Title - Should My Pet Budgies Nest?
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Young chicks in a typically messy nestThis is a question which is cropping up regularly in my mail. Many people choose to have a pair of pet budgies instead of just one, so that they will be company for each other. This is a most considerate way to go about keeping pets, and the pair are sure to derive a lot of happiness from each other. However, when the pair show signs of wanting to breed, it is easy to feel under pressure to let them have a family. So, should you, or shouldn't you?

It is important to consider whether you genuinely want baby budgies, and if so, whether you can cater for a family of them, and whether you can put up with the mess.

Budgies cannot nest unless you provide a nest box, so you are in control. If you do not want baby budgies, then simply refrain from providing a box. It isn't cruel to do so. Breeding from them would not satisfy their instincts in any permanent way, since they would only want to go on and on nesting!!! In fact, breeding nearly always has to be ended rather brutally by removing the nest box and throwing away the new eggs -- otherwise many pairs will completely wear themselves out rearing one round (brood or family) of chicks after another.

If you DO really fancy raising a family of budgies, it is vital to realize that the rearing of just one brood will take about three months, and that the pair will need extra foods and extra care throughout this period. If you want to allow them to roll on into a second round, as breeders usually do, you need to allow some five months from provision of the box to independence of the second family. Unless you have excellent budgie-sitters you will not be able to go on holiday/vacation during that time.

Be warned, budgie nests are not at all hygienic, and are not something to have in the living room or bedroom -- (note all the droppings in the picture!). The chicks will flap their growing wings within the nest, and send powdered lime and other unpleasant debris everywhere!

How to breed budgies and look after the babies is a big subject. I suggest you be patient, hold off a bit, and do plenty of reading. If you can, join a cage bird club and visit a breeder as this is the best way to learn. Extra foods are needed for breeding pairs including some form of the vitamin D3. -- So plan well!

© Helen Day, first published 2004.

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