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Lineolated Parakeet

Bolborhynchus lineola

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BREEDING AT HOME

Our first two pairs (Eros-Maya and Toya-Shonah ) were adopted in October 2001. They are all green split blue. They live in a indoor aviary.

We had envisaged to make them breed in colony. Nevertheless, taking into account that some tension had arisen between them, we decided to separate the couples for the breeding season.

This would be our very first breeding experience.  Would it work ?  What a thrill !

We heartily thank all confirmed breeders (met for real or virtually via the Net) who kindly gave us precious advice.

Maya is 11 month old and Eros for sure a year old. Toya and Shonah are younger. Thus, to comply with the recommendations of the majority of confirmed breeders, we decide to postpone the latter breeding season.

Early April 2002 : Maya and Eros are placed in their breeding cage (dimensions : length : 80cm, height : 40cm, depth : 35cm).
Their nails are cut to prevent the thin egg shells from being pierced.

Their nest is the typical agapornis style with "bedroom and kitchen".

Within 24 hours, they had already visited their nest. They decide to spend the night there.

Their diet is composed of :

Equipment for the nest :

In less than a day, they build a thick dome. It becomes difficult for us to fully inspect the nest. They seek for privacy ?! They'll have it !

The shavings are practically all thrown away by Eros.  He is very busy building a nest to their own taste.
It takes him about a week to finish his job.

All mating was done in private inside the nest. We never saw any.

A month after them joining their new home, i.e. on May 2, we notice that the birds are very excited. Maya's abdomen is swollen : the first egg came out soon afterwards (size : about 15mm).

After that one, four more eggs will be laid, every other day.

Maya's belly will remain swollen during the whole breeding process, the reasons being either a new egg or the daily excrements that must be expelled.

Up to the third egg, Maya will seldom leave the nest. After that, she will only come out once a day for toilet purposes. Eros feeds her in the nest. He joins her every evening to spend the night together in the nest.

During the whole breeding period, we keep a humidity rate between 55 and 70%. In normal times, Lineos don't really like bathing but love showers. We observe that, during breeding, their attitude changes and they don't wish to have a shower. Thus we just spray some tepid water on the eggs and the nest inner walls, every other day.

In order to avoid any panic that could lead to the pair abandoning or destroying their eggs, we only inspect the nest when both parents are away.

We notice that Eros prefers eating seeds rather than the breeding mixture.


There is one other big change in their attitude. Lineos are normally very active and love playing in their cage/aviary. During the breeding, Eros seems to be bored, spending day after day on a perch, lonely and motionless.

During one of the nest inspections, we observe that one egg shell is pierced. We touch it and notice the shell is extremely soft. Several confirmed breeders told us they believe this could be the first, non fertile, egg or maybe some need for calcium.

As from that moment, we include grated cuttlebone in their breeding mixture.

May 19 : D day is closer now. Tension builds up. Not among the breeding birds but inside ourselves. The eggs are fertile ? The parents will take properly care of their offsprings ? We hear that it is quite common that the first clutch does not succeed ! On top of that, some other internet aquaintances breeding lineos experience big problems !

To keep us busy, because we are getting impatient, we decide to build a hospital cage. It can save some chicks' life in case things go sower. We prefer to be prudent.

May 25 : We notice that one egg is very different from the others. Its shell is much more greyish than the other ones. The shell is slightly broken on one side. This is the 23rd day after the first egg was laid. As we took a pierced egg away, we wonder when hatching will take place. Maybe for a next clutch we should mark the eggs, but the risk of breaking them is probably.

All of a sudden, Eros behaviour changes dramaticaly. He is over excited and calls Maya out of the nest. When she eventually joins him, we rush to the nest for inspection. A baby is there ! Not more than half an inch long, pink, large black eyes, shut, white and very light down on the lower part of the body. He moves like crazy in the nest.

At least ONE baby is born and he/she is alive !!!

We cannot find the empty shell. We believe the parents ate it.

The next day, in the evening, the second baby will hatch.

It's impossible to know who is the elder ! One of the two tries to push away the remaining eggs. We can hardly see his tiny feet but he shows he is very strong.

The nest has practically no more shavings. We fear that the nest floor will become slippery. We add some shavings but not too many as we want to avoid the parents abandoning the nest.

Eros, who seemed not to like the breeding mixture, eats large quantities and all the peas ! We added damp canary seeds (not germinated).

Now, that he is a dad, Eros spends the whole day in the nest with wife and children...

In the evening, we notice that the smallest chick has a drop of blood in its beak.

He dies a bit later.  We had been so enthousiastic with the success of our entreprise, but prospects don't look as bright as before. That's life !

The next morning we gently force Eros and Maya to get out of the nest. Thus we can take the dead chick away.
Surprise : a third baby is born !

    

But where is the corpse ? We finally find it, in a corner, under the shavings. It's all dry.

(NB. ruler in centimeters)

 

The elder is very active and his volume trebled in three days. His head seems to be very heavy. He is unable to lift it. He goes on moving around pushing everything, including the other chick.

We add some more shavings to prevent a possible deformation of their legs.


Meanwhile, Eros and Maya eat with appetite the breeding mixture and seeds.

The remaining egg was unfertile. We take it from the nest some days later.

So far, out of five eggs, there are two chicks. Will they survive ?

As from that moment, Maya spends more time out of the nest. Both parents feed the chicks. We can clearly hear the typical "scream" when the chicks are hungry.

The elder grows at an incredible pace. He is strong and fearless. We decide to call him "Goliath". The younger is naturally called "David".

We prepare and serve fresh breeding mixture every morning (early). It soon disappears. We must prepare fresh mixture several times a day. It's quite rewarding to see  the small crops full!

The next step is banding the chicks.

It is quite difficult to choose the right moment to do it.  If one does it too early, the band doesn't hold on the leg.  If one waits too long, the fingers are too thick and don't go through the band. We preferred the trial and error method. Goliath loses his first bad and is finally banded at the age of 12 days. We managed to band David at the first trial (15 days).

The first dark spots, announcing the future feathers, appear at about one week. The down becomes grey.

When they are two weeks old, the feather tubes can be clearly seen.

At that time it's easy to see the ear's hole. The chicks finally open their eyes for the first time.

We believe this is the right moment to start the taming of the chicks. We don't want to hand-feed them but would like to make them used to the contact of humans.

Everyday, when both parents are out of the nest, we take the chicks in hand for a couple of minutes. We hold them in our warm hands and gently scratch their heads. They show no sign of fear.

WARNING : it is critical that the chicks don't cool down during these exercises.

   

 

Lineos behaviour throwing the shavings out of the nest becomes all of a sudden very useful : throwing the shavings, they also get rid of the chicks' excrements.

David and Goliath grow well. Their weight will reach almost 60 grams.

When they are about three weeks, the chicks start to look like real birds.

Feathers start to come out. We were very fortunate : both chicks are BLUE.

Their parents being split to blue, we only had a 25% chance of having blue offsprings.

After the wings and the tail, the head becomes progressively turquoise.

When they are about three weeks old, they start to easily hold on our finger.

   

   

These tiny parrots are really clever. They soon understand that the opening of the nest upper door means going out and playing with us. As soon as we lift the door, here they are, ready to have fun.

This taming experience has totally succeeded !

The chicks spend a lot of time in the "kitchen" part of the nest. They often pass their head over the hole as if they were looking through the window.

They sleep a lot during the morning and become active in the afternoon.

The parents feed them less often. Maya eats mainly grated carrots. Eros is very keen on peas. He eats large quantities.

The whole family sleeps together in the nest.

When they are about five weeks, the chicks clearly show their desire to leave the nest. They bite the nest hole and try to pass through it. First the head. Then a part of the body. They hesitate a lot. After some days trying, it happens that they are too much outside the nest and cannot go back. They try to keep their balance but look clumsy.

After a lot of unwilling acrobatic gymnastics, they return to the nest , Home Sweet Home !

Goliath keeps trying to get out. We decide to help him and place him on the cage bottom.

Eros and Maya show some signs of fear and call him from their perches. Goliath tries to climb the cage bars but is not strong enough. We place him on a perch : he holds very well. Later he understands that it's easier to hold on the bars to change from one perch to the other. Eros and Maya keep permanent vocal contact with him. Eventually, he dares fly to the nest perch and stays there for a while. David comes to the nest window and calls his brother. Goliath rushes into the nest and sleeps for a long time to recover from all those strong emotions.

Goliath is now as big as his parents.

The whole day out of the nest : Goliath shows he is perfectly at ease.  David is jealous and only wishes to join his brother.

One day later, David goes for it. He manages fairly well but after some hours is exhausted. As it is quite difficult to reach the nest, he prefers to take a nap in a corner of the cage bottom. He dreams and we can hear his tiny screams.

The whole family being away from the nest, we clean it properly.

In the evening, they all seem happy to find a clean home.

Very soon, the chicks imitate their parents including for food. They taste the breeding mixture and show they like apples above all. They play a lot with the seeds as their beaks aren't yet strong enough to break the shells.

Discovery is the name of the game, now :

First real free flight out of the cage. NB. We prepared a special room with very little furniture and placed soft cushions everywhere. We only let them fly free when we are present. Their first flights are vertical and upwards and only stop when they reach the ceiling.

Mind coming down to the ground without parachute !

After only a few trials, the chicks understand how it works and perfectly control their flight. They never hit any obstacles.

The first collective shower gives the chicks the opportunity to follow their parents' example. They open their wings and enjoy. Later on, they clean each feather with their beak.

Now, that their feathers are all clean and nice, we notice that David's only has very little black whilst Goliath's has much more. The conclusion is easy ! David is a female. We change her name into : Diva.

When they are seven weeks old, the chicks are weaned and independent.

Maya spends again a lot of time in the nest. Preparing a new clutch ?

May 16 : We tranfer Diva et Goliath into their new cage. As Lineos are very curious, they try everything around and easily find where food and water stand.

Neither the chicks nor their parents seem stressed by this split. C'est la vie.

Conclusion : we believe that this first experience of breeding Lineos in a city house, by non professionals, is very successful. Two beautiful blue chicks were perfectly brought up by their parents and we could tame them simultaneously.

 

 

Diva and Goliath

 

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