Photo: Les Rance. A cock Pennant’s waiting patiently for his hen to hatch


Turks going great guns, Pennant’s promising, kings not off the mark yet: an absorbing season so far for Les Rance


HAVING written three short articles about my aims for the 2018 breeding season (see the April 4, April 18 and May 2 issues), I thought you might be interested to learn how my birds are progressing with the vagaries of the breeding season and what point they have reached with the “goals” that I set them.

At this point it may pay to outline the weather that we have experienced. Basically, we never had a true spring – we just seemed to go from a very long winter into summer. When this happens, birds frequently go into a moult when the warm weather finally arrives. To be quite honest, this does not seem to have been the outcome, thankfully, for the seven species that I wrote about. At the present time the position with my birds is as follows.

Pennant’s (Platycercus elegans)

Things are looking much better than last year when there was no breeding activity at all. The cocks have been chasing their mates and both the hens are in the box, presumably with eggs. But as I tend to “leave my birds to it” I only really know that something has hatched when the eggfood is quickly consumed by the parents.


They are doing fairly well, with 17 babies and 30 eggs in various stages of incubation.

Turquoisines (Neophema pulchella)

This species has been very good, with five young in one nest and six in another. All have rings on them. If breeding progress follows earlier years, they will double-brood, so I may finish up with 20 babies. My third pair are on eggs, but I have not checked that they are fertile.

Bourke’s (Neopsephotus bourkii)

Four nice rosa Bourke’s are growing well. The normal Bourke’s are on eggs, but I have not disturbed them to check on fertility.

Black-headed caiques (Pionites melanocephalus)

These are new to me. They are a breeding pair, but have no eggs yet. I just have to be patient – an important skill for hobbyist bird breeders.

Blue ringnecks (Psittacula krameri)

Three nice babies are fully feathered and out of the nest-box. They make a fine sight sitting with their parents in the sunshine. A good result.

Australian kings (Alisterus scapularis)

There has been no progress yet. The hens have not been in the boxes and, in fact, I took the tops off the two boxes for a couple of days so that they could look into them and check there were no snakes curled up inside! It can happen in nature.

I find that removing the top of the nest-box can be a good little trick. Sometimes it gives the hens the knowledge they need to enter the box. It is still a little early for my kings to nest, so I am not that worried at the lack of progress at present.

So, there we are. The results certainly show promise, but there is still a long way to go before a definitive set of outcomes arrive. I am happy and all the birds look fit and well.

Les Rance is secretary of The Parrot Society UK. For more information, see


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