Kakarikis (Red fronted Kakarikis)

Kakarikis originate from the North and South Islands of New Zealand, and their outlying islands, also Norfolk Island and New Caledonia. About fifteen years ago the Kakariki was almost extinct in New Zealand. Since it's introduction into the successful breeding programme of the UK this situation has been reversed. The Kakarikis bred well and large numbers are being returned back to their natural environment in New Zealand.

Breeding Kakarikis in the UK has been very popular in recent years as the climate is well suited to these active birds. Kakarikis often breed very prolifically a clutch of 5 to 12 eggs can be laid. The incubation period is around 19 to 20 days, after a period of 6 to 7 weeks the young leave the nest. At this stage the parents might well want to breed again.

Young Kakarikis can usually be sexed visually by the size of the beak, head and body of cocks being larger. Experienced breeders can usually sex Kakarikis easily by this method.

There are several mutations bred now including Cinnamon's, green pied, Cinnamon pied, Lutinos, and Fallows. There is said to be a blue mutation but we are not sure if one exists, this would have to be seen to be believed! The yellow Fronted Kakariki is also quite popular in the UK They originate again from the North and South Islands of New Zealand, Stewart and Auckand Islands and the offshore islands.

Breeding the yellow fronted Kakariki is about the same as breeding the red fronted but it can be a little harder to get them to breed for the first time. When they begin to breed, they are just as prolific, clutches of 3 to 12 eggs not being unusual. The incubation period is 19 -20 days. After 6 to 7 weeks the young are usually weaned. These also can be sexed by their size, the cocks being larger.

The Red fronted Kakariki can make a very interesting pet, these active parakeets love to play and are always on the go. In captivity their life expectancy is usually around 7 - 10 years but they have been known to live longer. Commonly hand-reared cock birds make the best pets for a number of reasons. The cocks can mimic, having the ability to learn phrases, nursery rhymes etc. This is very unusual in such small parakeets. This of course makes them desirable as a pet since they are very much more affordable than even a small parrot.

They need a cage similar in size to a cockatiel. These parakeets like to get into their food dish and kick their food about there fore it is advisable to place the food in a container with sides rising 70cm, onto the floor of the cage. Kakarikis have the parrot-like characteristic of picking larger items of food up with one foot to eat. They are extremely active and will often run round and round their cages. They like to come out to fly but they will also take a few tickles and some petting if they have been hand-reared.

A hand-reared cock Kakariki would make an ideal choice for someone on limited income wanting a small talking bird. There are two reasons for not recommending the hen as a pet. They are prolific breeders and will lay eggs in their cages from 9 months on. Once they start laying eggs they will not stop and this situation becomes distressing for some people. They do not usually have the same ability to 'talk' which can be disappointing also.

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