When keeping one or more pairs of budgies or even a desired breeding, you ask yourself one question above all: How do I recognize that the budgie hen is pregnant?
This is important not only out of curiosity, but also to be able to intervene early in case of problems such as egg laying. The signs are different for each animal, so you need to watch your budgies closely.
In this article we tell you all the important information, also clear up some myths and answer the 11 most important questions about the topic “budgies & the offspring”.
Are there “pregnant” budgies?
Strictly speaking, there are no pregnant birds, because they are oviparous. This means that the birds lay eggs and the young birds – if the egg is fertilized – develop only outside the mother’s body.
However, laying an egg is not always a joyful event. This is because reproduction is also associated with dangers in parakeets.
What physical changes occur during pregnancy?
In some budgie hens, no changes in the body take place at all. In other animals, a thick belly is clearly noticeable.
However, this is usually the case only a short time before the egg is laid. Then, as a rule, only a few days remain until incubation begins.
The behavior can reveal a little more…
What behavioral changes do budgies show when they are pregnant?
Budgies do not build nests. They are so-called cavity breeders and only need a nest box.
Make absolutely sure that this nest box is dark, because only in darkness is the hen able to produce the hormones necessary for pregnancy.
The hen will rigorously defend the area. In addition, except for defense, she will usually appear much calmer and eat more.
The expectant father, if present, will take noticeably more care of her and sometimes even already feed her.
What is the role of the male budgie after mating?
But his main task is to take care of the female and the young birds. This is because the budgie hen will not leave the nest box after laying eggs, but will incubate the egg or eggs.
Only once a day does the hen leave the eggs to deposit a large pile of droppings.
For this purpose, the rooster himself takes food and keeps it in the crop, flies to the nesting box or the nesting box and here feeds the mother as well as the young birds (in the first days, the young birds are provided with special crop milk from the mother).
Attention: This behavior has nothing to do with a ruminant trait, which is often assumed. Budgerigars are NOT ruminants.
Laying danger: Danger to life when laying eggs
Especially, in budgies that lay an egg for the first time, there is a risk for the so-called Legenot. The danger is present even if the egg is very large.
In this case, quick action is required, because on the one hand, the bird suffers pain. On the other hand, there is danger to life if the condition is not remedied.
But first, of course, you must be able to recognize the laying emergency. Typical signs include
fluffed up feathers
Bird sits wide-legged on the floor or lies down
shortness of breath or very shallow breathing
large quantities of feces are deposited
droppings may contain blood
wide open or narrowed eyes
prolapse of the cloaca
If these symptoms occur, you should consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. The vet may be able to manually remove your budgie’s droppings. He will use lubricant and massaging movements. If this does not work, surgery must be performed. This may sound scary to you, but it is the only way to save your pet.
11 questions and myths about pregnant budgies
The most important questions and myths about pregnant and breeding budgies we have collected for you here. Because on the one hand misconceptions still persist – even among budgie keepers.
On the other hand, it is of course exciting and thrilling for you to observe the development from the nesting box to the first egg, the hatching and flight attempts and to experience it first hand.
Budgies only lay eggs when a rooster is present
No, they don’t.
Even if you keep an all-female group of budgies, the hens can lay eggs. These are then not fertilized, but are often incubated for a while anyway.
However, you should remove the egg from the cage or aviary before it spoils and begins to smell.
Budgies will only lay eggs if a nesting box is available.
Again, this is a myth.
If there is no nesting box, the birds build their own nesting place. Among other things, they use a corner on the cage floor for this purpose and gather all the necessary materials in this place.
Prefabricated nests are therefore not a necessity.
Is every egg fertilized after it has been laid?
No, as with other creatures, the timing must be right.
If the sperm get to the egg too late, fertilization cannot occur because of the shell that is forming. Just because you observe a mating act does not guarantee budgie offspring.
How many eggs do budgies lay?
Only one egg at a time – there is no more space.
Therefore, the difference in weight is hardly noticeable or even not noticeable at all and no significant differences appear in comparison to before. Because on the one hand it is only one egg and on the other hand it weighs only a few grams.
However, it does not have to remain with one egg. In the distance of approximately two days in each case a further one can be put.
How can I tell that the egg is about to be laid?
When the egg approaches the cloaca, the tissue becomes dilated. This also causes the feces to become larger. Compared to the normal size, it can seem really huge. The dropping of the feces is less frequent.
How can I tell if an egg is fertilized?
You need to shine a flashlight on the egg.
In the first days nothing can be seen. Later, a fine network of blood vessels forms and shortly before hatching, even movements can be detected.
BUT: As a layman you should neither take the egg away from the hen nor shine a light through it.
Temperature fluctuations and too much movement can cause the embryo or young animal to die while still in the egg. So you have to be patient until either hatching occurs or it doesn’t.
How do budgies behave during hatching?
The female does not leave the nest during the entire breeding period – only once a day to defecate. Since she is supplied by the male, this is not necessary. In addition, the temperature of the egg remains the same, which is important for the development of the young bird.
If other conspecifics approach the nest box, they are perceived as a potential threat and are chased away.
How long does it take from egg laying to hatching?
The breeding period for budgies is 18 days. So you find out quickly whether an egg was fertilized or not. During this time the hen can lay more eggs. The time difference between them is two days each.
The young birds therefore hatch with a time delay, so that the female budgie can spend a total of three to four weeks incubating.
Are young birds nest-flyers or nest-stools?
Budgerigars are nestling birds.
They are initially blind and do not yet have feathers to keep them warm and their temperature stable, and are initially helpless and defenseless. Therefore, they are dependent on their parents until they fledge. This is because they feed them food from their crop, keep them warm and protect them.
How long does it take for young birds to learn to fly?
Before young birds can make their first attempts at flight, their eyes must first open and feathers must grow. In addition, coordination must improve. This usually takes four to five weeks.
Some fledglings curiously poke their heads out of the nest box even before this. Others need a little longer for their first excursions into their environment.
Make sure that you offer them only secured free flight. Because of their small size and still limited flying skills, they can injure themselves or slip behind cabinets.
Can the pregnancy be supported?
Yes, it is possible.
If you suspect your female budgie is pregnant, you can focus on providing a balanced diet and plenty of retreats. Also, offer nesting material.
If you have even observed that the budgie cock has mounted a hen, you don’t have to wait long for the egg to be laid. Already after a few days the female will go to the nesting box and stay there.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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