Budgies can be very particular about their mates, cage setups, nesting boxes, food, and environment. If these factors are off, the budgie pair may refuse to breed.
You can breed budgies once they reach 6+ months old. They need a calcium and vitamin D-rich diet, which are crucial to egg formation and avoiding egg binding.
Provide an individual breeding cage for the mating pair equipped with a wooden nesting box. Ensure the pair of budgies get 12 hours of darkness for sleep and 12 hours of sunlight.
Once you find your budgies flirting, the setup is to their liking. Budgies usually mate from October to March, but it can happen at other times.
How To Get Budgies To Mate
Budgies need the right conditions to mate.
When considering how to get your budgies to breed, there are seven factors to consider:
1/ Breeding Budgies Cage Setup
Before encouraging your budgies to breed, you need the right cage setup. Will you be breeding your budgies in an aviary, an indoor or outdoor breeding colony, or individual breeding cages?
Here are the three most popular breeding budgie cage setups:
Outdoor Flight Cages
Wire outdoor flight cages, also known as aviaries, are good for breeding several budgies.
They allow free movement and provide fresh air and sunlight. Cover them with heavy-duty cage covers, such as plastic tarp, when the cold weather arrives.
Large, timber outdoor flight cages offer more protection than traditional wire cages. You need only to make a few modifications, like adding a nesting box, to these setups.
However, night fright is more common in outdoor setups. This occurs when a budgie gets frightened due to shadows or unusual and loud noises.
The budgie will jump from its roosting place and flutter around. At the least, this will disturb its sleep. Budgies that routinely experience night fright can have a compromised ability to breed.
It’s common for breeders to leave a low wattage red light on inside an outdoor flight cage, as this allows the female to return to her nest box and better gauge the surroundings.
Indoor Flight Cages
Colony breeding includes only a few mass-feeding and watering stations.
This method is less time-consuming than individually maintaining each cage if you’re breeding more than one pair. If you want to use the colony breeding method, indoor flight cages are preferred.
A large indoor flight cage with two sections is adequate for most home budgie breeders. Better yet, you can regulate temperature and adequately illuminate the cage.
Doing so alleviates the issue of night fright and cold weather. If your budgies get scared at night, they can see enough to get themselves back to their nesting boxes.
Individual Breeding Cages
Putting your budgie pairs in separate, individual breeding cages is the most controlled way to breed budgies. Use good-sized breeding cages that provide ample space, as budgies can get territorial and erratic during breeding.
There are various individual breeding cages, from metal wire cages to wooden cages with cage fronts. Some come with nest boxes built into the cage, while others have nest boxes outside the cage.
2/ Breeding Age for Budgies
After you’ve decided on a setup, consider the budgies’ ages. Usually, you can encourage your budgies to breed once they turn 6 months old.
This may vary from bird to bird, but a female can breed from 6 months to 3-4 years. However, according to AFA Watchbird, males can breed for 4-5 years.
Several factors determine how long you can breed budgies, including diet and how often they’re bred.
If your budgie has already been bred twice in a year, has underlying medical conditions, or has gotten old, it’s suggested that you refrain from encouraging them to breed.
3/ What To Feed Budgies for Breeding
When the parents are well-fed, they’ll pass their good health on to their chicks. Offer a proper diet so the chicks can develop adequately, have robust immune systems, and maintain a healthy weight.
A breeding budgie needs nine times the energy of a non-breeding budgie to remain healthy. Offer nutritious soft foods, such as:
- Dry biscuit crumbs
- Grated carrots
- Seed mixes
- Soft wheat
- Hulled oats mixed with shell grit, cuttlefish, and greens
Even the chicks can eat soft food soon after hatching.
A mating budgie’s diet should include the following:
Change your budgie’s water daily or more often if it’s dirty.
Your budgies need more water while they’re breeding. To ensure they don’t run out, you need two water bottles for one pair because this reduces the risk of budgies fighting over resources.
Vegetables, Leafy Greens, And Fruits
Good food choices for budgies include:
Wash and chop them into small pieces before offering them to your budgies.
Cooked And Chopped Eggs
Chicken eggs are the best source of protein and calcium. Also, add some blended eggshells into the mix.
Seed And Pellet Mix
Get a high-quality hulled product with omega-3.
4/ Lighting for Breeding Budgies
Your budgies will need about 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness to breed successfully. They should also get sufficient sleep with naps throughout the day.
Ensure the female has access to direct sunlight during the day because this helps the female produce vitamin D, which leads to stronger eggshells and bones.
5/ Healthy Enough to Breed
Don’t encourage breeding without considering whether the budgies are fit enough to mate. Complications such as egg binding (dystocia) can arise if your budgies aren’t healthy.
Egg binding occurs when the female doesn’t have enough calcium to complete the formation of the eggshell. So, the shell doesn’t become hard enough to push out, so it becomes lodged.
6/ Pairing Budgies
In a mixed aviary, budgies self-select their preferred mates.
The minute you introduce the budgie pair, you should observe a reaction. The male bird should pursue the female. Once you see the male budgie successfully feed the female, mating isn’t far away.
Leave the pair for a week so that they can get acclimated. After a week, introduce a nesting box to the cage and check the female’s reaction. Keep the box’s entrance closed off for another day or so.
7/ What to Put In The Budgies Nesting Box
Budgies need cavities to nest in when breeding because they simulate the tree cavities they favor in the wild. So, selecting a nesting box made of wood is recommended.
Budgies are minimalist nesters, and some don’t prepare their nests. Others appreciate a soft lining material in their box, such as aspen shavings and recycled/shredded newspaper.
Fit the nesting boxes in your aviary, or fix one outside the cage. Clean the nesting boxes with a solution made from two parts water and one part vinegar before the female settles in.
When Is Mating Season for Budgies?
Budgies usually start to breed during October and continue to do so until March. However, they sometimes breed after heavy rain, placing their mating cycle on an entirely new scale.
In the far south, wild budgies breed in spring because there’s a hot, dry summer and a cold, wet winter. In the mid-latitudes, they breed during the hot months. In the north, where there is a well-defined, wet summer season and a dry winter, breeding normally occurs when the dry season begins.
However, from the mid-south to mid-north, there’s a shift from a predominance of winter to summer rainfall. So, there’s also a shift in breeding from spring and summer to summer and autumn.
How To Tell When Budgies Are Getting Ready to Mate
Placing a male and female budgie together in a cage doesn’t automatically mean they’ll start breeding. Besides the right environment and diet, budgies should be willing to breed.
Here are the most common budgie breeding signs:
Condition of The Male Budgie
Breeding condition refers to physical changes in a budgie’s body when ready to mate.
If the male isn’t ready to breed, its cere (the fleshy area where its nostrils are situated) will be a speckled, light blue shade. The cere turns dark blue and loses any spots when the budgie is ready to breed.
State of The Female Budgie
When ready to breed, a female’s cere is usually light blue. If you notice this color, she’s in her least fertile period. Trying to get her to breed at this time can result in infertile eggs.
Her cere will change from blue to off-white when she’s close to breeding condition. When she’s at her peak fertile period, her cere will turn a deep tan shade, which is when you should encourage her to breed.
Breeding Behavior and Flirting
Male and female budgies spend time flirting with each other.
They share affection by nibbling gently, touching beaks, and grooming each other. They might even chirp as if deep in conversation.
When ready to breed, the male budgie will show off for the female, flutter, and make noises. He’ll also put his colorful feathers on display for her.
Meanwhile, a female budgie will chew paper for a nest when she’s ready to breed. The male may feed the female regurgitated food, as he’ll later do when she’s nesting.
Why Won’t My Budgies Breed?
If you’re constantly failing in encouraging budgies to breed, there might be something you haven’t figured out yet. Likewise, you may have received bad advice.
Here’s why your budgies won’t mate:
Your budgies won’t be healthy enough to breed without a nutritious and balanced diet.
It helps to introduce your budgies to a pellet-based diet before breeding begins. For a balanced diet, provide mixes with whole seeds and vitamin supplements.
Offer fruits, dark leafy greens, chopped vegetables, grains, and cooked eggs. Clean and crush the eggshells before mixing them with the eggs.
If your budgies aren’t breeding, you might have gotten their sexes wrong.
The cere is a good indicator of gender with some budgie color mutations, but not all. In some mutations, the cere never changes, particularly for pale and solid-colored budgies like white or yellow varieties.
You can ask a vet to perform an official sexing.
It’s best if you have a separate cage for each pair. If you place more than one in a cage, it might be why breeding isn’t working out. The budgies might be getting territorial, erratic, or threatened by other pairings.
In many cases, the males become dominant and breed with different female budgies. The females also start competing and may raid their nests, destroy or eat eggs, or kill each other’s chicks.
Some professional breeders house their budgies in one large, walk-in aviary. This is effective if you want to breed for quantity rather than quality.
If you want to control the standard and safety of each chick, get a separate cage for each pair.
Wrong Type of Nesting Box
Use an appropriate nesting box for female budgies and their chicks.
You need a wooden nest box made especially for budgies. The chicks will be nearly as large as the adults before they leave, so the box must be able to comfortably hold 5-7 adult budgies.
The nest box needs a concave floor to keep the eggs from rolling around. Also, it should have a hinged top that you can open to check on the eggs or chicks.
Lack of Privacy
Keep them in a quiet area and only check on them when providing food. If the area has high foot traffic, the budgies won’t feel safe in their cage and will be discouraged from breeding.
When cleaning the cage, don’t be too disruptive. Budgies can get startled by the noise and feel unsafe.
Once your budgie has laid eggs, wait for the chicks to emerge from the nesting box on their own. When this happens, take down the nest box to clean it and allow the parents to rest for several months.
Ensuring you have the right environment for budgie breeding is imperative. Also, ensure that males and females have a nutritious and balanced diet, good nesting boxes, and enough privacy to breed.