Mating Behaviours in Ring-Necked Doves (Seeking Input)

JKH

In the Brooder
Oct 9, 2020
15
17
37
Dear Dove Community,

I am a relatively new dove owner, and am trying to understand these beautiful birds.

I have recently witnessed certain mating behaviors in my ring-necked doves and would be interested in your feedback.

My happily paired couple of young ring-necks, Snickers (he) and Ginger (she), hatched a baby dove on Christmas (baby Chippy). (I had removed the second egg, not wanted many more doves.) This was their third attempt, because they abandoned earlier nests when the eggs rolled out. (They now have a better nesting site.)

After about 6 weeks, Chippy began presenting male behaviours. He would approach his mother (Ginger) with the typical bobbing motion of a bow coo. Chippy would also enact the bow coo sounds, which wouldn't come our right (there was only a squeaky whistle) but he kept on with the whole performance. Ginger would usually fly away, and baby Chippy would follow and do it again. Chippy also began flying onto my head, something his father (Snickers) does often (but Ginger won't do). All the while, Snickers has become very territorial with Chippy and chases him away from various favorite perches. From all this, I have come to the conclusion that baby Chippy is a boy. These sexual behaviors seem to be appearing earlier than what is reported in various writings about ring-necked doves.

Last night, Chippy and Snickers (son and father) were hanging out together, preening themselves, on top of a cabinet. Then, Chippy very aggressively went to feed from his father, Snickers--which he hasn't done in about three weeks. Snickers actually indulged Chippy in one of the longest feeding exchanges I've seen yet. Then, to my surprise, Snickers (a very alpha male), crouched into the female mating stance. Baby Chippy jumped onto his back and went through with mating, that is, fluttered his wings to stay balanced while trying to connect by his vent. Snickers acted like an agreeable female the entire time.

As a someone who is fascinated by doves, I am curious if other dove owners have experienced:
  • gendered behaviours appearing at two months (and are they reliable, long-term)?
  • baby male doves trying to mate with their mothers
  • baby male doves trying to mate with their fathers, who do not resist the process
I would appreciate any commentary on this situation. I would also welcome any future-looking suggestions, relating to whether these three doves will be happy together long-term. Of note, they live in my bathroom, not a cage, so there is plenty of space. But I am worried for Ginger (who is a gentle darling) being constantly chased by two competing male doves.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to your responses.
 
Jul 15, 2020
1,821
2,487
236
Washington State 8a/8b
1. Gendered behaviors at two months (and reliability long term)
-Haven't noticed any gendered behaviors when they were young (before sexual maturity) in my doves, but occasionally I'll see something odd in my pigeons (birm rollers) but it hasn't been reliable until sexually mature

2. Baby doves mating with either parent
-Not this either, I've seen feeding behaviors (begging for food, asking for food, being fed, chasing for food) from babies up until 2-3 months old in both my pigeons and doves.

I've seen my adult doves (bought as adults, ranging from 1-3 years old) mount each other indiscriminately and within my group both sexes bow & coo. I know for sure that I have a pair as they've hatched out quite a few little squabs already, doves really are difficult to sex, let alone when they're young. In my pair you'd think they're two hens by the way they act, sometimes makes me wish doves had sex linked colors or got hackles/saddles like rooster ;D Good luck!
 

Serin

Crowing
Feb 3, 2019
1,089
4,884
301
Chicagoland
Dear Dove Community,

I am a relatively new dove owner, and am trying to understand these beautiful birds.

I have recently witnessed certain mating behaviors in my ring-necked doves and would be interested in your feedback.

My happily paired couple of young ring-necks, Snickers (he) and Ginger (she), hatched a baby dove on Christmas (baby Chippy). (I had removed the second egg, not wanted many more doves.) This was their third attempt, because they abandoned earlier nests when the eggs rolled out. (They now have a better nesting site.)

After about 6 weeks, Chippy began presenting male behaviours. He would approach his mother (Ginger) with the typical bobbing motion of a bow coo. Chippy would also enact the bow coo sounds, which wouldn't come our right (there was only a squeaky whistle) but he kept on with the whole performance. Ginger would usually fly away, and baby Chippy would follow and do it again. Chippy also began flying onto my head, something his father (Snickers) does often (but Ginger won't do). All the while, Snickers has become very territorial with Chippy and chases him away from various favorite perches. From all this, I have come to the conclusion that baby Chippy is a boy. These sexual behaviors seem to be appearing earlier than what is reported in various writings about ring-necked doves.

Last night, Chippy and Snickers (son and father) were hanging out together, preening themselves, on top of a cabinet. Then, Chippy very aggressively went to feed from his father, Snickers--which he hasn't done in about three weeks. Snickers actually indulged Chippy in one of the longest feeding exchanges I've seen yet. Then, to my surprise, Snickers (a very alpha male), crouched into the female mating stance. Baby Chippy jumped onto his back and went through with mating, that is, fluttered his wings to stay balanced while trying to connect by his vent. Snickers acted like an agreeable female the entire time.

As a someone who is fascinated by doves, I am curious if other dove owners have experienced:
  • gendered behaviours appearing at two months (and are they reliable, long-term)?
  • baby male doves trying to mate with their mothers
  • baby male doves trying to mate with their fathers, who do not resist the process
I would appreciate any commentary on this situation. I would also welcome any future-looking suggestions, relating to whether these three doves will be happy together long-term. Of note, they live in my bathroom, not a cage, so there is plenty of space. But I am worried for Ginger (who is a gentle darling) being constantly chased by two competing male doves.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to your responses.

Yes, the male behaviors are indicative of a male and they appear very early.

I have not seen male mounting in doves but it is not that unusual. It's a little more unusual given the young age, but I have seen a young male about the same age canary mount its father the same way and the father canary also adopted female crouch posture. Birds can show a very wide range of sexual expression and have little concept of incest. I have seen male birds of other species engage in same-sex mating where one willingly adopts a female role including zebra finches and button quails.

Male doves are generally very territorial, so keep a close watch. A lot of breeders would say it is best to remove the young one from the adult's space now, eventually the males will likely fight and without room to escape will pull feathers, injure and stress each other, especially if there is only one female (the mom). Males can sometimes kill one another. This is possible once the young one is fully molted and sexually mature (around 4 months.) But every bird is an individual. If the birds get along, let them be. Doves are not such a vicious species they can murder one another in an instant as are some birds. You will know if you need to intervene.
 

JKH

In the Brooder
Oct 9, 2020
15
17
37
1. Gendered behaviors at two months (and reliability long term)
-Haven't noticed any gendered behaviors when they were young (before sexual maturity) in my doves, but occasionally I'll see something odd in my pigeons (birm rollers) but it hasn't been reliable until sexually mature

2. Baby doves mating with either parent
-Not this either, I've seen feeding behaviors (begging for food, asking for food, being fed, chasing for food) from babies up until 2-3 months old in both my pigeons and doves.

I've seen my adult doves (bought as adults, ranging from 1-3 years old) mount each other indiscriminately and within my group both sexes bow & coo. I know for sure that I have a pair as they've hatched out quite a few little squabs already, doves really are difficult to sex, let alone when they're young. In my pair you'd think they're two hens by the way they act, sometimes makes me wish doves had sex linked colors or got hackles/saddles like rooster ;D Good luck!

Dear Northwest,
Thanks ever so much for your thoughtful response. In a different post I provided an update on my dove family. I am learning a lot and only wish I had more space for more doves! All the best, Jenna
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom