Greys do not breed
When I wanted to get myself some Greys I wanted to find out more about them, and as I was a member of a bird club at the time and pretty new to keeping parrots I asked various people in the club about Greys, I was promptly told that "Greys do not breed...". Very disappointed and my mind set on these parrots I phoned a few bird dealers, I got mixed reactions and finally my choice was between Greys and Maximilian`s Pionus. The next morning (1st July 1994) My wife and myself got into the car and set off looking for parrots. We stopped off at a bird farm in Pretoria, the owner advised me to go for Greys and if possible Congos, as they seemed to breed better .
Choosing our Greys
We set off looking for Greys, and found some newly imported Greys just out of quarantine. I got a good deal by taking 3 pairs, so we stood in front of the two aviaries, one containing males and the other females. An hour later I had chosen the three males, two hours later we were on our way with our 6 parrots. My choice was made based on the assumption that the bigger the bird the older it was, and also on the colour of the eyes, the deeper yellow the more mature. Once home they were put into a very small cage 1.4m high x 0.7m wide x 0.45m deep. The birds were very wild and I needed to get them tamer and let them pair up by themselves.
Every morning the birds were taken out of the laundry and returned at night. 2 weeks later one pair had paired up nicely, they were caught out and put into a suspended aviary 0.9m x 0.9m x 2.4m. They were supplied with 2 nest boxes, one in the front one in the back, one large L-shaped and one small L-shaped. The other 2 pairs paired up and one pair was moved to a suspended aviary and the other sold to a very good friend of mine. The parrots were left alone as much as possible and fed a good diet. I drilled holes in the walls behind the parrots so that I could spy on them, without them seeing me.
At the beginning of December `94 I saw one pair trying to mate but they could not get it right, the male kept falling off the hen, so I added branches and the mating went smoother. I still was not expecting anything as "Greys do not breed...." The Parrots had been in the nests for about 2 months at that stage. Great was my surprise when during a routine nest inspection on 31 December '94 I found an egg in the nest of the first pair, even greater when 3 days later pair number 2 had an egg as well. Pair one laid 3 eggs, pair 2 laid 4 eggs. All chicks hatched giving us 7 chicks within 7 months of buying totally wild caught pairs. So dont let others fool you into believing that they know everything about parrots, as the parrots are as individual as we are.
The third pair
And the pair sold to my friend started breeding after 9 months in her aviaries, I had been trying to by them back from her ever since, then in September '97 she sold her whole collection to me including the Greys. I took them nest box and all and put them into my aviaries, two weeks later they laid the first of 3 eggs. All eggs hatched and were taken for hand rearing, 32 days later the next clutch of three eggs were laid and this trend has continued so far.
Handreared birds as Breeders
As far as breeding with hand reared birds is concerned, I kept the first hen I bred from pair number one and the first male from pair number two was given to my sister in-law. Well the hen was put into an aviary with a very wild and plucked male (age unknown) . When she was 2 and a half years old she bred for the first time 3 eggs 2 hatchlings .
The male was returned to me in October '98 and a hen was provided, they now have 4 eggs, 3 of which are fertile, due to hatch shortly.
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