Regular breeding

Anyone can let their cockatiels nest and at least in Finland no licenses are demanded. Random breeding can be an excellent way to freshen the hobby up. But if you want to start to breed your cockatiels seriously, you need to consider many things, and you have to demand much more from yourself.

neitokakadun kasvattaminen

Cockatiel show rosettes of German breeder Otto Lutz.

A breeder is a different thing than an occasional breeder. There are many opinions about these definitions. Some name themselves breeders even though they only have one pair of birds and they would have had only one set of offspring. Some call themselves breeders only after they’ve had ten pairs and as many years of experience with breeding. My opinion is that a reasonably good definition of a cockatiel breeder is this: A breeder is someone who regularly breeds more than one pair of birds and thrives to reach some goal, for example, a suitable body shape, a specific mutation or the talents of mimicry. A cockatiel breeder must have years of experience of the breed, must know it’s background and history, behavior, requirements and genetic side, must be able to take unfit birds away from breeding and must also know the difference between a pet and a breeding bird. A good breeder won’t even try inbreeding if she doesn’t know what she’s doing. It’s also good if the breeder knows how to give emergency help to the bird. All in all, the breeder must know how to think like a bird. (Picture: Nest boxes at Otto Lutz, Germany.)

The goal of a breeder is to refine the species she’s breeding to meet the standard of the species. Selective breeding means refining the species qualities by breeding those birds, that have qualities that the breeder wants to be passed on to the next generation. Selective breeding is, therefore, an evolution made by man.

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A breeder…

1) …has an up-to-date breeding plan that states what her goals are.

2) …takes note of each chick and writes down all the information about them.

3) …keeps a diary of nestings, how they went, of the development of the chick, etc.

4) …gives the birds time to rest, which also helps to enhance the quality of the chicks.

5) …knows the standards of the species and thrives on meeting them.

A good bird for breeding is one that has one or more good qualities. This quality may be, for example, good size, ideal crest, successful colors or intelligence with talking and tricks. The more good attributes the bird has, the better it is for breeding. It must also be healthy because its offspring are expected to live a long and enjoyable life. Even though the bird wouldn’t be suitable for breeding, it can still be a great pet and very dear to its owner.Nesting boxes with forms in which the breeder can write information about what’s inside the nest, for example, the date of laying for each egg.

How can you combine cockatiels?

Outcrossing

Outcrossing means that the birds selected as parents aren’t related. The best side of this kind of breeding is that there is usually a healthier and vast genetic pool, but the downside is the unpredictability of the reproduction so it’s not possible to thrive for a single goal as specifically. This kind of breeding is the most used in Finland, for we need to keep the gene pool-wide.

Inbreeding

Two closely related birds are bred together, for example, a father and a daughter, mother and son or siblings. Inbreeding is the most judged and the riskiest way of breeding because closely related birds carry the same alleles as split (heterozygotes), which will this way become visual in their offspring. Inbreeding has been used in many mutations when they were being developed. The downside of inbreeding is the same as the good side – the increasing of homozygoria (the doubling of genes). Even if the good features become visual, so will do the unwanted features, too. For example, a disease that would usually stay hidden in the hen may become visual in the offspring if the hen is bred with its brother that carries the same dangerous allele. There is also a way much like inbreeding but the birds are combined on a broader scale. Several birds show up more than one relative bird. Family breeding is also a more comprehensive concept meaning that the parents are somehow related to each other.

Line breeding

Here the parent birds are linked to one ancestor that has especially good features. In other words, the parents have a same, very distant relative. When breeding two distantly related birds, heterosis happens – meaning that the advantageous alleles dominate over the harmful alleles keeping them hidden and producing offspring that are better than their parent’s average. Compared to inbreeding, linebreeding is a more lenient way and gives a wider gene pool.