The hardest part of breeding caiques is to hit on a compatible combination of birds. They can be quite picky about their mates, and would much prefer being able to find a match themselves. Black-headed caiques, in particular, can actually become aggressive if they are forced to mate. To increase the odds, you should get about 4 or more of each gender, place their cages side-by-side, and see how they relate to each other. If they gravitate towards each other, then you’ve found a pair. Place them in a larger breeder cage but observe closely for any signs of excessive fighting. It can take many weeks for the two to “settle down”. Don’t force it, or they’ll become more aggressive and may end up attacking each other.
Caiques Breeding-Purchasing a breeding pair
You can buy breeding pairs, though it’s important to make an informed purchase. Even when the birds are advertised as “proven breeders”, be sure to ask how old they are, and if there has been any history of the mother eating the eggs after they are laid. Most experts recommend getting 3-year-old caiques. Though they are sexually mature by the time they are 2 years old, they may not make good parents, and can destroy or neglect their young.
It’s also important to verify if the pairs are closely related, and to inspect them for any signs of poor health. All in all, it’s still safer to breed pairs that you’ve raised yourself, or buy from trusted and respected breeders even if they may charge higher.
After purchasing breeding pair, have the birds checked by your own veterinarian, and quarantine them for 45 days. This will also give them a chance to settle down and get used to their new environment. Since they are adults they will need more time to become acclimatized.
Caiques Breeding-Breeding cage
The smallest cage should be 24 inches high, 24 inches wide and 48 inches long. If you will be placing it outdoors, reinforce it with a wire mesh that’s at least 1 inch x 1.25 inches. This will keep out any rats or snakes that may take an interest in the eggs.
Caiques Breeding- Getting ready to breed
Once you’ve got a good breeding pair you can expect about 2 clutches a year. They can actually have more, but it can put a lot of strain on the mother caique. The female is responsible for almost all parenting responsibilities, from laying and hatching the eggs, to feeding the young once they’ve hatched. It’s best to allow it to rest between clutches, or the exhaustion could lead to smaller eggs or sickly chicks.