Breeding tips?

Includes Species Profile.
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spanna
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Posts: 1071
Joined: 03 Jun 2010, 16:03
Location: Bullsbrook, Western Australia
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Hi all
Hoping for a few tips on breeding these guys. After a bit of bad luck and losing a few cocks (but not any hens??? :wtf: ), I now have 2 pair and a spare hen in with a mixed collection (diamonds, emblemas, double bars, plumheads, RC cordons, tricolour parrotfinches, masked grassies). They have natural nest sites available in the form of dried brush on the aviary walls and some growing grasses (Guinea grass) in the open (but semi-sheltered) areas of the aviary. Some of the grasses are a little on the smaller size, but will be getting some TLC over the coming winter and should hopefully spring up hugely for next breeding season.
The lowest I have brush on the walls is maybe 1m above the ground, as I don't want to make it easy for anything that may get into the aviaries somehow to get up to nests. Is it worth me devising some other way of supplying dried brush lower down in the aviary for the pictas? Also, what is roughly the minimum size of grasses to be useful as nest sites? I currently have the bigger grasses tied up so as to provide more dense, upright cover, rather than more spreading.
As usual all my birds get a good finch mix, extra pannicum, soaked seed, maggots, leb cucumber and green seed (when I have it, ran out about a month ago), as well as the usual grits, calcium sources etc.
I've heard they can be frustrating, and they well and truly have been so far, but the 2 males seem to have chosen their hens, and have caught one of them displaying a couple of times now (awesome sight to see, will try and catch it on camera some time) so am just hoping that there may be something I can do to give them a nudge in the right direction for this coming spring.
Cheers in advance
Luke
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iaos
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Posts: 1172
Joined: 18 Aug 2009, 20:07
Location: Newcastle, NSW
Location: Newcastle, NSW

Luke, I can't really offer any advice, however they are a bird of interest at the HVFC, i.e. a species they are trying to conserve. At last nights meeting the question wad asked who has bred any.... Noone had bred any... One guy has 7 or 8 pairs that aren't doing anything for him at the moment. The only advice given last night was to try and aquire young birds and let them choose their own partner. Good luck.
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Tiaris
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Posts: 3517
Joined: 23 Apr 2011, 08:48
Location: Coffs Harbour

I find they do best with dry sandy aviary floor, low spreading type grasses are much preferred for nesting over taller upright ones and single pair rather than colony. I pair mine up young by putting the intended pair in either the same holding aviary or at least adjacent holding aviaries for at least a month prior to release into the breeding aviary. Dry diet of dry seeds (including pasture seeds/grass seeds if available) and livefood, grits. Love crushed cuttlebone & put small pieces into the nest chamber at all stages of the breeding cycle & providing freshly crushed cuttlebone seems to stimulate nesting interest for pairs apparently on the brink of breeding. Good luck.
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desertbirds
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Posts: 1318
Joined: 21 Nov 2010, 09:13
Location: Alice Springs

I had two pairs for awhile that did well, lots of fresh seed heads, termites and as tiaris suggested they love cuttlebone, more so than any species ive kept. They dont like competition for live food when they have young and generally just chew heads off of mealworms. i swapped to the smaller mealworms with some success. Mine didnt nest in grasses or close to the ground but nested in dry brush that i placed in a mandy tree. The pairs i had wouldnt start breeding until we had a few 40 degree days and seemed to love the hot weather.
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Tony
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Posts: 65
Joined: 13 Feb 2011, 22:54
Location: Perth WA

Hey spanna.
I have kept them but did not breed them. They nested but that was all. I sold them too a guy who said they took 12 months to settle in and then he couldn't stop them. 20 plus in a season. They actually breed through our Winter here but do not like the cold, prefer a sheltered, draught free spot. They are quite secretive and I know some people have bred them, no live food or any extras, without even knowing they had nested. I know a couple of people breeding them but they are few and far between.
Good luck!
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spanna
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Posts: 1071
Joined: 03 Jun 2010, 16:03
Location: Bullsbrook, Western Australia
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Thanks for all the tips, have taken them on board: patience, cuttlebone, low spreading grasses. Are there any suggestions on grass species as nest sites? Dried brush nest sites are always available, but have seen more interest in the grasses, though no nests yet.

I would move them all so I only had single pairs per aviary, but I don't have the space unfortunately. Will be doing just that in future with all bar a few of my species. As always, need more space. Unfortunately, that may have to wait til I own my own house... :lol: :thumbdown:
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VR1Ton
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Posts: 1889
Joined: 18 Apr 2010, 18:07
Location: Far Nth Coast NSW
Location: Far Nth Coast NSW

Try some Common Tussock Grass, Poa labillardieri, or one of it's cultivars, as the species can be a little intrussive, where as the cultivars are sterile, grows to about a metre high, by nearly a metre wide, pretty hardy too.
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iaos
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Posts: 1172
Joined: 18 Aug 2009, 20:07
Location: Newcastle, NSW
Location: Newcastle, NSW

Any luck with them Spanna? Is anyone else having any luck with them at the moment?
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tonytoast
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Posts: 156
Joined: 05 May 2011, 18:51
Location: Gold Coast

Mine went into an old nest for a couple of days about a month ago but seemed to get bored. Even watched them mate. They have started spending a lot of time in the termite tray so with the weather warming up and all my other natives nesting, I remain hopeful!
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vettepilot_6
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Posts: 2826
Joined: 07 Aug 2011, 17:50
Location: Childers
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When I used to keep an breed them....they were kept in very large community aviary and spent most time in freshly turned over compost heap ( I know I know nobody does that anymore) also were fed copious amounts of termites and as said before cuttlebone, I also had salt lick blocks with Iodine smashed up as well (don't know if they ate any but other birds picked at it) I had 2 feed stations so less squabbling over feed areas..they nested in low grass aproximately 1/2mtr from ground, when young were in nest they would spend time a live food and madiera cake... 3 to 4 chicks fledged each time...extremely shy bird when nesting (like stars will desert very easily)....these are just some of the things I remember when I bred them, if I think of anything else I will let you know.. :thumbup:
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