Last Updated on November 24, 2023 by Ali Shahid
African grey parrots are some of the most popular pet birds in the world, largely due to their intelligence and ability to mimic human speech. Breeding these magnificent animals requires patience, knowledge, and dedication – but can be a very rewarding experience for any avian enthusiast.
African greys have unique needs when it comes to mating and nesting. They must be provided with an environment that mimics their natural habitat as closely as possible so that they feel comfortable enough to mate and raise young.
I will provide tips on how best to set up your bird’s enclosure, what kind of diet is necessary for successful breeding, and more. With the right preparation and care, you can ensure that your avian family grows healthily and happily!
Breeding Pattern of African Greys in the Wild
There is a high degree of social interaction among African grey parrots. During the breeding process, pairs of birds occupy their trees in loose colonies. This species of parrot selects mates carefully and establishes a lifelong monogamous bond at sexual maturity, which occurs between 3-5 years of age.
The African grey begins mating in October, lays eggs in November, and hatches in December after 28 days of incubation.
In the wild, there is little information on courtship, besides the observation of displaying flights around nest holes. In courtship, males feed their partners (courtship feeding) while singing a soft rhythmic melody. In this period, while the male guards the nest cavity, the female sleeps inside.
In captivity, the male feeds the female after copulation, while both sexes droop their wings during the mating dance. While breeding seasons vary by location, dry seasons are generally associated with breeding seasons. African grey parrots breed on average once or twice a year.
During a period of two to five days, females lay three to five roundish eggs. As the female incubates the eggs, the male will feed the female exclusively during the incubation process. In general, the eggs hatch after thirty days, while the young hatch after twelve weeks of development.
Breeding African Greys in Captivity
Choosing the Right Breeding Pair
Choosing the right breeding pair for African grey parrots is an important step in ensuring successful reproduction. To get started, here are 5 key factors to consider:
Identify the Gender: Since males and females look alike, DNA sexing is the best way to ensure you are establishing true pairs. Occasionally, parrot breeders claim that they can visually determine a parrot’s gender based on its size and shape, but such claims can only be regarded as educated guesses.
There is a relatively low cost associated with DNA sexing (about $20). It is unnecessary to take the time to set up pairs that might be incompatible.
Thoroughly examine both birds: Make sure they have healthy plumage and eyes with no signs of injury or disease.
Observe their behavior: Look for signs that indicate good temperaments such as a willingness to interact with humans and other birds without aggression, fearfulness, or timidity.
Check their ages: It is ideal to breed pairs where the male is younger than the female so that he can be more active during courtship and mating.
Look at bloodlines: Research into possible genetic issues related to lineages will help you identify potential problems before even selecting your birds.
Prepare the Breeding Cage
If you know the exact measurements that African greys require, preparing the cage should be easy. In terms of cage size, it should be at least 3 feet by 2 feet by 4 feet. However, the bigger one is always better.
Last but not least, you need to provide your birds with thick and heavy perches on which they can stand. When the male goes above the female, the thick perch will assist her in holding tightly and steadily.
Males may stop mating with females if they feel shaken or have trouble holding them, so keep that in mind.
Prepare the Nesting Box
Generally speaking, the best nesting box for breeding enclosures or aviaries is an L-shaped box placed in a quiet area. A nesting box should have a minimum dimension of two feet wide, three feet high, and six feet deep.
Put a little sawdust in the nesting box, and make sure to keep it dry all the time. It is not advisable to put water or anything wet on the table.
A nesting box serves as more than just a place for the pair to lay eggs. It is also used as a hiding place for the parrots when you walk into the breeding room. In this regard, nesting boxes provide a degree of privacy that cannot be matched.
Ensure privacy and security
In the absence of safety and privacy, African greys cannot breed. In other words, if you frequent the breeding sites frequently, your couple may experience unnecessary anxiety. Safety and privacy are relative, depending on how tame and familiar your couple is with you.
It is somewhat challenging to provide the level of safety and privacy necessary for untamed pairs. Breeding African greys may require additional standards and preparations.
It is also necessary for the couple to take extra precautions during their first breeding attempt. Breeding is easiest when you have bonded pairs that have been successfully bred before in your care.
Therefore, if your pair has gained the necessary experience, breeding will be a breeze. As the owner, experience will help you determine what is the perfect level of privacy and safety for your pair.
Ideally, this should take place in a private room at home. As much as possible, the room should be free of distractions, such as other pets, televisions, or other items.
The room should be forgotten and should never be used. It will only be used for breeding African grey parrots. When breeding African greys, you should also avoid the voices in the rest of the house. The breeding room should be equipped with a sound insulator.
Depending on the situation, sound insulation may be optional or necessary, so if you live alone, this may not be necessary. While the pair is together, you should never enter the room unexpectedly, especially when restocking food and water. Before entering the room, it is recommended that you knock on the door.
Also, knock on the nesting box before opening it to check for eggs. An attached camera can be used to monitor the nesting box. This will allow you to determine if there are eggs inside the box before you open it.
You shouldn’t expect the eggs of the parrot pair to come out so quickly after entering their new home. It normally takes the pair a few years to give birth to a baby parrot, even if they are a boding pair. When you care for your parrot in the right way, chicks will be produced quickly and easily.
A clutch of African Gray eggs typically consists of 3-4 eggs. To ensure healthy chicks from large clutches, you should provide them with a superior diet.
If a bird’s diet is inadequate, fewer eggs will be produced and it will be weak. A certain feed mix that is specially formulated for breeding can be purchased at your local market.
Caring for eggs
A pair of successful breeding birds will lay a clutch of two to five eggs. Depending on the situation, you have two options.
In the case that your pair will be breeding for the first time, using an incubator is highly recommended. Occasionally, parrots will reproduce and lay eggs, but this may be accompanied by stress and anxiety, leading to the destruction of the eggs.
As a result, their behavior may become a habit and become their default behavior every time they breed. Consequently, you will need an incubator if you are breeding your parrots for the first time.
If your pair is capable of incubating the eggs without harm, then letting them do so is a good idea. Hatching of the eggs may take 18 to 34 days.
Caring Baby African Greys
Upon hatching the babies, you will gain some new experience that can generate some income on the side. You can either train them yourself or sell them when they are young.
If a baby parrot is trained from an early age and hand-fed, it will form a strong bond with its owner and fly freely outdoors.
Breeding African grey parrots can be a challenging and rewarding experience. It’s important to consider the cost, seasonality, lifespan, difficulty of breeding, and special considerations when deciding whether or not to breed these birds.
Although it may seem daunting at first, with proper care and attention you can successfully raise African grey parrots in your own home.
Sure, you will need to make an initial investment in supplies. But the joy that comes from watching them grow will more than outweigh any costs associated with raising these birds.
Plus, they live a long life – up to 50 years! With patience and dedication, anyone can become an experienced breeder of African grey parrots.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.