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Parrot Breeding Programmes


Small Parrot Breeding Programme


A dry seed mix consisting of several varieties of millets, plain canary seed, soft wheat, hulled oats and sunflower seed supplemented with cuttle-fish, shell grit and green foods is an adequate diet for small parrots that are not breeding. However, additional energy, protein, vitamin and minerals are need during the moult and breeding seasons.

Dr Marshall's Soft Food (see adjacent PDF file for recipe and preparation instructions) is the simplest, best and safest method for providing these additional nutrients for breeding and moulting parrots.

Turbobooster (now Lecithin enriched), E-powder and F-vite are the powerhouse ingredients of this highly successful soft food recipe that uses boiled eggs and Passwells 15% finch crumbles to form a light, fluffy and highly palatable soft food that is readily accepted by breeding birds.


Dr Rob Marshall's nutritional products may also be provided in a soaked seed mix, but ensure the seed batch has been culture tested prior to soaking. Refer to pages 92-97 of "The Budgerigar" book for a more detailed description of soft seed recipes for breeding budgerigars.

Macaw Breeding Programme


Breeding times for Macaws vary across Australia due to the varied climatic zones. In order to identify the ideal times to breed, we must examine the natural breeding times of Macaws in the wild in relation to the climatic zones they inhabit. Based on this information and through observing the flock a breeding strategy can be developed that ensures your birds are breeding at the most appropriate time of year. This will maximize breeding opportunities and outcomes and promote a strong and healthy flock year round.

Based on the habitat of Macaws in the wild, we can divide commonly kept Macaws into two groups:


  • Hyacinth & Red Fronted Macaws


  • Scarlet, Blue & Gold, and Green Wing


Hyacinth & Red Fronted Macaws


In Nature, these birds inhabit the temperate zones of South America. They are Spring breeders, which means they may begin their breeding cycle anytime after June 22nd (when day length starts increasing).

The most suitable time for breeding these birds in Australia is based upon the climatic zone in which they are kept. They will not want to breed or come into breeding condition when it is too cold or too wet even when the day-length is increasing. In northern Australia they may want to breed from July onwards. Across the southern states where cold temperatures persist into July and even August an ideal time for breeding is when the weather begins to warm up. August 1st is a good time to start the breeding process in these areas as often it is too cold to begin breeding in June or July and if they do, it may endanger the health of the birds and especially females that become susceptible to egg binding at this time of the year.

The success of the breeding season however, is largely dependent on the successful completion of a moult. We feel the moult of these species should follow the same pattern as the ancient bird which starts in November, peaks in February and March, to end by late April.

When birds are unable to progress through the moult successfully, breeding failures are likely. As the moult period often falls concurrently with the breeding season in these birds, it is paramount that nutritional support is provided to promote a complete moult and thereby hold the birds in good stead for breeding.

The emphasis is on preparing Macaws for Spring breeding by documenting their moult closely.

The Breeding Programme outlined below will double up as the Moult Programme and continue until May or the end of the Moult. The conclusion of the moult is identified by the loss and re-growth of the last primary flight. It is best to monitor the growth of these flight feathers.

From May to July, the Non-Breeding Programme is implemented. This programme is less intensive and ensures the birds do not become overweight. At this time the amount of nuts in the diet should be reduced.


Scarlet, Blue & Gold & Green Wing


In Nature these birds inhabit the tropical and temperate regions of South America. With their range extending across two climatic zones, these birds are capable of two breeding seasons in both AUTUMN and SPRING. The success of these breeding seasons is again dependent on the successful completion of the full body moult during the Summer months. Prior to autumn breeding, a pre-nuptial moult has been observed in these birds.. At the completion of this moult, breeding may commence. In southern states of Australia Blue & Golds are ready for breeding in January or February. However, it may be necessary to pull these babies or incubate the eggs because of the cold weather that appears in April and May. Autumn breeding is by far the best time to breed these macaws across northern Australia nearer the tropics where temperatures remain warm during the winter months. Breeding may continue into spring where one round of youngsters may be reared. Any second round eggs should be incubated and the nest boxes should then be removed to allow the completion of the moult before Autumn breeding. They will breed again in January and be able to rear their own youngsters before the cold weather arrives. Second clutches laid before the cold weather arrives should be incubated.

From May to July, the Non-Breeding Programme is implemented. This programme is less intensive and ensures the birds do not become overweight. See Pet Macaw Programme.

The completion time of the moult for macaws varies according to their exact location within Australia. It is necessary for each breeder to assess the true natural moult period of their Macaws by documenting the loss of feathers over a year period. This will help determine the exact moult times (appropriate to your climatic zone) and in doing so, reveal the most appropriate breeding times.


Macaw Moult & Breeding Programme


Daily feeding should include at least one cooked meal of organic beans. This meal will quickly become a favourite of Macaws. Fresh fruit, cooked vegetables (click here for best food value choices), boiled brown rice, and a seed mix should also be provided to Macaws. Quik Gel, Turbobooster, E Powder & Fvite should mixed into one meal day.


Recommendations for 100gm Organic Bean Mix


  • 1 drop Quik Gel


  • 6 drops Turbobooster

  • ¼ teaspoon E Powder

  • ¼ teaspoon Fvite


Additional vitamins may be added to meal or in the drinking water (See Macaw Programme).

For two days each week add the following to Drinking water or fresh food mix (per 100gm):


  • 3 drops Dufoplus


  • 5 drops Ioford


Obtain stainless steel water bowl for aviary and use KD Water.

Cleanser at ¼ teaspoon per litre water for one day each week.

Dr Marshall has developed specific breeding programmes to improve fertility and breeding outcomes for all types of parrots.

Dr Marshall and Tailai O'Brien have developed a culture tested bean mix for larger parrots, to provide them with variety and a low Glycaemic Index (GI) food.

See our comprehensive range of products for birds, designed to maximise health and improve wellbeing.

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