The next thing you need is a suitable cage or aviary. As this subject has been covered in another booklet by PARROTCARE - Breeding parrots in captivity I will not dwell on the subject here. Diet and nutritition are also areas covered in the previously mentioned booklet and will also not be covered here in any depth. Safe to say that the only way in which an egg can get the required minerals and vitamens is via the diet of its parents. The parents diet relates directly to hatchability. Calcium in the parents’ diet ensure that egg shells are strong and also the bone structure of the chick in such a way as to ensure rickets is not present in the new born youngster. In days gone by, it was believed that sufficient calcium could be derived from cuttle fish bone alone to ensure the breeding birds needs. This is now known to be incorrect and numerous high density liquid calcium products exist on the market. Providing these calcium products are given on a routine basis egg binding should be almost eliminated. Most of these calcium based products also contain Vitamin D3, which is essential for birds kept indoors without their main source of sunlight. Providing these products are administered as prescribed, no danger will be caused to the birds from over-dosing. Relying totally on the parents to incubate and feed their babies through to conclusion is fraught with dangers and therefore it is an insurance policy to own at least one incubator and brooder to cover eventualities in the case of a disaster. There are numerous reasons why a clutch of eggs should be taken from the parent birds. The hen who fails to incubate correctly. This habit sometimes carries on after the first clutch and for some unknown reason she may never be a bird who will sit throughout the incubation period. If regular checks are made of the nest cavity, it may be possible to discern whether eggs are correctly incubated by their temperature. If eggs are found to be cold after the first few days of incubation, then the hen is obviously not sitting correctly. It is worth taking these eggs and placing them in the incubator as even eggs that have been incubated for a short period of time by the hen and then left to cool will still hatch if caught early enough. Parents may break the eggs by either descending too quickly into the nest box or simply eating them. In this case it is possible to put dummy eggs under the parrot until they learn not to break them. It is sometimes easy to forget that birds are on a steep learning curve at this stage in their lives and can be forgiven mistakes, as this is often the way they will learn. Occasionally a parrot may lay an egg directly from the perch and not in the nest box. In my experience this isusually a one off and more often than not the egg is broken. It is also possible to use other species of parrots who are laying simultaneously to be used as surrogate sitters for those birds that are not able to do it for themselves. Remember it is always better that a parrot should incubate her eggs for the longest period of time possible even if it is the intention to remove the eggs at a later stage. It is not possible to leave eggs under the surrogate parents if they are not in the same breeding cycle chronologically of the pair the eggs have been taken from. For instance, if eggs were to hatch at an earlier stage than antIcipated by the sitting hen, she would find it difficult to cope with the situation. Likewise if eggs were about to hatch after her own eggs would normally, the hen may desert the eggs and there would be a subsequent loss of potential chicks. For those parent birds who eat their eggs, it is advisable to check nests just before dark as parrots lay their eggs in the early evening.




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