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How to Take Care of Breeding Birds

How to Take Care of Breeding Birds

It is important to understand the proper care and attention that goes into caring for breeding birds. Most pet owners won’t breed their pet birds, but if you decided to for whatever reason, it is essential that they are taken care of and handled properly.

In this blog post, I will explain the best ways to take care of breeding birds, how to keep their environment clean, and caring for the hatchlings once they arrive.V

Dr Bobby Ortiz, small and exotic pet vet, posing with a bunny patient

Dr. Bobby Ortiz, M.V.B.

Dr Bobby Ortiz, aka 'Dogtor Bob', is a small animal and exotic veterinarian based in Dublin. He has a strong interest in Small Mammal (rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets) and Reptile medicine and surgery.

He grew up in a family of avid animal lovers, which led him to work as an Aquarist at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific in California. It was there he decided he wanted to become a vet, and specialise in exotic animals, that needed the same care and medical attention that dogs and cats are given.

He lives with his wife and Brittany Spaniel Bodhi, and has dreams to build a new tropical marine fish tank in the near future!

Plenty of Food & Water

Ample food and water should be supplied to your birds during breeding. Make sure water is changed frequently throughout the day and that it is fresh; soiled water can spread harmful bacteria so make sure to keep an eye on their water bowl throughout the day.

Plenty of nutritious food such as formulated seed mixes and fruit and vegetables should be offered to your breeding birds too. Don’t alter or change their diet as they are breeding, which could lead to unnecessary stress on your bird.

Make sure to throw away any uneaten food after a few hours to prevent unsafe bacteria growing.

Environment

Your bird’s environment should always be kept clean and safe, especially when they are breeding. Their nest should be left alone but be provided with material for the birds to build their own nest, like pine, aspen shavings and recycled newspaper. They can also be given a premade nest, like the TRIXIE Cockatiel Wooden Nesting Box or IMAC Nest Box.

Ensure their food bowls and feeders are washed every day. Ensure your food bowls should be totally dry before replacing as bird food can turn bad quickly. If you have a birdbath, this should be washed every day with warm, soapy water and a bird-safe disinfectant. Build-ups of droppings on perches or toys should be scrubbed away.

It is also important to manage your lighting. Some birds will need around 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. They are inclined to come into breeding condition as the days grow longer, so it can be useful to expand their daylight by a few hours using full-spectrum lighting.

TRIXIE Cockatiel Wooden Nesting Box
Trixie Cockatiel Wooden Nesting Box
Green & Yellow parrot chicks together.

Hatchling Care

Chicks of most pet bird species are born blind with no feathers. The eyes will open within 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the type of bird. Once chicks have hatched they should be placed in an incubator, such as a nice, warm cage, with no drafts. Make sure they are monitored closely, and that they are receiving adequate care from their parents. If you are concerned about chicks not getting the proper care from the mother and father, contact your avian veterinarian for advice.

All chicks should be started on a diluted formulated commercial diet. At around day 4, they can be switched to an undiluted formulated diet. It is best to let the parents feed their young for the first two weeks, and after that, you can hand feed them. It is a good idea that they are used to being handled when they are young as they will make for tamer, calmer adult birds.

The number of daily feedings will decrease depending on the species. When at twice daily feedings they are then offered solid foods like fruits, pellets and vegetables.

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