Research by breeding!
This is our goal for many years. We have been breeding parrots for more than 40 years and we had numerous first German and European breeding successes, for example Plum-crowned Parrots (Pionus tumultuosus, White-headed Parrots (Pionus seneloides) or Coral-billed Parrots (Pionus sordidus corallinus). The experiences we gained here are increasing by numerous trips to the countries of origin of the parrots and are made accessible to the interested reader by numerous publications in magazines and specialist books.
To buy a parrot – a case of trust
Two and a half thousand years ago tame parrots were already highly esteemed to fellow-citizens in the residences of Indian princes; they valued their ability to imitate human language as much as their colourful plumage and their often droll behaviour. Even in ancient China these cunning birds were a priced possession and even in the fifteenth century White-crested cockatoos (Cacatua alba) were already known in Europe. The discovery of the new world brought the first Amazons to Europe. Until today most people can’t escape the captive and clownish personality if these animals.
Why tame parrots?
The discussion about the pros and cons of hand-tamed parrots is controversial. In principle, parrots are very shy and distant with humans, like almost all wild animals. We were able to observe this not only in the wildness, but also in the import of bird, which has been forbidden now. Catching and trading, together with the destruction of the habitat, contributed to the decline of many species in the wild.
Imported animals, whose age was often indeterminate, fled through every human endeavour to escape the close contact. So driven into the corner that they had no more chance to escape, they will use their only weapon, the beak, for defence. Many parrots never became tame, and they often lost their life on the way of transport due to stress. The importation of birds from the wild has been discontinued, as already said, in Europe since 2006. The first occurrence of bird flu in Europe has been a trigger for this ban.
The intelligent birds are often driven by their curiosity and their need of social contact to approach men, after a longer or shorter period. They can be bribed by their need for social plumage care or by small treats eating out of your hand.
Natural brooded birds show this shy behaviour too. If they are not taken out of the nesting box during the time period of growing, they will never get close to humans. They are not different from the wild caught parrots in the behaviour. Only their age can be guaranteed, of course, if they wear closed rings.
If you buy a parrot that is not hand tamed, you are not doing a favour for the bird or yourself.
This means pure stress for both, the parrot and its owner. It often takes weeks, even months, before you can do daily work such as feeding or cleaning the cage without exciting fluttering the bird frantically.
Hand rearing – yes or no?
Of course, there are some breeders who completely reject hand rearing; the reasons for this are very controversial discussed.
Our breeding stock consists of 90% hand-raised birds; the few natural brooded parrots in our aviary, on the other hand, are all very shy and hectic as already described. Confident hand reared parrots soon will loose their initial tameness in the aviary but nevertheless still take a titbit from the hand of the owner and this is much more enjoyable.
In the our stock hand-fed parrots breed very well, often even better than natural brooded birds, because they are less anxious and they raise themselves their babies without any problems. They are less susceptible to excitement.
During hand rearing, however, it is important to ensure that the chicks are socialized, that is to say they are reared in the group. This is mostly possible with us because we have raised so many baby parrots almost all year long.
Large macaws do not belong in rental housing even they are hand raised and Amazon parrots are not friendly with children. Sooner or later they become, – except for a few species -, aggressive to the owner or show other kinds of disturbing behaviour. African grey-parrots (Psittacus erithacus), known as the best speakers, have high demands on the owners and their environment due to their high intelligence and social competency. They rarely react aggressively, and they also are inclined to pluck feathers or become passive in their behaviour.
We would be glad to advise you in a personal conversation which species best suits you.
In accordance to the reasons described above we take away the first clutch of all our couples, if we expect them to lay eggs again. The second clutch we try to leave at least with the responsible breeding and feeding couples up to the 6th week. This has a very positive effect on the development of the social behaviour of the young parrots.
Often, however, in the case of several babies of different ages are in the box, we take out the largest one from the nest for hand raising or feed it one or two times daily extra manually by hand in the nest-box; so the small ones are also supplied with sufficient food by the parents. This is what we decide by the situation.
Parent fed chicks are growing more quickly during the first two weeks, but at the end you will not more see any difference in size or condition of the birds hand-fed and natural breeding. The chicks are handfed by a special baby food formula until the 12th-14th week. All ready-mixed blends offered in the pet shops are equally good. At first we feed up to eight times daily, later only four or three times per day.
The responsible breeder does not feed his small babies by a rubber tube to save time, because this is not the natural occurring way to feed them.
In principle you should take enough time for each individual baby and feed it with the syringe directly into the beak. This becomes apparent later in the behaviour of the animals – with the confidence and equilibrium. Ask about the breeder’s feeding method when buying a young parrot or let them show you when you visit.
Not every baby parrot offered in the market place at a lower price has been hand raised under optimal conditions. Some breeder may say they are hand raised but in fact they are not or taken out of the nest box too late. Our parrots have been raised under optimal conditions. Quality has its price!
The young parrots are offered with approx. 14 – 20 weeks age eating self-reliant, of course closed ringed and with all necessary papers (CITES for WA I species and certificate of origin for WA II species). If you buy a parrot, it is important to ask for these papers and the marking by closed rings or chip. If desired, a gender can be determined via a DNA examination.
Handfed parrots are usually instantly used to being around people; only a few specific species, – for example African-grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus) show up initially reserved to unknown persons.
However, this is quickly lost after a few days of the acclimatization period.
The young birds are not dependent on a male or female person if a male and female person fed them by hand. Ask about it!
In principle, all baby pets should be picked up by your own. At least you will know where your bird comes from. Only in an emergency and if you already know the breeder personally young birds, that feed themselves, can be dispatched from house to house by an experienced express animal transport. This overnight shipping is then stress-free for the animals and each bird usually arrives as well as the responsible breeder has shipped it.
For the transport by self-collection, you should use a commercial transport box for cats; cages are not suitable because of the risk of an accident.
Because there is a great demand for baby parrots, serious breeders often demand a deposit. However, this should never exceed 10% of the purchase price and you will deal with the breeder for reimbursement in case you suddenly dislike the bird or you are dissatisfied of the species and like to choose another one.
Ask the breeder if he can send you some photos during the breeding season, which show the current development of your future pet.
Often, the appropriate species is only found during the personal consultation between breeder and keeper and during inspecting of the young baby birds. Before you buy, you can use the literature and experience reports to find out which type suits you, but do not believe everything that is advertised on the Internet.
Many breeders, who have only a few species, are often trying to persuade the customer to buy a bird, which is currently available. This is not trustworthy! Do not let that happen. A breeder who breeds several species is certainly able to give better advices.
The more formalities are clarified in advance, the fewer problems can arise later.
Parrot conservation as well as parrot breeding is germinating in the food.
Parrots need a balanced diet and a yearly feed changeover between resting time and breeding season; this is also important for parrots kept as a single pet. In particular female birds under oestrogen influence tend to have massive fat storage with corresponding effects on liver metabolism, for example, Amazons and Rose cockatoos (Eolophus roseicapillus).
First and foremost, we supply both, a dry seed mixture and a germinating seed mixture, in addition many fruits and vegetables. Suggestions for feeding can be found in a lot of appropriate specialist literature. The principle should be the diversity and the variability of the season. To offer the parrot all year around only a dry grain mixture or exclusively pellets is wrong and goes against nature.
It is also necessary to adhere to these rules even it comes to privatization without breeding efforts
Purchase investigation and health check
While many viral diseases have not been detected or diagnosed in parrots in the past, many infections are now detectable by simple diagnostic means. The parrot disease (Psittacosis) has, by its simple therapeutic treatment, lost its frightening outcome.
In our opinion, it is important to think about this case. As with all living animals, but especially birds, which have a much faster metabolic turnover than mammals, the choice of the right veterinarian is crucial. Here the time factor plays an important role too. Not all vets who are surely competent in the field of small pet animals are familiar with parrots; an honest doctor will admit this when you ask. We therefore urge you to look for a vet that you trust in your area in advance. Counselling aids are provided on the Internet pages, e.g. the info page of the magazine “Parrots”. Problems often appear on weekends or holidays, and only the fast and direct initial diagnostic examination is helpful. A telephone remote diagnosis is not possible for a vet even if he is experienced with birds; a costly telephone consolation is not recommended. The competent vet would ask you to come in person especially in emergency cases including Sunday’s or/and public holidays.
Viruses such as PBFD (Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, Beak and Feather Disease Virus ((BFDV)) from the Circoviridae virus family, detection of blood or feather material), Avian bornavirus (PDD, detection of blood and cloaca or goitre smear) or Polyoma (virus direct detection from blood or feather) are now feared by breeders and private owners also; they are not uncommon in wild birds as well as in captive birds. Information about these diseases can be found on many websites.
The relevant tests are now carried out quickly and inexpensively in many laboratories (information can be found in advertisements in many bird magazines or in Internet). It’s often enough to send a freshly pulled feather. You can ether do this but if you don’t want to do it you can ask the vet to pull the feather and send it. But of course it’s more cheap you do yourself.
An endoscopic examination is, in our opinion, now only indicated when the breeding condition of the bird is to be viewed, or in case of a possible illness the organs must be judged by the direct observation. However, both the veterinarian and the owner should be aware of the increased risk of narcolepsies. As an alternative, a blood test might be a better choice.
An elaborate purchase examination is really only recommended if it is a very expensive breeding bird, since the cost of such an examination very quickly exceeds the commercial value of the bird.
If you need to know about the investigations and expected costs, please ask your vet in advance. You will not experience any unpleasant surprises afterwards. The reputable veterinarian will give you information beforehand and will advice you.
In our opinion, annual or half-year health checks are completely unnecessary, as long the overall behaviour does not change; it is the indicator of the health of your pet.
You should make a contract with the breeder at the time of purchase and pick up the bird. In case of illness in a reasonable period of time please return the bird to the seller immediately before assuming expensive veterinarian bills or ask the seller in advance what options he might suggest.
Socialization – Parrots live socially
Parrots are very social, ether as a couple or as a family; therefore they need a lot of time and attention. After a period of time and after getting close with you or your family you might get a partner to join him/ her. His tameness and speaking habits will not usually change if this happens.
When mating your bird its always best to choose a younger bird as his/ her mate. Older parrots are already very self-confident and dominant, so socialization with another older bird is often difficult in a small environment. This then manifests itself in district fighting and biting. A young bird, on the other hand, will be subordinate and will usually mate without any problems. In a case of absolute incompatibility, the buyer should be entitled to exchange within a very limited time frame.
If you decide not to breed your bird you can put together different species, even genus. For example, we kept together a Hawk-headed Parrot (Deroptyus accipitrinus) and a Black-headed Caique (Pionites melanocephala) in a spacious cage; they always behaved like an intimate “love couple”.
To buy a Parrot – it should be well thought about!
The responsible breeder will be happy to advise you by telephone before you purchase which parrot is suitable for your living conditions. You will also be invited to meet at his place to get more information after a prior appointment is made. Even after the purchase, he should continue to provide you with advice and action! This is our endeavour for many years already!
Particularly important for us is the appropriate keeping and care of our feathered friends, and accordingly we put special emphasis on a natural ambience under ample conditions.
A hygienically perfect accommodation and a balanced, varied feeding are in harmony with this. Regular veterinary monitoring and supervision of the entire breeding stock is a matter of fact.
We offer birds almost all year around at a fair price. All animals come exclusively from our own breeding stock and are invariably closed ringed according to the latest legal requirements. The quality standard is very high due to professional attitude and rearing conditions. Only the animals with a healthy condition are offered for sale. If desired, a veterinary health certificate can be drawn up and gender can be determined by a DNA test at a price.
The birds raised from eggs or from the 5th week by hand are all very tame due to the loving treatment that they have received; they are tame to everyone. They can be touched immediately and some of them are already beginning to talk at the time of sale. Because they are raised in the group they have typical species social behaviour. The great tenderness makes them ideal and very attached for family birds. However, their trustworthiness is also a decisive advantage when used for further breeding. On request, however, we also can offer natural bred and parent-raised parrots.
Non-binding visits to get information are always welcomed by prior appointment (only 2 miles from the motorway A 61). If you have specific questions how to keep and handle parrots, feeding or other professional topics, we will gladly help you at any time by telephone or personally.
If necessary, we also can take care of the hand feeding if you get chicks and you are not able or like to do yourself.