Breeding parrots is not something the average parrot owner should consider, as there are many things that can go wrong. Expertise is required, and you need to have a good answer to the question "Why do I want to breed parrots?"
Rainbow lorikeets preparing for family life
The following is a list of the commoner issues faced by parrot breeders.
- Calcium deficiency can result in egg-binding, so make sure females have plenty of calcium in their diet.
- Nesting hens may be attacked by a stressed male, so they need checking constantly to make sure they’re cohabiting happily. Several things can cause a male parrot to "snap", and the issues are often to do with insufficient space, or the presence of noisy and territorial neighbors, whether avian, human, canine, or feline.
- Territorial males can waste so much energy on aggression - with all its related stress - that the added pressure of feeding chicks can actually kill them.
- A breeding pair of the same – or closely related – species in close proximity can be the source of stress and aggression.
- A stressed and angry male, wound up perhaps by the rival in the next cage, may take his anger out on the nesting female, the eggs, or the chicks. Screening the nest-box section of the aviary with a solid partition can help defuse rivalries, with an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ logic (parrots being very visually-stimulated animals).
- If it’s too cold, the birds will not breed. Nesting areas should be heated to a temperature recommended for your particular species of parrot.
- Some pairs simply don’t hit it off. In this case, you will have to introduce a new prospective partner to the female (removing the unsuccessful/disinterested male first). Note: if you are keeping a flock bird like a cockatiel or budgie, the group can pair off without your intervention, which is one of the reasons why flock birds are so popular.
- Older birds will be less inclined to pair off and heed the call of nature. Young birds are more inclined to breed, and anyone new to parrot breeding should start with healthy specimens in their first year. (A reputable breeder is an absolute must here, to ensure young, healthy birds of the correct sex!)
- Many breeders temporarily separate paired birds for a week. When reintroduced, they are usually sufficiently excited to stimulate breeding hormones.
- It’s a good idea to keep plenty of fresh branches and foliage in your nesting aviary, as your parrots will instinctively respond to an environment that mimics the bird’s wild breeding habitat.