We have started our breeding season with our breeding diet .  What's breeding diet  ? Read below article  by Raaga aviary ( nanda kishore )
 
I regularly receive questions regarding breeding of South American parrots like Conures, Monks parakeets and Macaws and I thought it is time that I write an article about how I breed my parrots at Raaga aviary.
 
I have observed that living things breed either when stressed or when they have everything in abundance.
 
Super worms turn into pupae when the larvae are stressed without any food and Mealworms turn into pupae when they have food in abundance... I have also observed that plants and trees produce flowers and seeds during winter when the soil is freezing...  
 
However, the above examples are when the living thing goes into a state of dormancy....  As I loved my birds too much and couldn't think of starving them, I initially believed that birds breed when given abundance of food, and, I started feeding my birds varied foods in large quantities... Seeds, nuts, flowers, vegetables, fruits, sprouts and tubers... My birds would breed, but, very sporadically. I was happy to see a few chicks every now and then. But, I knew that I was not doing it right. 
 
The senior breeder would talk about some thing called a "breeding season" I did not know what and when that breeding season was for my birds. And I still do not know...
 
Deviating from the topic... I am an avid biker and long for a nice trip into the Himalayas. The Himalaya are among the scariest places to ride because of landslides, erratic weather and very poor connectivity. I also go to the race track every now and then for the fun of it. I realised that humans long for such adventures because "living on the edge makes you feel more alive and you respect every day of your living" ... 
 
I once heard Rafael Zamora of Loro Parquet Foundation talking at the Avian Society of India convention, about how the black palm cockatoos bonded and bred at Loro Parque when they were stressed by a few other parrots and on the basis of this I went a step further and asked Tony Silva if stressing the birds with something similar would make the birds breed... He asked me what I had in mind. I asked him that if I took a hawk or a kite close to the aviary... And the parrots being prey birds would freak out... But, soon when the raptor is gone the birds would feel more alive... I remember Tony laughing and telling me that the birds would have a heart attack if I did that... and that "diet" was a much more effective way to breed the parrots.
 
This got me thinking but, I still did not know what the breeding season was ... However, after speaking to a fantastic breeder from Mumbai named liang Christopher I understood the importance of protein being increased to breed the birds.
 
This knowledge helped me formulate a theory that I wanted to work on... And it worked.
I divided my diet into two parts.
 
1) Enrichment diet,
2) Breeding diet.
 
Enrichment Diet: this diet is like a play ground for a school kids, where more energy is spent than gained but keeps them mentally happy (hence, reducing the body fat, and keeping the bird healthy in a limited space). I provided a small amount of seed mix which is finished greedily in 3-4 hours maximum. Then the birds are given a few flowers like hibiscus, rose, marigolds and moringa flowers and lots of branches like eucalyptus, Neem, curry leaf, basil, moringa, singapore cherry, Mango, sweetlime..  to chew on. I also give leaves of coconut, palm, lemon grass, umbrella grass, fountain grass.. Etc. Followed by different veggies. Carrots, beetroot, capsicums, guavas, drumsticks, various gourds are thrown above the enclosures so that the birds spend more time and energy devouring them.... 
 
This process keeps them active and feeling alive. The birds are kept on this diet for 2-3 months. In a week before switching to a breeding diet, we start to add calcium on the enrichment diet. 
 
Breeding Diet: This diet can be considered as a class room of a school (the thing that actually matters LOL) once I want my birds to breed I switch to the breeding diet, which is basically a protein boost in the diet. In the breeding diet I stop providing all the branches, flowers and veggies. I only provide a little seed and a lot of sprouts. Our sprouts include sunflower, safflower, various millets, green gram, wheat and chick pea... I also pressure cook various seeds like Rajma, various beans, peas, horse gram, cow pea...Etc. I spray the sprouts with wheat germ oil to increase vitamin E. Vitamin E helps improve the fertility of the birds.
 
Note: the sprouts tend to have a lot of fungus as they are grown in hot and humid conditions. Hence the sprouts are washed thoroughly with 1-2% apple cider vinegar solution repeatedly. Also, the sprouts are removed from the enclosures after 2-3 hours of serving. 
 
I have noticed that once the birds are put on this breeding diet, you should see the eggs in 7-15 days time. 
 
This procedure has worked very well for me and I have produced over 300 chicks last year from my 70+ pair conure aviary. 
 
I have almost remote controled the breeding without knowing the breeding season.
 
I hope this article helps your birds breed better. 
 
Happy breeding.
 
Protocols of Raaga Aviary.
Raaga Foundation
 
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