Zdenek Vandelik: successful breeding comes with passion, not desire for profit. PART II

September 5th, 2016 | by LubosTomiska
Zdenek Vandelik: successful breeding comes with passion, not desire for profit. PART II

Read also the first part of this interview:

Zdenek Vandelik talks about his large collection of South American parrots. PART I


You also have most of common Aratinga species…

Besides above mentioned species I keep and breed Sun Conure, Jenday Conure, Golden Capped Conure,  Finsch‘s Conure, Peach-fronted Conure, Brown-throated Conure, Red-masked Conure and Mitred Conure.

Let’s get back to Golden Conures which are very unique parrots. You have tried to breed them in a colony. What was your experience about that?

Yes, I placed a group of Golden Conures to a large aviary with inside part 3 x 2 x 2,8 m and outside flight 6 x 2 x 2,8 m. Birds were in good condition, they could fly the whole distance, had access to sunshine and everything was perfect. But when I came to the aviary one day I saw that all birds lost their tail feathers at once. Three months later, one pair started nesting but they have not raised any chick. Because of that, I decided to split the group and keep each pair separately. This was obviously the right step because soon after that one pair laid two fertile eggs. Both were hatched in the incubator and chicks were raised artificially. They were two females. I decided to keep one of them and set up a new pair which bred one baby in the last year at age of 20 months. This season I do not have much luck with this species. All pairs have laid 14 eggs in total and all were infertile. There is a common belief that this species start with reproduction not before the third year of age. My experience disproves it.


Golden Conure

Golden Conure (c) Lubomir Tomiska


Cactus Conure (c) Lubomir Tomiska


It was not the only time when you tried to breed parrots in a colony. You did it also with Cactus Conures and Orange-fronted Conures…

Yes, I still keep Cactus Conures in a colony system. But I am going to split the group next year because the dominant pair is the only one which breeds. Other pairs lay eggs but they do not incubate them or do not feed chicks. Therefore I need to make a change. As for Orange-fronted Conures, I tried to put twelve birds together. Males and females were marked by different color. Soon after that, I found out that birds of the same sex are staying together. So even in this case, colony breeding did not work for me.

So in general, you do not have good experience with natural pairing and colony breeding…

Basically, you are right. I have also tried to keep four Blue-throated Macaws in a group to set up pairs naturally but again birds of the same sex were staying together.

Another rare species of your collection is the Aztec Conure. How successful are you in breeding of these birds…

I have been breeding Aztec Conures for last eight years and so far they have raised over thirty chicks. Because this species is rare, they are being reserved in advance. At the beginning, I was selling them to Czech breeders. Today, babies go often abroad.



Aztec Conure (c) Lubomir Tomiska


Diopsittaca cumanensis (c) Lubomir Tomiska


Golden-capped Conure (c) Lubomir Tomiska


Let’s talk about feeding. How do you feed small macaws?

As for seeds, they receive mixture from Belgian brand Versele Laga.  I also add seed mix no. 64 from Deli Nature with smaller kinds of seeds. Large macaws get only Versele Laga.

Many Czech aviculturists mix their own seed mixtures. Why do you use commercial ones?

When you decide to mix your own mixture you will never achieve the same pureness as the producer. Besides that, it also demands considerable amount of time which I do not have. Versele Laga uses very sofisticated system to purify seeds which include UV lamps, germicidal lamps etc. Despite higher price I believe that it is worth it.

What part do fruits and vegetables form in the diet?

Approximately 2/3. I use seasonal Czech fruits as well as exotic kinds. There is storehouse with fruits and vegetables beside us and from there I can get anything I want. Apart from that, I collect berries like rowanberries, rosehips and chokeberries. We freeze them so they can be used also in winter. All birds receive at least 8-9 kinds of fruits and vegetables each day.


Young Jenday Conure, Brown-throated Conures and Cactus Conure

There are still some babies in Zdenek’s aviary (c) Lubomir Tomiska

Zdenek with Blue-winged Macaw baby

Zdenek with Blue-winged Macaw baby (c) Lubomir Tomiska


Red-throated Conure (c) Lubomir Tomiska


Do you use egg food?

Yes. I give to all birds commercial egg food which is supplemented by carrots and boiled eggs. There is such cycle in production. I give waste from parrots to poultry which produce eggs and those eggs are used at home or for parrots.

Do you use any supplements?

I give calcium to all parrots, we use a product called CALCI LUX. Besides that, birds also receive FITOBIOL which is a mix of dried herbs.

What kinds of nuts do you feed with?

Smaller species consume peanuts, hazelnuts and wallnuts. In this case, you always need to open the nut and check if it is free of moulds. Besides that, they receive also cedar nuts, pistachios and almonds. Larger species eat also pecans and macadamia nuts.

What is the difference in feeding of Aratinga Conures and macaws?

Golden Conures were classified as Aratinga conure in the past but their diet is more similar to macaw diet so they require more fat. Other Aratinga species need less fat which is the basic difference. I feed all my Aratinga parrots with Deli Nature mix enriched with milk thistle seeds, safflower and buckwheat. Caiques receive the same. In general, we should not overfeed our parrots. I believe that this is very common cause of our poor breeding results. I have discussed my current problem with Golden Conures which had 14 infertile eggs with the bird curator of Prague ZOO Antonin Vaidl and he told me that they are probably overfed.


Mitred Conure breeding pair

A nice couple of Mitred Conure (c) Lubomir Tomiska

Blue-throated Macaw

Zdenek keeps two pairs of Blue-throated Macaw (c) Lubomir Tomiska

Red-fronted Conure breeding pair

Red-fronted Conure (c) Lubomir Tomiska


Could you briefly explain your feeding schedule?

Each day we feed our parrots at 6 AM. My employees help me a lot with this. During the season, we provide them not just dry seeds but also in sprouted or soaked form. As soon as chicks are hatched, we feed about lunch time for the second time. As for Military Macaws, I give them fresh food three times a day so they have enough to feed their babies.

Do you sprout commercial mixtures which were mentioned above?

I use special mix from Versele Laga which is intended for pigeons. It contains considerable amount of pulses and I have really good experience with that.

We have to mention that you do not keep only parrots but there is also a large aviary in your garden with many other bird species, like very rare Bearded Reedlings…

At this moment I have four pairs of this species. They started breeding in this season for the first time. So far they have raised five chicks. I also keep Brahminy Starlings there which bred in this year, White-shouldered Starlings, Golden-breasted Buntings , Oriental Greenfinches and Crested Partridges which live on the ground. I would like to add to the collection also Black-winged Stilts and Pied Avocets. The aviary has an outside flight 10 x 4 m with inside shelter 5 x 4 m. The whole aviary is well planted.


Finches aviary

Tony Silva looking at cages for finches (c) Lubomir Tomiska

Finches aviary2

Cages for finches (c) Lubomir Tomiska


Final question – what is in your opinion the key to be a successful bird breeder?

Firstly, you need to be lucky, especially when you choose birds for breeding. I also believe that everybody  should follow some concept. I have been breeding many animals in the past like finches, poultry, foxes etc. Parrots became my point of interest later when I already had my own house and business. At that time, my vision was much more obvious than when I was twenty years old. You need to know what do you want and expect from this hobby.

The last thing I advise is: Do not count how much money you earn. Successful breeding comes with passion, not with desire for profit.


Title photo: (c) Lubomir Tomiska



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