Breeding Rosellas in Captivity / Aviculture

Pale-headed Rosella (Platycercus adscitus)

Rosellas Information ... Index of Rosella Species ... Photos of the Different Rosella Species for Identification


Rosellas are easy to breed; and they are generally hardy. Provided they have been properly acclimatized, they can withstand colder temperatures. Some heat source may need to be provided when weather conditions are extraordinarily cold. A roosting box will also make it easier for them to keep warm. However, they do need a shelter that protects them from the rain and cold winds / drafts.

Aggression is a problem with rosellas - males in particular are very aggressive towards other males especially in the presence of a hen. Young birds should be separated from the parents as soon weaned to prevent parental aggression. It is best to keep pairs separately from other birds.

Rosellas produce 1 to 2 clutches a year. The Yellow Rosella female typically lays 4 to 6 eggs. The round, white, somewhat shiny eggs measure between 0.87 - 1 inches (22 x 26 mm). The female alone incubates the eggs for about 19 - 24 days. During the incubation period she is fed by her mate. The young fledge when they are about 6 weeks old and are independent another 3 - 4 weeks later.

Established pairs can be prolific and may produce two to three clutches per season - especially if their young are pulled for handfeeding and they have plenty of food available. However, typically they raise one to two clutches per year. During the incubation period she is fed by her mate. After hatching chicks will leave the nest at about 6 weeks old.

Some breeders like to pull the chicks for handfeeding when they are about 2 to 3 weeks old. This will allow parents to get started on another clutch.

Handfed Rosellas can still be a bit flighty and care should be taken to ensure the wings stay clipped to avoid injury. The young will need daily attention to remain tame.

These birds love to bathe and should be provided fresh water to do so.

 

Housing:

Single pets can be housed in medium-size parrot cages as long as they are allocated time each day out of the cage for exercise and entertainment.

Rosellas do best in an aviary setting or long flight cages as they are avid flyers. It is recommended that couples are kept alone in an aviary, and to even avoid keeping two couples in two adjacent aviaries - as they may be aggressive and get distracted from breeding. If separation is not possible given the space and resources that you have, it is recommended to have the walls double wired with a separation of about 3 inches (75mm) or even place a solid wall between the flights.

You also need to have available aviary space for the young birds as they should be separated as soon as they are fully independent of their parents.

Rosellas like to chew on wood, therefore, metal frames with strong wire / mesh is recommended.

The minimum aviary size should be about:

Width: 40 inches (1 meter) - 47 inches (1.2 meters)
Length: 16 feet (5 meters)
Height: 7 feet (2.1 meters)

The roof should be covered with transparent or opaque corrugated roofing material. For easy maintenance and sanitation, a concrete floor that can be hosed down daily is recommended.

Leafy branches placed in the aviary will entertain the birds thus minimizing boredom. Plus it will give the birds some beak exercise and nutrition when feeding on the leaves (non-toxic branches only). Natural branches can be used for perches. The perches will be chewed by the birds and need to be replaced regularly

 

Nest Box:

A standard rosella nest box size would be 10" x 11" x 24" (~25 x 28 x 60 cm). Rosellas like their nesting place to be high up -- ideal would be 16 - 30 feet (5 to 10 meters) - or as high as the aviary allows. However, the preferences of parent birds can be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which they themselves were hatched. If a standard nesting box is not readily accept, offer a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, placed in various locations within the aviary, to allow them to make their own choice. Once a pair has successfully nested in a nest box, it is best to keep that box for their own exclusive use, and any other "spare" nest boxes can be removed. The nest box needs to be removed and cleaned at the breeding season to avoid contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens .

A climbing structure should be attached inside the box - just below the entrance hole. The entrance hole just be just big enough for them to able to fit through.

The nest log or box should be placed at the rear of the aviary in a sheltered location to protect it from the elements and provide privacy.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

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