More Free Advice: Toucan Recipes

The best bit of personal advice I am going to give you is this: All toucans taste the same.

If you’ve just begun to explore the world of toucan husbandry, you’ll soon discover few breeders agree on the best “recipe” for success. As you might expect, each argues their own “recipe” has produced the birds you need to start your own flock.

Eventually, as you sort through these rival “recipes”, you’ll have to make a few decisions; you’ll have to decide what difference you believe really exists between toucans that are:

  • wild or captive-bred
  • parent or hand-reared
  • bonded or proven
  • DNA or surgically sexed
  • related or unrelated
  • fed on one diet or another
  • available now or promised later
  • bred commercially or by a hobbyist
  • reared by an experienced or amateur breeder
  • offered by a member or non-member of a national bird club
  • sold by a breeder with or without MAP certification

Few of the distinctions above are more than thirty years old. All came into use after 1975 when bird importers were forced to become bird breeders by the international regulation of the pet trade (see What is CITES?).

Thirty years ago, no one had experience breeding toucans, no one had a “recipe” for toucan husbandry. In fact, all AFA first-breeding awards for toucans were given to breeders with the same luck you’ll have – beginner’s luck.

I’ll be happy to talk with you about any of the “recipes” you’ve heard are best. I’ll be happy to talk with you about anything. But I’ll tell you now that what you’ve heard is never as important as who told you.

And as for who to trust in aviculture, you are, unfortunately, faced with a dilemma even more perplexing than that described by this riddle:

Before you are two angels guarding unmarked gates. One gate leads to heaven. The other leads to hell. The angel guarding the gate to heaven will always tell the truth. The angel guarding the gate to hell will always lie. You can ask one yes-or-no question of each.

Good luck!

David Foley • 407 721-6132 •