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The budgerigar also known as a shell parakeet or just parakeet originates back to the driest parts of Australia living and breeding in large colony's amongst there favorite eucalyptus trees although they maybe slightly smaller than captive budgies bred in the uk. A parakeet is classed as a long tailed bird in which there are more than 130 different species of parakeet, A lorikeet is classed similar but with a smaller tail and body.

They mostly feed on seeds and millet but also like vegetation such as spinach,lettuce,broccoli etc, Also they like different types of fruit such as apples sometimes banana and mango, they will try and nibble most things. They will almost certainly chew lots of different types of wood for just fun and also they devour any plant or shrub inside an aviary. Some people say don't feed your budgie lettuce but i believe this is nonsense my birds thrive on it and i have used lettuce for nearly 25 years ish, I have NEVER had a budgie die from eating lettuce. I wouldn't recommend feeding lemon or avocado as these fruits are very acidic and poiseness. besides i don't think a bird would go near them anyway.

(Don't get to attached to your new shiny nest box you have spent 2 days building because that will also be chewed)

They have fairly good behavior in groups. A group of separate females will tend to fight a lot, though compared to a group of males which can live together without an argument ( same applies to humans i believe). It is believed that young males are easier to tame and speak with a lot of patience than the females but I've seen different in my years i would class them as equal. each to there own i say.

LIFESPAN

Budgies live a very good life between 7 to 10 years and some birds have been reported to live between 15 and 20 years. Sometimes a bird can die young with un noticed symptoms which is a blow but has a breeder you have to get on with it. There are a lot of factors involved such as breeding, a hen birds life will be drastically reduced if she breeds for the best part of a year also diet is a consideration and homing, For example a bird living indoors may live longer than a bird outdoors in an aviary , Basically you just never know, I think 8 years is the average.

HOUSING

Budgies will live together in a purpose built aviary just make sure there's plenty of room for them to fly about and don't overstock it they are very inquisitive and also like to climb about and chew on most things in sight it's not a good idea to plant shrubs or flowers as these will get eaten in no time beside some plants are poise ness.

they don't tend to mix with other birds especially when breeding although you could have a pair of cockatiels or quail or perhaps a few zebra finches, smaller birds don't seem to be a threat to budgies.

budgies will not mix with canary's or lovebirds as far as i know if you do mix these birds in an aviary you will only have lovebirds left because there hard and sas trained be warned.

CAGES AND PETS

Budgies make very good pets indoors in a cage but if you intend to train your bird to be tame or perhaps talk then it's best to keep just one bird, A lot of people seem to think a male would be better for a pet.

You need to acquire your pet at a very young age but make sure you have 1 or 2 toys in the cage for it's own amusement when your not there. They like a lot of attention and chat, When you first bring your bird home it may be very quite and fed up looking for a few days until it settles down in to it's new home and surroundings, It's probably best to coax it up to you from the cage using tit bits before you try and get him to sit on your finger

this way the bird will start to get use to you, Some young birds will just sit on your finger from day 1 but there's a lot of work involved to make your pet talk and in some cases it wont talk at all, I read an article about one particular bird that had over 1700 words in it's vocabulary.

SEXING

The main difference between male and female, if you look around the nostril area which is a waxy tissue above the beak called the cere, if that nostril area is blue then this will be a male if it is brown then this is female, a good crusty brown indicates that the female is mature and will breed although you budgies can start to breed from around 3 months old with success, Although this is not really recommended it is just like a human having a baby in there early teens, in some cases the young will suffer neglect,malnourishment etc and just not being looked after the way they should be, but saying that i myself have had a lot of success in young breeding.

Younger birds are particularly harder to sex than adults as soon as they leave the nest the cere is a pinkish color sometimes in a female it will develop chalkie white rings around the nostrils and within a male this could be pink with purplish tinge around the edges i will see if i can find some pictures of this because I've seen some around somewhere.

BREEDING

Budgies will make use of various types of nest such as a hole in a branch any hollow or nest box or I've heard that terra cotta pots with a hole in the side will do as long as they feel secure there not at all fussy. They will also lay eggs on a concave piece of wood or sawdust, fine bark chips, straw or hay and they tend to lay between 2 and 8 eggs 5-6 being the average. The eggs will be laid every second day until complete.

Incubation can be between 17-20 days normally the eighteenth day, This is usually done by the hen while the male will pop in and out the nest box to feed his mate, The hen will appear from time to time to generally feed and have a stretch also by instinct the hen will turn her eggs automatically through the day until incubation has finished this will stop the embryo sticking to the shell and dying off.

Budgies tend to breed in the spring time when daylight is at its longest and the temperatures are warm

but with artificial lighting and some heat in the winter cold months they will breed all year, With the lighting i would say about 14 hours a day and temperature not below about 10 degrees c.

Its not recommended to let the hen breed more than 3-4 times a year max, Otherwise this could put a lot of strain on the bird and reduce its life span and well being, also make sure the pair have a good balanced diet and plenty of calcium based products such as cuttlefish or mineral blocks, this helps with egg production finally clean your nest box out between clutches to prevent mites and other unwanted bugs also this prevents the chicks from clogging up the feet with there own waste.

Budgies will interbreed, in the animal and bird world this is normal. In my experience 95% of the chicks look as normal as any other budgie although some problems can arise from this such has a short or improperly formed beak and occasionally a toe missing but this could also be a mishap in the nest box such as an aggressive parental feeding .

CHICKS

after the incubation period of about 18 days the chicks will start to hatch on alternate days as well.

They will be very small,pink and totally blind and totally dependent on the parents, the hen will feed her chicks through the day and sit with them to keep them warm. After about 10 days the baby's eyes will open and also some down feathers or pin feathers will start appearing, after about 4 weeks the young chicks will start to leave the nest 1 at a time over the following week, Once they have left the nest the male parent normally takes over the feeding and well being of the young bird to show them the ropes so to speak, After about 1-2 weeks they start to feed themselves.

The baby's can be removed from the parents once they feed themselves roughly about 2 weeks if you wanted to remove them, by then the parent hen will probably be sat on her next clutch anyway.

A young bird that has just left the nest will be quite tame to start with and jump on to your finger if coaxed gently

its flying ability may be very weak and could crash land on to the floor and into aviary walls and meshing but the young birds are fairly hardy and shouldn't harm itself. For this reason I've built myself a kindergarten in my aviary for the young to mature a bit before i let them out into the main aviary. Another thing to watch out for is hard crusty excrement on there feet generally this will be a small bit here and there which will eventually fall off or be bitten of,

but with excessive build ups on there feet i try to remove some myself while there still in the nest box

COLONY BREEDING

A lot of people colony breed where all the budgies are in one area of the aviary where the nest boxes are, but breeding with this method has a few risks such as chicks and eggs thrown out onto the floor and a lot of squabbling between the hens to get the best nest box, the only advice i can give here is to make sure you have more nest boxes than breeding pairs and to have them fixed at the same same height along the aviary wall, If you have a nuisance hen then remover her until breeding has finished. Sometimes when hens are fighting you do get damaged birds noticeable by blood around the nest box and on the birds feathers sometimes they could have a damaged foot or perhaps a bald patch on the head feathers but so far in this method i myself have had no fatality's

BREEDING CAGES

For the rest of this year and next i will be cage breeding after years of colony breeding, Simply because its more controlled and i can see which young birds come from which parents. I have got some photos of my cages on this site which I've purposely built. There are downsides to this method of breeding one is i have to fill more watering pots and seed tubs and the other is restricting the bird on having room to fly around. So some breeding planning is required so the bird can have the best of both worlds between clutches.

More to follow>

 
                 

 

 

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Updated 03-10-2010

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