The prime breeding age of African Grey parrots depends partially on the parrot and partially on the breeder.
The African Grey parrot is on the endangered species list in the U.S., but that does not mean you may not breed this wonderful parrot species. It only means that you may not import them.
The prime breeding age of African Grey parrots is somewhat affected by the fact that they will not be imported. Parrots that are raised in captivity may reach prime breeding age at a different stage than those that are bred in the wild. In this article, we will look only at “legal” birds bred in captivity.
The market for African Grey parrots is stable. This is understandable, given the beauty and intelligence of this bird. Add to that the fact that African Grey parrots enter into family life completely, and you have a bird that is always in demand.
The Dating Game
African Grey parrots like to choose their own mates, just as you and I do. This is not necessary, but if you want to give them this freedom, you will want to keep several birds together in a large cage. If you want an “arranged marriage” for the parrots, it will be most successful when two unrelated African Greys grow up together in a cage with minimal human attention.
Selection of Breeding Stock
You will want to be careful of two things when purchasing African Greys for breeding stock.
1. Be sure every African Grey you purchase is DNA-sexed so you know for sure which is male and female. Although males usually have larger heads and beaks, this is not an accurate way to determine gender. They are identical in coloring, so DNA-sexing or surgical sexing are the only reliable methods.
2. Avoid African Greys that have been mishandled or are too aggressive. If they bite viciously, and you can therefore buy them for a song instead of a king’s ransom, resist the temptation. It is said that the first rule of animal breeding is this: “If you breed alligators to alligators, you get alligators.” Breed the best African Greys you can afford to buy. If they are biters, return them for a refund.
Coming of Age
The prime breeding age of African Greys will not be before age 3. African Grey parrots mature between the ages of 3 and 6 years. Some breed readily at age 3, but you are more likely to have success if you let them wait longer. Prime breeding age begins after 6 years in most cases. Keep them strong and healthy, and that “prime” will continue for many years.
No Slowing Down
African Grey parrots live for 60 to 90 human years. Once they enter breeding age, they continue throughout life. African Greys are monogamous, meaning they remain with their first mate, so do not plan on mating them with various partners. They are very loving, and should be allowed to live together. Provide a large cage, and a perch “built-for-two” so they can cuddle.