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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, so my parrotlets have started mating it seems and I am interested in suggestions to keep them healthy and happy. I didn’t really expect them to, because the male honestly seemed more bonded to me than the hen lol, but one day a couple weeks ago I noticed what seemed like ‘hanky panky’ going down while I was relaxing with them, and was really quick though so I wasn’t sure. To be on the safe side I consulted this old parrotlet book I had bought when I first got the male a couple years ago, and bought a nest box and supplies, plus additional foods mainly for the girl/hen. After about a week, she is now inside the nest box allllll the time, sitting on the fluff, but I haven’t wanted to disturb her (I just peeked inside twice) so I can’t tell for sure if anything is underneath her. She’s also the timid one of the pair, and typically shy’s away from me (unlike the male), so I didn’t want to stress her out. I’m wondering if I can be doing something more to help them out and am worried that she’s not eating/drinking. From what I read the male is supposed to feed her in the box, but I don’t know if I trust that crazy fool to take care of her, and never actually seen him bring her anything. Would placing a little food in the box be a bad idea? Should I try to move her to see if there are any eggs? Should I just leave them alone? Should I remove the eggs if there are any? I mostly just want those two to be happy, not really trying to become a breeder of parrotlets, but if they are happy making baby birds, I want to do my part keep everyone as healthy as possible. I’ve thought about getting an incubator, that way maybe my pair doesn’t have to work so hard? Or will they enjoying ‘parenting’? I’m not really sure which direction to take but if they are making eggs now, I’m guessing they will continue to do this, so I want to get this all figured out as soon as possible. Thanks for suggestions/tips.

P.S. My degree was in biology with a focus on animal science, I worked as a veterinary technician for a number of years, and currently care for quite a few exotic pets (mostly reptiles and fish), so animal husbandry is definitely not new to me, but working with birds beyond basic care is relatively new to me.
 

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Welcome to the forum! Glad you asked some viable questions! For most of our forum members, we usually answer questions about the behaviors of parrotlets and the care of parrotlets and all the problems parrotlets get themselves into! There are some members who have had nested parrotlets and if they are reading your questions, they will answer, but for the most part, a lot of questions about breeding do not pop up that often. Keep checking your post for responses.

I do know that you are really on the ball about your situation. Your p'letts are proving that they will be fruitful. I hope. Your hen is most likely sitting on eggs. Since they are compatible, you most likely will have hatches in 3 weeks or so. You are feeding your birds ( both birds) and enriched diet. This is good for both! The male will most likely feed the hen. ( I suggest that you go to You Tube and look up Koolaid and Smoky videos. Koolaid is a parrotlet who is amazing, but mixed in his videos, there are videos showing how Koolaid and his mate, Smoky take care of their babies. Both p'letts are gone, now, but the videos are still there, I believe ).

You asked if you should remove the eggs if there are any. It depends on what you want to do...raise parrotlets, or not! If you remove the eggs, she will lay more. If you replace the eggs with fake parrotlet eggs, at least then, she will sit on them for a while and every few days, remove one fake egg until all are gone, but you will have more and more eggs being laid and this is not healthy for the hen! This means, you will have to never let your p'letts be together, or nature will take over.

You have to make a decision about whether you want to raise p'lett babies or not! You will always have a nesting problem as long as your birds are together. When the babies are hatched, after a few days, you will have to remove them or the parents may kill them. So the incubator comes into question. Raising babies are a lot of work, especially when feeding and weaning is involved.

Call your breeder and ask him/her what they think you should do. You will be busy if this is allowed to go on. I just touched on a few points. It is a monumental task to raise babies. You Tube has a full studio of videos about parrotlet raising/nesting, breeding.

Dave
 

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You are encouraging breeding by getting a nest box, which is not recommended unless you have done a lot of research in advance. There is a lot to it than putting any 2 birds together with a nest box. Are these 2 birds genetically compatible and do you have the necessary supplies on hand to intervene, if necessary? There some mutations that should not have babies together, because it can result in various health issues. Do you know the genetics of the parents and grandparents. If you do not have any dummy eggs to swap the real ones out with, you can boil the current ones. I would encourage you to do that based on the questions that you are asking and not allow the babies to hatch. You can allow her to sit on the eggs for 21 days and then remove one every other day until all are gone.

You were given some incorrect information. The female will not keep laying eggs after that, just because they were removed after 21 days. You do not need to remove the babies after a few days because the parents will kill them and that only happens sometimes. Many people co-parent and allow the parents to feed them with daily handling once the babies are old enough. Even for people who handfeed, they leave them with the parents for the first 2 weeks, unless there is the need to do so earlier. I would keep in mind that Youtube has a lot of incorrect information.

I would remove the nest box afterwards and look into ways to reduce hormones. It is recommended to cage them separately and one reason is to prevent unnecessary egg laying, which puts stress on the female.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for all the advice/tips. I’ll definitely check out the YouTube videos ASAP. As she already laid the eggs, I really wouldn’t want to “kill”/boil them, and would rather just step up and learn to try and help this clutch succeed, if it can. I checked yesterday and she was slightly off to the side so I could see about 4 eggs, but despite all the different foods/supplements I added to their cage, I still haven’t seen her eat, but of course Pico (the male) has been gobbling a lot of stuff, so maybe he’s feeding her when I’m not looking. I’m planning on picking up an incubator just in case. I work from home full time, and have the money/resources to get them whatever they need, not to mention I’m already raising other animal babies, so it’s more about me not knowing much about their ‘pedigree’ that leads me want to potentially stop them from continuing to make more eggs down the line, even though I hate the idea of splitting a bonded pair. I have a purebred health tested giant Schnauzer with established pedigree, so I get it, I just hadn’t thought that way about my parrotlets until now. Can they even health test birds for breeding viability? Is that a thing? After this, I think I’ll look into separation or that hormone control, so this process doesn’t become too stressful on them or myself, I love em both, and just want them to continue to be happy together. Thanks again, and I’ll try to update with how their doing with this one.
 

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Their coloration can help tell us about their genetic strength. As a rule, the normal green parrotlets aren't the result of inbreeding and don't have that as a genetic risk. It is the color mutations that are questionable, as not all breeders avoid inbreeding in their desire to produce the more colorful birds. What colors are your birds? Parrotlets are too small and there is too little science regarding testing birds for breeding viability, so the coloration and what you know about their background is the most you will probably be able to get at this time.

We don't have many active breeders on the forum, but there is a lot of information regarding breeding in previous posts from them. Read through what some of the breeders have said to get an idea on how to take care of them. With your background in animal science, I am certain that you will be able to distinguish good science from random bad advice on the internet. Unfortunately, there has been much throughout the years that is bad advice for parrots that still persists out there (I do not know why pet stores still sell grit for parrots - it is unnecessary and dangerous).

I don't breed parrotlets personally, but I am certain that if the chicks hatch you will do your best to support them. As your birds are first-time parents, I would personally be prepared to have to step in. And also be prepared to snuggle and love them, because the best parrotlets in my opinion are the ones that were loved and played with as little babies. My Tumi was taught how to live in a home and snuggle when he was a baby, and he came to me ready to snuggle and bond. Birds, unlike cats or dogs, are born to not trust humans, so you have to teach them that humans are not parrotlet-eating monsters but their friends. :)
 

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Green parrotlets can in fact be in-bred. Most are only visually green and split to some mutation, which is another reason why knowing the genetics and their history is extremely important.

This isn't something that you can learn about after the fact. The research needs to be done in advance, before allowing the eggs to hatch. Youtube has a lot of incorrect information.
 
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