If you plan on breeding budgies, then the first thing you should know is that, like all birds, budgies are oviparous; therefore, they can’t become pregnant. But instead, a pregnant budgie refers to a parrot about to lay fertilized eggs. Unfortunately, determining if your budgie is pregnant or ill can be challenging.
Remember, budgies make great pets even for first-time owners, but with time a female budgie will start laying eggs. Therefore, it’s crucial that you know more about unwanted eggs and taking care of a pregnant budgie. After all, if your main goal is breeding, then you need proper preparation. How you care for them after the breeding process starts matters a lot.
For a breeder, there is nothing more relaxing than raising a few chicks; they always ensure their pets produce fertilized eggs. Some have even invested in an incubator for maximum results from their parrots. So how do you know when your budgie is pregnant? Well, there are several signs to watch out for; some of them include:
- More giant poops, but less often
- Change in the color of the cere
- A bump on its vent region
- Swollen abdomen
- Change in behavior, for instance, will appreciate being handled only sometimes.
- Formation of a brood patch
When you notice the above signs, then you should start preparing for the new chicks, which means doing the following:
- Please give it a healthy meal rich in calcium which helps with egg formation.
- Purchase a comfortable nesting cage.
- Create a stress-free environment, which could mean staying away from it or keeping the other pets away.
- Make sure you maintain proper hygiene during the breeding phase.
Unfortunately, some pet lovers have mistaken a pregnant budgie for a sick one. And that’s because these symptoms are similar, so you should be careful when inspecting your pet. And if you suspect that it’s unhealthy, you should consult the vet.
Most parakeets are ordinarily ready to start laying eggs when they turn a year old. And after breeding, they can lay the first egg within two days. After mating, they can begin laying eggs after 24 hours. Remember, you must incubate each egg for about 18 days.
If you thought budgies were beautiful creatures, you should see their chicks. Rearing one until it matures can be pretty interesting to pet owners. So in this article, we’ll show you the signs of a pregnant budgie and how to take care of one. We’ll also elaborate more on the diet of pregnant budgies and what they need to develop a high-quality egg.
Signs of a Pregnant Parakeet
Generally, parakeets are usually ready to start laying eggs between the ages of 4 months and a year. Still, some species can mature at age 3. Therefore, depending on your species, you should be ready for anything, especially if you want to breed some budgie chicks. But the right time to let your bird mate and lay a fertilized egg is usually after one year.
Remember, your pet will lay an egg, whether fertilized or not. Therefore, you must know when the breeding phase is about to start. Generally, the breeding process starts eight days after mating. You will see your bird explore the nest.
But before they start laying eggs, you will notice some physical and behavioral changes. Some of the signs of a pregnant budgie to watch out for include:
Enormous Poop, but Less Often
Generally, all birds don’t come with a large intestine; therefore, all their secretions from the kidneys and intestines pass through short-term storage, referred to as the cloaca. The cloaca stores secretions for a few hours, and when filled, the cloaca usually expels the stored secretions.
Unfortunately, the bird’s fallopian tubes are also connected to the cloaca so that the eggs will pass through the same passage. But before your bird starts laying eggs, its cloaca will expand to receive the eggs. So whether it’s fertilized or not, your bird will undergo this process immediately after the breeding process starts.
Unfortunately, during the pregnancy phase, the excrement will accumulate longer and stay in the cloaca for an extended period resulting in fewer but huge droppings. The big poop is one of the best signs that mating has occurred and your bird is ready to lay eggs.
So to help your bird excrete efficiently, you should feed it as many fresh veggies and fruits as possible and more water.
A bump on the vent
If you suspect it’s about to lay an egg, you should lift your pet and feel its vent region. The eggs tend to press onto the vent region, so when you place your hand there, you’ll feel a soft, solid lump referred to as the egg bum. Remember, it lays over six eggs, and considering its size, you should be able to feel the bump near its vent. After all, compared to its body size, the egg is quite significant.
Cere Color Change
The cere refers to the region between its nostril and beak. The cere is pale blue in males, while it’s either off-white or white in females. When breeding, its color changes from whitish to brown. The ceres will also become crustier and thicker during the breeding phase.
The color of the ceres can revert to white after the breeding period has ended. So when you notice the color change, you should start preparing the nest if you haven’t already.
Generally, a pregnant budgie should have a swollen abdomen; unfortunately, you won’t be able to notice the swelling in some species. The difference may be slight, but if you’re keen, you will see your hen’s stomach increase in size before laying its eggs.
Like with the vent, you should expect its abdomen to swell before it lays its eggs. Fortunately, the swelling can push the feathers outside.
During the breeding phase, the females develop a featherless spot or brood patch near their vent region. The brood patch may not be a definitive sign that you have a pregnant budgie. Still, it is a reliable sign; if you have noticed the others, you can be sure it’s about to lay eggs.
So if she stays with other females, you should expect an infertile egg, but if there is a male around, you should expect some chicks shortly.
Other Signs of a Pregnant Budgie
It could be ready to lay some eggs if it spends most of its time near or in the nest. Remember, budgies that are not ready to mate don’t obsess over the nest. As it gets close to laying its eggs, your bird will start cleaning its body or cage. It can even begin to move around its cage repetitively.
How Long Does It Take a Budgie to Lay an Egg?
After breeding, your pet will lay its first eggs within the first 30 hours. After that, the female will lay a single egg daily until she’s finished. Remember, budgies can lay an average of 5 eggs, but some species can lay a maximum of 8 and a minimum of 1.
Each egg will require a minimum of 18 days to hatch, but if it has yet to hatch by the 23rd day, it won’t produce any chick.
How to Care for a Pregnant Budgie?
If you believe your parakeet is pregnant, you should provide the necessary care as you prepare for the chicks. Remember, a happy and healthy hen can make a great mother, so you have to give it everything it needs to guarantee it will not be stressed. So here are some of the critical things you have to do to take care of your pregnant budgie:
- Provide the Needed Nest Box
If the cage doesn’t have one, it could be the right time to get one and add it. Fortunately, several options are available with a hole that’s huge enough for your parrot to pass through. A large budgie nest with more than enough space for your bird and her chicks would be perfect.
For instance, the nest box by Calvana is enormous enough for a parakeet made from natural wood and coconut fiber nesting. It’s easy to clean and should encourage your pet to get into it and even perch on its entrance.
- Give It a Healthy Diet
A balanced diet is mandatory for the happiness and health of your parrot and her chicks. A great diet consists of 20% pellets, 20% seeds, 10% egg, and 50% fresh veggies. But most importantly, you should provide them with a mineral block and cuttlebone. They should be able to access the cuttlebone at all times.
Remember, they’re producing eggs, which require a vast amount of calcium. Still, your bird could suffer from egg binding or produce brittle eggs if she is not getting enough. Unfortunately, brittle eggs can break when being incubated.
On the other hand, egg-binding is dangerous; therefore, when she seems pregnant but has not laid eggs in over 72 hours, you should consult the vet.
What to Feed Your Pregnant Budgie?
Sure, you can find a great commercial diet in the market, but if you want to prepare your pet’s meal, make sure you mix the following ingredients:
- Sunflower seeds
- Cracked corn
- Canary seeds
- Oat groats
- Flax seeds
Parrots feed on a wide range of veggies, with some of the most common ones including broccoli, corn, carrots, zucchini, fennel, parsley, celery, and cucumber, among others. And to make it easier for your pet to enjoy its meal, you can puree or finely chop them in your food processor. You can create a mixture of 3 or 4 veggies. You should also try and rotate them after a few days.
Feeding them a wide range of veggies and fruits can ensure that your budgie gets what it needs. Your pet may not eat them immediately, but they will love their meal with time.
There are several powdered egg mixes that you can find in pet shops and online, but if you prefer making your own, then you’re in luck. It would be best to give pregnant budgies and chicks this diet twice daily. To prepare an egg diet, you should include the following ingredients:
- Hard-boiled, mashed egg
- A tablespoon of Flaxseed
- Two tablespoons of Pellets
- Boiled brown rice
- ¼ cup of chopped veggies
All you have to do is mix all these ingredients in your food processor and feed your bird. You can keep it in your fridge for about three days. After three days, the food is considered spoiled, and you should throw it away and not give it to your pets.
Build a Low-Stress Region for Your Pet
Besides a healthy diet and quiet environment, a pregnant budgie needs a stress-free environment. So once you suspect your pet is gravid, you should keep the stressors as low as possible. Therefore, you should only carry it when necessary.
If it doesn’t want to be carried or held, you can keep your hands away and let it move. But most importantly, try and keep other pets out of its cage, especially when pregnant.
A stressful environment can affect its eating schedule, which means it gets less calcium. Plus, the birds may abandon their chicks or eggs when stressed, which is never good. If it is sitting on its eggs, you must do everything humanly possible to keep it stress-free.
Can My Budgie Lay Eggs Even if They Aren’t Fertilized?
Yes, budgies can still lay eggs even if they are not fertilized. After all, the egg-making process, including the shell, is made before fertilization. Remember, egg forming is a normal process that every hen unless otherwise, can undergo.
Therefore, they can still lay unfertilized eggs, the only difference being the presence or absence of sperm.
How Can I Determine if the Egg Is Unfertilized or Fertilized?
Generally, only fertilized eggs can hutch; therefore, before wasting time waiting for a chick, you need to learn more about fertile eggs. For instance, you need to know how to examine the eggs using several techniques, including the candling approach, that can help confirm if it’s fertilized.
All you have to do is hold the egg against the touch light and examine the interior of the egg. If well-developed, you will see a unique outline of a budgie inside. Red veins are a great sign of healthy eggs. But you’re dealing with a dead egg if you don’t see the red veins.
Is My Budgie Sick or Pregnant?
Generally, the signs of pregnancy resemble those of pregnancy, so if you notice the above symptoms, your pet may be pregnant. Unfortunately, some of these changes are also signs of sickness in parrots. Plus, they have been known for hiding an illness, so the hormonal changes may be because your pet s sick or a sign of brooding.
To tell apart sickness from pregnancy, here are a few things to consider:
When pregnant, it will produce big poops for a few days, but if it extends, then it could be sick. If your pet continues having huge poops after ten days, it’s unhealthy. A change in the color of the poop is also not a good sign.
Discomfort or Stress
Parrots can act normally even when pregnant. So if it struggles when breathing or pooping, it’s not feeling well. Any form of stress is considered abnormal, and you should take it to the vet as soon as possible.
It could be sick if your pet is always hunched over and grumpy, even during the breeding phase. Grumpiness can signify sickness, so you shouldn’t assume it’s pregnant. Grumpiness can mean many things, including your pet’s illness. Grumpiness can suggest the following:
- Your pet is in pain due to an internal injury or ailment.
- It could be uncomfortable. For instance, your pet will act out if the temperature is too high or low. A change in diet can also leave your pet grumpy and scare everyone away. Your pet may resort to biting everyone who tries to pet it.
The signs of pregnancy can be easily mistaken for sickness. But if you know the right signs to consider when the breeding period of parrots, then you can quickly determine if your pet is sick or pregnant. Remember, big poops can be a great sign of pregnancy, but if it persists for over ten days, it could be unhealthy.
If it doesn’t want holding, it could be pregnant, but if grumpy, there could be an issue. Some specific symptoms include a swollen vent region and swollen abdomen. A change in the cere’s color can signify that your pet is pregnant. So you should expect about eight eggs and an incubation period of over 18 days.
You May Also Be Interested in the Following Articles:
- How To Manage Budgies With Mites (Quickly and Effectively)
- The Incredible White Budgies Guide
- Reasons Why Budgies Are Easy To Take Care Of
- Are Budgies Love Birds? (We Find Out)
- The Complete Guide To English Budgies
- YouTube contributor, 7 Signs of a Pregnant Budgie, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIF41DI5eH8/ accessed January 3, 2023.
- Wikipedia, contributor, Budgerigar, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budgerigar/ accessed January 3, 2023.
- Amazon contributor, Hand Crafted Large Parakeet Nest Box, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CMN56HD?tag=misscatfood-20/ accessed January 3, 2023.
- YouTube contributor, how to care for a pregnant budgie, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8YePua37fQ/ accessed January 3, 2023.
- YouTube contributors, How and why to candle your eggs, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYckDalb3EA/ accessed January 3, 2023.
- Wikipedia contributor, cuttlebone, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuttlebone/ accessed January 3, 2023.