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Muriel Barnes, and her husband Keith, from Norfolk, have been keen bird-keepers for over 25 years. They started out with cockatiels, and then as they became more experienced, branched out into breeding a large variety of conures and poicephalus parrots. But, cockatiels have always remained very special in their hearts, and to this day, they still delight in their mixed colony of tame birds. Here Muriel tells their story:

Nearly all of our cockatiels are rescue birds, some have been with us a very long time and all will see out their retirement in our aviaries. As cockatiels have arrived on our doorstep, those in pairs have been placed in our large colony flight, and solitary birds have been placed in a flight set aside solely for single birds.

Very often, but not always, it is the lone cockatiels that are at their lowest ebb when they reach us, but we give them all the opportunity to bond with a mate, of their own choosing. Our cockatiels are encouraged to pair up for their own happiness, rather than for the offspring they will produce, but are given the opportunity to breed each season, if they so wish.

Amazingly, some of our older cockatiels, of 18 and 19 years old, are still fertile and are still continuing to breed each year. We put this surprising phenomenon, down to the fact that our birds are not over-bred, they’re fit and healthy, and they are relaxed. Our cockatiels are never allowed to go more than two rounds, in any one season, and then they are rested until the following spring. They are also fed a top quality, mixed and nutritious diet.

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