The Importance of Nesting and Weight Records

Joanne Marie Schick


Until my first baby macaw hatched I didn't understand the importance of keeping precise breeding records. With the future of aviculture depending more and more upon viable captive birds it is important that we breeders keep records and follow up on potential breeder birds that we sell. A diverse and healthy gene pool is a must for every captive species and good record keeping is the only way we can actually know a particular bird's background.

As time goes on, breeding records will increase in importance. The cumulative data should eventually reveal various trends the breeder should expect such as the time span during a calendar year when a certain species can be expected to nest, the long range increase or decrease in the size of clutches, the increase or decrease in the hatchability of eggs, the average weight of chicks at various stages, and many other factors. These cumulative records are about the only way to monitor the overall status of a species of bird in captivity.

There are certain technical problems that I have not overcome yet. For instance, many breeders are reluctant to keep leg bands on large birds. I can recognize my macaws as I recognize my human friends-each is a unique creature. But if I should suddenly die or become incapacitated who would be able to keep accurate records of my birds? There must be systems of banding, tattooing, or something that would make it possible for anyone to step in and continue accurate record keeping in any given situation. If any of you have good ideas on the subject I'd be very pleased to exchange correspondence. Contact me at P.O. Box 1271, Fort Bragg, CA 95437.

In addition to keeping good records the data should. be filed with some central organization and made available to aviculture in general. The A.F.A. 's Bird Census is a good place to start. I feel certain that many more exotic birds are hatched in America than we aviculturists are given credit for. It is also a great shame to have a rare species male sitting alone in his cage while an unknown lonesome female of the same species pines away within a few miles. The A.F.A. Bird Census can help...

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