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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

A few weeks back I found a pigeon with a broken wing, and my vet, who has been rehabbing him/her at our clinic, has determined that he/she will not be releasable.

I already have two non-releasable males who I had to separate (by partitioning their territory) on account of fighting viciously. I’m looking for mates for them (both so they can have conspecifics other than each other and in hopes that they might calm down enough to be reintegrated). So I’d very much like to adopt this pigeon if he/she is female, but I’m a little worried about adopting if he/she is male (given that we’ve already had problems with the males fighting). I believe that there are other possible homes for this pigeon if he/she turns out to be male, but we’re trying to determine whether I should try to adopt him/her or whether we should try to find him/her a different home.

So I was wondering if anyone here might be able to determine this pigeon’s sex from the photographs? His/her behavior has been reasonable assertive, so we suspect he/she might be male, but we don’t know. I ran into a man who used to race pigeons who said he could tell pigeon sex on sight (and sexed one of my boys as male, which has been borne out by the fighting and his trying to mount inanimate objects), but unfortunately I don’t have any contact information for him. If anyone here can give us any help in determining this pigeon’s sex, we would be extremely grateful!

Thank you so very much,
Howard
 

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If she doesn't have any contageous disease, your male pigeons could best determine the sex. Can you allow them to see her but not get too close?

yYu definitely will notice a different behavior, but give them a little time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Behaviors to watch for?

Hi Skyking,

Thanks so much for your response. I've just put a call in to my vet to ask if she thinks they'd be safe to meet up at this point. Assuming we get clearance, I can either bring my boys to the clinic or bring the pigeon to our home. If we do it at the clinic I can hold my boys up to the pigeon's kennel (presumably in their carriers?) If we do it at home, I can have the pigeon in a carrier while my boys are outside the carrier, or the pigeon in a carrier and my boys nearby / next to him/her in a carriers. Do you think that that would be a good distance?

Do you know what behaviors I should watch for? Bird-Bird and Philly do seem to do a lot of dancing and cooing around each other (as a prelude to fighting, when they aren't separated). Is there something different I'd be looking for if the bird is female?

Thanks again!
Howard


P.S.
Are the feathers on the legs consistent with either sex? I thought I heard someone say that low feathering on the legs tended to be male, but that could have been wrong.
 

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You can't really tell from a picture. And the feathering doesn't have anything to do with it. You would probably have to take the bird and try it out with your birds to see how everyone responds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Pigeon Introductions & Reactions

Hi all,

Thank you Skyking and Jay3 for your extremely helpful advice so far. I’ve brought the new non-releasable pigeon home to see how my non-releasable pigeon boys respond to him/her. I’ve been trying to introduce the new pigeon to Philly, the larger more dominant male. One thing I noticed immediately is that Philly seems MUCH larger than the new pigeon (so maybe that’s some evidence that the new pigeon is either female or a young male?)

Philly shows some kind of interest in the new pigeon, but I’m not sure if he’s treating the new pigeon as an invader or as a potential mate (or both). When I first introduced them in their carriers, Philly did a lot of puffing, cooing, and strutting (the new pigeon engaged in no such behaviors; he/she did show some interest in Philly, but also seemed to do some shaking – he/she might have been a bit frightened). When I then let Philly out of his carrier but kept the new pigeon in his/hers, Philly did a lot of dancing and cooing, and trying to peck through the bars towards the new pigeon. When I let the new pigeon out but kept Philly in his kennel the new pigeon largely ignored Philly but explored the environment (it is, after all, new to the new pigeon).

I tried letting both Philly and the new pigeon out of their carriers to interact, but Philly was way too aggressive. He ran after the new pigeon and pecked around his/her face. I couldn’t quite tell if he was trying to mount the new pigeon; Philly did keep approaching the new pigeon from behind, but I wasn’t sure if that was because Philly was trying to mount him/her or just because the new pigeon was running away and Philly was pursuing.

So I’m pretty unsure as to how to read this as evidence as to the new pigeon’s sex. I would be most grateful if anyone had any suggestions about what this pattern of interaction might indicate, and / or any suggestions about how to try to proceed with introducing and integrating the pigeons (including whether it might be impossible to integrate the new pigeon with Philly, at least before Philly finds a mate, if Philly continues to be this aggressive towards him/her).

Thank you so much,
Howard
 

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I would keep the new bird in a cage where they can see each other but not touch. Let them get used to each other for a couple of weeks at least. But before doing this, when we get new birds it is a good idea to segregate the new bird in another room, for a month just to make sure that it is healthy, and isn't carrying anything that could spread to your other birds.
If You knew for sure the new bird to be a female (which you don't), and wanted to mate them up, then you would put them in separate cages beside each other where they can see each other but not touch for a week or so. Once the two of them BOTH start to show interest in each other, as if they want to be together, then you can let them out together and watch to see what happens. But stay close by just to be sure that he doesn't get overly aggressive. All this would be done after segregating the new bird for at least 3 weeks, and 4 weeks would be better. I know you are anxious to see how they will get on, but by doing it slowly, you have a much better chance of them making friends. The new bird has come into your original birds territory, and the first bird will often want to defend his territory. It's only normal, so be patient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Jay3,

Thanks so much. There really is no need for us to rush things, and now that you've explained the typical timetable to me I definitely won't. I think I was mostly just ignorant - I had no idea how long pigeon introductions usually take.

The new pigeon was quarantined at our vet for at least 3-4 weeks prior to my bringing him/her home, so it sounds like we at least got that part of the procedure right (I had heard enough about PMV to be very worried about the possibility of the new pigeon having something).

I've got the new bird's kennel down in Philly's territory and I'll wait until the new bird seems interested in interacting to take any further steps. I just hope the new bird's kennel is big enough to make his/her extended stay in there comfortable. The kennel is a 28x20.5x21.5" / 71x52x54.6cm plastic dog carrier (designed for medium dogs; 25-30lbs and 24"/60cm high), with a large plastic nest-box and clip-on water and food dishes inside it). If that's too small I can probably return it to Petsmart and get a bigger one...

Thanks again!
Howard
 

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No, it's not too small, but they need to be able to see each other. The wire ones work out better for that. The water and food dishes are probably on the door of the kennel? So how will they be able to really see each other?
 
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