by quickly.
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NiteOwl
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:41 am

Doesn't seem that long ago that we were introducing him to Cricket, but you're right! Soon will be a year. He has quieted down a lot, but still remains watchful over what he considers to be HIS territory. I just love him! He's a wonderful mate too. He spends a lot of time in the box with Cricket, and I was wondering about that. Thought maybe it was warmer for him, not having a wing on that one side, but I discovered that it is because when she starts a new nest with new eggs, He has not yet given up on the old eggs. So he likes to sit on them for a bit longer, just in case. So they're both in there sitting on their own little nest. So cute. Kane and April do that a lot too.
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Matilda
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:11 am

Mr. Zeus does that too. While other pigeons roost away from the nest, he sleeps in it, with Mrs Zeus.
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NiteOwl
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:18 am

My capuchine, Basil and his roller mate Pepper, are inseparable in that way too. He is usually in the box with her, nose to nose, or snuggling in the bowl. At night, he sleeps on the perch right outside their door to keep watch over his beloved. They are just so adorable.
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jamy
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:09 pm

Thanks for that info folks. I can see Von will have to play a waiting game by the look of it.

I have two mated hens and I also thought one was male until I saw her laying an egg one day. Now they both lay, but their behaviour is just like a normal pair but neither one is more dominant that the other. They both collect for the nest, so that didn't help with this query.
The one more female of the two does let one of the males come into her nest and mate her though while her hen mate is away. Shame on them

Also I've only seen a hen do that pecking and hanging onto anothers neck in defensive mode, neither of my males seem that aggressive, so that part of the behaviour is just as likely to be a hen if I went by my lot. I can see it's just not conclusive at all.

I'll tell her to try the mirror though, I've never done that myself so as I have a fairly new youngster that I'm not sure about, I'll give that a go too.

I'll pass all this on to Von and let you know what she finds out.

Janet

ps I love that picture of Luigi.
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:51 pm

NiteOwl wrote:
Normally the male starts the collecting, but I have had couples where the hen actually seemed to be teaching him how to do it. The male seemed clueless. I guess that explains why there are so many half-assed nests out in the wild. Sometimes both collect at the same time. That's what Cricket and Virgil did. I think that after over a year and a half, she was just so excited to have a mate, that she couldn't wait to get the nest built. LOL. But usually, the male has started the collecting, and she arranges it. But with two females, someone has to start. When I had two females together, it was usually the same one who would act more like the male with respect to gathering. It's hard to tell as they don't just fit into any pattern. They are such individual birds.

Luigi used to collect it and bring it to other birds boxes. Pinz, his mate had to collect it and bring it to their nest.
Here she is, saying "here goof! This is what you need to do!"
She is the one with the straw, on the left.


They're adorable, and so expressive! It really looks like Pinz is scolding him!
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NiteOwl
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:57 pm

I believe she WAS scolding him. The little goof used to pick up a piece of straw, then fly to a nestbox...........ANY nest box, and bring his piece of straw with him to leave with whom ever owned the box. Meanwhile, Pinz would watch, as if to say what the heck is he doing? Then she would go gather for their nest. He is really a trip, and I just love that bird. Oh..............................he does know to bring it home now. LOL.
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:18 pm

jamy wrote:
Thanks for that info folks. I can see Von will have to play a waiting game by the look of it.

I have two mated hens and I also thought one was male until I saw her laying an egg one day. Now they both lay, but their behaviour is just like a normal pair but neither one is more dominant that the other. They both collect for the nest, so that didn't help with this query.
The one more female of the two does let one of the males come into her nest and mate her though while her hen mate is away. Shame on them

Also I've only seen a hen do that pecking and hanging onto anothers neck in defensive mode, neither of my males seem that aggressive, so that part of the behaviour is just as likely to be a hen if I went by my lot. I can see it's just not conclusive at all.

I'll tell her to try the mirror though, I've never done that myself so as I have a fairly new youngster that I'm not sure about, I'll give that a go too.

I'll pass all this on to Von and let you know what she finds out.

Janet

ps I love that picture of Luigi.

I reckon pigeons don't want to be pigeonholed That's too funny so they behave in ways designed to confuse us!
I'm sure Von will have a great time trying to figure them out.
Let us know how the mirror test works for you.
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AZWhitefeather
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PostSubject: Re: The Age Old Male/Female Debate.   Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:23 am

Beautiful picture, Jay.

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Cindy

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Please watch over us while we fly,
Keeping us safe from the predators that share the sky.

If we become ill or injured in any way,
Please lead us to safety where we are welcome to stay.
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