• Welcome to Avian Avenue! To view our forum with less advertisments please register with us.
    Memberships are free and it will just take a moment. Click here

Getting into breeding advice/questions

ParrotJunkie

Meeting neighbors
Joined
2/16/19
Messages
53
Real Name
Anna Davis
I am extremely interested in breeding in the future (before you come for me it’s not about money) I am extremely passionate about parrots and find them extremely fascinating. I’m in the process of looking for a macaw and so many breeders do… questionable things. I want to bring excellent birds to the market. I am looking to learn more in depth things as I know the basics.
heres some things I’m prepared to do.
I am comfortable handfeeding from day 1 but if everything goes smoothly I’ll pull at around 20 days.
I will have an incubator in case of emergency.
I will not clip personally I am very against it.
I Will abundance wean.
Im really looking to produce well socialized birds with basic training and such.
while my main focus is macaws I’m also interested in African greys and eclectus parrots.
My main concern is I want hands on experience and I’d love to “apprentice” under a breeder but it seems that’s not really a thing as far as I can find.
Another concern is where to source breeding stock. I barely find anything online and when you do it’s breeders selling “stray pairs” which signals to me something wrong (they don’t produce, don’t incubate their eggs, harm young, etc)
I’m probably forgetting more questions of mine :wacky:
I’d love some good reads about breeding though! Online or books
 

flyzipper

Rollerblading along the road
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Joined
9/28/20
Messages
1,762
Location
Canada
Real Name
Steve
Perhaps @BrianB can offer some guidance.
 

BrianB

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Joined
2/22/17
Messages
1,369
Location
Arizona
Read everything and when you've thought you've read everything you can find, read some more. Everyone has their opinion. Some are worth listening to, and some you have to take with a grain of salt. Sometimes you bite your tongue to stifle the laugh and roll your eyes before moving on. What works for them, may not work for you. Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they are stupid. The only stupid questions are the ones you don't ask because they lead to mistakes. Be prepared for answers you may not like.

Macaws have been an amazing adventure. The fulfillment I get from watching my babies grow up and move on to another family is amazing. It's heartbreaking to see your baby a few months later and they don't acknowledge you or if they do you see that they don't need you anymore. It means you have a good job and raised a well-socialized bird that can be independent and no longer needs you as a caregiver or parent. You will experience loss along the way. Sometimes, no matter what you do, nature has another plan. Not every egg that's laid hatches and not every chick that hatches is meant to survive. Every loss is a learning experience, and if you don't shed a tear for every single one of them, then your heart isn't in it.

It takes time to get good breeding stock. You might get lucky and be able to buy proven pairs from a breeder that is retiring or has changed direction and decided to move in another direction. Make connections with local breeders and cultivate those relationships. It might take years to get what you want, but it's worth the wait. Even pairs that don't look good, have physical limitations, or aren't in perfect feathers can produce stunning chicks. Don't be afraid of birds that are less than perfect. There are times when a breeder will sell a pair because they aren't good parents, or they don't incubate/feed well. It could be environmental where they are and when they get to your place, they find exactly what they need to thrive and be amazing parents.

I'm no expert, and even when I think I know something very well, I find something I completely missed. I started with finches. It was a disaster. Very few of them bred well and this just wasn't the right environment for them. A friend suggested I try a pair of conures and I had success with that. I still breed conures, but I've expanded to macaws, greys, and Eclectus over the years. The macaws are loud and messy, but I love them. I have three breeding pairs and one pair that is trying to figure things out. I have 4 pairs of greys. They are messy and rude, and one of them tries my patience on a daily basis. It's taken 3 years and I have finally started to get chicks from just one pair. If all 4 start producing chicks I'm going to be overrun with babies. The Eclectus are beautiful birds, but their diet is so different that I find it intimidating. It's made me rethink what I feed all of the other birds and now my kitchen has become a salad factory for birds. My house is only quiet in the middle of the night. It's basically managed chaos, but I love it.

I'll be happy to discuss things in detail. Just send me a private message here.
 

Zara

❀♡ My birds are responsible for 99% of my typos ♡❀
Super Moderator
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Avenue Concierge
Joined
1/8/18
Messages
27,275
Location
Reino de España
Be sure to get your finances in order. Along with aquiring the birds, you will need to get them screened at the vet to be sure they are both disease and illness free. Then you will need money aside for any emergencies that could occur with your adults, and later should anything happen to the chicks.
Some breeders will get the birds a DNA test and a wellness check at the vet before selling, so another outgoing cost.
You will be able to recuperate these costs when you sell the chicks, and also knowing the offspring are healthy and well will help you going forward to assure you that your breeding pairs are producing healthy birds.

Remember to give your birds time to settle in to their new environment, and be on a balanced diet for a few months before allowing any breeding.
 

taxidermynerd

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
10/11/16
Messages
5,007
Location
Chicago Suburbs, Illinois, USA
Real Name
Bee (pronouns they/them)
@PoukieBear hasn't been around in a while, but she is/was a budgie breeder who has some great posts on the topic that I would imagine carry over to breeding other birds as well.
 

BrianB

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Joined
2/22/17
Messages
1,369
Location
Arizona
Thanks Zara. I didn't even get to the money part. I was trying to get to bed because I was tired and knew today was going to be busy.

Set aside a fund just for birds. You're going to have to plan for wellness exams and disease testing on every bird you bring into your flock. A yearly exam isn't a bad idea, and baby birds are notoriously dangerous to themselves. An emergency visit for a macaw chick that I thought had aspirated was several hundred dollars. It was worth it for my peace of mind, even though the chick was fine. I had fed it a little too much a little too fast and it threw some of it back up. That was an expensive lesson in hand feeding, but better safe than sorry. There are times when you need to make the decision to euthanize a chick or an adult. Some breeders choose to do it themselves, but that's a whole other discussion that can get really ugly.

Disease testing is imperative for every single bird you bring. You'll need space for quarantine while you wait for the results. Then there is DNA testing so the buyer knows if they are getting a boy or a girl. Some customers are adamant that they want a girl or a boy. I think it's silly for many reasons, but it is what it is. I do DNA testing on all of the larger birds. I don't use bands on my macaws, so right before they get transferred to the new owner I get them a wellness exam and a microchip. In addition to a bird that I've put 3 - 6 months of my life into raising, they also get a statement from an avian vet that the bird has been tested, visually examined, and found to be healthy. The microchip is there for them to register it in their name.

Be prepared to take a bird back if it isn't a good fit. You need to decide if you offer the buyer a full refund, a partial one, or none at all. You'll need a purchase agreement explaining all of this. It's a good idea to get it signed by the buyer before the time of purchase.

It's a lot to wrap your brain around and takes time to get it all together.
 

tka

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
4/4/17
Messages
4,091
Location
London, UK
As the saying in horse-breeding goes, the best way to make a million dollars breeding horses is to start with two million. It's difficult to make money by selling the chicks by the time you've bought your breeding pairs, set them up in enclosures that you've had to purchase or build, got them vet checkups and disease tested, got them on a good diet, bought the equipment you'll need for emergency incubation and brooding, reared the chicks and got them used to humans and being handled, DNA tested the chicks and, of course, don't forget to factor in your time. You really need to have a source of income that isn't the birds, and treat breeding as a time and money pit rather than a source of income.
 

ParrotJunkie

Meeting neighbors
Joined
2/16/19
Messages
53
Real Name
Anna Davis
Read everything and when you've thought you've read everything you can find, read some more. Everyone has their opinion. Some are worth listening to, and some you have to take with a grain of salt. Sometimes you bite your tongue to stifle the laugh and roll your eyes before moving on. What works for them, may not work for you. Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they are stupid. The only stupid questions are the ones you don't ask because they lead to mistakes. Be prepared for answers you may not like.

Macaws have been an amazing adventure. The fulfillment I get from watching my babies grow up and move on to another family is amazing. It's heartbreaking to see your baby a few months later and they don't acknowledge you or if they do you see that they don't need you anymore. It means you have a good job and raised a well-socialized bird that can be independent and no longer needs you as a caregiver or parent. You will experience loss along the way. Sometimes, no matter what you do, nature has another plan. Not every egg that's laid hatches and not every chick that hatches is meant to survive. Every loss is a learning experience, and if you don't shed a tear for every single one of them, then your heart isn't in it.

It takes time to get good breeding stock. You might get lucky and be able to buy proven pairs from a breeder that is retiring or has changed direction and decided to move in another direction. Make connections with local breeders and cultivate those relationships. It might take years to get what you want, but it's worth the wait. Even pairs that don't look good, have physical limitations, or aren't in perfect feathers can produce stunning chicks. Don't be afraid of birds that are less than perfect. There are times when a breeder will sell a pair because they aren't good parents, or they don't incubate/feed well. It could be environmental where they are and when they get to your place, they find exactly what they need to thrive and be amazing parents.

I'm no expert, and even when I think I know something very well, I find something I completely missed. I started with finches. It was a disaster. Very few of them bred well and this just wasn't the right environment for them. A friend suggested I try a pair of conures and I had success with that. I still breed conures, but I've expanded to macaws, greys, and Eclectus over the years. The macaws are loud and messy, but I love them. I have three breeding pairs and one pair that is trying to figure things out. I have 4 pairs of greys. They are messy and rude, and one of them tries my patience on a daily basis. It's taken 3 years and I have finally started to get chicks from just one pair. If all 4 start producing chicks I'm going to be overrun with babies. The Eclectus are beautiful birds, but their diet is so different that I find it intimidating. It's made me rethink what I feed all of the other birds and now my kitchen has become a salad factory for birds. My house is only quiet in the middle of the night. It's basically managed chaos, but I love it.

I'll be happy to discuss things in detail. Just send me a private message here.
Thank you! This was very helpful and I’d love to discuss it farther!
 

BrianB

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Joined
2/22/17
Messages
1,369
Location
Arizona
As the saying in horse-breeding goes, the best way to make a million dollars breeding horses is to start with two million. It's difficult to make money by selling the chicks by the time you've bought your breeding pairs, set them up in enclosures that you've had to purchase or build, got them vet checkups and disease tested, got them on a good diet, bought the equipment you'll need for emergency incubation and brooding, reared the chicks and got them used to humans and being handled, DNA tested the chicks and, of course, don't forget to factor in your time. You really need to have a source of income that isn't the birds, and treat breeding as a time and money pit rather than a source of income.
It's a huge investment, not only in money but in time. It can take years to break even and years more to make a profit. Some years will be better than others. We've had good sales this year, but even with the African greys and macaw chicks we won't make a profit this year. This spring we added Chewie, two pairs of Eclectus, and a single male, then an opportunity came up to buy out the business of a retiring breeder. We might come close to breaking even, but I'm planning for this year to be a loss. A brooder and incubator cost $1000 last year but having them made it possible for our Harlequin macaw Chichi to survive. It was money well spent. Food is expensive so you learn to economize where you can. We discovered the local .99 cent store has good produce, so we get a lot of it there. A new Aldi opened up not far away so we check there often to see what we can find.

The time you put into it is priceless and you'll never get it back in financial return. Between Freya and Chichi we estimate that each bird had been hand-fed over 600 times. Early morning, late evening, and sometimes in the middle of the night. It was exhausting, but worth every minute of it.
 
Top