Breeding Parrots is one concept that parrot lovers and owners think about. But sometimes it could be hard for them to succeed in it. There are many factors that could lead to the failure of breeding, and one of them is the type of parrots you intend to breed. African grey parrots, for example, are one of the easiest types to breed. But, if you don’t have the needed experience, and the right instruction and information, you are probably gonna fail in breeding African grey parrots.
And in this article, you will learn everything you need to know to breed African greys, you will know the perfect cage and nesting box sizes, the perfect temperatures and humidity that you pair need, what food to serve to them, how long you will wait, and how to care for the African grey parrot’s new eggs. You will learn how to provide safety and privacy to your pair. And if they are going to breed for the first time, they really need it.
And before that, I highly recommend you to read this article (Breeding Parrots Basics), to understand this concept and know everything your pair needs and why they actually need it. You are basically going to learn how to think like parrots regarding breeding and laying eggs.
And without further ado, let’s get into this.
Table of Contents
How to Breed African Grey Parrots
If you have tried to breed African greys before but didn’t succeed, these steps will help determine the reason for that failure. Trust me, if you follow these steps, you will succeed in breeding African greys. To breed African greys, there are a few things that you need to do and prepare before you put your pair in the breeding cage. And they are:
Select The Pair
The selection of the pair is the most important thing to breed African grey parrots successfully. You need your pair to be opposite in gender, and if you don’t trust the seller you need to do a DNA test to make sure, but usually, there should be a ring band on the parrots right or left eggs, that will tell you more information about it, sometimes you will find the gender, either he was a male or female.
The second thing is age. African grey parrots mature sexually at 7 and sometimes older. Yet, having a 7 years old African grey doesn’t mean that the bird can mate successfully, it might need one or two years to learn how to mate and fertilize the eggs of the female. So, it’s better to find 10 years and older African grey to attempt breeding.
Parrots without rings are probably feral, and feral is harder to breed than tamed parrots. The tamed parrots can feel security and safety easily, almost with every owner, and at breeding times. It’s up to you to buy either a tamed or untamed pair, but make sure that the parrots are old enough, from the opposite sexes, and they are healthy as much as possible.
It’s ok to mix feral and tamed parrots as mates, but remember that the feral parrots won’t feel the safety and privacy unless you provide them at top levels.
Introduce The Couple
The introduction is the second step, where the pairs are going to meet each other. First of all, you need to consider doing this step in another place, different from the breeding place. It’s because of the mentality of some African grey parrots in the wild they meet and get along in one place, and then they fly away to a different place to mate, lay eggs, and care for the little chicks.
So you need to imitate this behavior.
Besides that, you have 2 options regarding this step. One is to involve yourself in the introduction process, by letting playing and socializing with them together.
Two is to let mother nature do it for you, and it’s the faster method. You can put the male and female parrots in the same cage and let them do their things.
You may notice that they show some aggression to each other, but it’s totally normal, it’s natural behavior, especially between male and female mates, and they won’t hurt each other.
They are basically showing their strength and health to each other, it’s necessary for them to do that, and if one mate is weak or not healthy, the success in breeding African greys could be impossible, so do your best at the selection step.
Prepare The Breeding Cage
Preparing the cage is easy if you know what are the perfect measurements African greys need.
For the cage, it should be at least 100cm in width, 100-75cm in height, and 100-60cm in depth.
The last thing is the perch, you need to bring thick and heavy perch for your birds to stand. The thick perch will help the female hold tight and steady when the male goes above her.
If the male felt that the female is shaking or she is having a problem holding him, he will probably stop mating with her thinking that she is not strong enough, so make sure to take this in mind.
Prepare The Nesting Box
The nesting box should be at least, 30cm in width, 50cm in height, 50cm in depth, wooden nesting box is good, you can use the L letter-shaped nesting box as its preferable for breeding African greys, but make sure the size is good for African greys breeding.
Put a little bit of sawdust in the nesting box, you should also keep it dry all the time. Don’t put water or anything wet.
The nesting box is not just for the pair to lay eggs in, but also the parrots will hide in it when you show up inside the breeding room. So the nesting box is one more level of privacy.
Remember, these standards are not required if you can provide bigger spaces like aviaries, but you should never go below these standards in confined places. After you finish preparing the cage and the nesting box, place them in the breeding room, at the farthest place from the door.
Here is A detailed Article about Breeding cage and nesting box for African greys
Calibrate the Temperature and humidity
This part is very important to do in the environment you are intending to breed your African grey couple in. I mean think about it. African grey parrots in the wild live in relatively hot weather and higher humidity degrees. Therefore, you have to do it.
For African greys, the perfect temperature regarding the temperature is between 77F and 82F and it should never exceed 86F at noon times. And if you live in cold areas, it should never be under 77F.
This is the perfect range to breed African grey parrots.
And for the humidity, the perfect range is between 45-65 all the time.
There are multiple methods to provide these conditions.
Provide The Maximum Privacy and Safety
Breeding African greys are mostly impossible if you can not provide safety and privacy, I mean if you are going to go in and out into the breeding places a lot of times, it’s probably going to cause unnecessary anxiety for your couple and will prevent them from breeding.
Privacy and safety are relative, and it mostly depends on how your couple is used to you, and how tamed is the couple.
For untamed pairs, it’s kinda harder to provide the needed level of safety and privacy. They may need extra standards and preparations to succeed in breeding African greys.
The first breeding attempt for the couple also requires extra levels of security. The easiest pairs to breed are pairs that are bonded to you and have been bred successfully before in your custody.
So, if your pair got the experience, it’s going to make breeding easy. The same goes for you as the owner and the experience will make you understand what is the perfect levels of privacy and safety they need.
The best method to do so is to allocate a private room in your house. The room should be empty as much as possible from any distractions like other pets, TV, or any other things.
You need to forget about this room and you should never use it, it’s going to only be for breeding African greys.
The voices in the rest of the house are also a bad element that you should avoid when you attempt breeding African greys.
Some experts suggest that using a Sound insulator in the breeding room is sufficient. I didn’t try it myself, but it should be a good solution if it’s really insulating external sounds.
the sound insulation is sometimes optional, and other times it may be necessary, so if you live alone like me you are probably not going to need it.
The pair, when they are together they should never see you going inside the room suddenly, you should notify them before that by knocking on the doors before you get in, especially when refilling the food and water.
The same also when you check for the eggs at the nesting box, you should knock it before you open it. You can use a monitoring camera attached to the nesting box. So that you will know if there is a clutch of eggs before you open the box.
And here how to provide and maintain privacy and safety at its maximum with more details on how to regulate your entrance times into the breeding room, when you need to refill the food and water again, and how to make the notification before you enter.
Diversify The Diet
Most African grey parrots can thrive by eating seeds as their main diet, and when it comes to breeding, the diet should be diversified to fulfill the increasing nutritional need at breeding times.
You can add more fruits and veggies, dried is the best to prevent them from rot if the greys refused and ignored them, you need to make sure that you provide enough calcium, the calcium will help the female laying healthy eggs and regain her energy after this exhausting event.
Moderate portions of boiled eggs are an excellent source of calcium. Serve it with its shell, do not peel it.
This is a wide topic and I will be writing a detailed article on it, but in general, grains, oily seeds, fruits, veggies, and legumes will help to suffice the nutritional requirements.
After that, you should be waiting for your pair to mate and lay eggs. The time you should expect differs from pair to pair, and it also depends on the experience they got from breeding and the conditions you provided.
But for beginner pairs and owners and breeders, you should expect something between 6-12 months for your pair to succeed with breeding. This time includes the introduction process that could last for 2 months at least.
After your parrots get some experience with breeding, the time will decrease to 4-6 months to lay a new set of eggs. So you need to have patience, especially if your couple is attempting breeding for the first time.
Remember that the pair have this instinct within their genes. They will do it naturally and your part is to provide the optimum conditions for them.
How To Care For African Grey Eggs
When your pair breed successfully, they will lay a clutch of 2-5 eggs you have 2 options depending on the situation.
1- If your pair is breeding for the first time I highly suggest that you use an incubator, I mean sometimes parrots can breed and lay eggs but they may suffer from stress and anxiety, and these feelings could induce them to destroy their eggs, and when they do, the likely to develop this behavior as a bad habit and do it every time they breed because sometimes doing so could be joyful for them. So you need to get an incubator if your parrots are breeding for the first time.
2- if you know your pair can incubate the eggs with no harm, then it’s a good idea to let the parents take care of the eggs.
The eggs could take between 18-34 days to hatch, and here’s how to incubate parrot eggs.
What to Do With The Baby Greys
After the babies hatch from their eggs, you need to realize that you just gained a fresh experience that could make you some money on the side. You can either sell them as young as possible or train them yourself.
Training the baby parrots from day one and hand-feeding them will let them form a bond with the owner, a strong bond to the extent that he can fly freely outside and come back after you call him.
This type of training can succeed only if started with the parrots at a very young age, 1 year and younger, and I Actually have written a step-by-step guide on how to train your parrot not to fly away.
If you trained the new chicks on flying and coming back, you can double the profit with ease. People will pay higher prices if you just let the bird fly freely and come back to you.
As breeding African greys is kind of hard, every kind of parrot is easy to breed, but you should first study and learn and imitate the natural habitat and behaviors they do in the wild in the breeding season.
And this is the hard part. It’s sometimes hard to prepare the right environment for an African grey to breed successfully. You will need a private area, some equipment. That will cost money.
And if you are a beginner you will be skeptical, thinking about what to do if I failed, how to make up my loss, and this kind of mentality will lead the owner of the parrot lover to complicate things more and more. However, you should make your preparations at the best level you can.