Originally posted by Tviokh
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I honestly do NOT recommend breeding on a whim, because you think it would be "neat", or to make money; breeding is a HUGE responsibility and can become very expensive if something goes wrong with the chicks.
Some things to ask yourself before breeding:
1. Do you know how to handfeed? If the answer is no, do you have someone who can show you how? If the answer to THAT is no, what is your plan in the event that the chick's life will depend on you being able to handfeed? It's very easy to kill a chick by handfeeding if you don't know what you're doing. If the temperature of the formula is off, you can cause burns(if too hot) or can cause slow crop(if too cold or not mixed right); if you don't handfeed properly, the chick can apsirate(when food goes into the lungs) on the food and die a pretty painful death.
2. What is your plan if the parents abandon the nest, or don't feed the chicks? Handfeeding from day one requires that you feed the birds every 1-2 hours around the clock; this means no sleep for you, and taking the birds to work/school with you for a couple weeks.
3. If the parents do abandon, you WILL need to take the chicks with you to work or school because they WILL need to be fed every few hours for the first several weeks.
4. Are you able to recognize the early signs of sour crop, crop stasis, yeast infections, or bacterial infections? If not, you need to learn how to do this, as "waiting to see" if a chick is sick or not can cost the chick its life.
5. What will you do with the chicks if you can't keep them all? Selling to pet stores is, in my opinion, a terrible thing that no caring breeder would do. At a pet store anyone with money can buy your bird, and you have no idea what kind of home or person they will be sold to. In a pet store they may also be exposed to disease and may die well before ever making it to a new home.
The best breeders line up homes for their chicks mating even happens or eggs are laid.
Those who don't do that will carefully screen potential owners.
In my opinion, "breeders" who sell to anyone with money are akin to puppy mills or bird mills; in it only for the money. Be offended if you like, but a backyard breeder is a backyard breeder; those who get offended are probably the kind of people I'm talking about.
6. If you plan to keep the chicks, are you aware that clutch sizes can be up to 8 babies? Do you have the time, money, and space for all those extra birds?
7. What will you do if one of the parents starts attacking or plucking the chicks?
8. What are the temprements of your hen and cock? Overly aggressive birds should not be bred; that is a trait that should not be passed on.
Birds with a bald spot behind their crest should also not be bred, as this is a genetic flaw that isn't desirable and should not be passed on.
9. Vet care costs. Can you afford $500+ for emergency vet care if your hen, or any of the chicks need it? There are complications which can arise(such as egg binding; where the egg gets stuck inside the hen) that CANNOT wait for regular vet hours. This means if your hen should become eggbound on a Sunday evening, you CANNOT wait until Monday morning and will need to pay for emergency vet care.
Same goes for if one of the chicks becomes sick.
10. Do you have room for the extra cages you may need in the event that you can't find homes for all the chicks? Or in the event that one or both of the parents starts attacking or plucking the chicks?
11. WHY do you want to breed?
"I think it'd be fun/cool/neat."
"The birds want/need it"
"The kids think it'd be neat/The kids begged me to let them."
"To make money."
12. Breeders rarely make a lot of money off breeding alone; in general a breeder is happy if the money from the sale of the chicks even comes close to being even with what it cost to raise them and keep all the birds healthy.
13. Have you had your hen and cock checked by an AVIAN vet(even if you have to drive 200 miles to get to one) to make sure they're in peak health? Unhealthy parents make for unhealthy chicks.
14. What kind of diet are you feeding your birds?
If you're feeding a seed only or mainly seed diet, your birds are likely not in top condition and should not be allowed to breed until you get them on a better diet.
I'm not telling you these things to be overly negative; these are very real concerns that have consequences that can result in the death of your birds and high vet bills for you.
I would not suggest you breed until you do a LOT of research. If at all possible, find a breeder in your area who is willing to teach you how to handfeed and care for chicks, recognize early signs of illness, and maybe allow you to help out with their chicks. Whether or not that's possible, it would be a very good idea to read through ALL the articles below.
www.cockatiel.org and read the articles they have.
Then move on to these articles:
And read just about everything here:
PLEASE take the time and effort to read everything I've posted here.
Breeding is a big responsibility and is not something that should be done on a whim or because you think it'd be "neat" or "fun".
You are dealing with lives; lives that depend on you to make it, and that is a very serious responsibility.