Just because it's "natural" doesn't mean that we should allow it to happen in our homes. There are many many MANY things you need to consider before allowing your birds to breed.
Here is a list of things you need to think of before you even CONSIDER breeding.
1). Are your birds proper breeding age? (Older than 1 year, but younger than 4 years old.)
- Breeding birds that are not the appropriate age will lead to issues/death of your birds and/or chicks.
2). Has each bird been vet checked and given a FULL bill of clean health?
- It is extremely important to only breed strong and healthy birds with no health issues that can be passed down to the chicks.
3). Are your birds on a good healthy diet? One that consists of pellets, seeds, fresh veggies, fruit, fresh sprouts, high calcium and protein?
- It’s important to have your birds eating a good diet BEFORE breeding. This will help keep their weight and energy up during the breeding process, and these good eating habits will be passed down to their chicks.
4). Do you have a proper breeding cage?
- A breeding cage needs to have enough space, natural perches, and a side door to attach a nest box on the OUTSIDE of the cage.
5). Do you have a proper nest box?
- A nest box needs to be mounted on the outside of the cage, it needs a concave bottom, and it needs to have easy access to be cleaned out DAILY.
6). Do you have proper nesting material?
- Pine or aspen wood shavings are proper nesting materials and they help keep the nest dry and clean. Wood shavings need to be replaced every day to help keep the nest sanitary for the chicks.
7). Do you recognize the signs of egg binding?
- Egg binding is a serious concern for a hen. It is an emergency situation and needs vet care immediately. It is a terrible and painful way for a hen to die.
8). Do you have an avian vet nearby in case of egg binding or complications with the chicks?
- Knowing where your avian vet is located is very important before breeding. You don’t want to be frantically searching for one if you are in the middle of an emergency with your birds.
9). If the hen rejects her chicks, do you have the ability to take time off work/school/extracurricular activities/social events?
- Chicks will need to be fed every 2-3 hours until they are weaned. This can take 4-6 WEEKS! I've even had chicks take up to 12 weeks to properly wean. You can not skip feedings, you can not delay feedings, you can not forget feedings. Your chicks lives are entirely depending on you, so you must be willing to put your own life on hold until they are grown.
10). Do you have someone (preferably a vet) to teach you how to hand feed if the parents reject the chicks?
-This is very delicate work and a chick can easily aspirate and die if you don’t know what you are doing.
11). Do you have a place to set up a brood box or an incubator if you have to take the young from the parents?
12). Do you have emergency hand feeding supplies?
- Incubator, high quality formula, syringes, spoons, thermometer, digital scale, ect.
13). Do you have the expendable income to afford supplies?
- If you can’t afford to purchase these items BEFORE breeding, then don’t breed!
14). If you’re a minor, do you have a support system behind you that is willing to pay for the cost of breeding supplies, vet visits, emergency supplies?
- Parents must be willing to help pay for anything that your breeding birds may need. If you’re parents are not willing to pay, then don’t breed!
15). If the hen starts to attack her chicks (this happens more often than you think) do you have a separate cage for her?
- If a hen wants to start a new clutch while she still has chicks in the nest, she will start to attack them and will need to be removed from the breeding cage before she kills them.
16). Do you have a large weaning cage for the chicks when they start exploring outside the nest box?
- Chicks will need to have a large cage with lots of natural perches, toys, foraging toys, and a wide variety of foods to try. This is an important time in a chick’s life where they learn how to be a budgie. They learn how to perch, fly, forage, acrobatics, ect.
17). Do you have homes lined up for your chicks?
- Depending on your location, it may be difficult to find homes for all your chicks.
18). Do you have space to keep all the chicks in your home?
- If you can’t find homes for your chicks, are you willing to keep them in your own home, in appropriate size cages?
19). If a chick doesn’t work out in its new home, are you willing and able to accept it back into your home?
- Sometimes new owners decide that having a budgie just isn’t for them and may want to return the bird back to the breeder. If you can’t accept the bird back, it will likely end up in a rescue, the SPCA, or even worse.
20). Are you prepared for potential heartbreak?
-Because “bad stuff happens”, even to the best breeders with lots of experience. You can easily loose the chicks and the parents if you are not prepared for the worst.
If you cannot firmly answer YES to all of these questions... DO NOT BREED YOUR BIRDS!
Budgies are living, breathing and feeling creatures and the inability to provide the best possible environment will harm them and any other birds you bring into the world.