I had a pair of budgies. Now I have
five six. Oops.
Alternate names: Budgie, Budgerigar, Parakeet
Single budgies will be more talkative and playful, but you must interact with them frequently.
Groups of budgies will sing more frequently, but may never learn to speak any words.
Sometimes, budgies will throw food onto the ground. Some online resources say this is a common behavior in nature when food is plentiful, which leads to some of their food going on to grow to produce more food later. Instead of discouraging this behavior, try to feed your budgies less food in one sitting but more frequently.
Female budgies are reportedly less talkative than male budgies.
Do not provide a mirror to a single budgie for an extended period of time, as this can lead to bad behavior and your budgie becoming lonely and plucking its feathers.
If your bird is bored, they may begin plucking out their feathers. Look into getting them toys!
A wide cage is better than a long one; budgie flights are primarily forward, not up and down. Having extra space in a fancily shaped cage is pointless because of this! However, if you have a tall and wide cage, that is okay.
Try to find real wood branches for the cage, as these are better for the bird’s claws and grip.
You should also find and add a scratching platform for your birds to sharpen and shorten their claws on, so they do not grow overly long. This will ensure you do not have to take care of your bird’s claws yourself.
Wild birds primarily eat seed, but the fatty content of seeds is not ideal for cage-bound birds. Flight over long distances will consume that fat, but caged birds do not and could not fly nearly as much.
Pet birds should primarily eat pellet (ZuPreem pellets are my personal use), with seeds (VitaKraft Parakeet Food) and fruits/vegetables added for nutrition. Millet (and other treats) are rare additions.
If your bird refuses pellets, you can try to mix them with seeds in a ratio that begins favoring seeds and increasingly favors pellets in later feedings. You will never, and should never, entirely replace seeds in your bird’s diet. Providing more pellets than seeds is a common practice and works well.
Number of Budgies
One budgie will be more talkative, but more lonely, requiring more owner attention.
Two budgies will play with one another (gender is regardless, but see the breeding section in case of mixed gender pair). They will not be as talkative, but they will still sing frequently.
- Replace food every two days if open air.
- Replace water every day if open air, especially if bird can climb into it.
- Replace cage lining no less than monthly. Depends on the material used.
- Over a span of weeks, be close to the bird. Sit your chair next to them as you work. Proximity is the only necessity.
- Offer millet, held in hand, to the bird. Make small movements, try to stand below their height (eye level or lower), and let them eat. Perform this once to twice daily for several weeks.
- Continue offering the millet, but with one of your fingers between the bird and the millet. If the bird is ready, it will step onto your finger and begin eating. If not, return to step 2.
- Repeat these steps with increasing levels of closeness to your hand.
After these steps, the bird should be comfortable with your presence and your hands.
There should be a variety of toys given to the bird, easily chewed and torn apart. Paper, twine, rope, soft wood, and colorful. Switch these out every so often (no less than monthly) to prevent the bird from becoming bored.
Providing a nest box means they will breed on their own, so long as a pair are kept together for an extended period of time.
Stability is also important. Do not change the cage overly frequently, or move the cage to a new area, particularly if that area is too different visually from the previous location.
Provide ample food and water, and a soft cuttlebone for calcium.
You can provide dummy eggs to stop laying, but not providing a nest box is more effective. You can also limit sunlight exposure to the length of a winter day to discourage breeding, as budgies tend to breed in spring and summer when days are longer, and respond to the length of day.
Time of Year
If your birds are often outdoors, they’ll react naturally to the changing seasons. As such, Budgies will tend to breed at the beginning of spring in March. If your birds are indoors, time of year will matter less, but the amount of daylight your birds receive (simulated with indoor lights or real) will change their habits. Longer “days” encourages more breeding; shorter “days” discourages. Warmth matters as well, so if you want to encourage breeding, provide a heating pad in the cage where you expect the birds to nest.
Hens are roughly 102 degrees F. Mom will do much of this work, but keep the nest box in the 85-90 degrees F range with a heating pad to let her relax, especially if breeding in winter.
Shine a bright light into an egg to see its progress of development. The light on your phone’s camera should be enough
- Unfertilized: Clear yellow appearance. Can also be only 1-2 days since laying, so a fertilized egg may appear unfertilized.
- Days 3-5: Small red dot forms in egg.
- Days 5-8: Veins form, connecting most of the egg to red dot.
- Days 8-11: Visible dot grows larger.
- Days 12-15: Egg will be increasingly red on inside.
- Days 15-hatching: Most of the egg will be opaque, possibly with a visible beak sticking into the non-opaque area.
- Signs of death at early stages include the veins disappearing, a red ring appearing in its place
- Signs of death at late stages include a second transparent bubble appearing after day 15 stage
- Source of candling knowledge, based on chicken egg
Unfortunately, I practiced this only two or three times My baby birds never cooperated, making their mom do most of the job. However, the steps are simple if you have the patience:
- Get some baby bird feed. Kaytee brand feed will do.
- Mix the feed at a high ratio of water to feed.
- Prefer higher ratios of water while your birds are very young, and never go below 1:1.
- Heat the feed until around 100 degrees fahrenheit. Prefer a little higher to account for quick cooling, but not over 105 degrees fahrenheit.
- Load the feed into a syringe feeder.
- Holding the bird such that you support its neck, slowly and carefully point the syringe into its mouth and feed a little at a time.
- Clean the bird off and return it to the nest box.
- Dispose of the syringe feeder; these cannot be reused, or else illnesses could be shared among the birds.
You may also want to use gloves or a thin towel during this process to ensure the hen does not reject her chicks.
Feeding should occur frequently and regularly, as often as every two hours while the baby is young (under 3 weeks). Continue feeding until the bird is mostly feathered.
Unless required, do not attempt to hand feed before the chicks are at least two weeks old! The chicks are incredibly fragile and easily injured.
The hen will take care of feeding herself if left to do so. If she becomes aggressive toward the babies, or ignores them, you will have to hand feed.
The mom will almost certainly become aggressive around four weeks after the first hatching, as her new nesting cycle begins. You must remove her from the cage when this happens, or else she may injure or even kill the young birds.
- Set up a separate bin with bedding (Any soft wood bedding) and warmth
- Place birds into the separate bin
- Empty the nest box entirely
- Replace original bedding
The same warming requirements that eggs need is sufficient. When the birds begin to emerge from the nest box, they will likely be sufficiently feathered to maintain their own warmth, but keep an eye on them to ensure they stay warm.