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Kakariki, Care, Breeding, Ecology, and Conservation :: View topic - Experimenting with Flocks and Breeding
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Experimenting with Flocks and Breeding
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Steptoe
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:11 pm    Post subject: Experimenting with Flocks and Breeding

As many ppl may realise by now, In NZ we are only permitted to keep 2 Kakariki of the same species in 1 flight.
Over the last couple yrs we have had the opportunity to run a few experiments in regards to this, and there are several other post by myself and off shore breeders.
As our main 'holding' and 2 breeding flights are only a 1.5 m away from where we have coffee on the deck and 2 m from our living, dining room, and my work office, we are able to observe behaviour closely, most of the day, every day.
Kakariki , like most parrots are a flock bird.
It has become very noticeable that the Kakariki that are in a flock are far more active, tend to be brighter and healthier, less 'bored' and very interactive between each other.
These observations are also made on a smaller flight where we had a pair of Kakariki breeding quite satisfactory in a flock that had been together for some time. Only 1 pair bred and have done so twice now.
Due to risk of over crowding, 12 birds where 'culled' several weeks ago from 1 flock. Another 6 birds where shipped down country last week leaving both flocks depleted.
When this happens they flights are a little mildly stressed as a new pecking order is established that lasts for about 1/2 a day.
We decided a couple days ago to see what happens when we move what is left of 1 flock in with the other flock. These flocks where not on visual contact and different aviaries.
The result was suprising...very minor sorting of the new pecking order that was established within a couple of hrs. Kakariki establish pecking order by placing a foot on the other back and gently pushing off the perch. Even the 2 dominant males of each flock was this passive.
Both flocks have several birds paired off from their own selection, but never had a breeding box. The flock that has come from the flight where the pair have been breeding, we have left the breeding pair in there with 1 other huge male...again we are no problems.

Our next step is to add 2 banks of breeding boxes, similar in size to a couple that some of the pet owners have used on indoor cages.
I'm going to build 2 'banks' each 1 m long with 4 'compartments' each 250x250x250 mm and an open front with a gap at the top of 70mm. Similar to open finch breeding boxes.

Off shore breeders have expensive mutations, due to this such dramatic research in Kakariki behaviour has the potential to be very costly if anything goes wrong, both in breeding programs and loss of birds.
In NZ we (breeders in general) either release excess birds illegally or do as we do, kill them as there is no market to sell or give away, and DoC doesn't approve them to give away to Conservation Projects.
As far as we know there is absolutely no research in these areas, and can find absolutely no source of DoC reasoning as to limiting only 2 kakariki to 1 flight. Nor does DoC have the funds to spead on such research and experimention
As stated above, kakariki ARE a flock bird, from our and other breeders observations, Kakariki in a flock are far happier and healthier birds.
There can be problems if with males when a nesting box is introduced into an aviary of more than 1 pair...from our experience so far is this occurs when only 3 or 4 birds are present, so far, not when an established flock is present of 9 to 12 Kakariki.
So we will see what happens over the next couple weeks.

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Last edited by Steptoe on Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Steptoe
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 5:28 pm    Post subject:

This is Mark 1
After initial curiosity, 1 male tended to dominate the whole box after 3 days. As can be seen, the front opening of each partition is open to the next.
So a modification is needed, extending the partitions between them.
This was carried out (pic later)
Althu the male does still tend to dominate, there is greater access from other birds, male and female now.
The dominating male , unlike the some of other males has not paired off with a female...creating another problem. We may have to remove him from the flock so 'paired male(s) have better access. Will observe for several more weeks before interfering with the structure of the flock.

Nesting material is Rimu wood lathe turnings with 1/3 NZ native forest ground mulch over the top



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Mark I
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mkII.jpg
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Mark II with added extensions to partitions.
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mkII.jpg



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wyndara
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 1:51 pm    Post subject:

steps i am watching your colony experiment with interest. i have kept kakariki in colony situations before, every thing was fine until nest boxes were added then all hell broke loose. the quiet unassuming kakariki that we all know and love turned into killing machines! cocks and hens locked in battles that did not stop until the nest boxes were removed. i now know the way i went about it was all wrong but still havent been game to try again so i wait to see how yours go. why have you used open fronted nest boxes? wyndara
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Steptoe
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 9:08 pm    Post subject:

Yes we have had the "all hell breaks thru" before...then with an established flock in a aviary (been together for a season)... we had a nesting box that was blocked off and a pair 'broke in" and nested. All went smooth as, thu did have to remove 1 male. Those siblings raised fine, and the pair nested fine 2nd time...
So we thought may as well take the experiment to the next level as described above.
Open boxes....well just to see what happens.
Keep in mind..
1/In NZ we dont have a market for the birds, nor are we able to give them away, even to Conservation Trusts and projects.
2/Breeders off shore have managed mutation and selcetive breeding programs with expenzive birds, such experimentation and facilities is impractical
3/As far as we can establish, there is no documentation , research or knowledge in NZ or overseas on studing of such behavours or into captive breeding programs. The NZ Government does not have the budgets, due these being rightly allocated to more highly endangered species. Kakariki
The objective is to see what can be achieved (or if it can) with possible application to the future kakariki consevation projects in NZ.

Or put it another way, instead of killing them (as required by DoC policies based on a total lack of knowledge and research) learn from and about Kakariki.
I has to be achieved with no stress in flights....for selfish reasons, stressed birds are not enjoyable, and we like to enjoy our birds.

UPdate,
with the additions to the partitions the dominate male seems to have backed off considerably, there are now 2 males who dominate the area but more together than as rivals. They each sleep in compartments ands a female has also taken up residence, thu no signs of breeding as yet.

The flock is kept occupied digging holes under the concret floors, toys, slowly destorying a large punga log, and things constantly happening inside and around the flight.

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Allen
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 1:00 am    Post subject:

I am keeping back quite a few of our babies this year. I want to have a colony of kakariki just for enjoyment. Obviously I want the birds to be happy. At the moment, the young kakariki are very happy together.

Hormones and nest boxes will become an issue as time goes by. Hopefully there will be no major fights.

So please keep us posted as to how your colony is doing.
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Steptoe
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:06 pm    Post subject:

Time for update.
The result is that a couple males and females decided to take up sleeping residence in the partitions...fine
But the have not done so in the same boxes, nor is there any sign that they intend to
So I conclude, they make no more than good warm sleeping compartments at night

So I Took the next step and introduced 1 nesting box to the flock of 18 kakariki. Rem this is an established family/flock.
Initially great curiosity of coarse, then the following day a couple males squabbling over territory for the next couple days, nothing serious, until 1 male was decided as the owner. This was generally accepted by the rest of the flock, males and females, the owner male, no where as territorial as expected and still isn't.
What was surprising over the following days, was the females now competing for the nesting box...I am sure its was for the box and not the male owner.
3 or 4 days after this things now settled down again, the male feeding the dominate female, and neither not very territorial at all around the nesting box.
Yesterday the where mating outside the nest....so lets see what happens if/when the female begins to lay.

We have another aviary flight that has 3 males 1 female and they are quite happy as a family unit...2 of the males are siblings from different batches of the pair. Again we are quite surprised at the lack of territory disputes (NIL) All three males feed the female in the nest nps. We know who the parent male is, but someone who doesn't would not be able to tell who the actual father is.

Both of these 'experiments' are basically blowing previous behavioural territorial knowledge right out the window.
NOTE: I still believe this only applies to established flocks/family units, NOT to if one tries to breed or mix more than 1 pair in a flight without establishing a flock unit 1st over many months in a large enough flight

Intentions to look at over ensuing weeks
1/ Once the female is sitting on eggs, introduce another 4 or 5 Kakariki to the flock We are concerned at over crowding at this level also, it is a large flight but I am of the opinion not big enough for this many Kakariki.
So we MAY have to then cull old birds out of the flock, leaving the newcomers, IF I am right about overcrowding.
2/ If the above works out, then introduce a 2nd nesting box...or may get brave and introduce 2 or 3. Depends on reactions in the flight.
I'm not prepared to have a stressed aviary, its not enjoyable to us or the birds.

The more we trial and observe the more it becomes very obvious that the DoC policy on only max of 2 pair /flight is very wrong and not in the best interests of the overall well being of captive Kakariki in aviaries.
I would also suggest that the practice of Large Zoos to only have 1 or 2 kakariki in large outdoor 'natural enviroment' aviaries is not the best either.

Any further ideas, trials in regards to this would be appreciated.

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kakasa
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:58 pm    Post subject:

Hi Steps; what size cage do you have your colony in? I have only tried colony breeding once and although the amount of squabbling was minimal the hens would not settle properly. They would start to lay in one nest then desert those eggs and move to another nest and so on. Eventually I just gave them each their own adjoining cage and they settled down fine.
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Steptoe
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:20 pm    Post subject:

Quote:
Hi Steps; what size cage do you have your colony in?

I cant rem signlol everyone of our flights are a different size...
been a long day...I do describe someware about how many birds /size we have experiment with and number of water trays size etc

Hang on it is about 10m from here and I see a tape measure beside the monitor
4.5 wide 1.6 deep 2.5 heigh one looks in tru the side rather than end on.
Makes for a very differnt perspeckive to inter act, observe behavour ,
They get so used to being their they just do their own thing 0.5m to 1.5 m away from you...while having afternoon coffee on the deck.
Next to them is a male yellow and 3 females wirh 3 nesting boxes...
Then the next flight has a Rec male with a new blood female sitting on eggs and 5 youngesters with the iris due to appear any day.

Another observation...
I am finding the orginal birds and those introduced tend to be very terriorial...they have all been breed not in flocks.
Yet the siblings and their sibling who have been raised in a flock situation, are far more tolerent...to the extent of 3 males feeding 1 female sitting on eggs, and the same when they come out of the nest. These birds are also accepted very quickly..basically from the start into a new flock.

I think to have a successful flock flight, one has to 'breed' them into it over a couple generations. If yoiu need new blood, then these birds take a few yrs to to settle down well in a flock.

I also think this sort of approach should be taken with returning to the wild. Not just as a social thing, but in numbers as a flock it offers a much greater protection to preditors.

UPDATE:
The hen has gone to nest, havnt checked for eggs , just leave them to it
The males is not terroritial at all, he even lets other males go up to the nest and stick their heads in to look down. I have yet to hear or see an issue...they all take turns...many times a day. Shocked
This is going where the generally accepted nature of Kakariki is not at, and not what I would have believed a yr ago.

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Janine
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:50 pm    Post subject: Breeding in NZ

Hi there, my father and stepmum are interested in breeding kakariki. They have been trying to find out from DOC where they would be able to get a pair and get a permit but are hitting brick walls. Would you know of someone they can contact to get this information? Thank you.
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Steptoe
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:54 am    Post subject:

Welcome..
Yes DoC are not very helpful...
Contact Conor a member here, he is down your way, failing that we have spare kakariki up here

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Janine
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 9:15 pm    Post subject: Kakariki breeding

Thank you so much. My dad is actually up in Wellsford so that would work well if you have some spare. Can you please send me an email on how much they would be and how to get a permit? jugalette2@yahoo.co.nz
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pabloc
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:54 am    Post subject:

Hi!

Steps.... sorry to dig in your backyard, but I would like to ask how this flock experiment has ended, if you don't mind.

Right now I can't put it in practice right now but there is an old hen run (2x8m), which has very old hens Twisted Evil and maybe in the not too long future it may be useful Whistle

And well... the day I have my own house... I could build a "small" 4x4 aviary or something like that for this kind of practices.

Thanks in advance!

Regards,

Pablo

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Steptoe
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:46 pm    Post subject:

Quote:
I would like to ask how this flock experiment has ended, if you don't mind.

Which part ?
And if I minded I wouldnt have made the web site thumb
Im trying something else now
A row of 4 flights about 2.8m deep 1.2 m wide 2m height
partitioned between 1.2 m from the back wall
There is an internal door between each flight and these are left open.
An unestablished flock/pairs...new avairy, all the birds where moved 100 miles from different flights/avairies and just 'dumped' in together.
A nest box in the back each flight was put in after a week.
No terroitoral issues except 1 male, the dominent guy who has taken over the rear of an end flight
A female is sitting on eggs in a nesting box in one of the middle flights...
Once again like previous experiments im not sure which male is the father because the rest of the kakarki are acting like uncles and aunties

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Bertman
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Experimenting with Flocks and Breeding

Quote:
These observations are also made on a smaller flight where we had a pair of Kakariki breeding quite satisfactory in a flock that had been together for some time. Only 1 pair bred and have done so twice now.

How many in the flock and how big was the flight?
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Bertman
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Experimenting with Flocks and Breeding

Quote:
but never had a breeding box.

Is this another flight?
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