It’s easier to breed domesticated birds than those caught in the wild. You need at least two pairs, although it may be difficult to get even one. That’s because parrots can be picky about their partners and the couple may not even tolerate each other, much less build a nest together. You may have to wait several months before they settle down.
However, once you’ve found your breeding pair, the next step is to create housing for them. Each pair should have its own nesting box. Parrots can get territorial during mating season and you might find your two males attacking each other!
The size of the nesting box depends on the size of the bird. A macaw will definitely need more room than a parrotlet! You can purchase nesting boxes from a pet store or build one yourself. You will also need to provide a variety of nesting material, as each parrot has its own personal preference. Some like pine shavings, others will need peat. Some breeders even give small chunks of wood or small twigs that the parrot can gnaw on.
The nesting box should also have a hole, usually placed near the top, with a perch right below it. The size of the hole also depends on the parrot variety. A hole that’s too big will make the mother feel wary of “predators” or other dangers. A hole that’s too small will make it very difficult for the parents to get in and out of the box.
You will need to invest in high quality pellets and seeds from the time the pair begins breeding to the time that the chicks are weaned. Some breeders give additional milk, bread or calcium. You should have a veterinarian check on the breeding pairs before they mate, and during the time the eggs are being laid. Sometimes the egg gets “stuck”, a condition called egg binding. Don’t attempt to remove it yourself—call someone who’s been trained to do this!
After the hatchlings, you should avoid handling them too much. The parents may get agitated, and may refuse to take care of them altogether. However, when the hatchlings are a month old, you have to start thinking about whether or not you will hand-feed them. You will need an incubator, and should be prepared to provide meals every 2 hours. It’s hard to be a mama parrot! Hand fed babies are tamer and are easier to train.
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