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Little Tweet Parrotlet Breeding Tips

Multiple Parrotlet Pairs
Parrotlets will breed the best when more than one pair are in the same area and they can hear each other, but not see each other. Many people trying to breed a single pair have not had success. We will soon be offering a cd recording of the Parrotlet Breeding Pairs in our aviary to remedy this problem if you are only wanting to breed one pair.

If you have multiple nesting pairs they cannot be allowed to see each other pairs – males are quite territorial and can injure or kill their mates out of jealousy. Check your cages very carefully that they cannot touch or see the other pairs.

parrotlets foodDiet, Diet, Diet
A healthy diet is essential. We have been successful with our diet which was recommended to us by a Parrotlet breeder with many years of experience and success. We have also noticed a difference using spirulina and bee pollen supplements. Cuttlebone and mineral block is a must, as is powdered calcium and vitamins sprinkled on the fresh foods several times a week. Calcium is extremely important to prevent egg binding in females, so supply as much cuttlebone as the females will eat. Many hens will eat a 6-inch cuttlebone a week for several weeks prior to laying.

Parrotlets Need Sleep
It’s very important that the birds can sleep peacefully for 10-12 hours. The same conditions they would find in the wild should be prevalent in your aviary and that means bright light evenly balanced with total darkness.

Breeding Cages for Parrotlets
Most breeders have had success with caging anywhere from 18" square up to 48" long and anything in between. We are currently using cages measuring 18"x18"x20" with dividers in between. A visual barrier must be placed between each cage to avoid potential problems. If Parrotlets can see each other, the birds may spend all their time arguing and fighting with their neighbors.

parrotlets nesting boxesNesting Boxes for Parrotlet

Nest boxes should be roughly 8 inches tall, 7 inches wide and 7 inches deep. (Parakeet nesting box) Ours have a 2-inch nest hole with a small perch and are filled up to the hole with clean pine shavings. Parrotlets chew and move shavings around, so make sure they have a lot even if it must be replaced from time to time. Place the box on the outside front of the cage in the highest corner possible. This way, the parrotlet will only see the inside of the cage when it looks outside of the nest box.

Toys, Perches & Swings
We keep a perch, swing and at least 1-2 toys (chewy kinds: leather, wood, natural fibers.) I rotate them if I see the are not being used or if they are pooping on them. (Sign they hate the toy you gave them and you will never see them playing on it, just pooping on it.)

Temperature & Environment
Our nesting boxes and cages are kept between 65 degrees at night and never over 90 degrees during the day, humid (provided with plants).The room is well-ventilated environment (exhaust fans) with a minimal of disruptions. No heavy foot traffic or noise is allowed. Ideally, no other pets should be near your Parrotlets if you want them to breed. I do not have my older pairs near any other animals.

parrotlets breeding pairsPairing Parrotlets
Ideally they are paired when they are babies or virgin birds. These are eager to pair and pair easily. Parrotlets who are pets AND have never been in a cage with another Parrotlet for say 1-1/2 years + are hard at times impossible to pair. They forget they are birds and can reject another Parrotlet. Their are exceptions to this.

Parrotlets who have been previously paired can be repaired, but more caution should be taken. When setting up a new pair, place the hen and male side by side in separate cages for a day or two with no other Parrotlets in sight. Don't put them in together until you see "romantic interest". Meaning they will try to perch close to one another, ect. The Parrotlet Handbook says to put them in the same cage together and see if they are perched/bonded the next day. I disagree with this advice as I have had some violent attacks/deaths and its too expensive of an investment to risk this.

If a Parrotlet is recently widowed or removed from his/her current pair, I wait a few weeks to repair. They get lonely and/or forget about their previous mate and will pair much easier. I have also noticed that if I have had, for example, a male green paired with a blue hen, sometimes it is easier to pair him with another blue than a different color. Some of them seem to get used to a particular color and this is all they want. Not always but be aware if they reject a new mate after previously being paired with another color.

Stop checking the nesting boxes constantly to see if there are eggs!
I keep a log of my breeding pairs. ONLY every 3+ weeks will I sneak a peak. At this time, I write down who is in the nest box and who isn't, or if they have they gone in the nesting box (you will see feathers and shavings arranged). If I see eggs, I put a sticky tab post-it note on the outside of the nesting box to remind me to be watchful of this pair so I can feed more once babies are hatched. Also if the eggs turn out to be clear (unfertilized), which is common the first time, I note this and clean out the shavings of the nesting box. It gets a bit messy if they have been in there awhile sitting on the clear eggs.

Once eggs have hatched, if the mom and dad are both in the box and you peek, you run the risk of one of the parents making a hasty exit and in so doing, injuring one of the hatchlings. Try to do this when at least dad is out of the box getting food.

Parrotlet Breeding Season
Pacific & Green Rump Parrotlets do not have a programmed breeding season. However, it is best for the health of the birds to limit the amount of clutches they have per year. Most breeders allow their Parrotlets to have two clutches, then rest for two to three months, then let them breed again. (Again good record keeping is a must!) This usually results in three or four clutches per year. Parrotlets lay an egg every other day (average) until a clutch of 6 to 8 is reached; some hens will lay as many as 10 but 6 to 8 eggs is average.

Housing Baby/Young Parrotlets
You can keep unweaned (if they don't need to be in a brooder) & newly weaned Parrotlets under 3 months all together (males and females) in a nice big cage with lots of toys. At this age, they don't realize who is male and who is female. I like doing this as I notice the babies learn to eat faster as they imitate their older cage mates (Parrot Behavior), also they are sociable with all colors, makes them easier to pair later. I keep perches at 2 different heights (one high, one low) in this cage as it takes the little ones longer to perch on a higher perch.

Housing Parrotlets for Future Breeding (Unpaired)
At 4 months and up, I have a large "Boys Only" cage and a "Girls Only" cage also with lots of toys that I keep them in until they are paired/sold. There is a divider so that males can not see the females. Everyone gets along just fine. The exception to this is, for example, if I have all greens in the "Boys Only" cage, I will not put in a different color. I have had them gang up on the minority colors. I will set them side by side the others for a few days and then put them in together. I notice my Lutinos get picked on alot, so be careful. These I usually keep with other Lutinos apart from the rest. You can also clip wings to keep your birds calm. I have rarely have problems with this system.

Fighting Pairs
Never pair a much older male (over a year who has bred) with younger hen (under a year who has not bred). He can get frustrated if she doesn't want to breed and starting picking on her.

Keep the wings clipped of the aggressor. This will keep your pairs calm.

If you ever see blood, IMMEDIATELY remove one of the mates from the nest. Males will peck and bite the female’s toes and legs to try to chase her into the nesting box, if she’s not ready to mate he may kill her. (The female can be the attacker also) After seperating them, let them sit side by side in adjacent cages and see after a few days if they look like they are ready to be paired again. I give them a second chance, after this I repair with a new mate. On one occasion, I had a male who would chase the hen away when she tried to eat. This has only happened once but it would also fall under behavior that you would want to intervene and unpair them. I don't have pairs fight often, only when I did not follow the above advice, it is rare, but you need to be aware so you can intervene if need be.

Our Parrotlets for sale include: White, Yellow, Blue, Green, Green Rump, Lutino & Albino
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