Guest Author - Mavis Metcalf
In order to breed birds successfully (successfully here means to raise happy, healthy babies not financial success) you must be prepared to devote your time and money to your hobby for the good of your birds.
Now, back to the answers that my friend received when she asked about making money and reducing her high blood pressure while breeding birds. She received a very comprehensive reply that gives instructions on what to do if she is going to go ahead with it:
The ups and downs, the ins and outs of breeding.
First, you must love the specie of bird you are considering breeding. I would say the same thing about breeding as I say about getting a pet.
Get the one you want! Do the research! Don't get a beginner bird, or for that matter a beginner pair!
Next, you must check your location and see if there is a desire for that species.
Consider whether the market is already flooded with that type of bird.
Consider how you are going to sell them.... word of mouth, internet, pet store etc.
Decide what it is you want to get out of breeding.
So lets suppose you have thought of the above, and you have settled on a specie or two. Try to ask other breeders of that species for their thoughts, the problems they may have had etc. Ask for all the negatives ie poicephalus are known for mate aggression, same for some cockatoos. It is great if you can find a mentor for the species you are interested in. Doesn't need to be someone close by, even if you can e-mail for advice. Find out the needs of the birds to be happy and content breeders. Cage, diet, supplements, nest box size etc, etc.
Now, for costs to even start, think of what you will need. Yes, most people, myself included, start with makeshift stuff (aquariums for brooders, heat pads). Your cost output to start will be birds, something to act as a brooder, something for weaning cages, formula, thermometers-for formula and brooder, utensils to hand feed with, stuff to put on the bottom of brooder (flannelette or dri deck or ???) Toys, to teach them playing, hand feeding formula.....Well you probably get the idea here.
If you are only considering one pair of birds, then consider how much money you really think you will be contributing to the family pot. First off, another pair of birds is already more expense. They eat, they need a cage, and they need toys. Then lets suppose they have 3 babies 2 1/2 times a year. (I think 3 clutches a year every year is a bit much, but 2 1/2 seems fine, course we all have our own thoughts) So realistically, that is maybe 7 babies a year. What will those 7 babies sell for? Of course, it depends on the species. Check out the market.
What one pair of birds will do is not *make* you any money, but it will help a wee bit with the upkeep. You sell babies, you buy more food, you buy more toys, you maybe upgrade your equipment, cages etc. The better your equipment the easier things will be. You will never profit with one pair.
Breeding is a lot of work. Whether it will help with blood pressure, I don't know.
I guess you can make your own decisions as to whether bird breeding is a money making venture or not. The people who do breed birds, do it because they love the birds. Any profit they make usually goes right back to the business.
Please see part 3.