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Budgie Breeding Tips For Beginners

First of all, we need to make sure we have everything ready to help maximise the chances of successfully breeding our budgies:

- Male + Female
- A cage
- Sturdy nesting box on the outside of the cage
- Low disturbance level
- Plenty of seed and water
- Mineral blocks and calcium blocks
- EggFood daily
- Extra light during the day to make them think their days are longer
- Lots of spraying to make them think it might be rainy season
- If other birds are in the house, let them see each other to encourage breeding
- Fruit/veg 2-3 times per week

Both birds need to be old enough, I'd say 12 months at least for him, a bit older for her.

Start fattening them up with lots of extras, millet and eggfood for definite. When it comes to spraying/misting I give mine a light spray 2-3 times per week when I'm aiming to let them breed, depending on how dry the air feels.

If they're with other budgies, separate them and give them a cage of their own to breed in. Watch for signs; the male will hop from perch to perch and tap like a woodpecker, head bobbing, feeding the hen etc. Keep giving the extras, they'll need all the energy. You may have already attached the nest box to the cage, if not, then now is the time to do it.

Put plenty of wood shavings in the nest box. Re-fill every time the hen starts throwing it out. The shavings are good to stop the eggs rolling about. Some people use them, some don't. I use them and find that they are great, especially after the chicks hatch as they help reduce the soiling of the wood.

When I put shavings in I acutally WANT the birds to throw them out, as it's a pretty sure sign that they're getting ready to nest. When they throw them out I put more in, eventually the bird is too busy sitting on eggs and feeding chicks to bother chucking them out any more.

Once they start mating (could take a while), it should take about 10 days for the first egg to be laid then a new egg is laid every other day (if the birds read the same books as we do LOL) Sometimes they miss a day, sometimes they lay on consecutive days.

About 18-23 days after the first egg is laid is when the first chick should hatch, depending on how soon the hen starts sitting on them. Sometimes they sit from the first egg being laid, sometimes they don't sit until they have 3 eggs.

Always be aware of the hens cere, make sure she doesn't come out of condition. If she does before the eggs are hatched she may not be a good mother so keep an eye on her. If the hen comes out of condition (again, mainly seen by loss of colour on the cere) partway through the rearing process she can get very violent. She can pluck the chicks feathers until there's none left and the chicks are red raw, or she could even fight with and/or kill the chicks or cock.

If you follow all of these steps and have lots of patience, you might get lucky and end up with some nice little chicks. Good luck!

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Anna-Marie Stewart keeps and breeds pet budgerigars.
Visit Adorable Budgies for more information, pictures
and forum http://adorablebudgies.co.uk
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