Requirements For Bird Breeding


Patience and optimism are essential attributes for every bird breeder. To make it on the rocky path to success, breeders must see the glass as “half full” rather than “half empty.” There is no one who has been interested in this engrossing activity for a few years who cannot recount several incidents to support this remark. I, for one, am no exception.

One of our Macaw couples’ stories is a perfect example. We were fortunate to locate a gorgeous Blue and Gold youngster with one deformed foot 10 years ago, at a price that was just appropriate for our then very restricted bird budget. We called him Stumpy, which wasn’t a very delicate choice, but he didn’t seem to mind. Stumpy grew up as a family pet, a wonderful bird, until nature demanded that he have a mate. Henrietta, a huge, mature, and equally stunning Blue and Gold, was discovered for him after a lengthy search – no discount price on her!

In the aviary, Stumpy and Henrietta were paired up in a lovely cage cage, but they appeared entirely incompatible. Stumpy dangled from the cage’s sides, crying out to members of the family. Henrietta remained at the far end, bleating like a sheep. It took a year for them to even share the same perch.

Two years of dedicated care and feeding passed before these two acquired some tolerance for one other, and another year before they formed a cordial but platonic connection. Changes in cages and nest boxes having had little impact over the years, we eventually acquired a walk-in flight the size of a small room for them. It was put up under the shadow of a huge tree among blossoming hibiscus and waving palms. A partial roof was erected, and specific perches were procured. Overall, we felt we had created a tiny bird paradise for them.

They soared about merrily, clearly pleased with their new surroundings, although Stumpy still shouted for the family at sunset, and Henrietta bleated like a sheep.

We persisted. “Stumpy is probably still too young. Give him a little more time “That was our response. Henrietta began making romantic approaches after another year in their luxury house, and Stumpy began to accept them. After months of witnessing them preening, eating, and generally enjoying a lovely courtship, the happy news came out. They were finally mating! The excitement was palpable.

The nest box has been replenished with new wood shavings. Henrietta quickly and aggressively scratched them out, causing quite a commotion. We reasoned, “Whatever she wants- whatever makes her happy.” Then, joy of joys, she gave birth to an egg.

Even my positive disposition was tested the following morning when the long-awaited egg was discovered on the flight’s floor, crushed of course. We concluded that the problem must have been with the nest box and had another kind placed when no more eggs were produced and another breeding season had gone.

Spring came ten years after Stumpy arrived in our house, and we were certain that we would get young Blue and Golds from the couple this year. If not this season, then certainly next year. We adore and cherish the couple so much that giving up on Stumpy and Henrietta is not even an option, no matter how many years pass. As summer comes, it seems that it will take yet another year.

Honey was a newborn Sun Conure who had been purchased as a pet for my Mother as her first bird. He was a hand-fed infant who was lavished with toys and attention. His name was chosen incorrectly. He was the epitome of a grumpy, ill-mannered bird. He screamed and bit everyone, even the hand that brought him his favorite delicacy, apple finely chopped precisely the way he liked it. After two years of daily work, his vocabulary consisted of shouting “Keep quiet!” at the dog. He yelled fiercely at any visitors that entered the residence. Mother has had enough of him.

We moved him next door to our aviary to put him up for breeding since he was a gorgeous specimen, huge for a Sun, plump and healthy. We discovered a meek, sweet-tempered young hen that was prepared to put up with Honey after testing him with many other chickens. Honey did not seem to enjoy other birds much better than humans, yet he tolerated this partner. Another breeding season passed with each effort to locate him a suitable spouse. We are hoping that Honey will father several offspring for us as his young hen grows. Meanwhile, he continues to yell at the other birds, “Keep quiet!”

Fortunately, these incidents are not typical of what happens in our aviaries. To balance out the failures, we have hundreds of instances of pleasant achievements throughout the years. We were thrilled to discover that our pair of enormous and extraordinarily beautiful but untested Green Winged Macaws had mated and laid two eggs shortly after their acquisition. A nighttime visit by a possum crawling around their flight surprised them, resulting in smashed eggs. We are disappointed, but we are looking forward to the next season, certain that we have two excellent parents capable of laying healthy eggs.

Every breeder goes through these “ups and downs.” No one m isses them anymore as time passes. The struggles and accomplishments are what make this such an interesting and exciting activity. Besides, what a waste of good talk when we get together with friends if everything went perfectly all of the time!

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