Fostering Pin-tailed Parrotfinches with Bengalese (Society Finches)

Erythrura prasina

Cages to foster Pin-tailed Parrot Finches are all wire, suspended (46cm wide x 36cm high x 30cm deep), [18" wide x 14" high x 12" deep]. 

Bottom trays are internal so can be raised during fledging.

Seed capacity, when not breeding, large so cages are self-sustaining for a week.

Lighting is normal fluorescent.
Watering is automatic, 6 times a day.

Nest boxes are 13cm [5"] half-fronted white plastic cubes.
Coconut fibre only nesting material

Cock trios versus pairs - trios seem more reliable than duos, especially at the critical stage of the first day or two after fledging.

We used to resort to hand feeding newly fledged Pin-tailed youngsters for 3 or 4 days until the Bengalese took over their duty.  This appears to have been due to slightly weak youngsters

Creating 'clucky' Bengalese - cock Bengalese can be relied upon to go 'clucky' within 4 days.   Place 1 china egg daily in nest box for four or five consecutive mornings.

Virgin Bengalese - it seems better that the Bengalese are young and have not raised any Bengalese themselves.   Bengalese as young as 3-months have proved enthusiastic and efficient foster parents.
This is probably unnecessarily extreme, but I will not raise any Bengalese within earshot of the foster Bengalese..

Splitting nests - if the parent Pin-tailed are fully fit and laying their 7 eggs, of which 6 will be fertile, I prefer to split the eggs between two trios of foster Bengalese.

This gives all youngsters the best possible chance.

Feeding fostered Pin-tailed Parrotfinch chicks