Eclectus parrot breeding
Eclectus parrots breed relatively easily in captivity. They mature at around two to three years of age with females often maturing a little earlier than the males. Sometimes young females will become dominant over their partners resulting in stress and feather plucking. Eggs from this period are likely to be infertile.
As eclectus parrots will sometimes mate in their log or nest box, the size of the nest site is of paramount importance. Females seem to make a habit of entering their nesting site and letting themselves drop onto the eggs with the inevitable breakages occurring. You may want to consider incorporating a ledge under the entry hole on the inside so the hen can hop onto the ledge then step down to the egg site.
In the wild, hens may spend around 11 months of the year in the nest, defending it against other hens. In captivity, she will also spend much time chewing, adding, re-arranging and/or removing nesting material. Two eggs is the normal clutch and incubation begins as soon as the first egg is laid. If desired, the first egg can be removed (replace it with an artificial egg) until the second egg is laid. This way, both eggs will hatch on the same day with each chick have an equal chance of survival.
Hens incubate the eggs for around 28 days. The baby chicks are virtually naked when hatched. A fortnight later the eyes start to open and down begins to cover the body. Another fortnight and the first coloured feathers appear. At this point you will know if you have hens or cocks. Fledging takes place at around ten to twelve weeks. Once the young are eating by themselves they can be removed.
Eclectus parrots in aviaries will breed almost year round. The eggs can be hatched in an incubator if desired and the chicks hand-reared. The chicks can also be removed from the nest if you wish to rear them by hand. Be aware that hens can be very aggressive during the breeding season.
Modern day incubators and brooders have made the backyard breeders' task much easier. Constant temperature is a breeze with thermostats and electronic controls. Cleaning and disinfecting of commercial brooders is also much easier than it once was. A newborn chick needs to be kept at a temperature of between 33 and 37oC. The need for heat diminishes as the bird becomes feathered.
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Commercial formulas also take the guesswork out of feeding young birds. However there is still a time commitment to consider. As a rough guide, chicks up to two weeks old should be fed every two hours, then every three hours to 4 weeks old, every five hours to six weeks old, every seven hours to 8 weeks old and by 9 or 10 weeks of age, the chicks will only need feeding every 12 hours. These times are approximate. Feeding intervals should be judged by the emptiness of the crop.
Use a crop tube, crop needle or a bent spoon to feed the chicks. For the first few days, food should be very thin and watery. The crop at this age is very small and will not hold much food. Don't force the chick to consume more than it wants. It will eat slowly and tire quickly. Gradually feed food of a thicker consistency.
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Once the bird begins to show a lack of interest in their food, stop the morning feeds and start to introduce a variety of soft foods such as peas, spinach or pear. Leave shallow dishes of soaked parrot mix or millet as well. Remove uneaten food each day. Soon the href="/Birds">birdswill lose interest in their evening feed and it will only be a matter or weeks before all hand-feeding can cease.
Weaning can be a difficult time for your pet parrot but it is a good time for taming it, developing good eating habits and for instilling discipline. Birds will begin flying at this time and should be provided with a low perch. Offer water twice a day. Clean off any spilled food from around the face with a warmed clean cloth. Use a bib if you wish and if the weather is hot, spray the bird with a fine warm water mist. Over the next three months you have the opportunity to instil good habits into your parrot with a routine of exercise, play and discipline.
Other articles on aviary birds that you might enjoy:
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Sulphur-crested Cockatoo - Characteristics
Alexandrine Parakeet - Characteristics
Long-billed Corella - Characteristics
Indian Ringneck Parrot - Characteristics
Eclectus Parrot - Characteristics