Breeding Budgies

Inside the nestbox Breeding budgies can be as simple or as complicated as you wish it to be depending on your goals as a breeder. Care must be taken that the conditions are suitable for breeding or the budgies will simply decline to perform.

In nature budgies do not create a nest as such preferring hollow branches of trees, often where the entrance is barely wide enough to allow an adult bird to pass. I have heard of wild budgies nesting in abandoned rabbit warrens or fallen branches however for the most part a hollow branch high up is the preferred site.

Budgies generally prefer to breed in the spring and early summer months however they can be opportunistic breeders, particularly in the wild where they will breed if the weather is suitable and there is adequate food and water to sustain the flock for the period of weeks that it takes to successfully rear their chicks to the point of independence.

There are two methods commonly adopted, selective breeding where two chosen mates are placed in a cage together to ensure the parentage of the chicks or alternately colony breeding where there are many potential mates placed in a cage and nature is allowed to take its course. In either case the barest minimums required are a nesting box and a nest block. The breeding box is a small box approximately eight by eight by six inches in size with a small hole cut in the front to allow access to the parent birds. This should be placed fairly high up so that the parent birds will consider it safe. A nest block is a block of wood with a concave section carved out of it to prevent the eggs from rolling away. If the nest block and box is not present it will markedly reduce the possibility of a successful mating. The breeding process is affected by photoperiod, in that the birds must receive at least thirteen hours of light per day.

If breeding is successful the hen will lay three to five eggs, one every other day. If the hen lays more than this you may need to hand feed the chicks or find a surrogate mother who has not bred so successfully to assist in feeding as budgies will accept and care for chicks that are not their own quite happily in most circumstances. Most pet supply stores stock food that when moistened can be fed to the chicks if hand feeding is desired or necessary.

The eggs will generally hatch by the eighteenth day and of course in the order that they were laid. At birth the chicks will be blind and completely helpless and they will lie on their backs as their mother feeds them. By the tenth day their eyes should begin to open and they should appear more alert and more mobile. Their eyes will be sensitive to light and care should be taken to avoid hurting them as they will be quite fragile. The chicks will be capable of venturing out on their own by approximately four weeks of age however they wont be fully weaned until six weeks, at which point they will be almost full size.