Ask Lafeber

Question:

September 14, 2020

Why doesn’t our budgies go inside their nestbox and lay an egg?


Why doesn’t our budgies go inside their nestbox and lay an egg? By the way we have 3 pairs of budgies in one big cage.


Answer:

Hi Honeyvier,

The problem may be that you have several pairs in one cage. When breeding birds, it is best to only have one pair per cage. English Budgies should never be colony bred. Breeders who raise parakeets for profit will colony breed the American budgies, but this is basically volume breeding and isn’t the most responsible way to breed. While you said you have a large cage, is it actually large enough for several pairs? It needs to be a walk in aviary, not just a large cage. For three pairs, you would need an aviary that is 6 feet tall, 3-4 feet wide, and about 6 feet long. The problem with colony breeding is you don’t have any control over which birds breed. You can end up with one male that breeds with several females. The pairs can be very territorial and will often raid the other nest boxes, destroying eggs or killing any chicks. If any chicks survive and leave the nest box, they are in danger of the other adult birds attacking them while the parents are still trying to wean them. In your situation, the pairs may feel like they do not have enough territory to breed, so they aren’t using the nest boxes.

I would recommend separating the birds into three cages if you want them to breed. If you prefer to keep them together, I would remove the nest boxes and not try to breed them. Your birds also need to be old enough to breed – the male should be over a year old and the female should be 18 months to 2 years old. Breeding birds need privacy and space. Sometimes you even need to set up visual barriers between each cage or they are too distracted by the other birds if they can see them. They also need a nutritionally balanced diet – a loose seed mix will not provide the nutrition they need. In addition they should have chopped veggies and fruits, and when they are breeding, they need cooked eggs with the shell crushed and cooked with them. They should also have a cuttle bone for extra calcium. If they do hatch chicks, you need to have another cage for the chicks once they are weaned. You should never allow related birds to breed, so any offspring need to be kept separate by gender and given to new homes unless you want more cages of birds. They can’t remain with the parents or they will try to breed with them when they are old enough. Even if you do everything right and the birds are old enough, they might not breed. Not all birds will be good breeders. I think you will find your bird more enjoyable if you don’t let them breed. Once they are set up for breeding, you need to leave them alone as much as possible.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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