Breeding parrots is a topic that a lot of parrot owners think about as an impossible thing to do with their pets, at least for beginners that don’t have straightforward information. For experienced breeders who own big aviary spaces, it’s a lot easier for them to get a higher success rate on breeding parrots.
For me, I tried multiple times to make my parrot pairs succeed with breeding, and let me tell you it’s going to be hard, especially when you try to do it for the first time. But when you get the experience, it will be a lot easier. I made a lot of mistakes, but my pairs made it, eventually. I am talking about pairs of African Greys, Cockatoos, macaws, conures, budgies, and cockatiels.
This success wasn’t easy to achieve, especially with the overwhelming information you find online. Such information is kind of misleading and won’t show you the steps that you need to do for your parrots. If you think breeding parrots is just about providing an incubator and breeding cage, you are totally wrong. Breeding parrots is a lot more than that.
Although they all need the same basics. But it’s more like a puzzle, and every type of parrot has its own pieces that you need to assemble. Besides that, understanding the breeding behavior of your pairs, providing a safe environment for them, not to mention the selection process, and the dietary requirements. These are all critical at any breeding attempt you intend.
However, after I researched this topic online, I understand now why this is so hard and overwhelming for owners. All the information I found online is talking about the equipment you need, without showing why you need them. So, I decided to write down this article with straightforward information that will make this process easy for you and your parrots.
Table of Contents
- So, How To Breed Parrots?
- Why Breeding is a Good Idea for You and Your Parrots
- Breeding Parrots Steps and Instructions
- How To Prepare The Place and Provide Optimum Conditions
- What is the Difference in Breeding Different Types of Parrots
So, How To Breed Parrots?
Breeding parrots in captivity can happen after providing nutritious food, a cage, a nesting box, a safe place, privacy, calibrating humidity, and temperature. However, each breed has its own specifications, like the nesting box and cage size, humidity and temperature, etc.
In this article, you will understand this process from your bird’s perspective, which is the key to success where every beginner fails to achieve.
Without further ado, let’s get into this.
Why Breeding is a Good Idea for You and Your Parrots
This is where it gets a little ethical. Anyway, pet companions living with people usually get a lot of care, attention, and playing times resulting in a happy life, at least for the majority.
Some of them will get neglected and will be left alone on the streets with no shelter, food, and safety. Such pets will struggle to survive, and most of them will fail and die and the end.
Fortunately, this happens to a small number of household pets.
Returning to the most pets that will get a happy life, they usually go through hard times, both for them and for their owners, and here we are talking about breeding times.
For Most cats and dogs, breeding times bring troubles for the owner, the pets will get crazy and unpredicted, and this can be solved with a simple surgery called neutering, which a lot of owners go for.
This surgery will save the owners a lot of problems and will prevent these mammals from showing breeding behaviors, aggression, Etc.
So, somehow this surgery is all about the owners, and for me, I truly believe it’s unethical to neuter a pet only for the sake of my convenience.
And if I am going to raise any kind of pets, I will go all for it. I will get them in pairs, male and female. I won’t neuter them at any cost, I will give them the chance to breed like normal animals. And this is how to be ethical when you raise any kind of pet, at least in my opinion.
This is about mammals like dogs and cats. But for parrots, it gets really harsh, especially if they were lone pets, or the owner didn’t give them the chance to breed.
Either by not preparing the right conditions and environment, or by the owner’s ignorance about breeding parrots, and how they need to have the chance to be normal, which will reflect on their mental health.
Some will say why not neuter the parrots to save them this pain and struggle without realizing that neutering is out of the table for parrots. Birds are not like mammals, they cannot go under this surgery.
So, pet parrots going through breeding times is a reality, and there is no way around it. They will struggle and show aggression. They will go under stress and depression because of the hormonal activity occurring at that time.
This will put you as an owner in front of two options. One is to ignore it, two is to let your parrots breed, which I really recommend, and I believe it’s the ethical way when raising a parrot.
Breeding will make your parrots feel normal and express their behaviors and desires, which will contribute to their overall health.
This from the parrot’s perspective, let go through why breeding parrots is also good for owners.
As an owner, and when you try on breeding parrots, you are learning more about your companions. And that will you able on providing them with a better life.
Being an owner with such information and experience will open new doors and opportunities for you. For example, you can sell the new chicks for a profit later on, especially as the market is witnessing a rising trend, demanding more young pet parrots. So There is a big chance of making money breeding parrots.
You can sell for a profit if you cannot handle a lot of birds.
I know some people will say this is not ethical and it’s bad to sell new birds for profit, etc. But if you think about it, what is ethical about depriving your parrots of having their feelings and desires expressed.
However, if you are against getting some profit from that, you can put the chicks for adoption.
Besides that, getting to deal with new chicks will make you gain the knowledge and experience that every parrot trainer got. you can tame any feral parrot. You can train any parrots to fly and come back when called. And then you can sell the trained parrots at a higher price.
Basically, all the breeding parrots process you attempt will let you learn more about your pet parrot, which will reflect on the way you raise them and the way you care for them.
And with this being said, let go through the essentials you need breeding parrots.
Breeding Parrots Steps and Instructions
This is the hardest part about breeding parrots, if you successfully made it and met up these requirements, it’s going to be easy for you, and for parrots to accomplish this process. It’s only going to be a matter of time.
A lot of the resources online tell you what to do, but almost no one tells you why to do it, What I mean here, is that if you understood why this, or that step is necessary, you could figure out something unique that will serve the same purpose.
For Example, Breeding in apartments is different from breeding in specialized aviary spaces. In apartments or confined places, breeding parrots can get a little harder. Especially if many family members are living in the same place.
But with knowing what is the actual reason behind that, you can make it and provide your pair with their requirements. And in this case, the reason is privacy and safety.
Privacy And Safety
Yes, you heard it Privacy and safety are crucial for your parrots to breed successfully, and this is one of the most common mistakes when parrots owners attempt to give their parrots the chance to mate.
Parrots are very sensitive creatures, so they need this condition to mate successfully, they also need to be separated from other birds and pets.
The pair essentially need to have their focus on each other. Any distraction like voices and interruption from the owner is bad for this process, even if the birds have a powerful bond with you.
Other pets are also a huge source of distraction for breeding parrots.
I know some breeders claim that they didn’t see their parrots for 5-10 years. They just come into the private place only to refill the food and water.
So very important, and you will find a dedicated section at the end of this article showing you how to provide privacy and safety for your parrot.
The selection process is one of the important steps that you should succeed with. You don’t want to get 2 males or 2 females and expect them to reproduce and lay eggs. All parrots need a DNA test to determine their gender.
You also need to pick the right couple of parrots, you want them to be as healthy as possible; you also need to know how old are they. Getting a couple of unmatured parrots will make you wait several years before expecting them to breed. And remember, every type of parrot has a different age of puberty.
One of the best practices when picking the breeding parrots is to ask the owner or the breeder or whoever you are buying them from if the couple has a successful history of breeding. This is not necessary, but it’s also a good idea.
If you already got a couple of parrots, you need to test them and make sure they’re compatible.
You also need to make sure that the couple is from the same breed, this is very important. It’s very obvious also, but some types of parrots are very similar to other types. Macaws and Cockatoos, for example.
The introduction and getting along between the pair is a necessity. It happens in the wild, so it should happen in captivity to get success in breeding parrots.
To introduce your couple to each other, you have 2 choices: one is to involve yourself in this process, place them next to each other in different cages.
The second option is to let them get to know each other by themselves. You can put them in the same cage. At first, it’s better to observe and limit the daily time they spend together, making it 1 hour per day.
After that, you can start increasing the time as the days go on. You can also play with them, teach them both some tricks, and this will make it easier for them to develop a relationship.
Some experts say that they like to follow mother nature by putting the couple in the same cage from day 1 and letting them get along with each other the same way they do it in the wild.
If you decided to follow mother nature, you should expect screaming and noises from them, don’t panic, the male won’t kill the female they are just challenging each other. They do it like they do in the wild.
And when you go to check if there is any bleeding or wounds, you will see that there is nothing to worry about, it’s just their nature.
It’s up to you to decide, and if the pair you got are already living together, you won’t need this step.
Besides that, the introduction place should be different from the breeding place. This is because some parrots in the wild have similar behavior. They will build their relationship in one place, and when they decide to breed, they will fly and move to a new place.
Changing places could be a necessity for some small breeds like budgies and cockatiels. These small parrots have a weaker mentality, they think that the socializing and the introduction place is not safe, so they change places to hide from other birds.
So you should imitate this behavior as much as you can. You can ask for assistance from one of your friends or family members to keep the birds at their places until the pair get along with each other.
And before you judge the failure of your attempt, remember that the introduction could last for a few months before they mate and lay eggs., depending on the type.
Temperature And Humidity
This is very critical, and this is one of the major reasons that caused me to fail when I attempted breeding my parrots for the first time.
If you live in a dry or cold area, then you should get the necessary equipment, that will help you calibrate the weather in your couple’s private place. We’ll dive into it later in this article.
I know many people tried and failed, and I know that most of them failed because of this condition. So keep it in mind.
Diversifying the diet for your couple is really important for them to mate and lay healthy eggs, and to stay healthy during this period.
You can add more fruits, veggies, and sprouted seeds. You need to provide enough calcium for your pair, calcium is essential for the eggs, and the parents.
Equipment is essential that you should provide for your parrots, like cages and nesting boxes Etc, There are some specifications that you need to consider before buying anything.
This equipment is necessary to get the highest chance to succeed in breeding parrots.
Here is what need to provide;
For breeding parrots, the cage plays an important role in the success of the attempt. Every pair needs enough space within the cage. They need a space to spread and flap their wings comfortably while they stand next to each other without feeling that they’re confined in a very tight area.
The cage is important for the birds to interact with each other for the sake of breeding, and if you decided to put them both in the cage to make them get along without you getting involved in the introduction phase, then you better get wide and big cage.
The height of the cage is not important as the width is, the wider the cage, the easy for parrots to spread and flap their wings together without hitting the bars.
The perch inside the cage should be steady, because any move while they mate could prevent any success, it also should be thick enough so the female can grasp strongly on it.
As you see from the previous picture, my cage is doubled, but actually, I use the upper floor only. If you got experienced pairs of you can use both floors for breeding parrots at the same time.
The nesting box is the place where the female parrots will lay the eggs. In the wild, parrots normally lay their eggs in tree holes, and the nesting box will play the same role in captivity.
For me, I prefer the nesting box that looks like the L letter with a long enough base.
You can use a cubic nesting box, but the idea behind the L letter nesting box is that you can give your pair a chance to hide when you are going to pick the eggs. Because when you show up, your parrots will feel embarrassed (If you want to call it like that) and will scream at you, they will attempt to hide from you.
This behavior is normal with parrots, especially after the female successfully lays a clutch of eggs, they will spend more time at the nesting box.
You may want to get an incubator for the eggs, the incubator basically going to keep the eggs warm instead of the mom.
The incubator may be the safer choice for you, especially if the parent developed a behavioral disorder that will induce them to destroy the eggs.
These behavioral disorders, after laying the egg clutch, are common among parrots. There are different reasons for that, and it could be because of the diet, the inexperience of the pair, or the male aggression.
If you are going to breed your parrots for the first time, I think getting an incubator is a good idea.
Note: most parrots will lay a clutch of eggs, so you need an incubator that can hold more than 1 or 2 eggs.
Incubating time differs from type to type, and some parrots will show breeding behavior, but in the end, they will lay unfertilized eggs.
There is a possibility for that to happen, especially if the male is still a beginner in mating. He can make some mistakes, but he will succeed. Eventually. you will know that when the eggs are not hatching after finishing the incubating time.
Thermometer and Hygrometer
These 2 tools are going to help you maintain the recommended temperature and the right humidity for your parrots during their breeding time.
It’s essential and crucial to maintaining the right weather conditions for your pair. Your parrots will thrive if you could manage to provide them with these requirements. You may find yourself having more and more eggs, as some parrots could mate all year round.
The monitoring camera is essential to observe your pair without annoying them. One monitoring camera attached to the nesting box can provide your parrots with an extra level of privacy.
And it will make you able to see if there are new clutches of eggs in the nesting box without showing up.
Showing up often to check new eggs at the nesting box in front of your parrots will make them feel that the nesting box is not safe for laying eggs, and eventually will prevent them from breeding successfully.
Besides that, you don’t want to place the monitoring camera inside the nesting box; you have to drill a hole at the nesting box and place the camera lenses to record through it. You better drill the hole at the side that will make you able to see the whole nesting box ground.
How To Prepare The Place and Provide Optimum Conditions
After you pair get along with each other successfully, now you can start preparing the breeding room for them. Shifting your pair from the introduction place to the breeding place is essential to success, at least for some pairs.
not all parrots will need that, but some of them, so it’s better to consider this as the couple you got are probably going to breed for the first time.
The breeding room should maintain the temperature and humidity at a steady level. Frequent changes in these 2 conditions can cause the failure of the breeding attempt.
So you may need to get an AC in the breeding room, the AC should be running all the time, your pair should not feel any changes with the weather. The temperatures differ from type to type of parrots, but they all need a steady temperature.
The same is needed regarding humidity, and it should be steady, without any changes.
These 2 things are crucial, and I highly recommend that you get an AC and Humidifier and install them in the room you are intending to breed parrots in.
Again, any changes in temperature or humidity could cause the failure, especially at the time you open the door to refill the food, the weather inside the could slightly change.
And to avoid this you can use any of those covers that isolate the breeding cage. You can also place the cage far from the door to reduce weather changes when you open the door, also, close the door when you go inside.
The second part is to make some kind of alarm to will inform your pair that you are coming inside the room, especially at the time you refill the food and water bowls.
For me, I take advantage of the breeding room door lock, so when I open the door, the sound of the lock opening will notify the pair that I am coming so they can hide.
The same is when I am leaving. I will close the lock so they know that I am gone and they are alone.
Of course, they won’t understand this quite fast, but when you keep adhering to this routine every time you need to go inside the breeding room, your parrots eventually will understand the meaning of the lock sound, opening, and closing.
You can knock on the door before you go inside, this is also a good idea.
And every time you need to open the nesting box, you also need the knock on it to notify the pair that you will open it. Make sure not to open the nesting box if there are no eggs inside. So the monitoring camera might be important.
When you need to refill the water and food, you have to know what is the best frequency to do it, at the first days, you can go inside the breeding room every day only for the sake of knowing for how long one refilling will last.
If the bowls still have some supplies in them, do not refill, wait until the other day, exactly until there is nothing left. And when you do, you will learn how many times you need to go inside every week.
For me, I keep refilling the bowls every 2 days. And this may differ depending on the type of parrots and the size of the bowls.
And with doing this routine day by day, your parrots will know and understand that you will come inside once every 48-72 hours, and they will know that they got more than enough time for themselves.
The last thing is the light, and it’s simple. You have to provide your parrots, with 12 hours of daylight, and 12 hours of darkness.
What is the Difference in Breeding Different Types of Parrots
In general, there is no difference. They all need the same basics, but the only differences come around the technical specifications.
For Example, the size of the cages and nesting boxes differ from type to type. Don’t Expect African Greys to breed in a cage that suits cockatiels, of course, they need bigger space. The same is also for the temperature and humidity.
Levels of privacy and safety could also differ from type to type, and also from experienced to inexperienced pairs.
Besides, that every type of parrot differs from other types regarding the time they need to lay eggs, and the time the eggs need to hatch.
Breeding seasons are also different between different types of parrots
And here in this blog, we will post more detailed articles about breeding for most parrot types. This Section will update frequently.
You see, breeding parrots is all about imitating the natural behaviors and habitat as much as possible.
Sometimes parrots can breed one every year or 2 in a dry and cold area, but if you got the perfect temperature and humidity for them, the pair may breed more often, they actually might breed continuously without stopping.
The same goes for safety and privacy. It is relative and depends on the experience your pair have regarding breeding. Some parrots, and after they breed successfully under your custody, will know that you are a source of safety and they won’t hide from you when show up. They’ll still need their privacy, but not like the first time.
The same goes for the couple. If they have mated before, it is more likely to do it again under the right conditions.
So, are parrots easy to breed? The answer is yes, breeding parrots is easier after knowing what conditions they need to breed successfully, also knowing why they actually need it is important, it is crucial to understand how your parrots think. By knowing this information, you can prepare the optimum environment for breeding parrots, Privacy, safety, diet, humidity, and temperatures are all essential to success.