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|Cockatiels: Breeding Smart! Excerpt
|If one is interested in producing a quantity of young during the breeding season and
not concerned with superior quality, or specific color mutations, colony breeding is a
method of producing an abundance of offspring. Experienced cockatiels usually make
good parents and have been known to take care of their own, and even other pairs'
young. Eager parents, both cocks and hens have been seen diving into their nest box,
or even their neighbors, to satisfy the hungry cries of chicks who have been left
temporarily unattended. Such actions are probably more a condition of biology and
increased hormone levels, although good parenting skills are also a condition which
is affected by learned behavior (e.g., trial and error).
To plan a successful colony, it is best to expose birds to prospective mates prior to
the breeding season in order to enhance the formation of pair bonds, or else
additional time must be allowed for birds to pair off at the start of the season. Any
extra birds which remain unattended should be removed in order to maintain
harmony within the group. By allowing pairs to form bonds prior to the breeding
season, such birds will easily pair up upon being reintroduced, requiring less time
before they go to nest and the eventual production of eggs.
Although many pairs do form bonds with a single mate, it is not unusual for a chance
indiscretion to occur. Therefore, when using the colony system, the pedigree of
offspring cannot be absolutely guaranteed, even if the breeder is convinced of a pair's
It is especially important to give the pairs a lot of space and avoid overcrowding in a
colony flight. Ample room will prevent such behaviors as squabbling over nests and
established territory or perch space. The flight also must be large enough to
accommodate any young produced which will share the accommodations once
A number of additional nest boxes should be provided beyond the number of cockatiel
pairs housed, to offer birds some choice and to keep fighting over boxes to a
minimum. If boxes are attached inside the flight, pairs are able to mate while standing
on top of them, which provides a flat surface aiding the female to keep her balance
while the male is standing on her back. However, all perches should be securely
fastened, should the pairs prefer to utilize them for mating, otherwise infertile eggs
may result. If nest boxes are hung on the outside of the flight, it offers the advantage of
easy nest inspection without any intrusion into the aviary or disruption to the colony.
Nest boxes should be removed after two rounds of young are produced, or
approximately ten to twelve chicks, per pair. If nest boxes are allowed to remain, they
will encourage continuous breeding and egg production, ultimately draining and
overtaxing the energies and reproductive lifespan of the pairs. Additionally, young
chicks generally too immature to breed, will be stimulated to reproduce much earlier
than they should, and attempt to go to nest before they are developmentally ready to
be responsible parents.
On the other hand, controlled, individual cage breeding, housing one pair per pen, is
highly recommended when one is intent upon producing the best quality of birds
possible; when attemption to produce particular color mutations; or when attempting
to breed for exhibition. Controlled breeding is an absolute necessity when
guaranteeing the pedigree and parentage of offspring produced.
Further advantages to individual cage breeding include increased control over the
breeding cycle and the ability to document vital information and data on specific
individuals, or pairs. Accurate record keeping, the banding of young from known
parentage, and other helpful information may be reliably collected. The major
drawback to individual cage breeding however, is the ...
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|Excerpts: Controlled vs Colony Breeding Breeding Condition Line-Breeding Inherited Faults Miscellaneous Faults Order >>
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