Saturday, 21 May 2011

- Moluccan Mannikin, Wellenbauchbronzemännchen, Capuchinho-das-molucas, (Lonchura molucca) adult female -
         Moluccan Mannikins are among our favourite Mannikins, not only are they very nice and beautiful little creatures they are also easy to keep and breed. Add to this that they are really peaceful and get along with basically every other species . Did we mention they are highly social and a flock of them is a pure joy to watch, how they establish the rank order or explore the aviary... if there is a disadvantage then it's the fact that they are sadly not dichromatic. The female tend to be less pure white it is kind of a brownish white and the middle two tail feathers are less pin-pointed but this has to be taken with a big grain of salt. It worked well with wild birds but after several generation of interbreeding at least two subspecies and selecting for bigger and more whitish birds this no longer is true for all birds. Either DNA sexing or starting out with  a small flock is the solution both cases will probably cost the same and it's up to the space available and the personal preference which way to go. They breed well  housed as a single pair in a double breeder or in a mixed-species aviary.

Moluccan Mannikin, Wellenbauchbronzemännchen, Capuchinho-das-molucas, (Lonchura molucca)   2days old showing the typical mouth markings of the Lonchura-family. Sick nestlings tend to have a paler yellow and the blueish cast of the mouth gap is no longer visible.  There are quite a few hybrids with bengalese on the market which as adult birds tend to be larger and their offspring often shows a broken pattern of the horseshoe pattern of the mouth markings.

Moluccan Mannikin, Wellenbauchbronzemännchen, Capuchinho-das-molucas, (Lonchura molucca)            3 days old the parents usually brood until they fledge for thermoregulation they build the typical pyrimad when it's getting unpleasant cold for them.
- Moluccan Mannikin, Wellenbauchbronzemännchen, Capuchinho-das-molucas, (Lonchura molucca) 10 days old-
Time for getting out the closed legbands(2.5mm ) actually one or two days earlier woulldn't have hurt either and ould have made the job easier. As with all Lonchuras it depends a little with  how much protein (eggfood, livefood)  the parents feed the youngsters with .

Short note to our basic diet:  which is a seed  mixture for Lonchuras, Gouldians, and Grassfinches from Blattner. The birds always have access to it as well as to grit and crashed sterilized eggshells mixed with parts of clay-stone (Blattner as well) and vitaminized Calcium. We also use the seed mixture for germinating. We soak the seeds for roughly 4 hours in watre rinse it really well and then mix the wet seeds with peat (around 50% peat/ 50 seeds depends a little how moist the mixture is). The seed-peat mixture should feel like a nice moist eggfood.
The birds also get eggfood which consists of 30% hardboilde or scrambled eggs, 30% boiled (5minutes seeds), 20% commercial eggfood, 10% couscous a little Nekton MSA and pollen. This eggfood is stored in the freezer so we don't have to prepare it every day.

Pairs housed together with African finches often also have access to livefood which is not necessary and indeed even can harm this species when they eat too much of it.

- Moluccan Mannikin, Wellenbauchbronzemännchen, Capuchinho-das-molucas, (Lonchura molucca) 10 days old -

always hungry and growing real well was a joy to watch them.

- Moluccan Mannikin, Wellenbauchbronzemännchen, Capuchinho-das-molucas, (Lonchura molucca) 19-20 days old -
The first couple of days the youngster won't only explore the close surrounding of their nest but soon the curiosity will win and they will start to explore their new world which also means try to feed on their own. During this period we offer the normal diet including germinated seeds as well as a little eggfood. Livefood is not necessary at all although most birds will accept in fact some may even eat too much of it. Perfect birds for folks who don't like the companionship of insects.

- Moluccan Mannikin, Wellenbauchbronzemännchen, Capuchinho-das-molucas, (Lonchura molucca) 21 days old -
    It will take another two weeks until this youngster is totally on its own; give her/him eight weeks more and this fledgling will look like his parents. They moult really fast and never ever had we any problems during the moult period. Often they will try to breed when they are five to six months old, to allow this is a bad idea.  More often than not eggbinding will be the result which nearly never happens when the birds are one year or at least 10 months old. A little patience goes a long way and will for sure bring healthy chicks.

- Moluccan Mannikin, Wellenbauchbronzemännchen, Capuchinho-das-molucas, (Lonchura molucca) adult male -
  Aren't they just stunning little birds?  A big thanks for Dave from whom our main breeding stock originated ... and good luck to " another" Dave and Joe who took over our last pairs. Not sure how long we will be without this species, just a matter of time until the new aviary is build up.