Ask Lafeber

Question:

May 24, 2021

Quaker parrots


I have a pair of Quakers (male and female) they are about 3 years old. She laid one egg 2 days ago and hasn’t laid anymore. It’s warm where I live so I’m keeping them outside in the cage where she laid the egg. I usually take them inside at night but didn’t want to disturb them. I’d be happy if the kids go was fertile and we got a baby, I just want to make sure I am doing everything I can to help them be successful and healthy. Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks


Answer:

Hi Valisa,

If you want to try to successfully breed them, then they need to be set up with the right kind of nest box. The nest box should be attached to the outside of the cage as high as possible. You mentioned it is warm where you are, but how warm? If it gets 90F or higher, they should not be left outside and they definitely can’t have a nest box. Bird breeders who breed their birds outdoors remove the nest boxes when it gets too hot and do not replace them until the hot weather is over for the season. They will die of heat sitting on egg – they do not know any better. You also have to protect them from predators, especially at night. Rats and snakes will both go after birds, eggs or chicks and they will get into the nest box to get them. Ants are also a huge concern. Since you only have the one pair, I highly recommend that you keep them indoors for breeding. The first clutch almost always fails anyway, so it is better to move them and set them up properly as there is little chance of this single egg or any others she may lay now, to hatch and to have a chick survive. I’m not trying to discourage you, but to prepare you for the probable loss of the first clutch. The parents are learning, and few pairs get it right the first time.

Your pair is just now old enough for breeding, if they are already 3. If not, they are a bit young. She may lay eggs, but they really are not mature enough to care for eggs and chicks. Before you set your birds up for breeding, they need to be on a balanced diet such as pellets or our foraging foods. A loose seed mix will not provide the nutrition they need. You should also offer dark leafy greens, chopped veggies and some fruit. Once you have given them a nest box, you need to start feeding them an egg food. You can buy a commercial egg food or just cook an egg with the shell washed, crushed and cooked with the eggs. You should feed this to them until all chicks are weaned. Once chicks leave the nest box, you have to remove the box and rest your pair for 6 months. You should only allow them to have two clutches per year, which is one more than they would have in the wild. Weaned chicks have to be removed – they can’t stay with the parents. Otherwise the parents will try to breed with them. You should never keep opposite sex chicks together – never let related birds breed. If these two birds came from the same place at the same time as chicks or young birds, they are very likely related and should not be allowed to breed.  Breeding birds take a lot of work and patience, and sometimes you can do everything right and still not get any chicks. All you can do it keep trying and hope that the pair will be good breeders.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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