I believe in experimentation. This is the only way we can learn what our birds are capable of, willing to do, or put up with. This is also what aviculture is all about. Without experimentation, aviculture would be at a stand still. There are a few things in the following story that may surprise some of you but I don't hold back. I will try anything at least once.
In 1994 we moved from a house in . town with a small back yard to a house in the country with two acres. The birds made up one complete truck load. Poicephalus, Pionus, conures macaws and one pair of Blue-fronted Amazons.
Within three months I had two pair and two single Blue-fronts. Of the two pair one had never produced. I will call them Male A and Hen B. These, I assume, were wild caught birds as no history is available.
The other pair (Male C and Female D)had one infertile egg in five years. Male C was supposed to be a quarantine handfed bird that I rescued from a bad home at approximately six months old in 1990. Hen D, approximately 12 years old, was obtained from a pet shop in 1990.
The single birds included Hen E gotten from a pet shop where she was laying eggs in the cage, age unknown and probably wild caught.
The Male F was an incubatorhatched handfed baby of the 1991 hatch.
I realized something drastic had to be done if I was to get productive
We had a 10 x 10 foot octagon shaped wrought iron cage in the back yard. I placed all six birds in there together. It was fall and there were no nest boxes available to cause fighting. Everything was fine until December then things went terribly wrong. Male A chose to bond with Female E. His mate, Hen B, was unwilling to give up her long time mate and continued to pursue him. This caused a lot of bickering between the birds. I removed the newly bonded pair and placed them on the other side of the yard. Hen B
somehow managed to escape from the cage and flew to her old mate. To this day I have been unable to find out how she escaped. And no other birds were able to get out. The fight that ensued was horrific. Hen B was unable to get to her mate but the two birds on the inside of the cage viscously chewed at her feet. Her feet were terribly mangled by the time we were able to rescue her.
Stumpy (as we began to call her) spent several days in the hospital and ran up a several hundred dollar vet bill. I was very dismayed when all but one of the toes the vet tried so hard to
save fell off. She is now left with only one full toe, the rest are little stumps. She has a lot of trouble perching on round branches, so I gave her 2X4s on end and side by side about 1-2 inches apart. She can climb on the wire ok, but perching is very difficult for her. She could not cope hearing her old mate close by and continually called to him. She always appeared to be sad.
Male A and Hen E have been sold, and if they have become productive I am not aware of it.
Hen B's (Stumpy) new mate (Male
F) who doesn't care about her handicap, loves her dearly, and protects her with a vengeance. I knew I would never be able to sell her in that condition so I was resigned to keeping her. Mating would be extremely difficult if not impossible for her.
Male C and Hen D remained closely bonded, and are still together, and unproductive at this time.
When I put Male F and Stumpy in their flight it was almost winter time, and I hate having birds out during the winter without the opportunity of allowing them a box for warmth. The only nest box I had available was a two-holed, metal, wood-lined cockatoo box so up it went.
Stumpy and her mate have been out in my aviary now for two years. The first egg she laid was from the perch and it was broken beyond repair. Afew days she was not visible in their flight so I peeked in the nest box and lo and behold, EGGS!!! I couldn't believe my eyes. So much for Amazon boxes. When I candled the eggs, two were fertile. The one that was not was discarded.
I am absolutely amazed. I don't know how they accomplished it but I am so proud of them I could just burst. He is so funny when I check the nest box he runs back and forth along the bottom of the cage shouting at me (in English) "GET OUT OF HERE, GET OUT, GET OUT OF HERE." The eyes are flashing and he is puffed up so big and proud of his accomplishment. I keep telling them how proud of them I am. And she has never looked happier and more content.