BUDGERIGAR ( Melopsittacus undulatus )nickname
budgie or beteherrygah as the aborigines of Australia call them are the most popular bird kept as pet bird around the world
and for good reason.
Their engaging personality and charm makes them fit
into almost any household where a bird lover is
The budgerigar is a native bird to Australia.
In the wild budgies are green with yellow face , black spots on the mask .black wavy band on the wings , back and head and
sporting a long tapered tail. They are colorful birds that are found in large flocks in australia. Budgies survive harsh ,
desertlike conditions. Whenever their is enough food supply and water , the budgie instinct tell its to make as many babies
as possible , so that a few will survive the predators and times of scarce food and water. Budgies fly in large flocks and
are normadic meaning they only stay in one place for a short time before moving to another location normally they would move
when looking for a new food or water supply. When condition are right meaning their are good food supply and water supply
the budgie will look for nesting sites and raise 1 - 2 or even 3 clutch of babies. They do not build nest , prefering a cavity
or a hollow in trees. The flock will all nest in the same area , which mean they will all have babies at approximately the
A successful nesting site will have enough food for
the whole flock and their babies. This require a lot of food and water , and sometimes only the earliest pairs to start the
breeding are the ones tha will be successful. In the wild budgies feed on grass seeds and grasses bout dry and fresh
, some eucalyptus leaves and berries and this is what is use to feed them and the babies.
Baby budgies when they fledge from the nest will look
like their parents , except that they have thin black line across their head right down to the cere and their eyes are a solid
black as they mature the lines will dissappear and they will develop a white circle around the eyes.
Budgerigar or budgie for short was frist brought
to Europe from Australia in the nineteenth century and is now today one of the most popular of all cage and aviary birds that
are kept all a round the world. Budgies are often called parakeets or keets. Their are two type of budgies the Australian
budgies and the English budgie. The Australian budgie is know aroun the world to day as the American budgies and
is similar to the wild budgies in australia but are found in many different color mutations and are mostly found
in the pet trade . While the English budgie type has been bred for shows english budgies tend to be larger than the american
budgie and i find them to be not as active and hardy as the smaller american budgies but they can be very tame .
BUDGIES IN CAPTIVITY
The budgie is one of the few parrots to be domesticated
as a pet bird. It is the most common pet parrot in the world. It has bred in captivity since the 1850s.
Breeders have worked over decades to produce a wide range
of colors and feather pattern mutations. As soon as it was discovered that other color varieties could be developed from the
oringinal grass green budgie from the wild of australia by selective breeding over the year in captivity the budgie popularity
increased tremendously. Color such as yellow , blue , white , violet , olive . mauve , cobalt , cinnamon , albino ( white
) and lutino ( yellow ) . The yellow variety was least difficult to produce , as these occur even in the wild populations
of birds in australia , and some of these where brougt to Eroupe in the 1850s. Their are all kind of mutation know happening
in the budgie kingdom clearwings ,spangled, opaline , fallows , and feather mutation can produce crests or the long shaggy
feathers know as '' feather duster '' and lot of other colors ,testify to man's enthusiasm in producing new color varieties.
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The Pleasure in Breeding Budgerigars
Having decided to breed budgerigars it is time to decide on which way is best
for you. Some people colony breed by just hanging a number of nest boxes in a flight full of budgerigars. This can be quite
a successful way to breed them. It can increase your stock if that is what you want. It does mean however that although you
know which hen is the mother of certain chicks, you do not know which cock bird has fathered them. A hen may have been tread
by a number of cock birds while flying in the flight. As she finds a nest box and finds a mate the eggs she lays will most
likely have be fertilized by another cock bird . Unless there is a striking resemblance to the cock bird she is with and even
this is not 100% proof, then you will never know which cock bird is the father. If you want to be certain of the parentage
the it is best to breed birds , one pair to a cage
Preparation in breeding Budgies
Cage preparation is an important thing, from pairing up to the final
chicks, the preparation in many cases can influence the outcome. A little forward planning can go a long way.
Once the pair of birds settle down
to breed they do not like to be disturbed to much. Budgerigars will tolerate you checking the nest box once a day and
going into the cage to feed them but unless you give a little thought when pairing up to certain points for example, whether
or not the nest box is easy accessible or whether or not you can feed them or clean the cage without to much disturbance,
you may find that it will result in the hen coming off the nest and any eggs that were fertile quickly going cold. and the
un-hatched chicks lost.
Once you start ask yourself what you will need, and
plan ahead where these items are going. Apart from the nest box it is a good idea for the health of your budgerigar
to have the following available to them. mineral
blocks,soft food and cuttle fish bone
The Nest Box
Nest Box: a constructed wood box used by budgie pairs as a nest. There are several types of budgie nest boxes.
||The most common style of nest box is a simple box with a hinged top and is meant to be placed or attached
inside of the cage. These are good for flights, but if breeding budgie pairs in cages, only use this type of nest box in very
large breeding cages (these boxes take up a lot of room). Also, a nest box placed inside of the cage will be more difficult
to check, maintain, and clean, so I do not recommend this style of nest box.|
||Another type of nest box is a simple box with a hinged lid on top and is designed to be attached outside
of the cage. These nest boxes are acceptable as long as they are the correct size for budgies (they come in smaller sizes
||There is another type of nest box that is designed to be attached outside the breeding cage and is a little
larger and longer than the lid-top style. This style actually opens on the side with a wood slot that slides up and down.
I highly recommend this style for breeding budgies. These nest boxes reduce the chances of the eggs being damaged and also
reduces the risk of chicks developing splayed legs. They are also a lot easier to clean and maintain.
I highly recommend using this style of nest box.|
When you start, decide which type of nest box you would like to use. There are basically two types. One that goes inside the
cage and one that goes out side. They should be about 9x8x6 inches in size. The inside nest box can be hung up in the corner
of the cage or just placed on the floor of the cage. It can have one side which can be partly or completely removed for inspection
of the chicks or it can have a hinged door which serves the same purpose. This type in the picture can be placed inside
or outside depending on your preference.
Some people raise their nest boxes a couple of inches off the ground so that the chicks can
hide underneath when they leave the protection of the nest box. This is a very good idea. When a parent bird attacks a chick
it can be so quick that you can not do nothing to prevent it. At least with this raised platform the chicks have a chance
to hide underneath.
The second type can be fixed onto the outside of the cage. It must be firmly fixed so that if knocked it will not fall off.
It can be made only of one box with a hinged or removable door for inspection, or it can be made from two boxes. One box fits
inside the other. The inside box is easily removed when you wish to inspect the nest. You can remove it to a safe working
area to check eggs or ring chicks. When you are finished you simply replace it back inside the first box.
This type of box also has an advantage of that you are able to change the inside box for a clean
one if necessary, but care must be taken not to upset the hen. Concaves and sawdust/wood shavings can be used with all types
of boxes. The choice is yours.
There are several very important factors that one must take into account when breeding budgies:
1. Budgies only come into breeding condition certain times of the year. This seems to coincide with the Australian
spring/summer--which is our late Fall/winter. Budgies are not fertile year round. They will only breed when they are in breeding
condition. In order to determine whether your birds have come into breeding condition, you must observe your birds. Signs
of being ready to breed include: ripping-up newspaper, birds mutually feeding each other, males trying to click their beaks
to the females, or tapping their beaks on the perches. The male's cere (the band above the beak)will be a bright blue. The
female's cere will be a dark brown. These colors are hard to distinguish in some color mutations. The birds will be extremely
active and the female will call to her mate. Both birds, male and female, must be in breeding condition for any action to
take place--this can be very frustrating for the birds and for the breeder.
2. Budgies must have at least 13
hours of lighting to trigger them to come into breeding condition.
3. Budgies are flock birds. A single pair
will not normally take-up breeding unless they can hear other budgies around them. They need to be encouraged by the group!
(Though they can breed without a flock near by). The pair must also have a nest box provided for them. See gallery for
nest box designs. Every breeder will have their favourite nest box design, the design that works for them, there are no
right and wrong choices, just some boxes are easier to manage than others. In the wilds of Australia, budgies nest in tree
hollows. They really prefer the privacy of their own separate breeding cage. If you decide to pair up two birds in a breeding
cage, give them at least three weeks to settle in and start breeding. They still need to be able to hear other birds nearby.
By the way, you are unlikely to actually see them mate. Maybe they are just shy, but they usually mate very early in the morning.
4. Birds should be at least 10 months old, preferably one year old, before they are considered for breeding.
1. Usually, if the
birds are breeding, the female will start to show great interst in the nest box. She will spend hours looking at it, placing
her head in it and generally examining it. Often the male will excitedly encourage her and try to gently push her towards
the box. Eventually, she will enter the box and take up residence. The box should have a concave in the bottom, to help keep
the eggs and babies in its center.
2. Inspection (peeking) will be much easier if you hang the nest box from
the outside of the cage. You should check on the eggs/chicks once a day - no more. Remove any broken eggs or dead chicks.Have
a regular routine when you feed the birds and change their water so that you will not startle them. Only change the cage once
a week so that you will not disturb them too much.
3. Once mating has occured it usually takes around 7 - 10
days before laying occurs,
Halleluiah! Eggs. Your budgie will start laying eggs; every other day, sometimes
more often. A general clutch of eggs shouldbe between 1 and 8, though the more the merrier, if it is a first time breeding
pair, chicks may be rejected and it means you may have 1 to 8 chicks to feed.
4. On about the 18th day, the
first egg should hatch. The other eggs will hatch out about every other day, in the order that they were laid. Newborn chicks
are totally blind and helpless. The female budgie will feed them on their backs. You can tell if they are being fed properly
if you can see their tiny crops full of whitish crop milk.
5. You need to take good care of the parents. Parents
with babies should always have nestling food available. This will help them provide for the chicks adequately. Some birds
will work so hard to feed their chicks that they will starve themselves. Nestling food is also called egg food and can be
purchased online or at pet stores. This food should be fed moistened. You may need to provide this meal to them once or twice
a day. Be careful not to leave it in the cage for too long as it can go bad rapidly since it is fed wet. Always make sure
that birds with chicks have water available and plenty of food available. Chicks need a lot of food. They grow extremely rapidly.
Its nothing short of a miracle that they are full grown size by the time they reach 6 weeks of age.
6. If you
want the chicks tame, handle them each day for 10 minutes once they turn 2 wks. of age, but make sure your hands are clean
and warm. Also shield the chick's eyes from bright light because they have become used to darkness sitting in the nest box.
The chicks will be ready to venture out on their own, anywhere from the age of 3 1/2 to 4 wks. or so. Of course, they will
not be weaned until at least 6 weeks of age. Weaning is a tricky businesses. Do not separate the chicks from the parents until
you are sure they are eating on their own. Once they are separated from the parents, continue to watch them closely. Make
sure they can find their water--make sure that it is accessible and not too big as they are very clumsy and they can fall
in and get wet, and cold! Also, make sure the perches in the baby cage are low and spread food and lots of spray millet around
the cage floor, so the young birds can get to it.
7. Once the young chicks start to wander around the cage,
daddy budgie ay not like it, therefore I advise that you supply some sort of shelter for your chicks, this way they have a
place to hide if daddy gets slightly angry with them.
It sounds like hard work, and I am not going to kid around,
because it is, but its very rewarding and can be really fun. Have fun, make sure you care for the parents and chicks, but
most of all, enjoy!