Raising pet birds is an excellent income source and can be structured as either a full-time or part-time venture. Pet birds have a relatively short lifespan. Bird enthusiasts will be repeat customers, as they return to purchase the same breed, repeatedly.
With pet birds being so high in demand, it is possible to secure a monthly income from raising birds. Smaller birds are prevalent, have the lowest lifespan, and are the easiest to raise. They will breed twelve months of the year and will continue to have offspring from three up to the age of ten, depending on the breed. An offspring will reach saleable age at ten months.
Parakeets, Zebra finches, lovebirds, and cockatiels are also quieter than the average parrot, and great breeds to start with. Each breeding cycle will produce approximately four to six babies per cycle, with the ability to have a clutch on average, four to six times per year. Creating production year-round is a fantastic way to ensure a consistent stream of income.
Choosing the right breed will help you break into the bird raising business. There are over 8,000 retail pet stores in the US, and smaller bird raising operations supply most of those.
Table of Contents
Types of Bird You Can Breed & Raise To Make Profit
1) Budgie (Parakeet)
Scientific Name: Melopsittacus undulatus
These Australian chirpers are a popular choice for their size and good nature. They can be kept in smaller spaces and therefore appealing to a broad market. They are a popular breed for those who are just starting out owning and breeding birds. Budgies are most commonly yellow or green, though other colors have emerged in captivity.
One of the easiest to breed, the budgerigar, also known as a parakeet, is social and love attention.
These little birds have an enormous personality and, in some cases, can even learn to speak. They thrive on a seed-based diet, accompanied by fresh vegetables and leafy greens. It is recommended to house these guys away from parrots, as to not share breed-specific diseases. Parrots are known to carry psittacosis and may pass this along to budgies.
Female Budgies will lay their eggs relatively soon after mating and will lay one per day until the entire clutch has been born. They will incubate their eggs anywhere between 17 and 20 days, and each clutch will contain anywhere from four to eight eggs.
A nest box contained within a cage is the best area for a budgie to nest. Pine shavings are the best material to line the nest.
Scientific Name: Agapornis spp
The Lovebird is a small parrot who doesn’t take up a large amount of space and breeds easily. They are a more talkative breed, while not too loud, they frequently chatter to themselves. It is best to house them on their own to encourage bonding with their owner.
A Lovebird will incubate their eggs for about 21 days, and a clatch usually contains anywhere from three to seven eggs.
A cage with a nesting box is the best area to raise a Lovebird. Shredded paper or pine shavings are the best material to line the nest.
A varied diet works best with Lovebirds, rich in fruits and vegetables, and containing a feed rich in seeds and pellets. A calcium supplement is highly recommended for breeding age Lovebirds.
Scientific Name: Nymphicus hollandicus
Cockatiels are small but outgoing creatures, with their cheerful whistles and friendly demeanor. They will typically produce four to six eggs per clutch and incubate their eggs for about 18 days.
Cockatiels are beautiful birds and have various color mutations throughout the breed.
A variety of fruits and vegetables and a blend of both seeds and pellets is the best. A calcium supplement is highly recommended during the breeding phase of a cockatiel’s life.
For nesting, pine shavings, shredded paper, and molted feathers are the perfect lining for a nest box within a cage.
As a pet, cockatiels are reliable, as they live up to 20 years old.
4) Zebra Finches
Scientific Name:Taeniopygia guttata
Zebra finches are native to the wilds of Australia and are highly active sweet-tempered birds. They are popular birds and beloved for their intricate patterns and social personalities. In nature, they are found in flocks and do well in groups when domesticated.
This active breed is one of the most fertile, highly productive exotic birds. It is recommended to schedule a break between clutches, to give the breeding pair a break for rest and renewal. Without intervention, the Zebra finch would continue with constant breeding and would become exhausted.
Zebra finches should have a diet of high-quality seed and pellets and be supplemented with fruits, eggs, vegetables, and sprouts.
A Zebra finch will incubate their eggs for about 15 days after laying them. A typical clutch will contain anywhere from three to five eggs.
The best nest for a Zebra finch is made up of some nesting fiber within a contained within a larger cage. As Zebra finches are not handled often by their owners, a larger space is required.
In general, when selecting birds to mate, ensure they are free of disease and congenital disabilities. While it varies by breed, mating’s available age is between 1 and 5 years of age. Also, most birds will not start incubating their eggs until the second one is laid. For any health-related concerns with your birds, contact your local veterinarian.
As an overall venture, bird breeding requires minimal setup, as the ambient temperature needed is the same as the typical indoor home space. The additional setup required and the overall cost of food is low. Given that the market comprises mostly small producers, it’s easier for the average person to get started on a breeding program and successfully break into the market.
Wholesale changes to import laws have also helped the local exotic bird market. The federal government has slowly phased out the importation of exotic birds, hence increasing the local demand for birds.
It is recommended for an overall successful bird breeding business to provide the largest space you can afford for the number of birds you plan on breeding. Happy, well-treated birds will grow up to be well-tempered and attractive as pets.
There are a variety of ways to sell your birds. The wholesale market is made up of pet stores and brokers, whereas the direct to the consumer market is usually facilitated at bird shows or online.
With over 20 million pet birds owned in the US, breeding and selling these beautiful animals continues to be a lucrative proposition. Setting up a bird breeding business can be done anywhere, in almost any setting, making this an opportunity for almost anyone.