Pairing and pre-breeding in Loro Parque Fundación

February 25th, 2022 | by Rafael Zamora Padron
Pairing and pre-breeding in Loro Parque Fundación

This is one of the most important times of the year for parrots under human care. Whether for a young parrot or an adult parrot alone or in a pair, this is the season of maximum attention to keep them in top form.

Our parrots in these latitudes face a drastic hormonal change prior to spring. During the autumn season and much of the winter they must overcome certain obstacles such as moulting or finishing rearing their chicks. Many large macaws arrive at the next breeding season without having made their offspring independent and this can have logical consequences.

It is at this time that we must look, more than ever, at the facilities and their inhabitants. The renewal of perches, preparation of nests and disinfection of accessories is one of the obligatory tasks. But at the same time, we must not forget to deworm each individual bird, both externally and internally. These steps are often forgotten or remembered too late when it is no longer time to handle the animals. The coldest months of the year should be used to prepare the parrots for the ideal conditions.

These concepts are valid for all specimens kept in a zoo. The young individuals must get used to this annual management, even if they are not going to breed. And they must be as healthy as the rest so that they do not become a weakness in the system.

Nanday Conures (Aratinga nenday)

It is also time to look at the compatibilities between each bird. By checking the breeding records for bloodlines, pairs should be selected, prioritising the good relationship shown by the birds in community aviaries. This annual protocol makes it possible to create harmonious pairs that will maintain welfare for many years. This favours their breeding success in the short and long term.

Flexibility in pairing, on the part of the keeper, must always be present. Because there are initially very compatible pairs that could change their attitude. For this we must be open to change. Something that can be done very well when the birds are young and are years away from maturity.

We will distinguish two phases within this period:

Rest (short days)

Basic feeding.

Environmental enrichment.

Green leaves.



Disinfection (facilities, nests, accessories).

Renewal of environmental enrichment.

Reactivation (increase of days, more daylight hours).

Basic feeding + stimuli

Green leaves

Annual grasses with unripe seeds

Supply of fresh wood

Renewal of internal nest material

Small amounts of brood paste

Increase of calcium supply

It doesn’t matter how many times we go over these points. Every year it is normal and frequent to forget some detail. For this reason these points should be reviewed before each breeding season. And we will add new points for the next one. I can assure you that if you do this every year you will notice significant improvements in parrot breeding.

Author: Rafael Zamora Padrón, Scientific Director of LPF

Photos: M. Perez


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