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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've read many times that a hen must be older than 1 year to breed with. I had only one avairy with a couple of nest boxes in it. I'm telling you this, because I know that some of you are going to be very upset of what I'm going to tell you now.

One of my birds was born on 06/08/2010. She laid her first egg on 24/12/2010. She was not even 5 months old. She laid 8 eggs - all of them were fertile - 7 babies were born - the last chick died in the egg(???). I know you are going to say that she's too young to breed with, but look at that record - it's good.

I got another avairy in the beginning of January 2011 and put all my other young birds and those who needed a rest in that avairy. Now there is another hen - born on 27/09/2010, whose cere has turned to a nut brown colour. That means that she is in "condition", but she's only about 4 months. Is she ready for breeding or not?
There are also some of my young cocks, 5 - 6 months old, whose ceres turned into a very bright blue colour - can I use them for breeding already or do I have to wait with them as well?
 

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i wouldn't even bother breeding a hen under 18 months or cocks under a year
if you have nest boxes in then yes, they arn't going to care less

i see no reason to rush into breeding them, they should be enjoying their younger years
 

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Think of it this way. Many (human) girls start their period by age 12. They CAN get pregnant. Doesn't mean they SHOULD. you dont want to shorten the lives of your hens
 

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I agree with Spicky. I would never breed a hen under 18 months or a **** under 12, too risky and it puts too much strain in their bodies. At 4 months they are still babies themselves! haven't even finished developing and getting where they need to be to raise young.

Just because they can doesn't mean they should.
 

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MOTM March 2012
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I'm with everyone else on this as well.
None of my birds are bred under a year and no Hen is bred over 3 years, it is too much strain on their bodies, yes in the wild of course they would be breeding at this age but that is due to them being eaten by predators, having a shorter lifespan so naturally they mate as soon as possible to keep their genes in the gene pool. In captivity they are safe from predators and there is no rush, let them mature completely as it will drastically reduce the chance of complications.
 

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I guess i have a few points to bring up,,
what does a 12 yr old girl have to do with budgies??? If we lived in a simple world we might be ok with the 12 yr old girl bringing up a child, but in todays crazy world 12yr olds are not ready, but neither are a lot of 20yr olds also. But she is a human, not a budgie...
Regularly on this site I read "they know what best for themselves" when talking about nutrition and even mothering,, well why don't they know best about this??
I don't know what the scientific answer is to the question, but that is what our answer should be based on. I have read many breeders say they WOULD breed a 9 month old hen,, are they right, don't know...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, Mike. I would like to get a scientific answer to the question. If the ceres of the birds are showing that they are in condition and they do breed in nature this early (the reason why doesn't matter), why not in captivity? You say there will be complications, such as? Maybe I was lucky this time, but 8 fertile eggs, 7 babies and they are all doing very well - I don't see complications. Maybe egg binding can be a problem, but is it a proven fact that egg binding occurs more in young hens than in older hens? If it is, where can I find the details?
It sounds like I just want my birds to breed, but that's not really the case - I want what's best for them. I'm quite new to this hobby of ours - that's why I'm asking questions.
P.s. It is all woman telling not to breed so early; maybe it's a woman thing??!!
 

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The Kangaroo Whisperer
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Hey I am a woman and I say go for it! I have used cocks at 8-10 months old successfully.
Recently I was at a very reputable breeder in Australia (if not world known) , I saw he was breeding cocks at 4 months old! I said, how is it you do that?

He explained that he knows fertility and the limits of his flock, he has bred into his birds alot of good characteristics. They are quite intelligent, and have much better fertility rates. To get a clutch of 10 eggs is NORMAL for him, and nearly all are fertile.

He said, he tries the **** birds with an older hen to see if they are fertile, and then once the eggs are filled he will put the **** with a better hen to get the chicks he wants.
He has cocks and hens breeding at the age of about 7/8 still. You really just need to know if your bird is ready.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you, Sophie. Does this breeder have a website?
P.s. I was just joking about the woman thing. I knew someone would react to that.
 

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The Kangaroo Whisperer
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Thank you, Sophie. Does this breeder have a website?
P.s. I was just joking about the woman thing. I knew someone would react to that.
No sorry, I can assure you he is a incredibly well known breeder, most show breeders know the name. It's funny though, because everyone always say don't breed a hen under 1 year old etc, but how many of them can tell you why?

I too was joking about the woman thing XD
 

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it's not about fertility, it's about the parents mental state and development
there is no reason to breed birds so young, there is no benefits, just added risk

why waste their younger years sat in a nest, they can do all that later
 

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I guess i have a few points to bring up,,
what does a 12 yr old girl have to do with budgies??? If we lived in a simple world we might be ok with the 12 yr old girl bringing up a child, but in todays crazy world 12yr olds are not ready, but neither are a lot of 20yr olds also. But she is a human, not a budgie...
its funny how you look like you are disagreeing with my analogy, but then are agreeing with me. i am saying, like you,that in "the wild" a 12 year old could/would have a kid, but in todays "domesticated" times, it is unheard of. They might be PHYSICALLY ready to have a child but not MENTALLY ready. Just like a wild vs domesticated budgie. Now I know birds and humans are not the same thing, that is why it is an analogy, just so you can see how just because you CAN breed them that young doesnt mean you SHOULD.

"...Regularly on this site I read "they know what best for themselves" when talking about nutrition and even mothering,, well why don't they know best about this??..."
as far as the nutrition, well, that is kind of off topic, but i personally dont believe budgies 'know what is best for them' like picking out herbs to heal themselves. then why would they eat wallpaper, or refuse to eat veggies, etc? humans cant, either. we cant go by our 'cravings' cuz people crave cigarettes, alcohol, etc.

anyways, i dont know scientific facts and data for budgies. i DO know that if you let a button quail lay an egg a day without adequate nutrition it will die within a year or two. Seems similar to me. The budgie hen needs time to build up calcium and other nutrients. Plus needs to be mentally ready. And if breeding shortens a hen's life (which it could if it is bred frequently, not given adequate nutrition, etc) then why rush it? that is just an opinion, nothing scientific at the moment, sorry.

"...I don't know what the scientific answer is to the question, but that is what our answer should be based on. I have read many breeders say they WOULD breed a 9 month old hen,, are they right, don't know..."

as for this part, i just have to say that some breeders (not all, no offense to those out there) breed as early as they can so they can produce as many chicks as they can for money, so all i am saying is that we do not know if this particular breeder is biased, or if the hens were bred in such a high-quality way (genes, selection) that they can be bred that young without problems, but that any ordinary store-bin budgie wouldnt be able to as well.

interesting discussion! hope people keep commenting. Discussions, experience sharing... this is how we learn and grow!
 

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Younger hens are also prone to more problems specifically during the egg laying phase including egg binding and uterus prolapses. The same kinds of problems we would see when breeding hens over 3 years of age.
 

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As has been stated before, I think it's ALWAYS important to remember the phrase, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you SHOULD." Yes, if they are breeding successfully and raising babies successfully, obviously they can. That is no longer in question. However, if you can give your birds a healthy, happy *childhood* then you will be setting more of them up to be physically and psychologically prepared to raise healthy clutches of babies. Young mothers sometimes will have problems keeping up with the demands of the babies, or even toss eggs or babies, or successfully hatch the babies only to abandon them. I'm not saying this is going to happen every single time (obviously, because you had a very successfull young mother), but why set the hens up against even greater odds than they are already working against?

At 4-6 months of age most birds are still doing some developing/growing and for quite a few that is a time of moulting. For both of these things, the body is using up massive amounts of nutrients. For their body's to then be using even MORE nutrients to make eggs, the nutrients have to come from somewhere, which means that they're not getting what THEY need. And when that happens, you are putting undue stress on them.

And please, keep in mind, you get out of the egg what you put into it. Which means, not only could you be stunting the growth and development of the mama-bird, but also, you are effecting that line of birds for possibly several generations. And when breeding, in my opinion, one of the foremost desires for breeding should be to add better qualities to the animal you are breeding.

I just feel like, if you want your birds to be healthy and well-developed, it is a better idea to wait until they reach full adulthood. I feel like there are more benefits to doing so than in starting them so young. And as one of my good friends always says, if you are going to do something, do it right, and always have at least 5 GOOD reasons for it. I can find a lot more than 5 good reasons to wait till adulthood ;)
 

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Her cere has changed to "in condition" at a young age because she lives in a Aviary
Mine do it as well , so does the boys I have pics of Babies with baby bars, Light grey iris rings(normal of a 8 month old) and deep brown ceres and they're no more than 2 months old

NO they are not ready to breed they're just "maturing" in that aspect quickly

when you breed a bird under 18 months old you are playing Russian roulette with her life!

they should not breed any younger than 12 months old because there is a HIGHER chance of Egg binding Egg binding KILLS - no not always but it kills MORE than it doesn't kill! they are not in condition to breed that young Their bodies can't handle it
That is why the 12 yr old human girl was brought up YES they can get pregnant There has been news stories of Girls as young as 7 being pregnant (and i do recall reading about a 5 yr old in another country being pregnant - but took that with a grain of salt!) The reason Young human girls should not get pregnant is their BODIES are not ready for it, giving birth rather its a human or a bird IS VERY HARD WORK, and if the body isn't ready for it the only outcome from it is DISASTER

birds need their bodies conditioned before breeding they need to be fed Higher Quality foods than they normally get they Need to be mentally ready, Physically ready and AT THE RIGHT AGE
just because all these eggs hatched doesn't mean the babies will live!

I had a first time pair Set up a few months ago 5 eggs 5 babies - they were both 1st time parents both were 18 months old EVERY baby died within 2 days of being born!

Do not allow them to breed until they are Truly Mature , Physically able and mentally able to do so I don't believe in Breeding any bird under 1 yr of age

I don't care if they do start their family in the wild as young as 4 months old that's in the wild not captivity - being captive bred is a entirely different ball game
 

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Although sometimes you can get away with it, breeding any under age bird or animal is a very risky thing. When I was farming a bull jumped the fence and got in with some young heifer calves, two of them got pregnant. Although they were quite well grown both heifers had to have caesarean births and neither were any use for future breeding. I know that cattle are not birds but the point is their bodies were not mature enough for breeding

In the wild budgies usually only breed in one season of the year so it would be uncommon for a young bird to breed in the same season it was hatched. Also the survival rate for chicks & breeding birds in the wild is much lower than we would expect in captive birds.

It is true that some show breeders will pair their birds much younger than is usually recommended to shorten the generation gap. This is not the same as letting them loose in an aviary so they can breed whenever they want to. An experienced breeder would carefully select the bird for breeding and feed it conditioning food to be sure that it has the best chance of surviving breeding. The breeder would probably know the ancestry of the birds and would be aware of any breeding problems that might occur in a particular family. Also the breeder would probably have other pairs ready to foster eggs or chicks if there were any signs of problems
 
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