I’ve sent out a list of questions for toucan breeders. Here is my first reply, from Jerry Jennings of Emerald Forest Bird Gardens. Thank you Jerry Jennings.
Q: Which would you say you’ve had the most luck breeding?
A: The Toucanets and Aracaris are far easier to breed than the large toucans and they are pretty close to being equal. I would rank them from easiest to more difficult as follows: Crimson Rump Toucanets, Guyana Toucanets, Green Aracaris, Emerald Toucanets, Ivory Bill Aracaris, Collared Aracaris, Curl Crested Aracaris, Chestnut Eared Aracaris, and Saffron Toucanets. I have other small species that have not bred at all, but I recently acquired them and only have a pair or two of each, so it is too early to know how they will do.
Q: Which has proven to be the most challenging and why?
A: The Chestnut Ears have been the greatest challenge because they scramble their eggs and thus you must pull them for artificial incubation as soon as they are laid. Then they are the most difficult to hand raise from day one.
Q: Which one have you found to be the easiest to work with?
A: The Crimson Rumps, Guyanas and Greens are the easiest in that order
Q: Which species would you say is least prone to mate aggression?
A: I have never had mate aggression in the Curl Crested, Ivory Bill, Chestnut Ears or Crimson Rumps. I have had mate aggression in Emeralds and Guyanas.
Q: Which requires the most space? The least?
A: They all require the same space. The smallest breeding flight I have used was 4′ x 10′ x 6 feet high and the flights I currently use are 8′ x 12′ x 8 feet high and the newest flights are 8′ x 16′ x 8 feet high
If you want to learn about how to breed, review my website on the subject at www.emeraldforestbirds.com. They need the proper diet, a nest log and the pairs must be compatible. These birds are sensitive to iron in the diet, so should be kept on the Mazuri Low Iron Softbill pellet plus a variety of fruit – all fruits except citrus, pineapple and tomatoes are OK.
Q: Any particular species you would recommend for first time breeders?
A: I would start with the easiest, so when you have babies you will feel a sense of accomplishment and want to continue. If you start with a difficult species you will have much less luck and may become discouraged.