Parrotlets have been known to be fussy. They do not nest as readily as breeds such as lovebirds or budgies. They’re very particular on the right conditions and environment before starting up a family.
Here’re some tips which we’ve gathered along the way which may help your parrotlet families to expand and reproduce:
Always prepare an abundance of nesting material. We’ve experimented with a bunch of options and what was found to work best is Carefresh bedding, which is used also for hamsters/small animals. Our parrotlets love them! We also throw in some newspaper, wood shavings and tissue for them to mix and match. You can toss the materials directly into the nest box or leave them in the cage for them to pick and decorate on their own. However they seem more content to throw unwanted material out of the nest box, rather than picking materials into the box.
Always remember to top up the materials for them along the way as they do have a tendency to discard old materials. It’s much like shopping for new linens, the parrotlets will always check out the new nesting material we leave at the side of the cage throughout their nesting period (after eggs have been laid) and swap out the old ones.
Use a broad base nest box (picture left) as oppose to a “deep” nest box (picture right). As both the parents will sleep in the nest at night, the broad base nest box offers more room and it gives the parrotlets more space to shuffle around.
Have A Party!
For best breeding conditions, have other parrotlets in the vicinity but not visible by sight. This is a neat trick to promote/stimulate breeding for the parrotlets. Although you must be careful that while the birds should be able to hear one another, they should not be able to see each other. This reduces unnecessary stress for the birds, and also prevent over excited and jealous males from injuring their mates.
Food for Breeding
Very much like the conditions in the wild, breeding starts when there’s an abundance of highly nutritious food and water. The period leading up to the actual breeding should be one where there is an overflowing amount of food and water for the birds, filled with fresh and healthy produce. We typically beef up on supplements such as high protein egg food (picture below) and calcium blocks to prepare both parents for breeding. Parrotlets, in their natural environment, require the two components of nutritious food to fatten themselves up, and the songs of all the male birds attracting mates to kick start the new breeding season.
Here’s a shot of our current nestbox for the American White (Dilute blue) Parrotlets. You’ll notice is a mix of newspaper and bedding materials. Each pair is unique. Some pairs prefer wood shavings, other prefer pure newspaper. So do offer a variety and see which ticks with your pair!
Have fun and good luck!