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Birds

Bird Breeders 

Macaws

 

Introduction

The Macaw is the largest of the pet birds and is a very popular pet.

These birds are very intelligent and can learn to talk and learn tricks very easily. You can teach them to wave, play dead, dance, and even somersault. They also love to chew, so you will need to provide them with a lot of toys. Many bird owners are intimidated by the larger species' strong wills and large beaks. Their beaks are very strong--one bite can lead you to the emergency room. These birds are not good for first-time bird owners. You need to be very experienced with birds in order to keep one of these, somewhat difficult, creatures. You need to establish stiff boundaries with the larger species right when you bring this bird home. Otherwise, they will learn to scream, bite, or manipulate you in order to suit their needs. These are not meant to be shoulder birds--never let your large Macaw sit on your shoulder! They can become very dominantly aggressive and you do not want those strong beaks so close to your face. The smaller species are a bit easier to handle, but they still like to challenge you and keep you on your toes. If you are an experienced bird owner and are prepared to handle bites from large beaks, sometimes replacing toys every week, spending a lot of time with your bird, training your bird to keep his mind active, and spending a lot of time setting clear boundaries, then these might be the right birds for you.

 

Color Differences

They can range in color, from green, to red and green, red and yellow, blue, and blue and gold.

 

Lifespan

Up to 50 years

 

Breeding

Bond the Breeding Pair

If you’re lucky, you can buy a “proven pair” that’s already bonded and ready to mate. But if you’re buying another macaw to bond with your macaw at home, it’s time to play matchmaker.

Although it’s possible to strike love at first between two macaws, it’s best to be patient when paring them. Start by placing the bird’s cages side by side. Adjust their perches to be level and in line with each other to create the illusion of sharing the same perch. It’s okay to give a little distance between their perches, which you can slowly decrease through time until the perches are adjacent with each other but still in separate cages. When you see the two mutually feeding each other through the cage, it’s time to join the bird in one cage.

Prepare the Nest. Prepare the nest because it’s not going to be long before the pair can use it. In the wild, macaws nest in cliff crevices or tree hollows. In your house, your breeding pair is happy to use an oak barrel or a rectangular wooden nest box measuring 12x12x36 inches.

If you use an oak barrel, remove the top and replace it with removable lid. Punch a hole in the middle just enough for a single parrot to comfortably enter and exit. If you use the wooded nest box, fashion a hinged door near the bottom just enough for you to comfortably check the baby macaws inside. But, make a separate bird hole in the middle for the breeding pair to use as its door.

To prevent the breeding pair from jumping from the bird hole to the bottom of the nest, install a steel ladder where the breeding pair can use as stairs to go up and down the bottom of the nest. The nesting material should be wood chips (not pine or cedar) and small twigs you can gather from nearby woods. Encourage the breeding pair to participate in constructing the nest. Place a soft tree branch in the nest which the macaws can shred and make into nest material. Don’t forget to remove what’s left of the branch after the construction.

For a newbie, it’s best that you let your parrots incubate and rear its offspring. Just supervise if the baby parrot is properly fed and taken care of by the parents. Macaws have strong parenting instinct to know how to care for their offspring from egg to adulthood. You don’t have to interfere in most cases.

However, there are instances when the “proven pair” is not able to rear its young. In this case, you can take the eggs or the baby macaws from their parents and hand rear them yourself. Except for hyacinth and green wing macaws, macaw baby formulas are now available from pet bird stores or from your vet’s office. You can ask a veterinary technician to show you how to hand rear baby macaws to properly care for your fids (feathered kids).

Lovebirds

 

Introduction

Lovebirds are very popular pets and are a good for first-time bird owners.

These birds are great pets for older children but may be a bit too nippy for younger children.

They are quiet birds, so they can live in an apartment with you. They can also be friendly with all members of your family if they are hand-fed and socialized from a young age. They can become nippy as they mature if they are not properly or consistently handled. They need to be kept singly or they will bond with each other rather than you.

The most popular types kept as pets are the Fischer's, Masked, and Peach-Faced. Make sure you buy a young bird rather than an older one because they are easier to tame from a young age. You can tell that one is younger by the amount of black on his beak--the blacker, the younger (this may be different with different color mutations). The black normally disappears when they are 4 months old.

If you are able to provide your bird with adequate care and love, then this might be the perfect bird for you.

 

Color Differences

There are a lot of different color varieties to choose from.

 

Lifespan

Up to 20 years

 

Qualities

Need to be well socialized with members of your family, need to be kept singly, can become nippy, males are less temperamental than the females, curious, very energetic, and playful, love to go inside things (so a hanging bed or hut should be provided unless it causes aggression), great first-time birds.

Breeding

 

To breed successfully, each breeding Lovebird should be healthy, normal, and between one and five years of age. Lovebirds need a nest box in which to lay their eggs. The proper size for a Lovebird is about 12"x12"x12", with an entrance hole of about 3 inches in diameter. Proper nesting material, such as shredded paper, should also be provided. Like all hookbills, Lovebirds should be fed a varied diet consisting of seeds, pellets, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Breeding age hens should be placed on a calcium supplement to counteract the nutrients that they lose during egg-laying. Female Lovebirds will lay their eggs between 5 - 12 days after mating. Many will lay an egg every other day until they have all been laid. Each clutch usually contains between 3 and 7 eggs. On average, Lovebirds incubate their eggs for about 23 days. This can vary by a couple of days in either direction. When attempting to calculate future hatch dates, always count forward from the day that you notice the hen begin to sit on the eggs. Sometimes they won't sit until all the eggs of a clutch have been laid, and they all need equal incubation time! Most breeders will allow the hen to feed the babies from hatching to the age of 2 or 3 weeks. From there, they will pull the babies out of the nest and place them in a brooder for hand feeding. Most Lovebirds need to be handfed until they are between 6 and 8 weeks old, when you can begin to wean them onto millet, soft pellets, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Finches

 

Introduction

Finches are small, energetic birds that are best admired from afar. These birds are known for their beauty and some are able to sing. They are well suited for aviaries and flights, but a pair can be kept together in a cage. They are not meant to be alone, so you should own at least two at a time.

Most don't interact well with people, so they spend a lot of time in their cages. For this reason, you need an adequately sized cage with perches on either end to provide them with maximum flying space.

There are several different species of these birds, and they differ mostly only in color. The most popular are shown below.

 

Color Differences

The different species range from drably colored to brightly colored.

 

Lifespan

5 -17 years

 

Qualities

Small, active, good in aviaries or flights, pairs can be kept in cages, should not be kept alone, don't interact well with people, better for being admired from afar, some sing songs, some species are good for first-time owners.

 

Breeding

Finches’ breeding is not complicated if you follow the basic rules, which are well accepted by experienced breeders who successfully produce vivid and healthy generations. Finches are among the most popular domestic birds, and they are perfectly accustomed to the life in captivity. On the other hand, many growers use different ways of farming, which does not mean that do not rely on some basic rules. Finches are loving parents and they do not need a special help from you to raise their babies properly. All you have to do is to give those comfortable conditions and proper care to fulfill their needs for breeding.

In their homelands they take care for their young in nests settled in tree holes that are usually about one kilometer from fresh water springs or other places with water. Their breeding starts when rainfall is minimal, at the beginning of a new dry season. Dry season abounds with many foods that can be found easily. In captivity, the situation is not the same, so you can start breeding your finches after you provide them with a comfortable nesting place in their cage. At first, you need a male and a female, both adults and ready for mating. Some finches can be easily recognized by the difference between the sexes, because both sexes have specific characteristics. Other types are almost impossible to be recognized are at first sight.

When you introduce a male and a female that are compatible, you will not wait too much to see fascinating courtship of the male finch. He will ruffle its feathers to show the richness of their colors. Some types of finches need more specific conditions: larger aviary in which live more birds. Other finches, like gouldians, do not require that conditions and they can easily enjoy their breeding in a cage as a single pair. Breeding box is necessary, because of their needs for privacy, just like many other domestic birds. You should supply your birds with the necessary material, and they will build their nest successfully.

Finches’ nest is very important for breeding. You can buy nest for your finches in many pet stores for a relatively decent price. There is abundance of nests for finches and you should do all you can in order to pick the best for your little birds. It is very important for birds to choose them a nest which will be perfectly suited in their home. They usually need materials for nesting, which includes feathers, grasses or breeding material made for commercial use. Some finches prefer nest boxes or covered wicker nests.

If you have more birds in aviary, mating and breeding become more dynamic and specific conditions occur. It is scientifically proven that female gouldian finches tend to control their offspring, and the color of their heads is very important for their decision. So, if you are planning to mate only two finches, chose a male and a female with a same head color.

But when you have more gouldian finches and cages; you can also try the method of selective finch breeding. You need two completely dividable cages, adjacent and separated by thin wooden plank. If you do not like to get offspring with a blotchy head color, do not use finches with different head colors. The best method to test the compatibility of your finches is to observe them. If you notice some signs of aggressive behavior, be sure that they are not compatible. There is nothing to worry. Just replace one of them, and introduce other mate, hoping that the new selective breeding will succeed. Observe the newly formed pair and notice if the same situation happens again. The male shows its interest immediately with ruffling its feathers. Love chirping and whistling are also common.

Hen shows its interest by bowing her head and moving it from side to side. However, if you are not sure for their behavior, observe them at sunset and dusk. If they like each other, they will place themselves side by side. If they do not do this or roost on separate perches, your finches are not compatible for breeding.

Zebra and society finches are widely recommended for beginners and they are practically always compatible for breeding.

Finches’ baby at first babble and its sounds are random. Baby finches have an interesting overall development. During the period of development, they revamp their chirping or singing abilities, only to achieve perfect virtuosity in their song or chatter. Just like all immature living beings, they are very fragile at the beginning and the first weeks of their lives are very important, because sometimes a little inattention can be proven fatal.

Like other minor pets, they are very cute, but not necessarily beautiful, so you should not be disappointed by seeing featherless little finch. It will soon reach its natural beauty.