Caique parrots are medium sized, brightly coloured birds that originate in South America. Due to their clownish personality, affinity for interacting with humans, and unique personality traits, they have quickly skyrocketed in popularity in aviculture. Breeding caiques can be a challenging task, but can be extremely rewarding in return. Adding a couple pairs of breeding caiques into an established program should be a consideration for experienced breeders.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Breeding pair(s) of caiques
- 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 birds 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 pairs a high calcium diet, while taking into consideration the natural diet of a caique. In the wild their diet is made up of fruits, grains, and nectar. Supplementing your pairs diet with lory nectar (Goldenfeast is the recommended brand), as well as various fresh fruits and vegetables, will help keep your pairs healthy and happy through the breeding season. Calcium supplements can be purchased through various online retailers and added to your birds normal dietary regimen.
Observe any mating behaviours, chewing of the nest box, and increased time spent within the next box. All are signs that indicate eggs are soon to follow.
Once you note that eggs have been laid, keep a close eye on the birds activities. Young Caique pairs are notorious for playing with their eggs and addling the yolk before the chick is properly formed. If this is the case, leave the eggs in the box until the birds tire of them, then pull the eggs. Allow the birds to rest for a month or so before encouraging breeding behaviours again.
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 and a maximum of 25 days. During this 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 caique 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 baby caiques can be quite 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.
Breeding Caique Parrots
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.
- Caiques are not for the inexperienced breeder, and one should be throughly comfortable in their handfeeding abilities before encouraging breeding behaviours.
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