African Grey parrots are one of the most well known and sought after species in the pet bird industry. With their high intelligence and ability to easily mimic the human language, the number of people breeding these birds is rising. African Greys are ideal birds for the experienced breeder to incorporate into his breeding program.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Breeding pair(s) of African Greys
- Flight cage
- Nest box
- Hand-feeding formula
- Digital thermometer
- Fledgling cage(s)
Assemble the flight cage. Equip the cage with multiple perches of various sizes, a sturdy wooden nesting box, food and water stations, and some toys for the birds to play with. Additionally you may also choose to provide your birds with a full spectrum light to help maintain and control your bird's breeding cycle. Ideally, breeding pairs are stimulated by the sight and sound of other breeding pairs, so having two or more pairs in the same area can help encourage the desired breeding behaviours.
Feed your breeding pair(s) a high protein diet. African Greys need a diet that is high in calcium, so you can choose to provide calcium supplements during the breeding season. Adding fresh dark green foods such as kale, and eggs with the shell are good natural calcium supplements. You can also purchase calcium supplements online from a variety of retailers.
Observe any mating behaviours, chewing of the nest box, and increased time spent within the nest box. All are signs that indicate eggs are soon to follow.
Allow the parents to incubate and hatch the eggs after they are laid. Leave the chicks with the parents for a minimum of 10 days, for a period of up to 25 days. During this period of time, set-up the brooder and ensure it is working properly and has been configured to the correct heat and humidity settings.
After 10 to 25 days, pull the chicks out for hand-feeding. Settle the chicks into the brooder. Once every three to four hours, remove the chicks from the brooder for feeding. Mix the hand-feeding formula according to packaging instructions, and use your digital thermometer to test the temperature. Feed the chicks using a clean syringe each time, using slow methodical movements.
Adjust the brooder temperature and feeding patterns accordingly as the chicks grow. Once they are able to regulate their own body temperature and have feathers, you can move them to fledgling cages. Place perches low, as Grey babies are quiet clumsy. Also place bowls of water and softened food in easily accessible locations. Once the chicks are weaned using your preferred weaning method, you can place them for sale or hold them back for future breeding programs.
Tips and warnings
- Before attempting to breed parrots, study methodology under a local breeder. Learn to hand-feed correctly, and be certain you are comfortable handling chicks.
- You can use a small pet bird cage as a fledgling cage.
- Rope perches are great for young birds learning how to grip.
- Always test the temperature of the hand-feeding formula before feeding it to the chicks. Formula that is too hot can burn the babies' crops.
- Ensure that your schedule is suitable for breeding before getting too deep into the project. Chicks need to be fed every three to four hours around the clock at a young age, which can interfere with a normal work schedule.
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