Ask Lafeber

Question:

June 27, 2022

breeding months


I have read in every blog that February is when Conures breed. But that they can have 3-4 clutches per year. I have not found one single article on which other months they breed. Assuming every six months to pair them up again?


Answer:

Hi Robyn,

It sounds like you have been reading the wrong blogs! LOL There is a lot of conflicting information out there about pet birds and particularly about breeding. And unfortunately there is a lot of harmful information out there. There are two different types of breeders – those who are looking for high profit, and those who breed for fun as a hobby.

The high profit breeders want the most out of their pairs as they can get. They tend to pull chicks from the nest as early as possible and encourage the pair to start over right away. This is not in the best interest of the birds. Most of the females can do this for a few years and then either die or stop producing healthy chicks. Males do better since they don’t have the stress of laying eggs and only help part of the time with incubation.

The responsible way to breed is to do what is in the best interest of the birds and their health & well-being. You should take wild parrot habits into consideration. In the wild, breeding season is once a year and the time of year depends on where they live. Most parrots only have one clutch per year because the season changes and the weather and food sources are no longer right for raising chicks. Conures likely only have one clutch per year because they take much longer weaning their chicks, and they have to teach them how to forage for food and what they can and can’t eat. Most chicks probably spend months learning from the parents before they are on their own – they possibly stay with them until just before the next breeding season when they are nearly a year old.

In captivity, there is no particular month that any parrots breed. It depends on their environment, just like it does for wild parrots. If your birds are housed indoors, they will literally breed year round if you let them – you should NOT allow this. If they are outside, they will breed when the weather warms up and the days are longer. I’m not sure where February comes from – again, with indoors it can be any month and outdoors, it would be way too cold and the days much too short for conures to be in breeding condition. Even in a warm State like Florida, the days would be too short for birds housed outside.

Conures and other parrots need warn temperatures, longer days, abundant food and a safe, private, quiet location for breeding. They should be 3-4 years old for the smaller conures like Green Cheeks, and at least 5 years old for the larger conures like Blue Crowns. The pair should be bonded before you give them a nest box – sitting together most of the time, feeding and grooming each other and mating. A pair should be rested, with no nest box, in between every clutch, whether the eggs hatch or not. The hardest part for the hen is forming each egg, and then passing each egg through her reproductive system. Each egg drains protein and calcium from her body and is physically exhausting to lay. Unlike domestic chicken, parrots are not intended to lay unlimited eggs all year. A hen will die if she is allowed to breed too often. In captivity it is usually OK to allow two clutches per year as long as there is a 6 month rest in between. The reason I say “allow” is because in captivity and indoors, they do not receive the environmental signals to stop breeding, and will literally lay eggs over and over until she dies. So you have to remove the nest box and sometimes separate the pair temporarily to make her rest. Hopefully this has cleared things up for you. I would avoid any blogs by breeders because the ones you are reading clearly do not have the birds’ best interests in mind.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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