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In issue 315 -
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Preparing for the breeding season – and why this is variable

Spreads for web Parrots 278 4

by Rosemary Low

In the UK and in northern Europe most parrot species are likely to start to breed in March or April, or sometimes in May with the larger South American parrots. The exceptions are Ringnecks and other members of the Psittacula genus, tough birds that somehow can be successful when eggs are produced in February. Breeders then don’t want to stop them breeding because a second clutch might not follow.

They must therefore be prepared for this by placing the nest box in the inside accommodation, with heating available when chicks are in the nest box. In our unpredictable and changeable weather, we often have a short, fine sunny spell of weather in January or February, which can have a disastrous impact on the breeding season. It encourages pairs to nest too early in the year because it is usually followed by a cold and frosty spell.

A frequent result is infertile eggs or chicks that die in the nest when the parents stop brooding them, possibly as early as two weeks old. One solution to this problem was solved by lorikeet breeder David Fawcett. He screws a small heat box to the back of the nest box in winter. It is a reptile heat bulb inside a small box with a dimmer switch plug. This makes it easy to adjust the temperature. A stick-on thermometer, made for aquariums and reptile accommodation, can be used to monitor the temperature. David said that chicks move towards the heat. This is especially useful for single chicks, which are extremely vulnerable to hypothermia in cold weather.

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