Most adult budgies instinctively know how to care for and raise their offspring. Your role during the initial stages will usually be monitoring the progress and development of the chicks.
Baby budgies are usually cared for by their parents, so you only need to prepare for their arrival by ensuring the parents are comfortable.
You can provide a nesting box, give ample food to the mother, provide a warm spot away from other budgies, and keep the area quiet and calm.
Unfortunately, not all budgies are good at raising their young. If a hen lacks access to nutritious food, especially calcium, her health can suffer, reducing her willingness and ability to look after her babies.
So, you need to make the parent budgies’ lives easier by providing everything they need.
How To Care for Baby Budgies
In the lead-up to your baby budgies arriving, you should provide the following:
- Nesting box: This should be placed on the cage floor or attached to a wall, so the female has somewhere to lay her eggs.
- Food: This will ensure that she lays healthy eggs and doesn’t harm them or the chicks due to food shortages.
- Separation: Separating the parents will ensure that they feel calm and non-threatened, so they don’t react to stress and harm their chicks.
- Warmth: This is beneficial to the parents and their eggs, so keep the room at a warm temperature before hatching.
- Quiet and peaceful room: Avoid lots of foot traffic, loud TVs, or flashing lights.
- Budgie formula and syringe: If the mother abandons her chicks, you’ll be able to feed them.
The following tips and advice will ensure that the chicks grow up healthy and strong:
Let The Parents Raise Their Chicks
Male and female budgies take care of their young until they begin to feed on their own.
The male usually goes out to look for food and fills the crop of his partner. The female feeds the chicks and later covers them under her wings to provide them with warmth.
Only step in if you notice that the parent budgies have abandoned the chicks or they’re not well fed.
Create The Right Environment
Baby budgies are born blind and naked. Without providing the ideal environment for their growth, most won’t survive beyond the first couple of weeks.
Ideally, you should place a nesting box inside the cage. Depending on the surrounding temperatures and the female’s preferences, this can include nesting materials or be bare.
Wild budgies often nest in bare cavities found in trees or cliff sides. The extra material will annoy the mother if you add it, and she may throw it out. However, other female budgies like the adornment and find it easier to stay warm in colder homes or environments.
The ideal ambient temperature should be 98 degrees Fahrenheit.
Check for Health Problems
The parents will care for their chicks as best as they can, but it’s important to monitor the progress of the baby budgies, especially during the first few weeks.
For instance, if you notice that the chicks have respiratory issues or signs of illness, the female may not be properly maintaining her nest. If so, clean out the nesting box.
There’s a chance the mother will refuse to return to the nest at this point, meaning that you may need to hand-rear the chicks. However, it’s better than the entire brood dying.
Allow The Chicks To Wean
Weaning in budgies is a natural process. Even though you can help the chicks wean more quickly, you should allow them to go through the process themselves.
This will enable them to learn how to eat food and drink water without relying on their parents. Ensure that you provide the chicks with a shallow food and water dish for easy weaning.
How To Take Care of Baby Budgies
Even though the parents are responsible for their chicks, there are times when they fail to do so.
For instance, the male may attack or kill baby budgies out of jealousy. Also, females may abandon their chicks if there’s inadequate food or the nest has been badly disturbed.
Here’s how to care for budgie chicks:
Nesting Box And Materials
Remove the budgies from their original nesting box and place them in a new enclosure. This will ensure that the parents can’t harm them, accidentally or intentionally.
Place them in a new nesting box, outfitted with shredded paper, recycled newspaper, or aspen shavings as nesting materials.
Swap out part of these nesting materials once a week to remove the poop and other unwanted debris.
Chicks aren’t born with feathers, so they can’t regulate their body temperature properly.
You may need to get a brooding lamp to maintain an ambient 98-degree temperature as they grow. Position the nesting box somewhere far away from windows or drafty areas.
Hand Feed The Chicks
Use a budgie formula and follow the instructions to mix it.
Put the formula in a clean syringe with a dull plastic tip that can easily fit inside the mouth. Give your budgies small portions, ensuring that you don’t overfill their crops.
Clean The Chicks
You’ll be responsible for washing the budgies’ vents, legs, and around their face.
This can be performed with a damp cloth and gentle motions. There’s a chance the baby budgies will get infections, illnesses, or become constipated if they’re not properly cleaned every 1-2 days.
Help The Chicks Wean
At about 4 weeks, baby budgies will start coming out of the nest and begin to wean. They won’t be fully reliant on you for meals, but they’ll need to learn what foods to eat.
You can assist by providing a shallow dish of crushed pellets at the bottom of the cage. Pair this with one of fresh water. Set your budgies near these dishes and encourage them to peck at the food.
Never force their faces into it, as they may inhale water or seed dust.
What Do Baby Budgies Need?
Baby budgies don’t need much when they’re under 4 weeks of age. Their needs can be provided for, as mentioned above, with:
- A nesting box
- Nesting material
- A brooding lamp
- Budgie formula and syringe for hand-feeding
- Thermometer to check their nest’s warmth
After 4 weeks of age, baby budgies have additional needs. You will need to provide:
- Seed Mix: As the babies start to wean, they’ll need food.
- Cuttlebone: Their beaks will be growing in length, and their bodies will need extra calcium. A cuttlefish bone will keep the beak filed down and be a good source of calcium.
- Millet spray: Enables them to develop and maintain their energy levels.
- Clean water: As baby budgies learn to drink and eat normally, they’ll make a mess. So, swap out their water dish with clean and fresh water every day, if not several times a day.
If you plan on keeping the new budgies in the same cage as their parents, they’ll need additional room.
How To Keep Baby Budgies Warm
Baby budgies get ill and can die when they’re too cold.
They rely on their mother to keep them warm. If she needs assistance, or you’re hand-raising budgies, you can ensure that they maintain their body temperature by doing the following:
This lamp releases radiant heat to provide a source of warmth for your chicks.
Brooder lamps are 100% safe, but you must ensure that you buy the correct one for baby budgies to avoid overheating.
Position them an adequate distance away (check the instructions) from the chicks.
You can place a heating pad directly underneath the nesting box, depending on the material it’s composed of and its thickness. Otherwise, wrap it in a thin towel and place it directly in the nesting box.
Ensure it’s on a low enough setting that it doesn’t produce too much heat or burn the chicks. It should maintain a level and constant temperature.
Keep The Nesting Box In A Warm Room
If you don’t have a heating pad or a brooder lamp, move the nesting box to a warmer room in the house. Also, ensure that it’s kept away from open windows and doors to limit drafts.
Monitor the temperature and ensure that it doesn’t exceed the recommended 98 degrees Fahrenheit. The nesting box may be warmer than the surrounding room, so use a thermometer.
This method is best suited to older chicks that are developing feathers. The increased humidity will keep them warm and prevent dry skin, reducing dander.
You can achieve this with a warm-mist air humidifier.
Cover The Cage With A Blanket
Take a thick blanket and cover the cage where your budgies are nesting.
This will trap the heat within the cage and insulate it against breezes or drafts, which is particularly effective at night when temperatures usually drop.
Baby Budgie Food List
Before weaning, chicks rely on their parents fulfilling their nutritional needs. If you hand-feed baby budgies, choose their food carefully.
Before they reach 4-weeks-old, only give them budgie formula that’s intended for young chicks. They cannot digest whole food yet and will become sick or die if you force them.
When you first offer baby budgies whole food, start with soft meals, such as the following:
- Cooked brown rice
- Scrambled eggs
- Grated fruit or vegetables
- Crushed budgie pellets
- Crushed mixed seeds
How To Feed A Baby Budgie With A Syringe
Feeding a baby budgie requires that you get a regular syringe and fill it up with food.
There are risks if you get overzealous, so make sure that you do the following:
- Go slow
- Only give your budgie small portions
- Don’t fill its crop all at once
- Allow it to swallow and adjust to the food
- Stop once the crop (the bulge at its throat) begins to look full
Overfeeding a budgie chick can lead to it aspirating. So, it’s better to go slow and steady, feeding it numerous smaller meals instead of accidentally overfeeding even once.
Here are the steps for syringe-feeding a budgie:
- Buy your preferred budgie chick formula.
- Prepare the baby budgie food according to its instructions.
- Check the temperature of the food and ensure it does not exceed 109 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sterilize a feeding syringe by dipping it in hot water for a few minutes.
- Load the sterilized feeding syringe with the prepared food.
- Cup the baby budgie gently with your hand.
- Hold the syringe upwards and approach the budgie from the side at a 45-degree angle.
- Tap the tip of the syringe against the chick’s beak until it opens up.
- Insert the tip gently and dispense the food slowly.
- Ensure that you don’t dispense more than 4-5 ml. of food.
How Often To Feed Baby Budgies
Feeding baby budgies is a time-consuming task, especially during the first couple of weeks.
You should feed your baby budgies every 1-2 hours around the clock for the first few days. The maximum quantity of food should not exceed 5 ml. (or 0.17 fl. oz.) in each meal.
When the budgies reach 3 weeks old, feed them a maximum of 4 times a day, but in larger quantities, as your budgies continue to grow. Monitor the crop to ensure it’s getting filled but not overfilled.
The crop should appear almost translucent through the skin when it’s young and featherless, so this won’t be too difficult.
How Much Sleep Do Baby Budgies Need?
Baby budgies are born with their eyes shut, meaning they’ll remain asleep for up to 20 hours a day during their initial development.
As they open their eyes and continue to grow, your budgies will sleep a minimum of 12 hours every night. This is followed by an additional 4-6 hours during the day.
When your baby budgie reaches about 8 weeks, it’ll sleep like adult budgies. This lasts for about 12 hours, with about 9-10 hours of sleep at night and the rest spent as naps in the day.
Can I Touch A Baby Budgie?
Done correctly, touching a baby budgie won’t harm, infect, or otherwise damage the chick.
Before touching baby budgies, wait until they’re at least 2 weeks old. They’ll be slightly feathered, able to move around better, support their weight, and less vulnerable.
When you do handle them, be sure to:
- Obtain a small hand towel
- Place the hand towel over the baby budgie
- Cup them with one hand and support them with the other hand
- Once you’re finished, return them to the nest
How To Play With A Baby Budgie
You can start playing with your baby budgies once they’re at least 7 weeks old. By this time, the budgies will be fully feathered and eating independently.
Why Are My Baby Budgies Fighting?
The main reason baby budgies fight is over food.
You’ll notice that some chicks are larger than others, meaning the bigger budgies may be getting extra meals. As the chicks grow older, they’ll get into disputes over toys or territory.
According to a Manual of Exotic Pet Practice, budgies can be territorial from a young age, especially when in captivity. This means your baby budgies may fight as soon as they are old enough to recognize and appreciate their own space.
When Can Baby Budgies Be Separated From Parents?
You can separate baby budgies from their parents once they reach 8 weeks and they’re already weaned. By 8 weeks old, the baby budgies are feathered and able to feed on their own. If the budgies are yet to wean, you may have to hand-feed them until they can start eating on their own.
Preparing for baby budgies is easy if the parents can raise their offspring. If they can’t, prepare a warm nest, nutritious food, and offer enough time to clean and raise the chicks.