Interview with the successful breeder of Red-headed Lovebirds Dominique Veeckmans. PART II

May 27th, 2015 | by LubosTomiska
Interview with the successful breeder of Red-headed Lovebirds Dominique Veeckmans. PART II

Read also the first part of this interview:

Interview with the successful breeder of Red-headed Lovebirds Dominique Veeckmans. PART I


How often do you check the nestbox when the pair is nesting?

At the beginning, I checked the nest box every second day, but some females left the nest after inspection. That’s why I decided to control it 10 days after I heard squeaking of chicks. This was a perfect time to ring the first bird.


Are these birds good parents when nesting?

In the beginning there had been a lot of obstacles I had to face. For example, when I checked a nest one day I found out that the chicks were gone. They had been eaten by parents. After several nests with 12 youngers hatched in total only one fledged.




A group of A. pullarius


Another breeder advised me to add lamb milk powder to the eggfood. He told me this had helped him in the past. So I started adding lamb milk powder to the germination seeds and the eggfood every day. I had young in the nest once more in September 2012. To my great surprise, I still heard squeaking in the breeding box one week later. What is more, another pair also started nesting.


All young birds grew up well and fledged. In two years I had raised 7 youngers to independence. Five females and two males. In 2013, I had 18 young leaving the nest. The first step had been done!


Can you describe how do you feed your pullarius?

My Agapornis pullarius are fed very similarly as Neophema parrots. This is a mix of small seeds with Orlux eggfood and insect pate. Chopped endive, germinated seeds or chopped broccoli are added every day to make the food a bit more wet as they do not like dry seed. Every two days we give them small pieces of apples or pears mixed with fresh figs. When available in stores, these fresh figs are bought in large quantities to suffice for an entire year and the rest is frozen. Frozen figs are taken from the freezer and subsequently put in the microwave for 15 seconds to defrost the peel. You can then easily cut the fig into pieces and distribute them over the bowls. I also provide a bit of French millet every day; they do not like the Chinese millet at all.



The feeding mixture used by Dominique


Do you have any experience with fungi infection in this species?

The drinking water is refreshed on a daily basis; adding vitamin K1 is absolutely necessary as they are very susceptible to fungi infections! I give fresh food two times a day because moist egg food might spoil fast.



Is it a problem to set up a pair of Agapornis pullarius? Are they picky for the partner?

No, they are not picky. You can easily set up new pairs. It’s also no problem to put 10 males in a cage without fighting. But never place two females in a cage or aviary! When they are ready to breed, they fight to the death.



Red-headed Lovebirds nest naturally in termite mounds


Can you compare breeding of captive bred birds vs. imported birds from the wild?

I have heard from several breeders that more than 90% of wild-caught birds died after several weeks. You have to keep them in a quiet room. A door slam can be fatal for the entire collection!


Which parrot species do you have now and what are your plans for future?

Until the last year, I worked for an American company. But then it was sold to a Swedish group and an other part to an Italian company. For me it means that I have to work more now! That’s why I have no time to give fresh food 2 times a day for the pullarius and I was forced to reduce my collection of birds. Fortunately, I could place the collection of Agapornis pullarius at the place of my friend whom I can trust. Later when I have more time, these birds will come back!



A. pullarius


At this moment I have only a few pairs personatus anymore and the latest mutations of fischeri: dilute, opaline and turquoise but only a few pairs. These birds are interesting because they give a new dimension to the hobby, especially for a breeder who participates in exhibitions.


Photos: Dominique Veeckmans


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