Greens generally tend to rise to mate as soon as they are mature. However, Golds do not seem to rise until well after their second Turn and sometimes it is later than this. The reasons for this are purely speculative, but may be in some part due to the egg-laying process. As a rule Greens rise to mate approximately four times a Turn. Golds rise less often, about twice a Turn.
Female Dragons generally show a change in colour as an indication of rising to mate. This colour change occurs a few days before a Green will rise, her Rider generally becoming irascible and displaying uncharacteristic behaviour. In Golds this may differ. A Gold generally shows no colour change until the day she rises to mate and, on that day, she is usually sleepy, wakening from a deep slumber only when she is ready to rise. Her Rider may show signs of 'proddiness' a day or two before she rises. Threadscoring and similar traumas can cause a Dragon to rise unexpectedly, with little or no warning.
When a female is ready to rise, the males sensitive to her are induced to blood their kills. As she awakens, primitive instincts take over, and she must be prevented from gorging by her Rider. This is extremely important, since a full-stomached female may not achieve the height necessary to successfully mate before crashing to the ground.
Territorial drive within Golds is extremely strong during mating, and all other Golds, unless egg-heavy or attending to a clutch, should be removed from the Weyr since a mating Gold may induce heat which will ultimately result in a battle, each trying to keep 'her' males. It is somewhat advantageous that Greens are less territorial, since their sheer numbers would be extremely disruptive to the Weyr.
During a flight, the male sexual drive is largely competitive. They generally finish blooding before the female, due somewhat to the fact that they started before the female and also to the fact that they watch for the sign of the female rising into the air, seeking to be close behind her as she leaves the feeding grounds. He will seek to out manoeuvre the other males and catch the female. Different techniques seem to be necessary to catch Green and Gold. The Greens are more agile, but tire quicker, whilst the Golds are somewhat slower but have more endurance than all the males. Aggressiveness is an integral part of some mating flights and a Dragonhealer may need to be on hand.
Greens may mate with any male Dragon, but only Brown and Bronze Dragons have a chance of catching a Gold. No Gold eggs and very few Bronzes are produced from Brown-Gold pairings. They are highly discouraged in Senior Golds, even though the offspring are healthy. Longer, higher flights generally result in a greater number of offspring and a higher ratio of metallics to chromatics.
Only Gold Dragons are fertile, which was thought to be related to their ability to digest Firestone, however there is some speculation on this point. They produce clutches that range from ten to forty eggs, with occasionally one or two 'dead' eggs, which are generally of no concern. Typically a Gold is gravid for twelve to fifteen sevendays. The eggs then spend five weeks hardening on the heated sands of the Hatching Ground before hatching.