Swift Parrots in Australian aviaries

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Sullo41
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Joined: 22 Sep 2014, 11:34
Location: Melbourne - NE suburbs

14 Apr 2015, 17:17

Hi All,

I'm currently researching the possibility of breeding Swift Parrots. There is a thread on this forum from 2011 which talks a bit about keeping/breeding Swift Parrots but just wondering if there have been many advancements since then?

It seems as though the availability has increased a little bit (ads popping up here and there on Petlink, Gumtree, Aviculture clubs/magazines etc) and the prices appeared to have dropped also.

Are there any forum members that currently keep Swift Parrots (particularly in Victoria)? What is the experience of selling young birds?

What are the current thoughts on aviary design? Is their strong flight still a problem with flying into the wire?

What is the latest thinking on feeding? Still similar to lorikeets (i.e. dry lorikeet mix, wet nectar mix supplemented with flowering eucalypts, lerps where possible and other fruit/greenfood supplements).

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Luke.
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Craig52
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Location: victoria

14 Apr 2015, 20:22

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I had these about 4 years ago before i reverted to specialist aviaries.They were very compatible with a mixed collection of finches so much so that they shared roosting sites with the finches.
Their diet was the regular dried lorikeet food,fed dry plus a lot of fruit but mainly oranges cut in half and over ripe pears.They also consumed a lot of dry and sprouted finch mix as well as seed grass heads.
They don't seem to be as rare in aviaries as they were years ago and the price has dropped a lot i still see them in the tall white flowering gums around here but their strong hold is in Tasmania where i heard recently that their numbers are in decline and they now want to put them on the endangered list in tassy.
I never got to breed them for the reason mentioned earlier but i cannot see why you wouldn't down here in the SE in their own range.Hope that helps. Craig
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Myzomela
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Location: Melbourne Vic

15 Apr 2015, 09:35

They definitely need more people keeping them. Their numbers in the wild are dropping and although much more readily available now than say 15 years ago they suffer from not being the "in" bird so not many are kept. Many at bird sales don't seem to sell so my fear is that less and less people will keep them.
We want to avoid the boom and bust cycle seen with many drab finches.
Brett Gartrell found that they would breed with parrot pellets also but a diet based on soaked/sprouted seed, some lorikeet food & greens & fruits will suit.
They can certainly be kept in a colony but best breeding results is had with individual pairs.
They are susceptible to intestinal worms and overcrowding in my experience but overall they do well in Victoria. Biggest captive numbers seem to be in Tasmania and the Hunter region of NSW although there are breeders in most states.
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Havealookwhatuvedone
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Location: Melbourne, VIC

23 Apr 2015, 20:06

Hi Luke.

These are an underrated bird in my opinion.

I keep swifts and have always housed them with finches no problems, and have had both Swifts and finches co-existing and breeding together without issue.
In the 5 years I have kept them, have lost prob 3 or 4 birds to broken necks, this has been attributed to either night fright, or something startling them, usually a bird of prey, cat etc.
They do panic relatively easily, but can also be quite confiding and trustworthy towards their owner when settled, especially with young in the nest.
Have found they breed slightly better when kept as single pairs, though will breed and co-exist in colony quite well too. Only downside to keeping colony is if a bird does get night fright, generally sets the others off in a mad panic too.
Not particularly fussy regarding partners, have had hens with young in the nest change partners and start a second brood with a different cock, leaving the original cock to raise the young on his own! Generally they are excellent parents and will raise the young if you lose a parent bird.
Young when fledged are quite advanced too.... once recaptured a youngster after it escaped within a week of fledging, after 5 days on the run!

Generally cocks can be sexed by their brighter green colour, but not always reliable. I tend to go on vent colour, cocks are solid red, whereas hens are either red with green scalloping on each feather, or solid green. Do not go on behaviour as cock birds will feed each other, similar to lorikeets, think it's more to do with dominance/hierachy..... less dominant cocks I've found will beg for food from more dominant birds, but this hierachy can change in the blink of an eye!

I feed my birds a dry lorikeet mix, as well as fruit and veg, apple, pear, orange, watermelon, corn, figs, peas, Bok Choy, Lebanese cucumber, Mealworms, bread etc, as well as Avigrain 'Parrot Blue' mix which contains dried fruit which they pick out first. Flowering natives and seeding grasses when available.

They absolutely love to bathe too, even in single figure temperatures. Since moving from Dandenong Ranges, (similar climate to Tassie where they breed) to Melbourne's north-west, am yet to put a young one on the perch. My aviaries have a sprinkler system on a timer to go off every hour in hot weather, and as yet have not lost an adult bird in the heat, but you will lose young in the nest if half to full feathered and temps get over 31-32 deg. Wet towels draped over nest boxes would be an absolute minimum, but I prefer to bring the boxes inside in the morning and return them in the evening. The parents are nonplussed with this interference and will resume feeding almost immediately (young can also be handled, rung, wormed etc in the nest, or removed temporarily to replace nesting material as parents are very tolerant).

Worms are also a killer in swifts, I worm my birds every 3 months, once, and then two weeks later to kill all remaining eggs with alternate wormers so they don:t develop a tolerance....ie Ivormec, Moxydectin and vetafarm wormout gel.

Absolutely one of my favourite birds, their lack of popularity I attribute to to being, In Victoria at least, on advanced license which is a little dearer and more restrictive, a little more expensive to look after, and previous negative connotations/information.

Can't recommend this bird highly enough, docile, confiding, entertaining, free breeder in the right conditions, and presently retail in Vic for around $450pr, around 300pr in NSW and Qld.
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Sullo41
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Location: Melbourne - NE suburbs

27 Apr 2015, 13:55

Thanks everyone for the very detailed and thorough responses. Sounds like they are a very decent aviary subject once settled in.

"Havealookwhatuvedone", do you know of many other current breeders in the Melbourne area? Just wondering how hard it would be to source an unrelated pair?

I'm currently planning moving of my old aviaries from parent's place to mine so will take these points into consideration regarding water misters, overheating nest boxes, night frights etc. Would be great to see some set-ups if people are open to that?

Thanks again.
Luke.
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Myzomela
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28 Apr 2015, 10:39

Luke, if you can't get any in Melbourne then try contacting Brett Cooke in Tasmania who will freight birds and is responsible for breeding many of the captive birds supplied to the mainland.
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peterrebecca
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Location: Brisbane QLD

30 Apr 2015, 10:22

Are Swift Parrots suitable to be housed with a pair of Bourke's and a pair of Scarlets?

Thank you.

Peter & Rebecca.
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finchbreeder
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30 Apr 2015, 11:40

The first question P&R is obviously, in what size avairy?
LML
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peterrebecca
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30 Apr 2015, 11:51

3.8m x 2m LML.
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Havealookwhatuvedone
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Location: Melbourne, VIC

08 May 2015, 17:27

Hey Luke.
Obtaining unrelated pairs wouldn't be a problem as they well established now.
Have a few contacts, though not sure if they'd be willing to part with birds currently- more likely to after breeding season with young.
PM for more info if you'd like.
Cheers

Scott.

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