Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Assessement of Breeding Condition - Post 22/6/06

Irwan of Brunei wrote:

Before I ask any questions, I will let you know the situation I have currently. I have prepared an aviary of height 7 ft tall, width 3 x 3 ft. I am planning to breed the birds in my house, in a quiet room. I do not want to put it outside as there are many disturbance. Both birds are tame. The male is from Medan, Indonesia, about 4 years old. The female is a local shama. Both are in their individual cages. The first time I put them close to each other, the male was very aggressisve, singing loudly and trying to have a fight with the female. The female was singing also, but with a soft voice. I realised at that time, they were not ready to mate. Now, I have put them close to each other for several months (roughly 3 months).

The questions are as follows:

1. How do we know the right time to put them together in the breeding aviary?

2. Any problems with my current situation I mentioned above?

3. I have also other male shamas inside and outside my house and they are quite hard-working singers. They have know each other for some time, including the above pair. Can these males sharmas affect the performance of the breeding later? Must I put them far away?



1. If the cages of the male and female are placed side by side and they sing then they are ready and may be placed together in the breeding aviary. If the female stoops for the male than she is over ready. In such case if the pair are placed together, they will immediately mate and she will build her nest but the first clutch of eggs may be infertile. Although the pair may appear ready, when placing them together you will nevertheless have to watch to see that he does not attack her but you must bear in mind that their love making can be very rough. You will need to distinguish this from fighting. If the male chases the female like crazy but breaks off after a minute or so and then rests panting on a perch all is fine. The female will also show that it was love-making by relaxing after the episode and ruffling her feathers before continuing with whatever she wants to do as if nothing has happened. If the male wallops the female and she goes into a corner and hides, this is fighting and you will need to immediately separate the pair as the male will otherwise kill the female.

2. Breeding indoors with the size of the aviary you have is fine. The only thing you need to know is that birds need sunlight as it supplies them with vitamin D3 which is required for calcium absorption. In my experience, very little sunlight is required by the shama as it is a bird of the forest and prefers the shady parts to sunlight. Nevertheless, if kept indoors, their food should be supplemented with vitamin D3. This is not a problem as the calcium supplements that are sold all have vitamin D3.

3. Having male shamas in the house within ear-shot of the breeding pair is a problem. The pair need to establish their territory and if there are other shamas loudly singing their territorial song nearby, they will be stressed as the limits of their territory will not be defined. The consequence will be broken eggs, chicks thrown out of the nest, etc. You will therefore need to make arrangements to move your other shamas as far away from the breeding pair as possible once the female starts to build her nest.



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