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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A question about Gender and colour mutations.

Hello! This is Pete....or possibly Peta. Pete shares a massive cage with one other bird, Pearl. Pearl recently started to lay eggs, but Pete has been acting very strange - he fights Pearl to get into the nesting box (that was put in after the eggs appeared) and sits on them all day, then abandons them at night. Since the eggs appeared I have had to remove the mirrors as Pete wishes to kill them all of a sudden. I thought that they would fight less and be nicer if they were male and female, and the fighting for who gets to sit on the eggs is strange, which leads me to ask - is Pete male or female? I can't find any barring on his wings or tail, and he is very loud compared to our girl (We know Pearl is a girl because we watched her lay an egg).

If Pete is female is it a colour genetics thing that makes there be no visible barring? I'd been told that all females have barring, but from a little bit of reading that doesn't seem to be the case!

Thank you!!:pied::wf pied:
 

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Pete is the pied mutation, which breaks all the gender-identification rules. So we can't tell his sex based on his coloring, but based on his behavior I'd guess that he's male. Both parents share the incubation duties with cockatiels, and the most common pattern is for the male to sit in the daytime and the female to sit at night. The male doesn't feed the female in cockatiels, and in the wild this incubation pattern gives the hen more time to find food and recover from laying the eggs.

The males also tend to be more aggressive than females about defending the nest from intruders. That's why he wants to kill the mirrors.

You don't say anything about them mating or acting like a bonded pair. It would help explain the arguing over who gets to sit on the eggs if Pearl doesn't see him as her mate, and instead regards him as an intruder who wants to sit on her eggs. But I've heard that even bonded pairs can argue over whose turn it is. My pairs are pretty peaceful about sharing the eggs with their mate, so it's not something that I have direct experience with. When both of them want to sit at the same time, each one takes some of the eggs and they sit in the nest together.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thank you so much, Tielfan. I have never seen them mate or act as a bonded pair - I'd even considered separating them, but that would involve building another aviary which would take a few days. Their current cage is roughly 3M by 3M, so they have space if they want to avoid one another, but typically stay relatively close despite being jerks and pulling each others tails.

Are they likely to bond if given time? The female is relatively young (2 years) and they have been together for about a year now.

If they are unlikely to bond should I add other birds to the aviary to see if they bond with other birds, or leave them?

Thank you!
 

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If they haven't formed a pair bond by this time, it's most likely that they never will. But they do have a flock bond. Two birds can hate each other and not want to be too close together. But at the same time they don't want to be too far apart, and will call to each other if they're separated. That's the power of the flock bond.

As for adding other birds, that's your decision. Any new birds might or might not form a pair bond with your existing birds. They might get along with everyone, or they might cause fighting and disruption in your little flock. We're always taking a chance when we add new birds to the flock, and we won't know how well it's going to turn out until after we've done it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks again, Tielfan, that's very helpful. The bird came to us as a rescue and I just want them to be happy and healthy, and I probably spend too much time worrying about them and telling them to just get along.
 

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If the eggs have been incubated for at least 5 days, it's a good idea to candle them to see if they're fertile. Just because you haven't seen your birds mating doesn't mean that they haven't done it. Most pairs are very overt about their mating so you can't help knowing about it, but some are sneaky. I have one pair that I have never seen mating correctly, although I've seen them doing it wrong a few times. But they have given me babies, and I don't think the hen cheated with a different male.
 
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