After a lot of research and discussion with some expert breeders, we tried to write a complete procedure and guidelines to breed African Gray Parrots. The whole procedure is not very easy and you have to spend a lot of time if you are really interested in breeding your parrots. For an easy understanding and to create a clear sketch of African Grey Parrot Breeding in your mind, let’s divide the procedure into some important steps. Here are those 7 steps or phases.
- Selection of Parrots for Breeding Stock
- Selection and Differentiation of Male & Female Parrots
- Selection of a Good Pair
- Setting up a Good Environment and Cage
- Hatching of Chicks
- Pulling Chick & Hand-Feeding
1. Selection of Parrots for Breeding Stock:
Selection of healthy, fertile and active parrots is very important. Diseased may transmit diseases to the coming flock and infertile parrots may waste your time. Buying and importing healthy and fertile pairs is first and important step for breeding. A clinical examination of parrots buy a veterinarian and aviculturist is also good.
2. Selection and Differentiation of Male & Female Parrots
The best and reliable way for sex determination is DNA Sexing and Sergical Sexing. Some good observer and expert parrot breeder have developed a good sense of sex determination buy looking at the feathers and overall view of the parrot.
Usually we consider that the male birds are always brighter, darker in color and more beautiful than female birds.
Another way to determine sex is observing under-tail coverts. The under tail coverts are directly under the tail feathers and consist of about eight feathers. Feathers of the hens will be edged in grey, while males will be solid red. Males will occasionally have a “hairline” of white on the edge. Observe your birds from about five to ten feet away, while on a perch or hanging upside down from the cage top, and flapping their wings. With this action you are able to distinguish three bands of grey on the underside of the wing. The top band is the feathers making up the ventral antebrachial coverts. The band directly below is the feathers of the minor ventral wing coverts. The last band consists of the primary remiges. In a hen these bands respectively “appear” grey, white and dark grey. The male “appears” grey, grey and dark grey.
3. Selection of a Good Pair:
The very important step for breeding parrots is the selection of a pair that can reproduce and lay fertile healthy eggs. The better the selected breeding pair the better will be the progeny. But this selection is not under your control partially. The hen (Female African Grey Parrot) is very choosy for the selection of male and prefer to choose the male with biggest crop, so that male parrot can feed the chicks.
To let the hen choose a best male for her, 5-6 pairs you can shift all of your pairs to a new cage. After observing for few day you will be able to see the bonding of different couple and then you can separate the loving pairs.
4. Setting up a Good Environment and Cage:
After selection of a good breeding pair, you need to choose a cage, a nice environment and a nest in the cage. You have to make thing look like natural forests where African grey parrots breed.
The ideal dimensions of a cage for breeding are 2 feet width, 3 feet high & 6 feet deep.
Now you have to put a nest in the cage. L shaped nests are used. Because in natural environment hens make L shape nest with a hole at the top to enter and leave nest. The size of nest should be 2 feet high and two feet deep at the base. Also put some peat, wood chips, small pieces of coconut fibers, foam, dry grass or hay to the bottom of the nest.
Put your cage at a place where nobody disturb the bird and they feel safe.
After few day the pair will start making love and they will mate often. The male mount over the female and copulate. Greys act as owls, coupling this usually takes place between midnight and four o’clock in the morning. They mate for almost 20 minute and it is very rare that they mate during the day. Their feed intake increases during this period.
After one month since the first mating hen lay 4-5 eggs with a gap of 2-3 days between each egg and spent her most of the time in the cage.
5- Brooding/Incubation in African Grey Parrots
After laying 4-5 eggs, the brooding time starts and incubation period is almost 28-30 days from the day female laid the last egg.
Incubation period of African Grey Parrots is 28-30 days and clutch size is 4-5 eggs.
Female only leaves the nest in the morning or late at night to get a drink and to defecate.
After 28-30 days eggs hatch and the young cute featherless babies comes out of the shell. The mother and father spent larger amount of food during this period because they have to feed the young ones too.
7- Weaning, Hand-Feeding & Care: