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FEATURE


Amboina King hen, which was a pet living in a retirement home. When her owner passed away Brent snapped her up. She was paired with a male which Brent got from a breeder in the North West Province and the pair has produced one baby this year. “The hen was unsure what to do with her chick,” says Brent, “so we hand raised it. Hopefully, she can raise the next lot of chicks herself.” It’s vital that pet birds which go into breeding programmes are given extra attention, says Brent. “The previous owner probably spoilt this hen rotten,” explains Brent, “so I have to give her the odd biscuit smothered in peanut butter to keep her happy.” Former pet birds often perform poorly in breeding situations – eating their eggs, killing their babies and sometimes their mates. “Always be on the lookout for unusual behaviour in such birds,” advises Brent.


Slender-billed Conures With that oversized beak, this species doesn’t win first prize for the most beautiful at shows, but their playful personalities will certainly turn heads. “Big parrot personality in a little parrot body,” as Brent puts it. Slender-billed Conures – native to Chile – have been slowly disappearing from South African aviculture and, says Brent, if an effort is not made to invest time and money in this species, it may soon be lost forever. In their natural


BIRD SCENE 17


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