Hello everyone! As some of you may remember, I attempted to breed my pair Hermes and Izzy last summer. It was unsuccessful so I gave them the rest of summer, fall, and winter off and decided to try for the following spring/summer. Well, spring will be here in a couple months and to give my pair the best chance of a successful breeding this time around, I'm going to prepare even more in advance. As I found out last time, sometimes random questions surface during the process. Or sometimes I wanted someone's opinion on something. So this time around I'm going to plan ahead and just make an ongoing thread for all breeding-related things. I don't want to make a breeding journal until eggs are laid because if my pair is unsuccessful again the breeding journal would end depressingly
So, my plan for this attempt is to condition the birds more in advance. They are on a seed/pellet diet year-round with dried fruits and veggies (plus fresh when they actually eat them). Closer to breeding them I'll give them some higher fat & protein foods. I think I'm going to buy at least one of the supplements Cute Little Birdies Aviary (website was very helpful last time around and am going to use it this time too
recommends as well. The supplement I'm looking at is instructed to give 6-8 weeks before breeding. I'll get some egg food as well. Here's the page I'm referring to What Is Breeding Condition? - Cute Little Birdies Aviary
I was also planning on just keeping the birds in their "mansion" when I breed them. The rule is, "the bigger the cage the better" so I'm assuming this still applies to a breeding cage? I can move them back to the smaller breeding cage I used last year but I'd feel bad putting them back in after getting used to their huge cage.
So as far as the time I'm aiming to breed them...
My original plan was to aim for the eggs to hatch around the end of May (around when I get out of school), so I'd put the nest box in probably mid April to give them time to get used to it. But now my family's planned a trip to Europe for 2 weeks from end of May to beginning of June. I really don't want to leave young chicks/hatching eggs for 2 weeks especially since it'll be their first clutch. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to go to Europe, but it does complicate this.
I also thought about putting the nest box in before I leave so that when we get back they'll probably be settling down and ready to mate/already mating. But if they take to the nest quicker than last year I could have a hen that may be starting to lay when I'm gone. I really want to be around when Iz starts laying to make sure she doesn't have any complications. Someone would check in on them when I'm gone but I really trust myself more to deal with any issues.
If I wait until I get back to put the nest box in, then I'll be around for the whole process. This appeals to me but then the chicks probably won't hatch until mid-summer and I'd be back in school when they're feathered and starting to be weaned. I want to make sure the chicks are exposed to everything they could be in their new homes. Plus, I want to have time to play with them at that stage. The beginning of the school year is usually the most hectic for me so I'm normally very busy. The other problem is that my cousin is already lined up to take home one of the chicks. Her parents would love to give it to her for her birthday, at the end of April. If I wanted the chicks ready around then I'd have to start conditioning now with that supplement. Which is part of the reason I'm posting this so early. Of course I'd also be in school if I bred them in the coming months but the end of the year is a lot less busy so I have more time. I also have more days off of school. I'm not busy with the stable or training/riding my horse right now since I broke my wrist almost a week ago.
Obviously the birds' safety and well-being is above getting a budgie in time for my cousin's birthday. But I'd really love to make it happen since she's been waiting over a year for this chick. She could get one from someone else but she loves my pair and I'd love being able to see the chick again. I can make her wait until the end of summer if I breed them when I get back from Europe, but as I said, the closer to her birthday the better.
So I guess I'm asking about your guy's take on this. What do you think I should do? Pros and cons to each. Thanks for beginning this year's breeding adventure with me!
Buckle your seat belts everyone!