Budgies are oviparous (egg-layers), so they don’t become pregnant.
After breeding, the mother (hen) develops fertilized eggs, which she’ll lay in 8-10 days. However, many owners like to know when chicks are on the way, but it can be difficult to tell when a budgie is expecting.
Signs of pregnancy in budgies include a soft bump against the vent and the budgie pooping less often but producing larger droppings.
Subtle signs include a change in cere color, swollen abdomen, brooding patch, and slight weight gain. Gravid females become more defensive, affectionate to their mates, and spend more time in the nest.
Signs of budgie pregnancy are hard to confirm, sometimes overlapping with symptoms of illness. If you can’t get a reliable reading, most owners will wait to see if eggs arrive.
How to Tell if Your Budgie is Pregnant
Budgies become gravid, which means they’re egg carriers.
The eggs undergo no embryonic development in the mother’s body, and mating isn’t a prerequisite for laying eggs. While that sounds like a fun fact, it presents a problem.
A lack of real “pregnancy” makes it hard to tell when your budgie is about to lay eggs. There isn’t a 100% accurate method for telling if your budgie is gravid unless you contact your vet.
For the average person, it’s hard to tell when a budgie is carrying eggs. After all, its body shape remains mostly the same., so you can’t rely on a baby bump or swollen nipples.
You’ll need to look for obvious signs and behavioral changes.
Bigger Poop, Less Often
When the budgie’s eggs are in development, they need to be stored somewhere, causing a reduction in space within the budgie’s torso. As a result, the budgie won’t poop as frequently.
However, when she does go to the toilet, her poop will be much larger. They’ll get even bigger as the egg nears the cloaca and the female is about to lay them.
This will be one of the main signs, but it’s hard to spot unless you’re paying close attention. Budgies poop a lot, relieving themselves once every 15-20 minutes.
A reduction in pooping only happens when a budgie is sick or gravid.
A Bump On Her Vent, or Egg Bum
If you suspect your budgie is gravid, pick her up and gently feel the area around her vent. If she has eggs, you’ll feel a soft, solid lump in that area called an egg bum.
That’s because budgies are small birds that don’t have that much internal space. The presence of eggs against the vent strongly indicates that your budgie is pregnant.
With that said, budgies lay 4-8 eggs. If your female carries fewer eggs than normal or is large for her breed, it may be far harder to tell.
Signs of Pregnancy in Budgies
These signs are less likely to emerge and can be interpreted as something else:
Cere Color Chang
Normally, female budgies have either a white or light-blue cere. As the breeding season approaches, the cere can change color to brown or off-white. Also, it can become thicker and crustier.
If you notice this change before your budgie starts acting defensively or poops less, it may be gravid.
You may notice that your budgie’s abdomen swells up slightly. Like egg bum, there’s little room to spare inside a budgie.
This is difficult to notice because feathers change a budgie’s torso.
Budgies develop a small patch of bare or featherless skin around their vent during the breeding season. This is called the brood patch and is a sure sign of readiness to mate.
It can’t tell you for sure that the budgie is gravid, but it can indicate that it will happen soon.
A few extra grams on her body can indicate that your budgie is ready to start laying. Of course, this isn’t always the case, and few people are willing/able to weigh a budgie successfully.
Pregnant Budgie Behavior
Budgies can act out for various reasons, so these aren’t infallible. So, pair these signs with others. If they match up, there’s a good chance that your budgie is gravid:
Budgies produce eggs when estrogen production in the female’s body increases.
This hormonal change may cause the female to act more defensively. She may be unusually protective of herself, her mate, or her nesting area. This could include more fighting or biting at you.
The female may also hunker down and be less willing to leave her nest or interact with you. Wild budgies are vulnerable prey animals, so this extra gumption is a valuable survival tactic.
Time Around The Nest
Is your budgie spending most of her time in or around her nest? If so, she’s likely gravid. Budgies that aren’t ready to mate don’t spend their time obsessing over their nests.
Telling signs will include:
- Feathering her nest
- Sitting in the nest rather than playing or socializing outside of it
- Defending the spot from other budgies
Most budgies become obsessed with the cleanliness of their nest when they’re about to lay eggs. You may find your budgie constantly rearranging items or preening itself in the spot.
Overly Affectionate Displays
Budgies interested in mating or have already done so are affectionate and flirty with each other.
This may include the following displays:
- Regurgitating into each other’s mouths
- Spending most of their time side by side
- Courting by strutting and displaying their colorful feathers
Is My Budgie Pregnant or Sick?
If your budgie displays most or all of the signs listed above, it’s likely gravid. However, as mentioned, some of these changes can indicate sickness.
According to the Veterinary Nursing Journal, despite being expressive in other ways, budgies are adept at hiding their illnesses. Unless you’re observant, it can be hard to tell if your budgie is going through the hormonal process of brooding or is sick.
Here are some ways to tell sickness apart from pregnancy:
Normal ‘pregnancy poops’ should only occur for a few days.
If your budgie maintains large droppings beyond 8-10 days, there’s likely an issue with its stomach. Moreover, changes in the poop’s color indicate something is wrong.
You should be concerned if your budgie is constantly grumpy and hunched over.
This could mean the following apply:
- Uncomfortable: This requires you to check the room temperature or adjust her diet.
- Pain: This is likely due to internal problems.
Stress or Discomfort
Budgies can act and function normally while carrying eggs. If you notice that your budgie is straining to poop, struggling to breathe, or is distressed, that’s abnormal.
How Long is A Budgie Pregnant For?
It takes budgies 8-10 days after mating for eggs to be developed and laid.
A budgie will lay 4-8 eggs during a nesting period, and they’ll take 18 days to incubate and hatch.
When Do Budgies Breed?
Wild budgies mostly breed during late spring and summer, especially during the wetter months when food is plentiful.
This mostly depends on their climate and breed. However, pet budgies can breed throughout the year if you create the right conditions, especially lighting.
Budgies need around 12 hours of light a day to stimulate their mating instincts, which can be achieved with fluorescent lights.
Budgie Breeding Problems
The fact that your budgie is mating and preparing to lay eggs doesn’t mean she’ll have healthy chicks. Sometimes, they experience problems that hinder their ability to produce live offspring or even successfully lay the eggs.
Common breeding problems in budgies include the following:
Putting a male and female budgie together doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll mate.
Some budgies dislike each other. According to the Italian Journal of Zoology, female budgies are selective and may spend the entire time fighting the males rather than breeding.
If a female isn’t fed a balanced diet, she may become overweight, lethargic, and infertile. She may lack the necessary nutrients to develop eggs and recover from that process.
Signs of egg binding include:
- Breathing difficulties
- Oddly colored droppings
The condition is mainly caused by lack of calcium, lack of exercise, or dehydration.
Budgies show subtle signs when gravid (pregnant). By keeping an eye out for the above signs, especially when they happen in tandem, you can usually determine if your budgie is about to lay eggs.