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Discussion Starter #1
HI i found a pigeon and i was wondering if you can tell if it is a male of female by looks or do i have to do a test or someing. I wanted to get the oposet gender so i could have baby pigeons.

bob
 

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Hi Bob,

You say you found this bird? Have you determined if it is domestic or wild?

I would first keep this pigeon seperate from your other bird or birds if it is wild or domestic, just to be safe. Have the bird checked out by a rehabber, but keep in quaranteen for 15 days, until it is determined to be healthy.

After that time, if it is a feral it should be reintroduced back in the wild. If it is domestic, once introduced to other pijjies, you will see if it is a male or female.

Treesa



[This message has been edited by Trees Gray (edited May 30, 2004).]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks. i think it is a male.It sits in our window and walks up and down it cooing. it is kind of friendly but it bites. it is somewhat clean. at least it dosnt have mites. i gave it a bath in warm water today. it seems to think that this is his home. he walks around our yard cooing at every bird it sees.
 

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Lee here,
this may help ya on sexing

Lust In The Loft………………. By Lee

Let me get this out of the way here first I am not an writer by trade, this will be a listing of statements, facts and observations on the many ways of telling the gender of homing pigeons. This is by no means the complete listing of gender facts as there are I am sure many displays by both the cock and hen that are not understood by us ground bound featherless creatures. Many of the items listed here are taken from various books and some I have learned by observing my birds and some things I got from talking to old timers about the habits of homers. The first part of this paper is devoted to the gender displays while the second half is devoted to the actual act of mating. In the world wars many pigeons were used for the purpose of communications by troops and birds were responsible for saving more that a few lives. One bird that was well decorated during the 1st World war was Cher Ami; during one encounter this cock bird covered a distance of 40 KM in 25 minutes. This equals out to about a mile a minute or 60MPH .The bird’s message capsule was attached to the leg, which was hanging by a few shreds of sinew and the bird had a wound to the breast. He delivered his message and saved the members of “The Lost Battalion”. Cher Ami is now on display in the Smithsonian institute in Washington D.C. It was discovered after the bird’s death to be a hen. I bring this up to show that even the bird Experts can’t tell the gender in some cases. I do know that the birds will tell us if we watch them. With this in mind I will list the various signs of gender that one can observe in the loft.

Cock birds.

A. Make note that most cock birds are bigger in statue and have for the most part a bigger head.
B. By looking at the tail of the cock you will see it has been drug on the floor of the loft or ground and will be dirty.
C. Will run the hen by this I mean that he tries to get the hen back to the nest and will run her all over the loft or when they are outside will run her all over the ground or roof of the loft. He is the one in the back.
D. Tend to peck at the hen to gain her attention; this usually takes the appearance of light pecking to get her attention and is not a deliberate pecking to cause injury.
E. Do a dance which consists of but is not restricted to walking in a figure eight pattern, ducking the head or bowing and spinning in a circle.
F. Will emit a low growling noise and in general seem to argue with the hen.
G. Will peck at the underside of the wing by reaching back over their side and lifting the wing.
H. Will run or charge at the hens in an attempt to intimidate them.
I. Will sit in a nesting place and call to the hen.
J. Provide the nesting material by bringing it to the hen and offering it to make a nest.
K. Will chose a nest place and then bow down and call to the hen and beckon her to come to him.
L. Are more aggressive.
M. Eyes are not as round as a hen’s.
N. Take the nest in the late mornings relieving the hens to eat and catnap in the sun.

Hen Birds
A. Are smaller in stature and features.
B. Tend to the nest duties at night.
C. Have more space between the vent bones
D. Are more timid
E. Will attempt to feed the cock bird by sticking her beak into the cocks Beak
F. Will go to the cocks chosen nest site and kneel down positioning herself into the mating stance.
G. Tend to have rounder eyes I am talking about the cere being rounder in the corners.
H. Is the bird in front during the “chase”
I. Seldom make any sounds.
J. Are normally cleaner.
K. Is the one that lays eggs?
L. Is usually the one that grooms the cock bird by lightly pecking around the eyes, ears and head?
M. Is more dainty when drinking I mean she will only stick part of her beak into the water where as a cock will gulp with whole beak in the water ….

It is worthy of note here that on any given day or time that Hens and cocks will imitate each other so it is possible to see a hen for instance carrying nesting material to the nest and or the cock bird sit the nest during the night.

Here are some different sexing techniques that I have read of and I am sure there are many more. As to the validity of these methods you will have to use your own thoughts to come to an acceptable conclusion. Note that I didn’t use the ones that take strings and wires along with jumping over a broom stick in the full of the moon while singing swannnnnie how I love you… etc!!!!


Vent Sexing
This is taken from the book "The Pigeon " written by Wendel M Levi and is in reference to Sexing of squabs at the age of hatching to fledging (23rd or 24th day). It is given to us by Mr. Iwata of Japan. The palmeto pigeon plant of South Carolina didn’t have much success with it. It is a complex system and takes some studying and trying to master.
By observing the vent (cloaca opening) from the side we see in the male, the upper border is seen to be protruding, covering the lower the lower, while in the female this is not the case, the lower border protruding more than the upper. By looking at it from behind, we recognize that the slit is curved downward, with the dorsal concave and the ventral convex and with both ends turned upwards. The opening in the female is quite the opposite of that of the male it's concave margin looking downward and with the ends turned downwards. Moreover in the female the slit is situated somewhat dorsal to the entire region, the portion lying ventral to the slit being more developed than that of the dorsal.

This the same system used by poultry growers to sex chicks before shipment.... After the death of a bird I clip the feathers from the vent and check for the position and shape. I then continue with an autopsy and determine the sex of the bird and have found it to be about 70% correct...meaning that in over 70% of the birds I have done autopsy on I was able to predict the gender…

(B) Toe Method

From: Robert Rowland
Subject: Re: Sexing by the toes!

The object that makes this critical is how you bring the toes up to examine
Them. I have found that I allow the center toe to lay in its natural position
and then I very carefully bring the 2 outside toes up to lay directly next to the center toe. If you force the toes one direction or another, you can make Them read whatever you want so a bit of practice is necessary to learn the Proper method. It is as most have said with the male pigeons having a difference in the length of the toes whereas the hens are generally equal. I attribute this to nature so The males can position their self properly when mating. The hens have no need To be able to hook onto anything so their toes can be equal and may work as a stabilizing effect. Can't really say for sure about that.

Mating

The actual act of mating is completed anywhere that there a space to do so. We see it sometimes in the oddest of places I have observed two birds trying to mate on the top of a water container so Lust in the loft is a real thing and is just nature at its best. The courtship can be long and tedious and consist of many rituals some examples are: The cock bird will inflate his crop and ruffle the feathers of the body and begin to crow and strut he may duck bow and spread his tail and wing feathers. Often he will try to press up against her. The hen may retreat slowly and he continues his actions this may arouse interest in the hen and if so she will stand more erect and with shining eyes her neck will swell as she swallows air. The feathers on the neck may be seen to separate as the tail feathers spread. She is often seen to bob and nod her head .She will in time insert her beak into the cocks and the kiss ensues. The cock bird will pump and go through the regurgitation act as if feeding her. It is not known for sure but it is thought that the cock bird actually passes some food substance as the hen can be seen to swallow something. Shortly thereafter the hen will crouch the cock bird will tread her and there will be a Fleeting touching of ani and consummation takes place. Afterwards there is usually a display of spread wings and tail feathers and or a flying off with loud flapping of wings. If the birds are in a place where you can observe the act you will notice the ani (or cloacal opening) of the hen will be pushed out so as to collect the sperm from the cock and once deposited the hen will draw in the opening several times so as to pull the semen into the cloaca. Once inside the sperm will swim to the left side and there will find the shell-secreting portion of the oviduct or uterus. The sperm if strong enough will move up the uterus and come in contact with the Ovary located on the left side and fertilize the egg. Young hen pigeons are born with two ovaries however somewhere between the age of three to five months the right ovary becomes benign and the bird has only the left one left to breed with. If all goes well in as little as ten days the hen will lay the first egg and the second about 40 hrs later. In eighteen days the young will hatch and begin their phenomenal growing cycle .
I hope this helps you to understand complex task of sexing pigeons . I have talked to many old –timers. I heard one of them say with a gleam in his eye “yeah I had one of my favorite cock birds lay two eggs last year” ha ha ha so ya just never know and hey ! the birds don’t have a problem knowing who is who . ……..Lee
 

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Lee,
this is very interesting.
Thank you for taking the time to post it.
Reti
 

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That's the best list I have seen on the subject. I think you will agree that enough observation and it's usually easy to tell on first glance. Here are a few comments on your material -

32 pigeons have recieved medals for bravery in battle.

Male birds:

A. there is also a theory about the shape of the head - a subtle flatness in the females - haven't an opinion on that one.
C. I see them run the hen when a rival male, or a almost any other males are nearby. The nest is just the safest place, not really a place they want to be at that particular time.
D. Yes, but if the couple is under pressure form an aggressive bird, the pecking gets just as hard as when males fight. Sometimes when under pressure the male will fight the other male and sometimes he will beat up his hen - the hell if she gets food or water.
F. I have a hen who breaks with this pattern. Shes a growler and a moaner, but perhaps this is because she is unattached.
G. Yes, this over-the-shoulder preening movement is the official "will you be my girl" proposal and is always an immediate signal to sex.
H. Hens do the same thing with a mate - head down, fast run, tail fanned and down - then they give the male a few love pecks and a trill - this appears to be a more complex motivation - aggressive but meant to convey committment.
J. This is really weird how they do it. They walk up with all formality and place the nesting material on the hen and hold it there; they don't bring it up and place it beside her, they pin the tail on the donkey. The hen takes this all in good spirits - "geez".
K. Yes but this moaning deal is more than that. The males will search out the tightest little nooks and crannies if available in the loft, bow down and moan, hoping his hen will come and comfort him. The hen will preen him, or burrow under him, or sit on him, or just ignore him - it's like the guys get the blues and the hen does not really have the same problem.
L. Cocks are way more agro and they fight differently and with different objectives.
M. This one about the eye socket shape is a new one to me.

Hen Birds

C. The cervical bone gap is a very high percentage determiner.
D. Not only more timid, but more indecisive, more deliberate, and more discerning in most cases.
F. And if he resists her she will burrow under him to avoid the blows. Hens will also resist being evicted from another hens nest box this way - hunkering down and taking a terrible beating to try and gain a foothold in that nest.
I. And when they do the sound and cadence is totally different: usually shorter, higher pitched trills - no modulation of tone or frequency.
J. ???
L. Is reciprocated in many pairs.
M. Right! - the cocks will slam it into the drinker up to the eyeballs almost at times.

I notice food and sex often occur around the same time.

In some kissing, food is indeed exchanged (having been hit with flying food a few times).

The "cloacal kiss" can be seen to clearly result in a creamy little deposit niftily exchanged and manipulated by the hen. Pigeons are physically very connected to the cloaca - it contracts with every breath they take, and moves with every move they make - it is an extremely articulate organ.

The first egg is usually laid in the evening between 5pm and 7pm (young hens may lay smaller than average eggs and these may have a little blood on the shell). Perhaps the second egg is laid about 43-44 hours later, usually in the afternoon between 2pm and 3pm.

Thanks Lee for all that information.
 

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Well!
While I am pretty darn sure I have 2 males, I find all of this so interesting.
My Ali has become the more dominant male, winning most of the fights by scaring poor Bert onto a perch often when I feed them. HOWEVER,.. he also preens Bert at times. (Bert never preens him), so isn't he putting himself in a more submissive role? I have also noticed that the roles have reversed as far as how much attention they want from me. Bert is all over me now, and Ali kind of does his own thing. It was exactly the opposite a couple of months ago.
So interesting!
Alea
 

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Discussion Starter #11
wow, that was good Lee. I know that i have a male. do males ever take a bath? cause Eire dosent take baths. I have had him for maybe a month and i havent seen him take a bath ever (he is starting to realy stink!!). should i give him a bath myself or leave it up to him?
 

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Hi Bob,

Didn't you already say you had given him a warm bath? Most pigeons I know just love to get in a bath, but not every day - they seem to know when they want one. Did you give him a bath in a dish of water? If so, leave the same dish around for him to decide. Deep enough to lie down and have a splash, maybe couple inches.

John
 

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Bath...
Lee here,
All pigeons bathe as far as i know i think it is a learned chore for them altho they do take to the water normaly. Just like was said offer him water on a weekly basis maybe put just a drop of dish washing liquid and 1 teaspoon of bleach in the water .. I use cat litter pans and add just enough water so it will reach their belly when they stand in it . Most birds seem to like early morn baths or late in the evenings and maybe a candle and some soft music... haha
 

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Your bird has not had a chance to bond with you. Since you don't have other pigeons, he may feel too vulnerable to reduce his flight capabilities by getting wet.

We had that problem with Walter at first. When he got stinky (about every 10 days or so), I would fill the sink with lukewarm water and swish his body gently back and forth a little bit, then wrap him in a towel to catch the drips.

After Walter had been here a few months, we started offering him a bath once a week. It took a few times for him to get started, but then he was fine.

Now that we have six birds, I notice that they are more comfortable bathing with at least one other bird to help watch for danger. Good luck with your bird!

------------------
Terri B
 

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Am I sniffer impaired or what??
My birds never stink. Even Ali, who doesn't bathe but maybe once a month or so, never smells bad to me. Bert bathes every chance he gets, almost. (I provide a nice slightly warm bath about 3x a week.) Still, I never notice any odor from my birds.
I do notice that when Bert bathes, Ali checks it out,.. but usually he just takes a drink, steps in, then right out. No serious "cleansing" going on. lol.
Speaking of cleansing,...
Lee;
"1 drop of dishwashing liquid and a teaspoon of bleach"? Yikes! Please don't take this as criticism, but that scares me a bit. For how many birds?? I have only two, my first 2, so I'm just asking questions here. Thanks for your help.
Alea
 

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You want add 1 teaspoon of bleach and a drop of dishsoap to a dish of bathing water! Last time I checked bleach and soap where poison for all living things!

Your birds actually live through this?

[This message has been edited by JGregg (edited June 01, 2004).]
 

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Discussion Starter #17
i gave Eire a bath when he first came to me to clean him off from yucky stuff. But i sow him take a bath today. but as soon as a whent out side he flew away. I whant to get him a female or friend. is it true that males can never be tamed?
as to that bleach idea. can you bleech your bird? like if it was black and you put it in bleach water would it come out gray or something?
 

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It is OK to put 1 level teaspoon no more! of plain, thin bleach in 1 gallon of water now and then. Supposed to help kill harmful bacteria. Don't add anything else to water at same time. Some people use that for water in bird baths for the garden birds. Better and probably safer to use an organic anti-bacterial made for pigeons' water, though. And no, it won't affect the color of feathers


John
 

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yeah i think that might hurt it the bleach. i has very bad chemicals i have 2 that i found. they flutter and i cant really tell yet. but do not use bleack bad shem when in eye they can die. or loose it so warm water they have fat that will clean em ok bye. a healthy bird cleans itself do u have a water dish out in cage.
 

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Putting a teaspoon full of bleach in a gallon of water is fine, it's not the problem.....But if you put a teaspoon full of bleach in a bathing dish you get poisoned or dead birds.
 
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