No parrot is really very easy to breed, and African greys are especially difficult. Obviously, breeding will get easier as you gain more experience in doing it, and once you know what you’re doing African greys can be relatively easy to breed, but not without a great deal of time and commitment.
Breeding parrots can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it is not something you can just do without any experience or knowledge.
You’ll need to take time to learn what needs to be done and the ins and outs of the whole process before you can expect it to be anything approaching “easy”.
For many professional breeders, it is their whole career and they have dedicated years or even decades to it.
Let’s find out more.
How easy is it to breed African greys?
In general, there is never anything easy about breeding African greys.
Relatively speaking we might say that, for an experienced breeder, African greys are easier than other species to breed—but this by no means makes breeding them easy in its own right.
You need to accept that there are no shortcuts, no immediate route to successful breeding, and most of all you always need to put the bird’s welfare first.
There may be many reasons you want to breed African greys, but of course one of the most common is to do it for profit.
If you are doing so, then again, you must remember that these birds are living creatures and their health and happiness is of the utmost importance.
Responsibility is the first step in successful breeding.
Dedication is the next step.
You’ve got to realize that even if you have all the best knowledge and advice going in, there is no substitute for the experience that comes with actually doing it yourself.
There are many intricacies to the project that you will not be able to read about.
With that said, before you even contemplate attempting to breed a pair, you must first spend an awfully long time reading and researching on everything that needs to be done, generally speaking, to successfully breed two African greys.
They are complex animals and will not simply breed because you put two in the same cage.
With all that said, once you have gotten some experience under your belt and you’ve begun to learn the most important things about breeding parrots, then in general most breeders agree that African greys are not terribly difficult to breed.
They are not shy and they are relatively quick to bond.
This will make pairing them up easier, in general, though the question of individual personality is one to keep in mind—some African greys just won’t want to breed no matter what.
So, the short answer is that breeding African greys is very hard, but it will get easier with time.
How long do African greys take to breed?
This question is difficult to answer in a specific way as there are many steps to the breeding process.
They will first need to reach sexual maturity, which we will look at later and this can take many years in most cases if you are being properly responsible.
Then, you will have to have a bonded pair which are willing to mate.
This can be a difficult thing to achieve.
The other question is of when they will want to mate in the year.
In the wild, they generally start to mate when the days get shorter, so they often exhibit mating season behavior in captivity, too.
Then, once they have started to court, they will shortly mate.
Shortly after this, perhaps a few days, the hen will lay a clutch of eggs which she will incubate.
It will typically take anywhere from 3-4 weeks for the eggs to then hatch.
So, again, there’s no shortcut even assuming everything goes completely right.
It is a lengthy process that will take time and patience.
Why are my African greys not breeding?
There are many reasons why your African greys might not be breeding.
The first, as noted early, is that some birds simply are not good breeders.
Even at full sexual maturity, bonded with a partner of the opposite sex, they might just not want to breed.
They might also be infertile, and this problem could affect either member of the partnership.
All of these fundamentally unsolvable problems are things you should consider.
Their diet can also affect their ability to breed.
They should be on a well-balanced, nutritionally complete diet.
If they are not, then this can certainly affect both their ability and desire to breed.
General health, which is most commonly impacted by diet, can also be a big factor in this.
Age is another of the most common issues.
If your African greys are too young, they might display courtship and mating behavior, but they may not be able to successfully breed—so let’s look at what age your African greys should be before they start breeding.
At what age do African greys breed?
Generally speaking, you should let an African grey reach seven years of age before you attempt to start mating them.
This may seem like a long time, but remember that they are incredibly long-lived birds and thus, like humans, they take a long time to reach sexual maturity.
In the wild, they may not breed until they are more than ten years old.
Some suggest they can be bred as early as five years old, but this can be a big risk for the bird’s health.
So, again, your parrot being too young is one of the most common reasons why it might not be successfully breeding, so make sure that you’ve let both partners reach full sexual maturity before you attempt to breed them.
Do African greys have a mating season?
In the wild African greys certainly do have a mating season.
They usually start to mate around October when the days get shorter.
Again, whether they emulate this behvaior in captivity is a difficult question; oftentimes, they will display mating season behavior as their bodies do still have that natural rhythm.
So, you shouldn’t necessarily expect to be able to breed them year round.
It can always vary between individuals and some may be more able to breed all year, but this is not something you should expect.
Your female shouldn’t really lay a clutch of eggs more than once or twice a year at most as this can take a big toll on her health.
How long does it take for an African grey to lay an egg after breeding?
It can sometimes take weeks for the female to lay a clutch of eggs after mating.
They will typically mate several times a day for weeks at a time before they finally lay the fertilized eggs.
Patience is really important here, as you don’t want to bother the parents too much while they are mating.
This can affect their behavior and desire to mate.
So, you’re going to have to give it a few weeks of mating and courtship before you can expect to see the results.
How many times a year does an African grey lay an egg?
As mentioned, in the wild African greys will typically only lay eggs around once a year.
They may lay two clutches during the breeding season, but this is not typical and they will usually wait until the next season to lay more eggs.
So, again, this is what their bodies are naturally used to and is why it’s best to just keep them to one clutch a year when you are actively breeding them.
Some may perfectly healthily lay far more than this, but at the same time they may not—it’s always best to play it safe and, as mentioned, always put the bird’s health and happiness first.
There are, then, many things you’ll need to learn before you can hope to be successful in breeding African greys.
They are complex animals and they will not just breed when you put them together. Breeding them will take an awful lot of time and dedication.
Even if you went in with knowledge of every tip you can possibly muster, experience is really going to be the far more important thing.
You’ll need to learn what works and what doesn’t, and what to do when there is no help available to you—then, eventually, taming them might look a bit easier.