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Question:

September 14, 2020

How to Take Care of Budgie Eggs


Hello,
We have two budgies who mated and layer seven eggs together. Tomorrow is going to be the 18th day since the first egg was laid. From researching online, the eggs generally hatch somewhere between 18-23 days if fertile, but I couldn’t find consistent results online. How long should we wait till we could deem an egg infertile (in the case it might be)?
We brought our budgies from Petco, who had told us that they were “vaccinayed” so we never got our budgies vaccinated after that so far. They never seemed ill in any was described, so we didn’t usually consider vaccines for them. But for the budgies that will be born soon, should we get them vaccinated? We consulted a few vets but they were not sure if newborn budgies required vaccines.
Our two original budgies were on a seed diet, but I learned about pellets a while after they had already mated. I keep pellets in their cage 24/7, but they refuse to eat it. I know that they will feed their kids seeds as well, but I want their kids to start eating pellets from a young age. I read online that the babies can be handled around 2 weeks? If thats true, can we feed the babies at 2 weeks? If not, when can we hand feed the babies?
I also read online that once the babies have hatched you should clean/unsoil the nesting box every day? Like after the babies start coming out right? But the thing is that my budgies have covered the floor with seeds and once I had tried to put bedding in the nesting box and then my budgie refused to enter the box till it was empty again. So, I’m not so sure about routinely cleaning the nesting box? What should I do?
Should we take any precautions so the babies won’t get greatly sick? Should the mom be on a specific diet for better health? (We give her seeds, pellets, millets, corn, string bean, coriander, lettuce, egg yolk treats) Any other advice on how to take of the babies would be sososo appreciated thank you so much!


Answer:

Hi Hiver,

It is best to leave the eggs alone until the parents decide they are no longer viable. Generally once the hatch dates pass, the pair will toss the eggs out, cover them, eat them or just abandon the nest box. The eggs do not begin to grow until the parents start to incubate them. Many birds will wait until a few eggs are laid before they sit on them. If nothing has happened a full week after the last egg laid is due, then you can discard the eggs and take the nest box down. Even if eggs do not hatch, a pair should be rested before they lay eggs again. If the eggs were not good, rest the pair for at least a month and then return the nest box. If they do raise chicks, remove the nest box as soon as the chicks have left it, and do not return the box for about 6 months. If you don’t remove the box in between clutches and force the pair to rest, they will often keep breeding year round which is not good for them. The hen can end up dying from laying eggs too often. In the wild the weather would change and this stops the breeding season, but in captivity, we have to take the nest box away and make them rest.

I’m not sure what “vaccinations” PetCo may give. Most vaccines for pet birds are still not proven and are rarely given as a routine vaccination like we have for cats & dogs. I would do what your Vet recommends.

I would recommend offering your birds our Nutri-Berries and Avi-Cakes – I’ll provide a link below. These diets are formulated the same as a pellet, but they are not ground up. All pellets are made from ground seeds and grains. The seeds in our Nutri-Berries and Avi-Cakes are fresh, hulled seeds combined with other nutritious ingredients to provide complete nutrition. Most parakeets will eat these much more readily than pellets. It’s best to begin by crumbling the berries or cakes over their regular seeds and then gradually reduce the loose seeds until they are only eating the Nutri-Berries & Avi-Cakes. For now, you should also be feeding them dark leaf greens, chopped veggies and fruits, as well as cooked eggs with the shell crushed and cooked with them. You should wash the egg shell thoroughly before cooking it. You can also offer some multi grain bread. If any chicks hatch, the parents need more than just seeds to feed them. You will be surprised that they are likely to eat the cooked eggs when they have chicks to feed. I would not recommend trying to hand feed the chicks unless you have hand fed before. Once the chicks are a couple of weeks old, you can remove one chick at a time and handle it for a few minutes, a few times a day. If the parents get too upset, then do not do this. As long as you handle the chicks as soon as they are weaned, they usually tame quickly.

Do not clean the nest box until the chicks have left it. If you clean it while they have eggs or chicks, they may abandon the box, eggs and chicks. Breeding birds have to feel like their nest is safe, so if they feel there is danger, they abandon it. As I mentioned above, as soon as the chicks come out of the box, take it away. Even if the chicks are still being weaned, that’s OK. Once they have enough feathers and are able to come out of the box, they do not need it anymore. If you don’t remove it right away, the parents may try to lay more eggs instead of weaning their chicks.

Again, on diet, the best diet is a nutritionally balanced diet – pellets, Nutri-Berries, Avi-Cakes. Once they are eating a balanced diet, they should not have any loose seed mixes as this does not provide much in the way of nutrition. The other foods you offer are fine, and also add the cooked eggs daily while breeding and raising chicks. Other veggies to offer are dark leafy greens, broccoli, cooked yams or sweet potatoes, carrots, and any other veggies they will eat, but these are favorites. Below is our feeding guide link and link to our foods I mentioned.

Food for Pet Birds & Small Mammals

Bird Food Guide

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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