Avian - Breeding Aves


Things to Consider

  • What species?
    • might want to breed for specific reasons
      • Natural Behaviour, Conservation, Specific Traits and Colours, Publicity, Money
      • Zoos need to make money in order to not close down
      • could allow the zoo to get grants from conservation organisations
    • prevention of inbreeding in current stock
    • is there a pont to breeding?
    • inconsiderate breeding can lead to overpopulation and you may have difficulties moving offspring to new collections 
  • benefits of breeding
    • money (e.g., conservation grants)
    • more visitors
  • where have the breeding animals come from?
    • must talk to the owner of the studbook for the animal
    • inbred stock (not from a zoo you have given animals to in the past)
  • enclosure design and alterations 
  • animal introductions
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Parental Care

  • monitor the parents to make sure they are looking after young properly
  • potential problems
    • Abandonment
      • animals may often get bored or distracted from sitting on eggs in captivity
    • Stress - stopping them feeding/protecting/brooding their young
    • Cannibalism - this may be normal behaviour for some species
      • vultures often eat the weaker chicks so there are less chicks to look after
    • young birds - silly mistakes
      • fall out of nests
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    • Nest preparation 
    • nesting 
    • brooding
    • vocalisation
      • singing
    • courtship behaviour
    • copulation
    • rearing young
      • regurgitating food for young
    • Egg eating
    • eating hatchlings
    • abandonment of eggs
    • partial incubation of eggs
    • reluctance to rear altricial offspring
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  • longer days mean more time to forage for food
    • feed quantities increase which provide energy for egg production, mating displays, territorial defence, feeding offs
  • breed in winter so that eggs are laid in spring when food is abundant
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  • Improve success rate
  • Too hot or too cold could be fatal to parents or eggs
  • Increase in temperature can increase food quantities available
  • decrease in predators
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Breeding Seasons

  • what can affect breeding seasons starting?
  • what is species is renowned for breeding all year round?
  • why have a breeding season?
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Hormonal Activity

  • What encourages an increase in hormonal activity?
    • extended light hours
    • mate availability
    • enclosure design and enrichment
    • dietary change
    • nesting sites being made available
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Hormone Production

  • Seasonal breeding
    • triggered by day length, rainfall and food abundance
    • stimulate hypothalamus to release 3 gonadotropin-releasing hormones
  • follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
    • stimulates maturation of the reproductive organs and sperm production in males
  • luteinizing hormones (LH)
    • stimulates ovulation in females and oestrogen, testosterone production in both sexes
  • prolactin induces broody behaviour
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What can we provide to encourage breeding?

  • large enclosure
  • suitable diet
  • good photoperiod
  • correct social groupings
  • nest sites and nesting materials
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Egg Monitoring

  • heat too high = abnormalities
  • heat too low = weakness, small, deformities
  • incorrect humidity = deformities
  • weight = adults lose 15% over incubation period 
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What do we monitor after hatching?

  • weight gain
  • socialising with others
  • weaning
  • diet is adapted to suit age
  • feather growth/appearance is normal
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Monitoring and Recording

  • One Note
  • Incubation Records
  • Posters/Forms for other staff
  • Video footage
  • Diary entries
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