Ask Lafeber

Question:

July 23, 2021

Budgie breeding


I want to breed my pair of budgies but cant seem to, i have a nesting box but its too low and i dont want to cut a hole in the cage and i have a hut but they still wont breed.


Answer:

Hi Alexis,

If you want to have success in breeding, you have to set things up the correct way, and not just what is convenient for you. If you try to get around the proper set up, like you are doing, it’s not going to work. You can’t use the bird huts or the hut type nests – those kind of nests are made for finches. These are not large enough and not stable enough. They are made out of materials that will harbor bacteria and will be dangerous to the chicks, such as causing them to smother. You need the wooden nesting box that is made for parakeets. It must be hung as high as possible, to the outside of the cage. But you also need to be able to remove it because you can’t leave it up year round. The chicks are early full size before they leave the nest, so counting the parents, there could be 6 to 8 parakeets in the box by the time they are ready to leave it. As you can imagine, a hut will not hold this many birds! 🙂

Breeding birds take a lot of commitment, patience and it’s not cheap. You need a breeding cage which is a larger cage than the average parakeet cage, the right nest box, and a place where they can have privacy away from people while they are nesting. A parakeet breeding cage will have a small door high up, where you attached the nest box, and then when the box is taken down, you can close the door again. You need at least one extra cage because you can’t let the chicks remain with the parents once they are weaned. The parents will either start attacking them, or they will try to breed with them – you can’t let related birds breed. You need to be able to find homes for the chicks or have two extra cages, because you can’t let brothers and sisters live in the same cage, or they will try to breed. Your birds need to be on a nutritionally balanced diet like pellets – a loose seed mix will not provide the nutrition they need. You also need to feed them dark leafy greens and chopped veggies. Once you have them set up with the nest box, you have to feed them an egg food daily. This can be a commercial dries egg food, or you can cook and egg, with the shell washed, crushed and cooked with the eggs. You can give them everything they need and set everything up just right, and there is still no guarantee they will breed. If they do breed, they might not care for the eggs. If the eggs hatch, they might not care for the chicks. Sadly there is a lot more that can go wrong than right. The first clutch will almost always fail. Sometimes chicks die. You can’t allow the parents to keep laying eggs over and over. You have to remove the nest box after each clutch, whether the eggs hatch or not, and rest the pair for 6 months. You should only allow two clutches per year. Otherwise the hen can end up dying from laying too many eggs, too often.

As you can see, breeding birds is not as simple as having a male and female and a nest. You have a big commitment, and you have to be prepared for disappointment. Yes, it is wonderful if you get chicks, but you won’t get there by taking shortcuts or trying to do this on a budget. If money is an issue, it’s best not to set them up to breed. Just give them some fun toys and enjoy the birds as pets. Budgies are very entertaining, and to be honest, you will get to spend a lot more time with them and enjoy watching them a lot more than if they are breeders. When they are set up for breeding, they need to be in a private, quiet place and you can only check on them a few times a day, and very briefly.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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