In this article we talk about in great detail about a Pregnant Budgie
If your budgie is pregnant, what do you do? It can be overwhelming!
I mean, how do you make sure your pregnant budgie is okay
What should you feed your pregnant budgie
And how do you take care of your pregnant budgie
There are many questions that may run through your mind
Not worry though
Because by the end of this in depth guide, you’ll become an expert in looking after your pregnant budgie how to deal with it
Let’s get started!
Parakeet budgies are oviparous which means that they do not give birth to live baby birds, but they lay eggs inside which, the young birds develop before hatching in the cage.
A female budgie is a ‘hen’ and a male budgie is a ‘cock’.
The scientific term for a pregnant budgie is ‘gravid’.
Preparing Your Pregnant Budgie For Motherhood
Budgies usually mate for life. If you are planning to breed, make sure she is in really good health first, by providing her with a really good diet which includes all the different nutrients plus a cuttlebone to provide calcium and a mineral block.
It is also essential to give your budgie plenty of fresh clean water that you change regularly.
By monitoring the colour of your budgie’s cere, you will be able to gauge when she is ready to mate.
Most female budgies normally have a pale blue or pink cere, but the cere will change color as the breeding season arrives.
From a pale blue or pink colour, your female budgie’s cere will change to a creamy white or pale tan colour.
This colour change of the cere is the first sign that your budgie is ready to mate.
An important point is that your budgie will not need to mate for her to lay eggs but, if she does lay eggs, they will be unfertilized so they will not hatch.
If you have spotted the change in colour in your female budgie’s cere, now is the time to introduce her to a male budgie.
You will be able to spot certain behaviour that will indicate that the pair are preparing to mate.
You will spot the male literally fluttering around the female and the pair of them passing regurgitated food to each other!
The budgies may well mate several times and usually, the female will start to lay her eggs about one week later.
Your female budgie will lay an egg every second day until she has a clutch of 4-7 eggs.
How Do I Know When My Budgie Is Pregnant?
Interestingly, there are no visual signs to watch out for that will indicate that your budgie is pregnant, but there are certain tell-tale signs that you will see in her behavior.
Let’s find out how her behavior may change when she is pregnant
Pregnant Budgie Symptoms – What To Look Out For:
She takes an increased interest in the nesting box.
If you have hung a nesting box in the cage, you may well spot the female starting to fly in and out of the box and as the days pass, she will begin to spend greater lengths of time in the box.
If you haven’t provided her with a nesting box, you may notice that your female budgie has started scratching at the corners of the cage or biting her food bowl as she looks for somewhere to lay her eggs.
She spends more time on the cage floor
Your female budgie may well spend time on the floor of the cage, shredding any paper it is lined with.
She will also rest on the cage floor, finding it more comfortable than sitting on her perch.
If she remains on the floor for a while and appears to be straining, she could be laying her first egg- keep a close eye on her to ensure that she is not egg bound.
One thing to remember is, sometimes a budgie would go to the bottom of the cage due to illness
I talk more about this in my article – Sick budgie on bottom of cage
Her droppings have increased in size
As the eggs inside your female budgie start to take up more space in her abdomen, her droppings will become less frequent and noticeably larger in size and often a slightly different color as she eats the maximum amount of proteins and minerals.
She gains weight
If you are very observant, you might just spot this sign in your pregnant budgie, because it usually only lasts a couple of days and is hard to spot visibly but her weight will have increased by a few grams.
This method for determining your budgie is pregnant only works if you know exactly how much she weighed before!
Your budgie is eating more
As the day when she is going to lay her first egg approaches, your budgie will definitely be eating noticeably more – and not just seed.
Your budgie at this time will also be pecking at the cuttlebone and mineral blocks in her cage.
Your budgie seems more aggressive
If your budgie is with other budgies she may seem noticeably more aggressive to the other budgies and may even try to peck them.
If your budgie is usually quite quiet, you may get a surprise when she starts chirping loudly to warn others to stay away!
Your pregnant budgie will only want her partner to be with her – especially when she pops into the nesting box.
She prepares the nesting box with feathers
Your female budgie will become very interested in the nesting box and spend plenty of time popping in and out of it as she carefully lines it with feathers.
You can see her swollen vent
As your female budgie prepares to lay her first egg, you may notice that she is quieter than usually and looks extra fluffy.
You will also see that her lower abdomen is looking puffy and if you feel it really gently, you may well be able to feel the eggs inside.
There will be a change in the appearance of her vent too which will look swollen and pale pink in color.
How Many Days Is a Budgie Pregnant For?
Once your female budgie has mated and her eggs have been fertilized it will be about ten days before she lays her first egg.
It is important to know that she may have to mate several times before her eggs have been fertilized.
She will only lay one egg at a time and after the first egg, she will lay another egg every second day until she has laid a total of 4-7 eggs.
The eggs will each need 18 days incubation – sometimes a little longer – before they hatch.
The female budgie does not usually settle down to incubate her eggs until at least two have been laid.
When the baby bird is ready yo hatch, it will start to break the shell with its beak.
It can take several hours for the baby bird to fully emerge, but this is totally natural and you must not intervene to try and speed up the process.
If an egg has not hatched after 24 days, it will not produce a young chick and should be gently removed from the nesting box.
If the female budge has laid an unfertilized egg, she will not try and incubate it, so again, just carefully remove it from the box.
What Do Pregnant Budgies Need?
To ensure success when breeding your budgies, it is important to provide them with everything they need – both before the female becomes pregnant and in the time prior to her laying her first egg.
Here’s a good tick list you should follow
- Make sure that you are giving your budgie a good and balanced diet with fresh foods and plenty of clean fresh water.
- To get your female budgie in top condition ensure she gets several hours of sunlight every day.
- Place a breeding box in the cage that is warm and dry with a non-slip curved floor.
- Provide a small amount of nesting material such as shredded paper, although your budgie will line the nesting box with her feathers too.
- Once you think that the female budgie is pregnant, move the cage with her and her partner to a peaceful location and leave them undisturbed.
Are Budgies Safe When Pregnant?
If you are planning to breed with your budgies, it is best to get the female budgie checked by your Vet first.
Like other birds, budgies can carry zoonotic infections such as Chlamydia, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Protozoa which can all cause miscarriages and stillbirth in budgie chicks.
It is important to keep your budgies’ cage clean and to wash your hands well after handling.
Food For a Pregnant Budgie
Nutrition for a pregnant female budgie is very important and you must ensure she has access to a really good and varied diet that includes cuttlefish and a vitamin block.
These are particularly important as they ensure that the eggs do not have soft shell which will result in them not hatching successfully.
How Do You Tell If a Budgie Is Going To Lay An Egg?
As the ‘big day’ approaches, your female budgie will spend an increasing amount of time in her nesting box.
She will be cleaning the nesting box and constantly rearranging the nesting material to ensure that it is absolutely perfect.
She may not even emerge for food but instead the male will frequently go to the nesting box to supply her with regurgitated food.
It is key to leave her alone at this point because if your female budgie doesn’t feel safe, she will not lay her eggs and even if she does, she will not sit on them to hatch them successfully or will eat the eggs.
Sometimes, a female budgie will discard an egg from the nest.
This is not accidental, it is because she will sense that something is not right with that particular egg.
What Does An Egg Bound Budgie Look Like?
If your female budgie is sitting on the floor of the bird cage and appears to be straining, she could be laying an egg.
However, if she continues to strain for more than a couple of hours, this is an indication that she is egg bound – which is a life-threatening condition for your budgie so swift action is needed to get her to your Vet.
Why Does a Budgie Egg Fail To Hatch?
There are several common reasons why a budgie egg may not hatch –
- The egg has not been fertilized
- Sometimes, the male budgie is infertile.
- The mating was unsuccessful but the female budgie has still laid an egg/ eggs
- Although most of the eggs were fertilized, sometimes a single egg in the clutch is not.
- Sometimes the chick inside the egg fails to develop normally.
- If the female budgie is young, she may well not incubate her eggs properly so they fail to hatch.
How Do You Candle An Egg?
This is the method that bird breeders use to check if a budgie egg contains a developing chick.
It is not something that should be undertaken as routine, but can be useful to do if you have concerns about a particular egg – if for example, the female budgie has pushed it out of the nest.
It is best to do the procedure when the female budgie has left her nest and it is far safer to use a small, powerful torch than a real candle.
Without moving the eggs, shine the light on the one you are concerned about.
Shining the light should reveal numerous red veins and these are indicators that all is well with the egg.
If the egg is close to its hatching date, you will also be able to clearly see the young bird inside.
If you can see the outline of the baby bird but without the red veins, sadly the baby chick is dead.
Which Months Do Budgies Lay Eggs?
In the wild, budgies normally breed in the wet spring and summer months – when the days are longer.
In northern Europe, most pet budgies breed between November and June, with the months of April – June being the most successful of all.
It really is great fun and very rewarding to breed budgies.
If you have a pair that are in good health and about one year old, they are ideal – especially if they have bonded already and are preening each other and holding beaks.
Follow our guidelines about diet, proving a nesting box and giving your budgies privacy and you will be rewarded with some beautiful baby budgies – probably sooner than you think!
Before You Go…
Hope this article has been helpful
Now if your budgie has laid eggs and they have had babies – Congratulations!
You may be wondering what do you do with the babies?
I’ve got you covered as I’ve written the ultimate guide all about baby parakeets!
You can check it out – Baby Parakeet (The Ultimate Guide)