Budgie BreedingBefore breeding any species, it is important to learn as much about the animals, their personalities and the best practices to follow for responsible and ethical breeding prior to making the commitment to take on the responsibility.
Hi there, thanks for reading
Firstly, this is a really long story, I want to include as much (relevant) information as possible. I have a summary paragraph at the bottom if you don’t feel like reading my super long story.
My best friend had 2 budgies since they were like 2 months old, and now they are both 18 months old. Recently (since about September) she got promoted and has consequently been travelling a lot for work, going for conferences and business meetings and stuff and I used to look after the birds when she was away. As a result, I learned a bit about budgie care and how to look after them and the requirements etc, and about 2 months ago she said that she cannot keep them due to her work commitments and asked me if I wanted to have them.
Now I know what you’re thinking, but I looked after those birds for over half a year and I realised I would probably take better care of them than she ever did. Why do I say this? Because whilst she had the birds (from 2 months old to 16 months old) she ONLY fed them seeds, never any fruit. When I used to look after them I used to research about looking after budgies (my friend didn’t tell me anything else apart from “blow the seed shells off the food and change the water and replace their newspaper once a week” and I was afraid that they would fall ill or even die whilst in my care, so I wanted to make sure I was taking care of them properly). Every day I tried to feed them cut up (organic/chemical free) fruits (the safe ones, I know that avocado is poisonous to them), but they didn’t go near it. I tried kale, carrot tops, carrots apples even baby food (the kind that’s like 100% organic mushed carrots) but they just went for the seeds. Once I took the seeds out and put chopped fruit in there instead and waited a couple of hours, but they threw the fruit out and then flew away and started squawking so I put the seeds back and they rushed to it and ate it straight away. This is problem number 1, that my 18-month-old budgies only eat seeds despite the past 2 weeks of me trying to feed them fresh fruit/veg.
Furthermore, she never let them fly out of the cage. When I brought them to my house I let them sit in the cage for a week (so they would get used to me being around them a lot and kind of adjust to the new setting a little bit), and when I opened up the cage last week they flew straight for the window (my curtains were open to let the sunlight in) and they smacked into it so hard and fell to the ground! Luckily, they both survived, no broken bones (I called an avian vet to make sure, took him almost 2 weeks to come visit my house!). He said to “wait a bit” before trying again, maybe in a smaller room rather than my living room so I tried my bedroom (with the blinds down) and they smacked into my mirror instead! I have yet to let them out again, I don’t want to hurt them but at the same time I hate seeing them in a cage all day! Problem number 2: what is the best way of letting them stretch their wings without them slamming into flat surfaces?
Now comes problem number 3. When I went to collect the birds from my friend (almost 3 weeks ago), their cage had a hole cut out and covered with duct tape, my friend had tried to breed them, but she said it didn’t work (the female wouldn’t go into the box thing?) and so she took it down. I took off the duct tape and bought some chicken wire that’s suitable for budgies and sealed the hole up. The female budgie keeps biting the wire and squawking, and for the past two days she’s been emptying the food bowl and sitting in it. I read online that budgies need a conclave to avoid the chicks getting splayed feet, so I used the nest box my friend had and just attached that back on (3 days ago) and she spends a lot of time there now, her poops are really big and she has a little raised bump on her lower back (in that gap where her wings meet), and I can’t tell if the round belly is her feathers or an egg but it’s not very noticeable, the bump on her back is more obvious than the one by her belly.
The thing is, I saw the boy trying to climb up on top of her last week, but she shook him off. I thought that as long as they don’t have a nest box and less than 10 hours of sunlight then they wont breed.
I don’t know how far along she is, and I don’t know when she will lay her eggs. I called the avian vet (I read about egg binding and I’m worried that her crappy diet will make her egg-bound) and he can’t come out until 5th of June! They have a cuttle bone and mineral block, plenty of food and water (and loads of uneaten fruit and veg), and I bought some crushed oyster shells and put it in a separate dish (the boy likes to eat them, she rarely does). I already ordered all the equipment I need to hand-rear the chicks if need be (I personally will not be doing this, I know someone who has done it before with different birds and he will help me if the chicks don’t get fed).
I guess I just need some guidance, the vet wasn’t very helpful apart from “keep trying to feed them veg”, “try to let them out after a while”, etc and its costing me a fortune to have him come over all the time so if there is any advice that anyone can give me (without me having to arrange an appointment with the avian) I would really appreciate it!
So, to summarise:
My 2 budgies have been on a seed-only diet for 18 months, they won’t eat any fruit/veg despite my attempts. Any advice?
They have been caged their whole life, and they keep smacking into windows/mirrors/my roof when I let them out, how can I train them to fly about without hurting themselves?
The female is “pregnant” (I don’t know the correct term), she’s got a small raised bit on her lower back/butt area in that gap where her wings meet, my vet cant come for the next 4 weeks (apparently its breeding season and he’s got a lot of appointments) and I have read about egg-binding and stuff and I just want to know what I can do for my budgies until the vet can come. I have provided lots of water, food, fruits/veg (that neither of them eat), cuttle bone, mineral block and a dish of crushed oyster shells (boy likes to munch this sometimes, the girl not really).
Right now I would say remove the nesting box. Breeding should not be taken up until the owner has done at least a years worth of research. If any eggs are laid, dispose of them immediately, they won't have any life in them until then hen has incubated them for a few days. This is no different to throwing away a chicken egg from the super market.
Not supplying a nesting box and reducing daylight hours helps prevent breeding but some birdies are extra determined. Just because they mate does not mean there will be any eggs though, and you shouldn't supply anything that can be used as a nesting spot.
When you let them out of the cages, have the windows and mirrors covered. It's totally normal for them to bump into things while they are learning where the boundaries are. They generally don't hit them very hard and once they learn where everything is they will be fine. Just make sure you are always supervising whenever they are out of the cage.
Fruit should actually only be offered once a week to budgies as it is very high in sugar. Try to give them veggies, romaine lettuce and other leafy greens are popular. Also look into converting them onto a pelleted diet, this is much healthier than seeds. Have a look through the diet stickies.
Before breeding any species, it is important to learn as much about the animals, their personalities and the best practices to follow for responsible and ethical breeding prior to making the commitment to take on the responsibility.
This requires extensive research and an openness to continual learning.
Rearranging their cage frequently, and limiting the light they get to 8 hours a day will help tremendously.
Please be sure you never put a nest box or anything that could be used as a nesting site in their cage.
When they come into condition, limit the amount of protein in their diet at that time.
A budgie lays a specific number of eggs each cycle.
The first week the hen's body is preparing to lay the eggs.
The next two weeks is when the eggs are laid.
If a hen begins a cycle and you remove the egg(s) and start action to break the cycle, she will often continue to lay until the changes in the environment trigger her body to stop.
You are not ready nor do you have the knowledge and experience necessary to breed these budgies.
Please remove the nest box immediately.
You need to remove any dishes or toys the female can use as a nesting site and replace it with a different type of seed dish.
Start giving the budgies a calcium supplement to help replenish the calcium the female will be losing by producing the eggs.
Calci-Boost is a good choice.
Rearrange the entire cage.
It would be best for the budgies for you to buy them a new cage and ensure it is a minimum of 30" long x 18" wide x 18" high.
Bigger is better. Just ensure the spacing between the bars is no more than 1/2".
When the female lays an egg, you need to remove and dispose of it immediately.
The eggs will not be viable until incubated for several days so you are not killing any new life.
It would be best for you to separate the male and female into different cages for a few weeks if possible.
You should always have a spare cage on hand when you have budgies to be used for quarantine/hospital and travel purposes.
With regard to your other questions:
It can take several weeks (or even months) for budgies to decide to try a new food.
Fruit is high in sugar content so vegetables are actually healthier for your budgies with fruits given only occasionally (once or twice a week)
Please take the time to read the Budgie Articles and the Stickies posted at the top of each section of the forum.
Most basic questions have been answered there.
You will find many different tips with regard to presenting vegetables and encouraging your budgies to try new foods in the Diet and Nutrition section of the forum.
The first vegetable which my budgies that had not been weaned to vegetables tried (and loved) was sweet corn kernels sprinkled with a teeny bit of garlic powder (NOT salt).
Budgies seem to love "spicy" tastes.
They also adored fresh basil, cilantro, chickweed, zucchini and red pepper.
When I introduced pellets to my budgie, my Avian Vet recommended using Harrison's High Potency Mash and sprinkling it on the budgie's seed mix every day. This way, when the budgie hulls the seed it tastes the pellet mash and ingests bits of it as well. This helps the budgie identify the taste as a food source.
Many members seem to find the easiest pellets to use for introducing pellets to their budgies to be the CANARY sized Zupreem fruity pellets. Most budgies like the taste and the "Canary" sized pellets are tiny enough for them to easily eat them. Once they've become accustomed to the Fruity Pellets, introducing the smallest "natural" pellets is then an easy step.
Other than when I was using the Harrison's mash, I've never mixed my birds' pellets and seed together. My birds have three separate dishes each with a different brand/flavor of pellets available to them 24/7. Their seed is rationed to approximately 2 teaspoons of seed per budgie each day. I give them seed first thing in the morning right after putting clean newspapers on the bottom grate of the cages. I sprinkle their morning ration on the paper so they can forage for the seeds. I then do the same thing in the evenings (after replacing the soiled newspaper with clean) and again allow them to forage for their seed.
All of my birds have the option to eat the available pellets whenever they like throughout the day and they all enjoy them!
With a healthy diet, you should not need any vitamins or supplements other than Vitamin D3 which is used for birds who get limited direct sunlight.
I would not recommend you allow the budgies out-of-cage time for a few weeks. They need time to settle into their new environment.
Budgies need a minimum of two weeks to settle into their new home and you should not be trying to touch or tame them at this time. They are often submissive initially because they are terrified.
You can cover the top and three sides of the cage to help them feel more secure. Play music or the TV for them when you are not around during the day.
To bond with your birds, you need to build their trust in you.
They will have to learn over time that you will not hurt them.
To build your birds’ trust, sit by their cage and read, talk or sing quietly to them for a period of at least 10-15 minutes, 3 or 4 times day. After about a week, rest your hand on the outside of the cage when you talk to them so they will learn that your hand is safe and will not hurt them.
After a week of resting your hand on the outside of the cage, rest your hand inside the cage when you talk.
Don’t make sudden moves, don’t try to touch them.
Let their get used to the idea that the hand is now in their safe place and not harming them.
After 2 weeks, begin moving your hand slowly toward your bird. If they become agitated, stop moving your hand and just hold very still until they calm down. When they are comfortable with your hand near them, you can offer them a bit of millet or a few seeds.
Always work at your birds’ pace.
Move slowly and talk reassuringly and calmly to their whenever you interact with them
Please take the time to read through the Site Guidelines, all of the How To Guides, the FAQs, the Budgie Articles and the stickies located at the top of each section of the forum.
Truly, the very BEST advice anyone can offer you is to take the time to read ALL of the stickies throughout the various Talk Budgie forums as well as the Budgie Articles we have posted.
These are great resources for Talk Budgie members and have a wealth of reliable information which will assist you to learn the best practices in caring for your budgies for their optimal health and well-being.
When you upload pictures as attachments directly from your computer, tablet or phone, the forum automatically defaults to landscape. Additionally, the picture appears as what we term a “thumbnail” attachment.
You've been given great advice. It's very important for you to follow all the steps given above
Also, be sure to read through the forums' many budgie articles and stickies (provided above), as they contain all the valuable information needed to provide the best care for your budgies! If you have any questions after reading through everything, please be sure to ask as we'd love to help!
Hope to see you around
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
You’ve been given good, sound advice, and detailed information above. We urge you to take all that has been said into consideration.
Reading the Stickies, Articles, and observing answers from staff and senior members, is a good way to familiarize yourself with Talk Budgies, and what we stand for. If you have questions after taking a look at our resources and following the advice above, let us know. We’re here to help.
Thanks everyone for your help! I'll definately try switching them onto pellets, and more veggies and less fruit. I removed the nest box, she has already laid her first egg (its so small!), maybe next year I'll consider letting them have babies but I am definately not informed enough right now. Thanks again!