Budgies instinctively know how to rear their young, but not all budgies are good parents. Baby budgies are delicate creatures, and there are many reasons why budgie chicks keep dying.
Most baby budgies die from malnutrition due to not being fed or being given a poor diet. Also, chicks may be exposed to airborne toxins, such as Teflon cooking fumes.
Baby budgies are vulnerable to illness and disease as their immune systems are underdeveloped. All budgies are temperature-sensitive, so they may keep dying due to hot or cold living conditions.
Deformities can occur when eggs are shaken late in their developmental stages. Also, chicks can die due to patchy incubation or a lack of egg-turning.
Here’s a guide on how to prepare for baby budgies.
Why Do Baby Budgies Die?
The young of all animal breeds are more vulnerable than the adults. Birds are vulnerable creatures, especially smaller species like budgerigars.
Here are the most common reasons why baby budgies die prematurely:
1/ Unfed by Parents
Malnutrition and starvation are common causes of death in baby budgies.
If you fear that a chick has died due to malnutrition, ask two questions:
- Were the parents being fed a balanced diet?
- Were the parents feeding their young?
Adult budgies won’t immediately feed their young. After the chicks hatch, the hen will rest while her young feed off the egg yolk sac for energy and nutrition.
Eventually, the chicks will cry out for food, so the hen should feed them at this point. If the mother doesn’t feed her chicks 24 hours after hatching, you’ll need to feed them a juvenile bird formula.
Once the egg yolk sac has been consumed, baby budgies need to be fed by their parents at least once every 3-4 hours. You should observe the hen regurgitating food into the mouths of her young.
If this isn’t happening, their parents have abandoned the chicks.
2/ Airborne Toxins
Budgies are vulnerable to airborne toxins due to their sensitive respiratory system. Of course, chicks are even more susceptible to harm.
Airborne toxins commonly come from:
- Chemical-based cleaning products
- Scented candles
- Perfumes and aftershaves
- Teflon cookware (non-stick pans)
- Bug sprays
Never use any of the above products in the same room as your budgies.
3/ Illness And Disease
As baby budgies don’t yet have a fully developed immune system, even minor illnesses can be fatal. They may contract them from the air, being exposed to other birds, and their owners.
Bacteria and viruses thrive in unsanitary, so keep the cage clean by doing the following:
- Remove food after meals so that it doesn’t go rotten
- Change the water 2-3 times per day
- Change the cage lining once per day
- Clean toys, perches, swings, and bells daily
- Ensure that the cage is well-ventilated
The health of the parents, especially the mother, is crucial. Ensure that she’s getting a calcium-rich diet, isn’t bored or stressed, and gets enough exercise.
Before budgies have chicks, get them checked over by a vet for illnesses and diseases that can be passed on to their young.
4/ Extreme Temperatures
Even chicks that aren’t abandoned can die from the wrong temperature. So, ensure that the ambient temperature for baby budgies is kept at close to 98 degrees Fahrenheit.
There are ways to prevent baby budgies from getting too cold:
- Use a brooder lamp, which is a lamp made specifically for chicks
- Place a heating pad under the nesting box
- Use a humidifier
- Cover the cage with a blanket
- Raise the temperature of the entire room
Hatchlings, or juveniles without feathers, should be kept in an area with at least 50% relative humidity. This will ensure that they have healthy skin and feathers once they develop.
5/ Physical Deformities
Sometimes, chicks are hatched with anatomical deformities that make survival impossible. These deformities happen when the chick is still developing inside the egg.
Physical deformities can be caused by the following:
Eggs that are shaken may be physically deformed and unhealthy. This commonly happens when an egg is shaken in the latter stages of development.
The most common cause of shaken eggs is when the egg falls from the nest. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the eggs are secured in a proper nesting box and material at ground level.
A patchy incubation refers to eggs that haven’t been incubated consistently. This happens when the hen leaves the nest/eggs unattended for too long.
If the female needs to be removed from the aviary, you’ll need to incubate the eggs yourself. Alternatively, you can transfer the eggs to another nest where they’ll be fostered.
However, sometimes female budgies will reject eggs. This can happen when a hen suspects that the eggs are unhealthy or diseased.
The objective of budgies is species preservation, so wasting energy and resources on chicks that are unlikely to survive is pointless.
Female budgies turn their eggs a minimum of 5 times per day while they nest.
According to Avian Biology Research, it’s theorized that egg turning is designed to ensure the survival of the embryo and the proper development of the chick.
It’s certainly the case that the top of the egg will stay warmer as it’s in direct contact with the hen’s body. Turning the eggs ensure that all parts of a developing egg receive much-needed warmth.
Mothers instinctively know how to nest properly and will turn their eggs. However, stressed females and those that aren’t ready for nesting may not do so.
Baby Budgie Died Suddenly
Baby budgies can die overnight from starvation, illness, changing temperatures, or attacks from other budgies. Usually, illness, disease, and malnutrition kill a baby budgie overnight.
If you find a dead budgie in the cage, remove it immediately. Budgies that have died from diseases are likely to infect other birds. Once the carcass is removed, thoroughly clean the entire cage.
Take the dead chick to a vet for a post-mortem examination. That way, any highly transmissible diseases can be ruled out or treatment issued to other chicks, if necessary.