The galah cockatoo has always been considered a very difficult species to artificially incubate and hand rear. The success rate achieved by most breeders was very low.
This was compounded by the added complication of the tendency of this species to break the eggs, thus forcing their removal and the consequent start of the artificial incubation process at a very early age.
As far as artificial incubation was concerned, the difficulty stemmed especially from the marked tendency of the eggs of this species to show a general tendency to insufficient weight loss during the artificial incubation process. It was usually so low that many embryos died prematurely, either directly due to this tendency or due to the complications arising from the perforation of the shell which, as an emergency measure, many breeders ended up practising in order to increase evaporation.
As far as hand-rearing was concerned, this species proved to be particularly difficult to rear, especially during the early stages of development.
This project aims to lay the foundations for new artificial incubation and hand-rearing protocols for this species, which will overcome the difficulties encountered so far.
For the study, two groups of eggs were provided by the "Centre d'élevage de gris du Gabon" in two successive batches and were taken from the nests on the day of laying. The eggs were accumulated and stored for a maximum of 7 days until they were delivered to the Psittacus Catalonia facilities. A total of 37 fertile eggs were received (19 in the first group and 18 in the second). The basic tool for the definition of the new artificial incubation protocol were the Psittacus Catalonia DISRUPTIVE incubators. Egg weight loss was monitored and intervention was carried out on an ad hoc and individual basis when necessary, in order to adjust it to the target ratio. DISRUPTIVE breeder prototypes were used for the early stages of chick development. Chicks were weighed daily. Feeding was based on two PSITTACUS hand feeding formulas: Psittacine Crop Milk during the first days of life and Mini Hand Feeding or Cockatoo Special Hand Feeding thereafter until emancipation. During the emancipation process, extruded food (Psittacus Mini) and fresh vegetables were put at the disposal of the chicks.
All the objectives were more than met. The foundations were laid for the definition of a new artificial incubation protocol which allows to leave behind the problems existing until now and which objectifies a new criteria for the management of weight loss based on two new techniques developed during the project. The basis for a new hand-rearing protocol for the chicks of this species was defined, which allows a very substantial improvement in rearing results. We hope to be able to publish a detailed report of the whole project soon.