Pairing and conditioning
Once the pigeons reach about five to six months of age, they will be ready to mate. There is no sure way to identify a pigeon's gender, but there are many indicators that may help. Through experience, a fancier can easily identify a cock or hen.
Cocks are generally bigger than hens. The head of a male pigeon is bigger, too. During courtship, the tail of the cock will drop down and move like he is sweeping the floor with it. His head bows down and up, and moves in a circle. He creates a cooing sound, louder than a hen. Sometimes, he charges and pecks the hen to show authority.
Hens are smaller in stature.
They are timid. If she intends to accept the male, she will walk in a graceful manner.
If you decide to pair up your pigeons, it would be best to separate the cock and the hen. This lessens the aggressiveness of the cocks and prevents stress for the hens. Spaces are maximized, since paired pigeons tend to be territorial. Upon pairing, put the hen and cock in the enclosure with the dividers. The cock can see the hen and will start courtship. Deworming at this stage is advisable. After three to five days, if the birds show interest, they will try to be together, even with the dividers – and this is the time to remove them. If the cock pecks and puts too much pressure on the hen, they are not ready to mate.
Courtship chase. Notice the cock’s tail sweeping action.