Frequently Asked Questions
To ask a new question, or for more details about an existing one, please contact me by e-mail. When I receive your question, I will answer it (if I am able to) as soon as possible. I may need to consult someone else first.
It may then also appear as a FAQ.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Lost and found:
Incubation of eggs:
|FAQ 19: I have seen a bird in my garden which I think is a turaco. Is this likely to be an escaped bird and is there somewhere to report that I have seen it?|
Answer: Although turacos are not native to the UK, a number are living 'wild', having escaped from a collection somewhere. They are usually White-cheeked, but a few Violaceous have been spotted and any species kept in captivity could potentially escape from its flight. To identify the turaco have a look at the pictures on the I.T.S. species page. As for where he/she has come from a good point of contact is John Hayward on 01869 325699, e-mail , who co-ordinates a national register of lost and stolen birds. He will pass the information on to Cage & Aviary Birds, a weekly newspaper.
|FAQ 18: I
need to incubate some White-cheeked Turaco eggs.
1. What temperature and humidity settings should I use?
2. I have a Grumbach incubator. Is it any good for hatching turacos?
The incubation settings for White-cheeked Turacos and all the other similar
species of turaco should be a temperature of 37c to 37.25c with a wet
bulb reading of 29c to 29.25c which = 55% relative humidity.
Egg incubation helpline: Nick Manning Tel: (UK) 01244 379915
|FAQ 17: One
of my Livingstone's Turacos is being chased by other turacos, and a few
days ago I found him/her with torn feathers on his back and neck and a bald
head with some bleeding spots. I separated him from the group for a few
days and then tried mixing them together, which resulted in an immediate
aggressive attack. So, no choice, I had to remove him/her to a small cage
out of the aviary. I know touracos can turn aggressive, but this is surprising
as he and his/her mate have been together in the group for more than a year
now and there was no change of diet or arrangements within the aviary.|
1. How to deal with it? Any chance of bringing him/her back to the aviary in the hope that "time will heal wounds and animosity?"
2. What is the pace of regrowth of feathers?
Turacos are a pain for this sort of behaviour. Typically hens are attacked
by the male when the male is ready to breed and the female isn't. Even
pairs that have been together for many years and bred without a problem,
can turn nasty to each other.
I would expect feathers to have regrown within six weeks, but it would depend on how badly the skin has also been damaged. A really badly damaged bird may never regrow feathers in some places.
|FAQ 16: I was thinking of getting a turaco as a pet. Can you get them hand tame? Do they make good pets?|
Answer: Yes you can get turacos hand tame if handreared from an early age. However, the following pointers may be of some help:
Having said all that, I know that some people do keep turacos in the house as a pet, so if you can find a tame one it is up to you. I am currently handrearing two White-cheeks as it is too cold and too short daylight for them to be reared outside now.
|FAQ 15: Can turacos be kept in a mixed collection? I have various finches and softbills in a 15m x 3m x 2.5m planted aviary with a heated shed attached.|
There is an article all about this matter in The International Turaco Society magazine, Issue 21: "Mixing Touracos" by Nigel Hewston.
|FAQ 14: I am hand raising a Red-crested Turaco since it was about 2 weeks old. The bird is now about a month old. Everything was great until about a week ago. It seems to have lost the use of its legs. It tries to get up but - no way! Everything else about it is healthy. We feed it a mixture of grapes, papaya, apples and softbill pellets. It has netting on the bottom of the cage with a few sticks. Any suggestions?|
Is it possible that your chick is overweight? Is it very bulbous underneath? If
so, try to water the food down considerably for a while.
|FAQ 13: I have a pair of Green-crested Turacos. What sort of nest pan could I use as a base for a nest? Any help would be very helpful as I would really like these birds to breed.|
Turacos are not fussy about where they nest. They will happily deposit
an egg in anything remotely nest-like. I have used old desk drawers, fruit
crates, bicycle baskets and have even picked eggs off the feeding tray!
I saw a White-cheeked sitting in a cardboard box at a friend's collection
recently. It is sensible to position nests high in the aviary under cover,
so that they stay dry.
|FAQ 12: I am interested in starting to keep turacos. Can you advise on the best species to start with and what would be the ideal aviary size for a pair to breed?|
In my opinion, the best turaco species to start with is the White-cheeked
Turaco (leucotis). This species seems to be fairly hardy and less susceptible
to disease. They are not aggressive to each other and breed readily.
|FAQ 10: Do you know of any publications about turacos?|
Answer: I have recently found a number of books about turacos, or which include turacos:
|FAQ 9: Would you advise adding vitamin supplements when rearing turaco chicks? If so, what would you use and where would you get it?|
Answer: When birds are rearing young in the nest I sprinkle 'Nutribird' A21 handrearing formula over their normal diet, a teaspoon per chick. 'Nutribird' can be ordered from Junglegold over the phone on 01953 452321, or from their webshop at http://junglegoldlimited.com .
|FAQ 8: What diet do you use to feed your adult turacos?|
Answer: You will need to adjust depending on how many you are feeding.
I feed about 80 adult turacos. My diet can be seen at:
http://www.turacos.co.uk/articlefeeding.htm - here
|FAQ 7: Do you sex your turacos and if so, who do you use?|
Answer: I usually sex my young turacos when they reach full size. I pull a few breast feathers and send them to Avian Biotech International in little bags they supply. Ring them on: 01726 247788 or e-mail them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Animal Genetics UK, 1 Mount Charles Road, St Austell, Cornwall, PL25 3LB, UK.
|FAQ 6: Do you ring your turacos and if so, what do you use and where do you get them from?|
Answer: I ring all my young turacos at about 3 weeks old as they are leaving the nest with aluminium closed rings, individually numbered and with my initials added, size 'S' for White-cheeked, Hartlaub's, Black-billed, Fischer's, Schalow's, Red-crested, Purple-crested and Green-crested Turacos; size 'T' for Violaceous and Lady Ross.
I use split plastic coloured rings to mark adult birds, size 2FB, so that I can identify individuals from a distance.
I get my rings from A.C. Hughes Ltd., 1 High Street, Hampton Hill, Middlesex, TW12 1NA:
|FAQ 5: I am interested in turacos. Is there an organization dedicated to turacos?|
Answer: Yes. The International Turaco Society is dedicated to the keeping and breeding of Turacos in aviculture and the collection and dissemination of information on the wild Turaco family in Africa.
I am the Chairman and manage
its website, which can be found at: http://www.turacos.org/
here to bring
up an application / renewal form. This can be printed out and sent to the address
shown on the form together with your payment.
|FAQ 4: What is the password for the 'Family' section of your website?|
|Answer: The 'Family' section of my website contains only photographs of family and friends and would be of no interest to anyone else. If you are a member of my family, or close friend, then ask me for the password by e-mail or telephone.|
|FAQ 3: What branches do you use for perches and what plants can safely be used in outside turaco flights?|
Answer: Personally I use Hazel branches for perching because I have plenty of them around my garden.
following list of plants is I believe safe to use in aviaries:
And I am sure there are many others!
|FAQ 2: Can you export turacos to people outside the U.K.?|
To countries in the European Union is fairly easy. I am registered with DEFRA in accordance with Article 4 of Council Directive 92/65 with a registered holding number and can export turacos with a self-certificate confirming their good health. Costs incurred will include a charge for the crate of about £10 to £15, about £50 diesel to get to Heathrow and back, about £150 to £200 freight to an EU country (so long as you don't use BA as they charge about three times this) and probably a charge at your end to collect the birds. For example two pairs to Spain incurred a charge of about £8 on collection. (Note: Incoming to the UK are very heavily charged! I had to pay £193 to collect two pairs of turacos from France just to pay for the birds to be taken off the plane and have the airport vet look at them to see if they were still alive. It took them four hours to do it too!)
However, to countries outside the EU is not so easy. It is a rather expensive process and takes quite some time to obtain the necessary paperwork. For example I exchanged ten turacos with a breeder in South Africa. The turacos had to be close rung and we both had to get export and import CITES licences. I had to get an Export Health Certificate and quarantine facilities arranged. I also had to produce documentation to show that my birds that I was exporting, had not been imported from elsewhere. It took six months to obtain the correct paperwork. It cost me £70 Vet and certificate fees, £10 license fees, £497 freight from Heathrow to Johannesburg, £490 agents fees to import (Customs clearance in Brussels) and £560 to quarantine the birds here. The breeder I exchanged with paid his costs the other way around, although things were rather cheaper in South Africa.
I would hope that it would not take so long next time, now that I am known at DEFRA. (See below.) The regulations may well be different in different countries, so you would need to check exactly what is needed.
To export to the U.S.A. it is harder still. I include a reply I got from Jan Trader in Virginia:
"To answer any questions you might have about shipping birds into the US....They would not be able to import into the US unless they were part of a cooperative breeding program for turacos. The only ones that would not need to be, would be the Lady Ross and Go-away Birds. Everything else would have to go through the co-op. ET and I are head coordinators of this breeding program with Fish and Wildlife. Unfortunately Black-billed are not on the approved list for us at this time. I am hoping to get them added."
Added by Jan on 12th February
2010: "Unless you are a Certified USDA Importer even the Lady Ross
are more involved than just a health certificate and shipping. You have
to have an Import/Export Permit through the Dept. of Interior out of New
York, a Broker who picks them up at the Airport and takes them to USDA
quarantine (where they have to stay 30 days), a Fish and Wildlife Inspector
who inspects the shipment when it arrives and transportation for the birds
to USDA quarantine. Your best bet would be to go through an Importer such
as Penguin International to get Lady Ross. You cannot import the Great
Blues legally into the US unless you are part of the Touraco Co-op or
I asked someone in Israel the following question: How easy or difficult is it to import / export turacos in Israel? What species are available in Israel?
His reply: "Turaco raising in Israel is in its infancy. Not too many are interested or aware of these lovely birds. Public education is needed. I know of several Hartlaub's, along with different types of green in a few local zoos. 2-3 White and Red-crested have been spotted as well.
There is a process for import / export you have to go through, like any other 'civilized' country with a beurocratic maze, but it is fairly quick."
(From above.) As I had hoped, I applied for CITES export licences to send Schalow's and Purple-crested Turacos to America (to the co-op) and got the licences within only a few weeks.
|FAQ 1: What turacos do you have available for sale and at what price?|
Answer: Please refer to my sales page, which I keep as up-to-date as I can.
Click on this link: For sale
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