Pairing and conditioni­ng

Animal Scene - - FINS, FEATHERS, AND FUR -

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.

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