Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Keeping Budgerigars; One Of Each Sex

Keeping 2 budgies is always beneficial to the birds themselves, although it may make it harder for you to tame them. If you want to tame them and you have 2, then it's best to have 2 males. If you really want to keep 2 birds then 2 males are the best option, as they will rarely bicker and fight, whereas 2 females will spend most of their time doing just that.

It's also totally possible to keep a male and a female in a cage together. There's one thing you need to be aware of when keeping a male and female though, and that is if they're given the right opportunities they WILL mate and breed. I suggest you think very hard about what your plans are for your birds before deciding on one of each sex.

Do you want her to have chicks? If you do, then provide her with a nestbox (you can buy them pretty cheap at pet stores) and put a handful of wood shavings inside it (also available at pet stores)

If they've mated successfully, then she'll start showing an interest in the nestbox, possibly within the next few days, possibly later. It usually takes about 10 days from a successful mating to when the first egg is laid. The hen should then lay an egg every other day, and the clutch of eggs can be anywhere between 1-8 eggs (sometimes even more).

Ask the petstore for eggfood and millet, as the birds will need extra strength to help them rear any chicks they might have. If the eggs are fertile they will start hatching between 18-23 days of being laid.

You don't need to feed the chicks at all, the father will feed the mother, and she will regurgitate the food for the chicks when they get a bit bigger. At first they will be fed by her with something called 'crop-milk' basically the same as mothers milk, but in bird form ;)

The chicks will start getting ready to leave the nestbox somewhere around the age of 28-35 days old, the father will feed them for a little while longer and they'll eventually start feeding themselves. Provide the extras (eggfood and millet) all through the period of mating, laying and rearing, and also while the chicks are learning to become independent.

If you don't want the hen to lay another round after the first chicks have hatched, then remove the nestbox as soon as the chicks leave the nest.

If you just want to keep one of each sex and not have them mate and breed, the solution is pretty simple; Don't give them a nestbox. Budgies will seldom mate without a nest to lay eggs in. I'm not saying it never happens, sometimes it does, and sometimes it even results in a bunch of lovely, healthy chicks. So the choice is down to you which sexes you think you can manage best. Good luck!

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Anna-Marie Stewart keeps and breeds pet budgerigars.
Visit Adorable Budgies for information, pictures and forum
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