Pigeons DO NOT always produce one of each sex in the nest. This myth goes back to ancient Rome and maybe beyond. An easy way to prove this for yourself is to set up a sex-linked mating and breed about a dozen rounds. Probably the easiest of all sex-linked matings to arrange in most lofts is that of any blue-black cock mated to any ash-red hen. All young cocks from this mating will be ash-red and all young hens will be blue-black. Some of your nests will show a young cock and hen, some both young cocks, some both young hens.
Pigeons DO NOT have to be mated (nor do they always mate up) on St. Valentine's Day (Feb. 14th). Again, this is an ancient myth - though the basis may well have some degree of realism. In northern climes, day length is increasing during February and this brings about an increase of gonadal activity is birds which have been at low ebb during the shorter days and leaner times of winter. Given sufficient food and shelter though, pigeons will mate and breed at almost any time -- in fact, the problem is often how to STOP them.
The shape of the scales on a pigeon's leg DO NOT determine its worth as a flying or racing bird. (I've actually heard this one, folks!) It makes no difference whether the scales (bananas, if you will - though I have no idea where that term came in from) are straight up and down in a row or crooked. === with some of these myths, I can only presume there is a factory someplace where workers sit around all day trying to come up with the most idiotic thing they can say in order to see if someone will believe them.
No matter WHAT the breeder may try to get you to believe at a show -- muffed birds, i.e., birds with large foot feathering - DO NOT turn upside down in the air and flap their legs in order to rest their wings when they are tired.
I'm going to get into major trouble over this one. Eyesign. I have yet to see ANY controlled tests where eyesign has been definitely demonstrated to confirm if a bird is good or bad. In fact, I've seen tests that demonstrate just the opposite -- that there is, in fact, no correlations. There are lots of anecdotal stories attesting to eyesign's value, but in most cases the birds that could prove otherwise are removed from the loft before any testing. A. Nielson Hutton, who used to be in charge of the British pigeon service during WW II, wrote that he separated all his birds into two lofts by their eye sign. At the end of a few race seasons, there were just as many good and bad birds in each loft, irrespective of eyesign.
Pigeons and doves are not separate things -- they're the same. In English, we have both words since we get the first from French and the second from Dutch. In American English, at least, we tend to use dove for the smaller species such as the ringneck dove (Streptopelia roseogrisea) while we reserve the word pigeon for the larger ones like the Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata). Biologically, however, they are all in the same family. In the pigeon/dove family, both sexes produce a crop secretion (pigeon milk) to feed the young. They do not, as do many birds, feed their young insects. All pigeons/doves have beak ceres. In some species, it is very prominent, in others almost invisible. All of them are absolutely gorgeous -- if you don't believe that, check out at least one of the fruit pigeons of the tropical regions at this site.
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