Pet bird breeding is ideal for backyard or commercial production. It is a good income generating venture practicable full or part time. The business requires moderate funding, basic equipment and knowledge of small birds.
Other requirements are feeding, management, maintenance, bird selection. Despite their short lifespan most small birds will breed many times a year making the business very lucrative.
Types of Pet Birds
Common pet birds are canaries, parrots, budgerigar, finches, parakeets, cockatiels. Others are cockatoo, macaw, lovebird, owl and pigeon.
Feed them balanced diet that consists of seeds, vegetables, pellets and fruits. Proper diet encourages fast growth, good health, good lifespan feed them a nutritionally balanced base diet.
Common fruits are apples, melon, berries or pineapple. Good vegetables to consider are peas, soybeans, celery, carrots, peppers or asparagus.
- Formulated feed
Bird Cage Accessories
A breeder needs to stock a few accessories for the wellbeing of the birds. Stock bird heaters, warmers, cage liners, cage seed catchers.
Others are nest boxes, bird tent, huts, hammocks, cage bedding, perches. More include bird safe supplies, cage covers, cage stands, avian full spectrum lighting, baths and bird harness.
- bird heaters
- cage liners
- cage seed catchers
- nest boxes
- bird tent
- bird huts
- bird hammocks
- cage bedding
- bird safe supplies
- cage covers
- cage stands
- avian full spectrum lighting
- baths and bird harness
Bird Toys and Replacement Parts
Don’t forget pet bird toys like ladders, play stand, mirrors. Others are swings, DIY toys, foraging toys, swings. Replacement parts include cage doors, wheels, bowls feeders, water bottles, and water dispensers.
Pet Bird Breeding Toys
- play stand
- DIY toys
- foraging toys, swings
- cage doors
- bowls feeders
- water bottles
- water dispensers
A bird purchased from a store without leg identification might be illegally harvested from the wild. The bands provide identification of the breeders or organization. Therefore a breeders is requires by law to provide proper identification, It is also ideal for easy pairing, housing.
Leg brands are the preferred form of identification. It provides easy identification, data collation, tracking, spotting problems. The band should have legible with identification number. Bands are used by conservationists, research institutions, poultry farmers, scientists and pet bird breeders.
Types of Bands
There are two types of leg bands the open leg bands and closed leg bands. Open end are usually plastic, partially closed ideal for mature birds. Closed bands are used for young birds and are solid.
Make sure to place closed band at 3 weeks of age on the foot. Method involves holding the chicken gently encourage pointed toes before slipping on the band. Common materials used in their construction are metal, aluminum, stainless steel.
Licensing for Pet Bird Breeding
Sales of exotic birds require licensing or permit. Illegal sales attract hefty fines or prosecution. A breeders needs to apply for a state permit follow zoning provisions. Birds regarded as exotic are parrots, parakeet, macaw, canary, and cockatiel. Others are weaver, lovebird, finch or dove.
On the application form provide information on breeding program, type of birds sold, cage description, feeding. Provide band identification number, bird health safety. Register the business as a LLC get insurance cover apply for a tax identification number.
Beginners Guide to Pet Bird Breeding
The first step is to select the pet bird species of choice. Things to consider are size, maturity, health or handling. Make sure they pair are free from disease, mature and healthy. Each species require knowledge of brooding, nesting and pairing.
Make sure the pair are compatible, mature and healthy.
How to Breed Cockatiels
- Bird Selection
Select suitable male and female cockatiels for the breeding program. Choose mature birds 18 – 19 months old. Avoid inbreeding by selecting unrelated birds that are healthy, active devoid of disease or deformity. Use a scale to weigh them including a health check. Hand raised cockatiels are good breeders and easy to handle.
2. Provide Nutritious Food for Breeding Pair
Once selected feed them a balanced diet to encourage good health and vitality. Preferred food choice should include cuttlebone, seed mix, sprouted seeds, some supplements. Make sure they have adequate water supply.
3. Provide Adequate Sunlight
Cockatiels breed throughout the year and require at least 12 hour’s natural sunlight. A breeder can substitute with artificial lighting in areas with lower sunlight.
4. Prepare Cage and Nest box
The next step is to prepare a large breeding cage 6 x 3 x 3 feet for the pair in a quiet area. Make sure they acclimatize with their surroundings for a few weeks. Add a 1x1x1foot nestbox with bedding for the eggs and chicks.
Fit a rear access door to the nestbox for easy monitoring of the brooding and hatching. There are different types of nestbox to consider. Popular ones are made from wood, plastic or metal.
Signs that the cockatiels are ready for nesting is when the male prepares the nest and bedding. They mate and female lays fertilized eggs after 12 days. They habitually pluck their feathers and take turns brooding.
The female will lay a clutch 3 – 8 eggs one at a time over a few days. She then incubates the eggs while the male supplies the food. It takes 21 days before they hatch, weaning takes 9- 10 weeks.
Finally separate the young chicks then remove nestbox, stop feeding soft food and reduce light source to discourage breeding activity.
Where to Sell
Selling the young birds will reduce cost of feed or housing. There are many avenues to sell the birds. Sell to bird clubs, dealers, or pet stores. Other ways include a classified website, blog, social page.