Supposedly there is a 99% chance of them being INfertile. You can keyword Search "hybrid" and come up with several threads here about them full of information. Do you have one? They're pretty rare. We'd love to hear more.
Back in 1920, when the first transgenic animal was made, this would all have sounded like science fiction. The first truly transgenic animal was the red canary. The original, wild canary - which is still abundant on Tenerife and Lanzarote - is a grey-green bird. Years of selective breeding between 1400 and the mid 1600s by enthusiasts transformed it into the familiar all-yellow bird. By the early 1900s there were also deep-yellow canaries that bordered on orange and some fanciers fantasised about going that final step and creating a red one.
The impetus for doing this was the red siskin - a tiny, South American finch - that bird dealers started to import into Europe in the early 1900s. Centuries before, the Spanish had successfully hybridised red siskins with ordinary canaries. Knowing this was enough to convince Hans Duncker, a German school teacher and amateur bird enthusiast, that he could create a red canary.
Duncker planned to use exactly the same technique that the English had employed so successfully with racehorses. His impeccable logic was based on several bits of existing knowledge. First, he knew from his previous studies that the domesticated canary's yellow plumage is recessive to wild type (green) plumage. He was also aware from the reports of bird keepers that the canary's yellow colouring was recessive to the plumage of any other finch it hybridised with.
Since the 1600s, fanciers had been obsessed with breeding canary hybrids. Male finches kept with female canaries were like men in singles bars. Initially extremely choosy about who they would mate with, but as closing time (or the end of the breeding season) approached, they'd take whatever they could. The resulting offspring invariably resembled the finch parent. Duncker relied on the fact that his siskin-canary hybrids would be red. His idea was then to mate these hybrids back to yellow canaries, reject the poorly coloured ones and retain only the reddest individuals. By repeating this over several successive generations, the end point would be - he predicted - a canary the colour of blood.
Duncker partly succeeded and partly failed. He was successful because he did get red siskin genes into the canary's genome, and against all the odds some of his siskin-canary hybrids were fertile. It is commonly assumed that hybrids, like the offspring of the horse and donkey, are sterile. Whether they are, though, depends on their sex, and, as the famous evolutionary biologist JBS Haldane pointed out in 1922, on whether they are the sex-determining sex. In humans and other mammals, males produce X or Y sperm in equal numbers. If an egg is fertilised by an X sperm, the resulting offspring is female (XX); but if it is fertilised by a Y sperm, the offspring is male (XY). So, in mammals, males determine the sex of their offspring. In birds and butterflies, it is the other way around and females dictate the sex of their offspring.
What Haldane noticed with hybrids was that the sex-determining sex (technically referred to as the heterogametic sex) is either dead or sterile. In birds this is the female, and bird breeders had known for years that their hybrid offspring are much more likely to be male than female. No one has any real explanation for Haldane's rule other than the fact that the sex chromosomes cause problems when the genomes of the two species attempt to fuse at fertilisation. Duncker's siskin-canary hybrids were mainly male and a few of them proved fertile when mated back to canaries.
Duncker did not quite succeed in creating a red canary however, because "grading up" across the species boundary was far more difficult than he had ever imagined. The birds he produced were a coppery colour, but not red. There were several reasons why Duncker struggled to produce a red canary. One was that genes in the wrong genomes do not always behave in the way they "should". Current technology may make it easier to produce transgenic animals today than in Duncker's day, but many of the same problems still exist and the failure rate is high. Not until the 1960s were the first truly red canaries produced when British and American fanciers realised that as well as "red genes" the birds also needed an environmental input in the form of dietary carotenoids - red pigments. Both nature and nurture were needed to create a red canary."
Thank you very much, Rudolph, I appreciate any information about hybrids as I've had two pairs myself--one by accident with my first pigeon. I have read varying articles about how fertile they are but the general consensus seemed to say they are like mules, and cannot reproduce as a hybrid. I am glad to hear otherwise. I only have one pair now and no babies yet, but I could just have one of the infertile pairs, odds are! Thanks again for the interesting info.
I read a bunch of stuff on this awhile back and many fertile hybrids have been raised, many were from other dove breeds than our most familiar ringneck dove. They are still rare.
Most of the matings are a male ringneck to a female pigeon and this produces all sterile males and no females, according to what I have read. I have had a couple of these myself. Use a dove hen and a pigeon cock, you get both sexes and all hens were thought to be barren but I think a few have been fertile.
I believe other breeds of doves have been even more successful in producing fertile young with pigeons. This does make me wonder if we might not have other genes in some pigeons that come from another species. People have been playing with this stuff for thousands of years. Some could even have come from a breed that is now extinct.
Hopefully the DNA project that is going on right now in Utah, studying pigeons DNA, will shed some light on this. They are really just studying various breeds to see what the differences are but they may find more information than expected. I think they may very well.