Ask Lafeber

Question:

February 1, 2019

Sex of budgie


I have searched in many places to find out if my daughter’s parakeet is a male or female and I cannot really distinguish. We say it’s a female, but has traits of both male and females in behavior and physically. We do notice that Luna is very possessive of our other pet bunny (Cupcake). Luna is constantly in his cage and on top of him and on his ear. If we try to get Luna out she bites really hard and becomes overly possessive and jealous. My brother-in-law said it was actually a male. So, this behavior made me second guess the sex of the bird. I know the best way to reassure ourselves and daughter is through a DNA test, but I don’t know how expensive those are. Any suggestions on determining sex without DNA test or prices of test? Thank you


Answer:

Hi Carlos,

The cere color is an indicator in many parakeets, but not with some of the fancier mutations. If the cere is bright blue it is probably a male, white to brown indicates a female. A lavender cere could be either sex. Females are definitely more territorial and aggressive so from your description of her behavior, I would guess female. You can search for images of male or female parakeets and there are some websites that can help – just google how to determine the sex of my parakeet or budgie. If it is a female, she may lay eggs at some point. But a lack of eggs does not mean anything.

Just doing a quick Google search for DNA sexing for birds, the price seems to have come down a lot compared to when the first tests came out. I don’t know the reliability, but some sites have reviews so you can go by that. I saw one on Amazon for about $15. So if it means that much, you may as well do that and have peace of mind. These days you can send in feathers, whereas you used to have to send blood. Blood samples are still accepted but that adds cost because you would have to take her to a vet. Read the instructions carefully to make sure you send in the right type of feathers – when those first came out, it had to be body feathers.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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