Tips on Breeding Green Cheeks!

 

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Our Green Cheeks are all bred in individual cages outside. Their cages are about 4 x 3 x 2 feet and the individual cages are all inside a huge flight. That way if they get out of their cage, there is a "safety" around them. They have room to fly and that helps with fat issues. If hens end up fat or not able to exercise, your chances of egg binding increase.

They have a nest box year around that measures 18" long x 12" x 10".  I like the deeper nest boxes so that they don't kick out all of their shavings and we end up with splayed legs. Knock on wood, but we have yet to have any splayed legged Green Cheeks. We use a "grandfather" style box. We have found Green cheeks easy to breed.

If you are having problems consider the amount of light that could be in the nest box. Try not to allow light to enter the nestbox, hang it in the darkest corner. A deep box is good, but not enough. If there are any cracks, seal them. You can also screen in 3 sides of the cage/flight with plastic or you could use plywood (I heard of a man who did that) if you feel privacy may be a key factor. I am giving these clues for pairs that are not producing or if you are having problems with them feeling safe. Our pairs of Green Cheeks have not needed any added privacy. But, our Poicephalus and Pionus sure have. Increased daylight hours and added protein gets them in to breeding mode for some birds.

Our Py pairs are set up where they can see each other and this does not deter them at all. We have not had to worry about privacy screens.

One of the main key things to get a breeding pair successfully having chicks is diet. Every morning our birds get a dish of Pamperedpeeps parrot mash. Read about our Pamperedpeeps Parrot Mash by clicking here.  It includes: at least 2-3 different types of fruit, sprouts, dark leaf lettuce and anything else that we have in stock...depending on the time of year. We make our own "mash." About 2-3 times a month, we buy the big bags of frozen corn, peas, and mixed veggies. We mix all those together and add in fresh broccoli. We put in Yams but first, we cook them in the microwave and then zap 'em in the Cuisanart. If we have spicy, dried, red chilies, we add them, too. The birds absolutely love the spicy things! After all the things are mixed, we freeze big bags in the freezer and pull them out when needed. The fruits are all fresh and the birds especially love them. Fruits are one of their favorites...it is a special morning for the birdies when they get corn on the cob, watermelon, and pomegranate. Every morning, between 8-9 AM, the birdies get impatient and start screaming for veggies. When Jessie walks out to the aviary with all the Green Cheeks (the aviary she takes care of), she yells, "BIRDIIIIIES!!!!!!!!!" and they scream, and scream, and scream, and scream.... They love the veggies and eat as much as our Ekkies and Greys. Our Green Cheeks are very, very prolific and have regular clutches. One lady we know emailed me and said that her Green Cheeks just don't breed. I asked her what she fed them, and she said seed and a little pellets...what about the veggies????? We believe that the key to success is partly hidden in all the fresh veggies and fruits! Click here to see a video of how excited the pairs get when breakfast is a'coming.

Green Cheeks overall are extremely easy birds to breed. Their season is pretty long and they can have up to 9 babies per clutch. Mind you, I am naming extremes. Common clutch size is more like 4-6 with 2 clutches per year. One pair gave us 19 babies in one season! They bond well with their mates although occasionally they fightÖdonít we all??? We leave our nest boxes in year round. Some breeders take them out to give their pairs a rest, but our pairs typically have 2 clutches per year and then take their own rest. They love sleeping in cavities and use their nest boxes to sleep in.

Some of my pairs breed in their boxes and some do not. Some do it in both places. They make a lot of noise when they are in pre-breeding noise, but the chatter does not usually go on while they are in the actual act. There is lots of chatter while they are preparing their nest box.

Some breeders also don't believe in giving pairs toys. They believe that toys will distract them from breeding. We put many toys in our cages and are very happy with our production.

Our temperatures here can be as cold as 20 degrees and as hot as 120 degrees. Each cage has the cooling from misters when it gets over 100 degrees, but they do not have any added heat. I do turn on my misters every now and then even when it is cold to simulate rain.

Our Green cheeks are bred outdoors and I believe their season will vary depending on the environment they are living in. For example, one could use artificial lighting to stimulate their breeding time indoors. Likewise, conditions are going to vary in other parts of the country. But here in Phoenix, our first eggs are laid in January like clockwork. They stop laying when the real heat hits Phoenix and this is typically after 2 clutches. Sometimes we get 3 clutches, but not usually.  

We donít vary anything in their diet to encourage breeding. I have read of breeders who increase protein levels but we feed a wide variety of fresh foods daily. The pairs are able to pick and choose out of this offering, so maybe they are increasing their protein and I donít know it. We feed our pamperedpeeps mash, sprouts and about 4-5 fruits daily.

If mom doesn't like a pairing, she also is able to switch mates with relative ease. She tries to combine her new pair into a neutral cage, but if she can't do that, she moves the hen into the male's cage. One year, she swapped mates on 6 pairs of Green cheeks because she was trying to make different mutations the next year.

We scoop up the babies for handfeeding when they turn 17-19 days old. We have had no problems taking the babies by twos and leaving the rest of the clutch for mom and dad to raise for a bit more. Some breeders worry that a parent may hurt those left in the nest if only a few are taken at a time for handfeeding. We have not had problems with this with the Green Cheeks.

Green cheeks typically become sexually mature around 10-14 months. Again, these are individuals and it depends on each individual. We had 2 babies hatch in May of 2006 and by May of 2007, their first clutch of six babies were already weaned. This really surprised us for this was the youngest pair we have had produce. He is a Normal split to Pineapple and she is a Pineapple. They are also for sale. Click here to read more.

To read more about  the green cheek mutations, click here.

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