I think African parrots are truly great breeder birds. There rarely are problems with eggs or chicks in the nest. African greys (Psittacus erithacus) or timneh greys (Psittacus timneh) sit tight and feed their chicks well. Above all, the pair should be in good health. One should have a good rapport with an avian veterinarian for annual check-ups on the pair, and especially in case of emergencies with the pair or their chicks.
1) African greys reach sexual maturity at about 5 to 7 years of age. Birds who were hand-fed and were once pets can be problematic in not knowing how to copulate, although there are a few that make wonderful breeding pairs. The best birds for breeding are usually either fed and weaned by the parents or if hand-fed, flocked in groups after weaning. They should pick their own mates once sexual maturity starts to set in. They may start copulating a month prior to egg laying. African greys lay an average of three eggs, but may lay as many as six. A pair can easily feed a clutch of five if they are provided good food to feed the chicks.
2) Of course, one must have a true pair. If the sex is unknown, it is important to have them DNA sexed. Birds of the same sex often appear as bonded pairs, with one presenting as the opposite sex, feeding and preening each other. Behavior and displaying is not an indicator of the sex of the grey.
3) African greys are not usually aggressive to other greys that are introduced. They tend to either like, or not like, the intended mate. If there is an instant dislike, it may prove beneficial to switch partners, if one is available.
4) Bird cage sizing, in the home, may be a standard Amazon size cage, especially if they have some freedom to be out and about. An outside aviary or flight should be a minimum of three feet wide, three feet high, and about five to six feet long. With small caging the nest box should be hung on the outside, while in large flights it may hang on the inside. The nest box may be a grandfather style with a floor space of about 12 inches by 12 inches, or the “L?shape boot box with the floor measuring approximately 12 inches by 24 inches. The bedding used is usually pine chips rather than fine pine shavings. A thick layer (5 inches or so) of bedding should be used, as greys do sit tight and chicks may be squished if not enough bedding is added to the box. Also a few pieces of wood can be added for the birds to chew on as they are working their nest.
5) Chicks may be removed from the nest at 10 days to as long as eight weeks in age. The later “pull?may require a day or two of hand-feeding in semi darkness, but after that they do wonderful. The temperature for housing the chicks will depend on their ages. African parrot chicks have very little health issues overall. If all parameters are correct ?i.e., housing, temperature and humidity, amount fed ?one will rarely see slow crop, bacterial or fungal infections.
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