The ideal business option is a hobby that makes money, as most people think. Therefore, many novice entrepreneurs often consider one of their hobbies as the first idea for their own business. Is it possible to make a lot of money on a hobby - a question that most people care about. It is impossible to answer this question unequivocally, because it all depends on what kind of hobby we are talking about. It is one thing if you are a well-known master jeweler who creates jewelry of amazing beauty, and quite another if you collect candy wrappers from sweets or cross-stitch according to ready-made patterns.
Perhaps the breeding of animals and birds among other hobbies is the most doubtful in terms of its subsequent transformation into a constant source of income. However, if you are doing this professionally and are ready at the first time to invest more in your hobby than to earn money on it, then with a competent approach, breeding and selling pets can bring in, albeit not very large, but still stable income.
In this article, we will examine in more detail the business of breeding and selling decorative and songbirds. Many bird lovers are breeding canaries, budgies and other parrots, lovebirds, diamond doves ... The list of decorative birds that can be kept at home is quite large, and all of them cannot be listed. Among the poultry breeders who love songbirds, singing males are most in demand, which are most often caught in nature. But the latter option is not always possible and involves various difficulties, so many of them prefer to breed birds.
Difficulties in keeping and breeding birds
So, what knowledge do you need to have in order to breed decorative and songbirds? First of all, you must have good knowledge, in general, in ornithology, as well as a great practical experience in this area. Both in the content and in the breeding of birds there are a large number of nuances. For example, it’s not so easy to pick up a pair of manufacturers. It is not enough just to pick up healthy males and females and plant them in one cage, creating all the conditions for nesting. For birds, mutual sympathy is of great importance, which often forms long before the mating season and nesting. Experts advise to purchase at least 2-3 pairs of birds - males and females in equal quantities. Birds are placed in an aviary or given them the opportunity to fly freely around the room, and then track sympathy. Of the three pairs, there can be only one “married” pair, or it may turn out that the birds do not show interest in each other and, accordingly, turn out to be unpromising for breeding.
It is extremely important for birds to create optimal conditions that would maximally accurately recreate the conditions of their natural environment. This applies not only to feeding (we will discuss this below), but also to the presence of natural sunlight for a rather long time: a high daylight hours stimulates nesting in most birds. Thus, home keeping and breeding of birds is perhaps best in the southern regions of our country. Of course, even with artificial lighting, birds begin to nest, but this process should not take place too early, otherwise the lack of sunlight and high-quality protein feed (natural, not artificial) will affect the offspring not in the most favorable way. In winter, for breeding birds, it is necessary to reduce daylight hours to 11-12 hours, and gradually increase it to the summer norm by the beginning of breeding.
Often the humidity of the room where the birds are kept is of great importance, especially when it comes to species with a long incubation period. Here a couple of words about the conditions of keeping birds should be mentioned. As a rule, even “professional” poultry farmers keep their birds in their apartments or, at best, in their houses. They have no separate heated indoor enclosures. But in apartments with central heating in the autumn and winter, it is usually too dry. Insufficient air humidity in most cases leads to the death of embryos in the second half of the incubation, especially in large parrots that live in tropical forests. During incubation, the room is recommended to be regularly moistened with a spray bottle. If you are not in the apartment all day long, then it is better to get a humidifier. In this case, experts recommend purchasing inexpensive models for which consumables (filters) are affordable. Although it is often quite possible to do with water tanks placed at the batteries, and a large number of indoor plants. Poultry farmers often keep birds in their enclosures, equipped on the balcony (the main thing is that he does not go to the "sunny" side). The device of such an enclosure will cost a lot, but the costs will pay off in the future, and such maintenance is more convenient in a small apartment. The balcony aviary has other advantages, in addition to temperature and humidity. Some species of birds (for example, simple budgies, Kalita parrots and drawings) breed better when the cage is several pairs, rather than the cage. Couples of other parrots, including rare ones, are best kept in separate rooms. For some birds (which are especially jealous of their nests from other individuals), isolation from other representatives is a prerequisite for successful breeding. In the latter case, cells with nesting pairs must be separated from others in such a way that the birds do not see or even hear the birds in other cages, otherwise the consequences of this content can be very deplorable. Males who see and hear other “rivals, ” but cannot drive them out of their territory, often begin to aggress on their own family.
The longest domesticated birds (for example, budgies or canaries) are the easiest to keep. Birds are more rare, which do not have such a large "experience" of domestication, require special conditions of detention.
For the nesting of some species of birds (the most expensive, by the way), it is not enough to create certain conditions (temperature and humidity). They may require special materials for arranging the nests. In the case of the most common birds (for example, canaries) there may be enough traditional materials - feathers, twigs, straws, etc., but other, rarer species need special types of "building" materials - it can be like ordinary twine, and special plant materials (willow twigs for lovebirds, hollows, boxes, birdhouses).
Nests come in various forms - vertical, horizontal and combined (or compromise). The latter option is considered the best, since it combines the advantages of the other two types of nests. The compromise nesting is spacious and reliable, provides birds with complete safety. However, its location requires a lot of space.
Specialists prefer wooden nesting houses. Moreover, the size of these houses depends on the type of birds for which they are intended. The nest house must be disinfected with a special preparation or a hot soda solution.
With group keeping of birds, nesting houses are hung at the same level, since birds, as ornithologists say, prefer to occupy a nest located at a level higher than others. Moreover, such a “house” becomes a stumbling block and fierce battles are often waged for it. For the same reason, nests should not be placed close to each other, but at a respectful distance. Otherwise, birds may quarrel with nearby neighbors. Some males may show excessive interest in other people's nests - up to their ruin, followed by peeling of eggs and throwing already hatched chicks from the nest.
But there is another nuance: pecking both strangers and their clutches in some birds may indicate a lack of certain minerals and proteins. Most often this is observed in small birds - budgies, weavers, etc. Pecking their own and other clutches can become a habit in birds, as a result of which it is necessary to reject males as unsuitable for breeding. In part, this unwanted behavior can be corrected by letting the birds peck empty eggs.
There are other deviations in behavior. For example, when already nesting birds stop hatching laid eggs or even throw already hatched chicks from the nest. This behavior is most likely to occur with cell dilution. When using an aviary (for example, a balcony type) or when isolating a cage with a nest from the cages of other birds, such cases are less common. Sometimes it is possible even in an ordinary cage to do without “victims” by disguising the nesting house with branches. However, it is still worth considering the habits of adults in natural conditions, when parents need movement when searching for and feeding food to their offspring. The size of the place where the birds are kept is also of key importance when mating birds, in which courtship of males is very active (for example, house sparrows or hurragus). In cramped conditions, in the absence of shelter, the male can even hammer the female to death by courtship.
Of particular note is the issue of nutrition, which also requires additional investment. Both males and females - producers need a special diet enriched with minerals, trace elements, vitamins and animal proteins. Feeding birds during this period solely with grain feed is not enough. They need a natural source of protein, which not every poultry farmer can provide. It can be flour worms, wax moth caterpillars, ant chrysalis, etc. It is easiest to feed domesticated species of birds - canaries, budgies and some species of amadins, which have enough familiar and affordable food - hard-boiled eggs, and then chopped, breadcrumbs, wheat bran, chopped fresh herbs, vegetables (carrots), etc. With the feeding of non-domesticated species, the situation is more complicated. In some cases, if it is impossible to provide the pets with the usual and necessary natural food for them, “adoptive parents” can save the situation. For example, experts use parrot, pointed-tailed and guild amadines to hatch eggs of their Japanese "brothers." Under Japanese amadins, eggs of parrot, pointed-tailed, herbal amadines are laid. Canaries can replace the parents of their related finch birds. Although, as noted by ornithologists, “adoptive” parents can adversely affect offspring in terms of singing abilities. In any case, for the maintenance and cultivation of not very common types of ornamental and songbirds, other species of birds will be required, which will form pairs.
When catching birds for breeding, their owners often encounter certain problems in keeping. For example, in the spring, they often begin to show signs of excitement, flipping from place to place or jumping into a cell grid. You can avoid these negative manifestations when keeping birds in a large aviary (on the same balcony) or by moving the cage closer to the source of natural light - the window and installing special bathtubs in the cage for bathing. In part, the introduction of a balanced complete feed helps. Over time, the "spring aggravation" disappears, and the bird calms down.
It is recommended that newly acquired or newly caught birds be kept in quarantine for the first time. The average incubation period is usually two to three weeks. After its expiration, you can transplant the bird into an aviary or in a cage to other inhabitants. Further care of the place where the birds are kept is quite simple. In addition to regular cleaning, cages, feeders, drinking bowls, bathing machines and other equipment used are disinfected twice a year with a three percent solution of pharmacy formalin or carbolic acid for an hour, followed by washing with boiling water and drying.
Regular care is required not only for the equipment for the cages, but also for the birds themselves. With prolonged confinement in birds, for example, the beak can grow strongly, which will cause them a lot of trouble and inconvenience. In order to avoid problems, the overgrown tip of the beak is very carefully trimmed with forceps, and then, if necessary, the sharp cut edges are trimmed with the thinnest sandpaper. Pre-beak lubricated with warm vegetable oil. After the operation, the bird is not given solid food for several days.
Claws of birds also require care, which in captivity can grow incorrectly, bending in different directions and growing into the skin, causing the bird suffering. This can be avoided if the parrots are sufficiently active, the equipment for the cage is correctly selected (for example, to refuse too thin and smooth perches), and also monitor the diet of pets. If the claws are still too old, they are carefully cut with sharp scissors.
Some species of birds often pull feathers (most often, on the chest). Parrots are most susceptible to this “bad habit”. To prevent this abnormal behavior, parrots, in addition to their usual food, are given pieces of boiled meat and eggs, cottage cheese, crushed bones, and dry yeast. If the bird has already begun to pull out its feathers and a balanced diet does not help to correct the situation, it is important to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. To prevent the bird from disfiguring itself, adults put special plastic circles around their necks that prevent them from reaching the plumage.
Breeding birds as a business
The profit you can rely on when breeding and selling ornamental birds directly depends on what types of birds you are engaged in and in what volumes. The easiest and most affordable option is to breed budgerigars. These birds are very popular because of their bright color, unpretentiousness, and the ability to imitate sounds ... The low cost of one budgie plays a significant role, so if you are going to make money selling budgies, you will have to work on a "large scale."
In principle, even beginner “poultry breeders” can breed “wavy”. For this, first of all, you need to choose the right pair, taking into account the following requirements: the health of both birds in a pair, age accounting, the lack of family ties between parrots, and “psychological compatibility”. Do not neglect these requirements. The offspring obtained as a result of inbreeding (from birds in kinship with each other), as a rule, is not viable. The healthier and younger the birds that go for breeding will be, the better their offspring will be. The most suitable age for breeding parrots in parrots is 1.5-4 years. Mutual sympathy between male and female is equally important. This also applies to budgies and other decorative birds (especially lovebirds).
It is also important to provide birds with appropriate conditions for breeding healthy offspring. These conditions include the recommended duration of daylight hours, optimal humidity, favorable temperature, a comfortable and spacious cage and space for a nest, and a balanced diet of birds.
Do not bet on only one type of bird. It is better to breed several species at the same time. And even if you give preference to only one species, then try to form several pairs at once. Budgerigars, like many other small species of such birds, are flocks. Best of all, they breed offspring together with their relatives in a pack. The greater the number of pairs in your “pack”, the higher the likelihood of quick offspring.
We have already mentioned above that the conditions of their keeping have an important influence on the efficiency of parrot breeding. Even with a limited area, cramped cells are best discarded. The cells where the couples are kept should be large enough: for parrots, it is better to take cells measuring 60 cm in length and 40 cm in height, but for the parrots, the corals require more “mansions”. In a small apartment, it is difficult to arrange the cells compactly. And with some species of birds this is simply impossible (for example, some species of parrots live only in flocks). The best solution may be an aviary where birds will be kept. They usually equip it on the balcony, but this will require additional investments. If a major overhaul of the balcony, its insulation and construction of an aviary is required, then the costs can be about 60, 000 rubles. Do not forget that birds are very sensitive to drafts, sudden changes in temperature, to cold and heat.
Breeding is best done in the summer, when daylight hours are longest and it’s easy to provide birds with a balanced diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Thus, the poultry breeding business is seasonally prone. Although, of course, it is quite possible to obtain offspring throughout the year, if you can provide birds with daylight hours of sufficient duration (about 15 hours). In winter, this can be done using artificial lighting, which requires additional investment. Feeding birds is much easier, especially in the summer. During the breeding season, birds are fed various products - vegetables, fruits, cottage cheese, eggs, sprouted grains, young shoots of apple, birch, mountain ash, dandelion greens. In order to prevent a deficiency of vitamin D, a little fish oil is added to the feed, and nutrition from crushed eggshells and chalk will help to combat the lack of calcium and phosphorus. Fortunately, substantial expenses for fortified food are not required.
If everything went well, the offspring were hatched, then already at the 35-40th day of life of young parrots, who already fly quite well and eat themselves, are sent to separate cages and offered for sale. They sell birds through various pet stores, bird markets, through ads on special sites on the Internet and in newspapers. Some professional poultry farmers even hang an advertising banner on the window or wall of their house with an advertisement for the sale of parrots and a contact phone number.
When all conditions are created during the year, from one pair you can get up to three clutches of birds that will not bring any harm to their health. However, even the best "manufacturers" need rest, so take into account breaks in the masonry and plan them in advance.
If from the very beginning you are not going to enter “industrial” turnovers or if you are breeding common and inexpensive species of birds, then be prepared for the fact that the income received from the sale of young animals will go to the development of your home nursery and purchase at first new representatives. In the future, when you gain enough experience in the maintenance and breeding of popular species, it will be possible to pay attention to exotic representatives of the bird family. These pets are tens and even hundreds of times more expensive than common ornamental birds, but they are much more demanding in terms of keeping, feeding and care.
For comparison, the cost of one canary is about 350 rubles, a lovebird - 800 rubles, a budgie - from 200-250 rubles. But the cockatiel parrot costs from 3, 000 rubles and more, a necklace parrot - from 6, 500 rubles, a bald-headed parrot - about 15, 000 rubles, a Jacot parrot - about 30, 000 rubles, an Alexandrian parrot - 15, 000 rubles, etc. Sale of cages, fodder will bring additional profit., filler, materials for nesting, drinking bowls, feeders and other related products.
According to experienced poultry farmers, with a competent approach (organizing conditions for keeping and breeding, proper pair selection, masonry planning, balanced nutrition, well-established sales, etc.), investments in this unusual business will pay off within the first year. From the second year, your favorite hobby begins to bring a steady profit.An interesting selection of business ideas on the topic: 20 business ideas for animal lovers Lilia Sysoeva (c) www.clogicsecure.com - a portal to small business business plans and guides