Prior to breeding, all my parrot finches are housed separately in large flights thereby breaking any pair-bonds. I make sure to let birds recover from the previous breeding season and allow them to molt. Parrot finches do not have a long breeding life and best breed from 12-18 months of age. In preparation for breeding I slowly increment the amount of nutrient-rich foods provided such as egg food, mealworm and greens. I make sure ample supply of cuttle bone is provided and Calcivet is added to the water to increase calcium intake that is much needed for egg production. The artificial lighting is increased to 16 hrs and room temp maintained at 78° to 85°F.  

At this point birds selected are placed into the breeding cages. These cages measure 31.5" wide x 23" deep and 20.5" high and are usually extended depending on species. The pair introduced is given a few days to get acquainted. Cocks in prime condition will show their readiness to breed by singing and displaying with some nesting material in his beak and pursuing the female throughout the cage. The female will look very active and fly rapidly from one perch to another. If the pair seem at ease with each other no further pairing is needed. If this is not the case the pair is broken up and new mates introduced.  (Click on the pictures to see a larger version)

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Large Flights                                                 One Single Unit                                                       Cages         

My parrot finches currently breed in wooden half open nest boxes. This year I will try some new plastic nest boxes which seem much more hygienic. My Pintails are presently being breed in a colony and have chosen to nest in large wicker baskets with brush attached along the sides. Once the birds have bonded and accepted each other, nest construction begins (Click on the video camera icon below to watch a nest construction video). Coconut fiber seems to be the nesting material of choice even though Burlap and similar fibrous materials are offered.

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Wickers Basket                                          Plastic Nest Boxes                                         Plastic Nest in Use


Click to enlarge picture.       Click for Video of Peales Building Nest       Click to enlarge picture.

Another Nest                                     Video of Peales Building Nest                                        Coco Fiber    

Once nest construction is completed, the hen will start laying her clutch of white eggs. One egg is laid each day. The average clutch consists of 4-6 eggs. The hen does most of the incubation, which take from 13 to 14 days. During this period I like to do nest inspection in order to remove any infertile eggs. Sometimes infertile eggs are not discarded and can rupture on chicks leading to fatal results. 

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Clutch of Peale Eggs

Once hatching takes place you will notice that young have papillae between upper and lower mandible. These reflective papillae function in guiding the parents when feeding young in the darkness of the nest. Both parents will assist in feeding the young. They will continue to brood the young for about 12 to 13 days after hatching, until they are able to regulate their own body temperature. 

The young fledge from 21-23 days of age. They can be removed from their parents at 36 to 38 days or when you notice that they can feed on their own. If young are feed a diet high in complete proteins they will grow very rapidly. Once independent the young parrot finches are placed in large flight cages where they can get plenty of exercise, complete molting and reach full adult coloration.

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Peales 3 Days Old


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