A female budgie will develop eggs once her hormones are activated, not due to mating with a male. Environmental and social signals, such as light cycles and vocalizations, trigger these chemicals.
A budgie lays an average of 4-6 eggs per clutch, which she lays one at a time over the coming days. Since no breeding took place, the eggs are unfertilized and will never hatch.
A female budgie may still brood over her eggs, believing they’re fertilized. However, as they won’t hatch, remove them once the hen ceases to show interest in them.
Can Female Budgies Lay Eggs Without A Male?
Even if a female budgie lives alone or shares a cage with other females, she may lay eggs. Budgies start to form eggs when external factors tell their bodies it’s the right time to reproduce.
Egg production can be due to the presence of a male, but it’s usually connected to light factors and other bird calls. For example, exposure to more sunlight tells a budgie that spring has arrived. Food and water will be abundant, and the weather will be favorable for raising chicks.
At this point, the female’s body will release hormones in readiness for reproduction. Then, she’ll seek a male. It doesn’t matter if a male isn’t present because her body is already developing eggs.
Unlike some egg-laying animals, budgies can’t retain sperm from previous breeding seasons. So, copulation must occur while the egg is developing within the female.
If the eggs aren’t fertilized, they’ll still need to be laid. Once the unfertilized eggs are laid, the female may grow confused and sit on the eggs, incubating them as if they were viable.
This behavior is common in younger budgies new to mating and motherhood. They’ll eventually rot and need to be thrown out by the female or yourself.
Can Female Parrots Lay Eggs Without A Male?
Egg-laying without a mate is less common than with chickens, but it still happens.
Chickens only lay daily due to selective breeding. Since parrots or other members of the psittacines family haven’t been exposed to this genetic modification, they don’t lay eggs as regularly.
Nonetheless, parrots want to further the species. To raise the success rate, their bodies produce eggs in advance and do their utmost to get them fertilized.
If your budgie isn’t exposed to any mating signals, such as light and vocalizations, its body will have no reason to prepare the eggs.
As far as it’s concerned, breeding isn’t an option. For this reason, you may own a budgie or another breed of parrot for years without finding a single egg.
If something triggers the budgie’s hormones, this immediately changes. Egg-laying without a male occurs across the entire family of true parrots.
However, the smaller breeds, like budgies and cockatiels, do so more frequently. They’re more vulnerable as prey animals and need to maximize their reproduction rate to maintain the species.
Can Budgies Lay Unfertilized Eggs?
Unless a female is kept with a male, she’ll only lay unfertilized eggs. Budgies are incapable of asexual reproduction, and a female can’t store a male’s sperm to fertilize her eggs.
Even if your budgie is kept with a male, their breeding session may be a failure. Younger budgies may lack experience, and there are times when the sperm doesn’t reach or fertilize the egg.
Unfertilized eggs are laid in the same way as fertile eggs. You’ll be unable to tell the difference at a glance, and most budgies will face the same problem.
It’ll take a few days for the budgie to realize that the egg isn’t developing properly. At this point, more experienced mothers will push the egg out of the nest.
What To Do With Unfertilized Eggs
Unfertilized eggs will spoil and go rancid, so you’ll need to remove them from the cage and dispose of them as you see fit.
There are two courses of action you can take, depending on how the budgie reacts to the eggs:
- Immediately: This works if your budgie ignores the eggs and doesn’t become distressed.
- Over a few days: Exercise patience if your budgie nests and broods over the unfertilized eggs.
It can be distressing to take her eggs away, so she may become aggressive when you reach for them or frantic after they’re gone. So, wait for her to lose interest in nesting or realize the eggs are infertile.
At this point, you can take the eggs without upsetting or unsettling her.
How To Tell If An Egg Is Fertilized
A useful way to determine if an egg is fertilized is to ‘candle’ it. This involves holding a light source, such as a phone’s light, up to the egg until it is illuminated. If there’s a developing embryo, it’ll be visible.
Aside from the embryo, you can check for a network of blood vessels. These can be hard to see if your light source isn’t powerful enough. If needed, use a bright flashlight.
Newly laid eggs are hard to parse; it’s near impossible to tell if an egg is viable until it’s 7 days old.
How Often Do Budgies Lay Unfertilized Eggs?
Wild budgies have 1-3 clutches per year, with 4-6 eggs in each clutch. According to the Evolution of Begging, each egg will be laid 2 days apart.
According to Experimental Gerontology, budgies show no signs of reproductive aging. However, discrepancies between wild and captive budgies’ reproductive cycles.
Domesticated budgies are rarely exposed to the natural cycles of nature because they’re usually kept indoors and are exposed to artificial light, which may confuse their hormones.
Light-dark cycles play an important role in determining when budgies mate. These cycles, which are called the photoperiod, indicate the changing seasons.
As winter becomes spring, the days grow longer and the nights shorter. Instinctively, budgies know that this means food will be in abundance.
Other breeding cycle triggers include vocalizations from other birds, mirrors, and petting on the back.
How To Stop Budgies from Laying Infertile Eggs
It’s wise to implement preventative measures to discourage breeding behavior in budgies. Egg production and laying pose various risks, including stress.
Here are some methods you can use:
- Control the photoperiod so the female doesn’t think it’s spring year-round.
- Don’t provide nesting boxes.
- Keep males and females separate.
- Don’t pet a budgie below the neck.
- Move items around the cage as we approach spring.
Of course, if your budgie still lays several clutches of eggs or always struggles with egg-laying, hormone injections and salpingectomies are an option.
Dangers of Egg Laying
Egg binding (dystocia) is the main danger if your budgie routinely lays eggs. Budgies become egg-bound when they can’t pass or lay the egg due to it becoming lodged or breaking internally.
Budgies have a singular vent through which they lay eggs and poop. A vent blocked by a malformed or misshapen egg means that a budgie can’t pass waste.
According to Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine, egg yolk peritonitis can occur when eggs break internally. The egg yolk leaks into the abdominal cavity, not the oviduct.
Female budgies can lay eggs without coming into contact with a male budgie. These eggs are unfertilized, so you should take steps to discourage egg-laying.