Breeding bodinis - personal experience
Breeding Season: spring in northern hemisphere. My birds start early – in December or January.
Brooding time: 28 days
Size of the clutch: 3-5 eggs
Average egg weight: 21 gm.
Average chick weight: 15 gm.
Time to external peep: 25-26 days
Eyes open: around 20 days
Weaning: 90 days
In January 2008, the compatible pair was moved to a closed aviary. An L-shaped nest with an opening partially closed with pieces of soft wood was placed at the furthest point from the aviary entrance. Length of "daylight" increased. Feeding with more greens was started. Seeds with a low sunflower and a high safflower mix were always available. Zupreem rainbow pellets were also available at all times. Misting with a regular garden sprayer was carried out two to three times a week. Breeding behavior was noted in February with the increasing aggression of the female toward humans, and mutual preening and feeding. At that time the nest entrance was chewed open. This was done mostly by the male. In April 2008, three clear eggs were laid. In October 2008, the pair was moved to a large cage. The length of lighting was decreased and their diet was changed to more seeds and pellets with less green food.
Breeding season 2009 - The First Success
In February of 2009, the compatible pair – I will refer to them as pair One- were moved from the cage back to the indoor aviary. The other, less compatible, pair was given a L-shaped nest box with the nest entrance closed with pieces of soft pine plank. Mutual preening was observed for the first time, and the nest entrance was chewed open.
No inspection of the inside was noted. Soon mutual preening ceased and the pair went back to their old ways. The compatible pair intensified mutual preening and the cock feeding the hen was observed. The hen has again become extremely aggressive toward humans, flying to the front door at the sight of anybody approaching. She was very noisy, posturing with an open beak and half open wings, trying to bite through food dish openings. This is is contrast to what is reported in literature where the male is always cited as more aggressive. In mid-March 2009, the pair laid four eggs. Chicks hatched around April 15th. Two larger chicks, one significantly smaller chick, and one clear egg were found in the nest after my return home from vacation on April 19th. The chicks were fed well by hen and grew rapidly. By April 30th, the bigger two started to open their eyes. On May 3rd, closed ½ inch rings were placed on the chick's left legs. Some difficulties were encountered with the two larger ones. The rings placed are AFA XKA 1600, AFA XKA 1601, and AFA XKA 1602. When checked two days later, no leg problems were found. While feeding the chicks, the hen was extremely aggressive toward humans. Their diet consisted of seeds with larger proportion of black and striped sunflower seed, almonds, and peanuts to their regular seed mix, Zupreem pellets, veggies, and fruits dusted with calcium citrate and vitamin D3were also given. The breeding pair would not even touch pulses offered a couple of times a week. They most readily consumed soft food, vegetables, and fruits. I list them in order of preference: celery, mozzarella sticks, blackberries, green grapes, apples, cranberries, pomegranates, blueberries, wild violet flowers, cranberries, papaya seeds, chopped boiled eggs, carrots, some currants, and hawthorn fruits. They birds wouldn't touch kidney beans, peas, corn, green beans, any green leafy vegetables or wild greens like dandelion, raspberries, pears, bananas, any citrus, squash, zucchini, cherries, red or black grapes, plums, nectarines, peaches, mango, papaya, thawed guava and palm oil fruits, figs, baked plantains, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes. Bits of boiled turkey and baked chickes seem to have been partially consumed. Liquid calcium, children's multivitamin, or children's vitamin A, D, C solution were added to the water daily. The chicks open their eyes by 2 ½ weeks. They start to growl when the nest is checked at the age of 3 ½ weeks. At that time, the hen was not spending the day in the nest. She comes in to feed the chicks and spends the night in the nest as well. Red coloration on the head shows by the fourth week. All of the chicks have left the nest by end of June. By the beginning of August they will eat seeds, boiled eggs, and fruits on their own. The chicks appear very wild and scared of humans. On 8/5/09, the oldest chick was moved to separate cage. Eventually, all three are moved to a large cage. In October 2009, two out of three chicks have some red on the back. XKA 1601 put in the cage with older male from the incompatible pair. XKA 1602 female was traded for hand-fed female from Florida in November 2009. The bird from Florida was still on one to two hand feedings per day. Hand feeding was finished with Zupreem hand feeding formula with added Red palm oil, Omega 3 fish oil, and spirulina. It was placed with the XKA 1600 male. It vocalizes very differently from my other Bodinis. It also appears to crave humans and plucks its feathers. At the age of two, is still quite smaller than my other females and has very little blue on the head.
Breeding season 2010- Year of failure
There were no chicks hatched this year. In retrospect, I was probably fussing too much over the parrots. They might have been too fat from all rich (and healthy) food, and it might be that I was creating too much disturbance by entering the aviary all the time.
Pair One was separated in October 2009 for two weeks. They were put together into an indoor aviary on November 10th. The hen chewed the nest entrance open in the very first two days. She shows aggressive posturing with eyes flashing, dancing with wings half open, and tail spread when people get close to them. The pair has been very vocal, shouting at the other Amazons in the bird room. In November there was no change. The pair was not entering the box, and no mutual preening was observed. They were acting moderately aggressive with posturing, but not attacking. At end of December, the hen was checking the nest. The male guards the entrance to the aviary when people approach.
In January, the female was spending more time in the nest. Four eggs were laid on January 14th, 16th, 18th, and the 20th. Nest inspection was carried out with small camera. During incubation, the hen leaves the nest infrequently. If she spends any but the shortest time feeding, the male chases her back to the nest. On several occasions, the male was seen feeding the hen outside the nest. It seems that he never enters the nest during incubation. On 2-13-2010, the eggs were candled and found to be clear. The eggs were removed from the nest. On 3-3-2010, the birds were seen mating. The male stands on the perch with one leg, while the other leg is on the hens back, and the vents are connected. A new batch of eggs were laid on 3-12; 3-15, and 3-18. All but one were clear. That dehydrated, hatched chick wasn't found in the nest the next day.
During the early summer, the birds were fed a mixture of pellets, seeds, and weekly or twice a week, fruits.
Later in the summer and fall, they were fed pellets with the occasional bowl of large seeds, fruits, and small seeds-like millet most of the time.
Breeding season 2010/2011
No special breeding conditioning was done due to the lack of time on my part. The birds were fed mainly pellets. Long light hours left through late November / early December. Disturbance to the birds was minimal. For three or four months, human presence in the aviary was brief and not more than three times a week. Screens between the aviaries were open so that the birds had a full visual and sound interaction with the other pairs.
-First clutch: At the beginning of December, the first mating was observed as well as increased aggressive vocalization and the female spending more time in the nest. On December 9th, first egg was found. The female started to actively sit and defend the nest. Feeding was changed to daily fruits and every other day, protein- mineral food. Privacy screens were pulled on. Misting/ spraying increased to three times per week. The humidifier was turned on. The second egg was laid on December 11th, the third egg on December 13th, the fourth on 15th or 16th, and the fifth on 18th.
On December 19th, the eggs were pulled and placed in a Lyon Turn-X incubator. The initial settings were a dry bulb reading of 99.2F and a wet bulb reading of 85F, which was later on lowered to 80F.
The first egg weight was 22gm, the second and the third were 21gm, and the fourth and fifth 20 gm. Egg #2 was moved to the hatcher on 01-04-11. It was taken by mistake instead of egg #1. The temperature was 98.6 F. Humidity was not measured, but was likely very high as all interior walls and the top had condensed water droplets on them. Egg #1 moved to hatcher on January 5th. On January 5th, both eggs showed an external peep. Those two chicks hatched on Jan 8th. The third hatched on Jan 10, the fourth on Jan 12, and the fifth: January 14th.
The were fed initially with Pedialyte for 2 -3 days, then Ensure plus and Pedialyte for 3-5 days, then Kaytee baby food plus a proprietary supplement. The fifth chick was fed Pedialyte for 24 hours, then Ensure/Pedialyte for 3 days, and then a hand feeding formula. This is the chick with best weight gain overall.
Feeding was started with an every two hour schedule and then gradually changed while adjusting it to accommodate the time when the crops would empty.
Temperature in the brooder was 97.5F, then 95F, then 93F, then on day 18, it was lowered to 92F.
AFA 1/2" closed rings placed at about 2-3 weeks of age. Rings are AFA GTR 11 001, GTR 11 007, GTR 11 003, GTR 11 004, GTR 11 005.
-Second clutch laid in January 2011: the first egg on January 3rd, the second January 6th, and the third egg was found on the floor away from the nest. Both eggs in the nest candled on Jan 20th and found to be fertile. Humidity in the aviary was increased on day 24. The first chick hatched on 01-31-2011. The second chick hatched February 2nd. Pulled for hand feeding on 02-17-11. Rings are AFA GTR 11 006 and AFA GTR 11 008. Birds are larger than those in the first clutch being over 400 gm at 30 day of age.
All babies weaned with no problem by April 15th and sold as a wholesale package in May.
Breeding season 2011/2012
Humidity in the aviary was increased in early January. Clutch laid in January 2011: Four eggs found on 20th of January. Chicks pulled on 3-9-12. Rings are AFA GTR 12 WI 013 thru AFA GTR 12 WI 016. Birds are large. Fandfed for 1 week then sold.
One year old male. Note the less extensive blue wash on his face.