Well, I started out with a love bird which was given to me as a pet. She wanted to get rid of her because she was a biter. Her name was Rizo. She was a mean bird, and she loved to bite you. I didn't know much about love birds before I got Rizo.
I took Rizo to a breeder in Truro to see if I could get her a male, so I could breed her. I ended up buying one. I named him Petey. It took them a week or so before they got along.
The cage had to be cleaned out every second day and put new paper in the bottom of the cage. I changed the water twice a day, changed the food once a day. I would give them Romaine lettuce in the morning, as a treat. I would also give them some toast.
I put a nesting box on the cage for her to lay her eggs. I didn't know much about breeding them, only what I read from books and talking to other breeders. The female would shred the paper up and would tuck it under her wing, then take it to the nesting box. The female would lay between three and four eggs at a time. She would spend most of her time in the nesting box, sitting on her eggs. She would come out to eat. She got really nasty when you went in the cage to change her food and water.
Rizo has three babies, so on the 15th day after they were born, I would take one out to hand-raise. I put the baby bird in a butter dish with Kleenex over it, put the dish in a small fish tank with a heating pad on the outside, bottom of the tank. The temperature had to be 85 to 90 do it would stay warm. I would mix up bird pablum and feed it through a syringe. Starting off it would be one drop and a little tiny bit of water every four hours. After I fed the baby, I would cuddle it in a Kleenex to keep it warm. It was really neat when it started growing feathers. When they got to be about two months old, they would look at you when they were ready to be fed.
They thought you were their mother, which you were. They are so lovable, when they're hand-raised. When it was time to let them go, I put an advertisement in the newspaper. They sold pretty fast, and I hated to see them go. They were part of a family. One of the babies died, and I took it hard, I cried most of the day. I tried to figure out what I did wrong, I will never know, I just told myself it was his tome. It took me a long time to get the courage to hand-raise another one.
I learned that they were a part of a family and they live and die, just like us.
The skills I brought to breeding birds are:
- Being consistent with feeding the birds on time and cleaning out the cage regularly.
- Be patient with handling the birds, like Rizo the biting bird.
- Be caring with the handling and feeding of the baby birds.