Everything about how parakeets mate and have babies can be confusing if you don’t know about it or have experience with it.
Here’s a guide to parakeet mating and pregnancy that will help you understand how it works and what you should and shouldn’t do.
How Do Parakeets Mate?
Always pick birds that are completely healthy and have nothing wrong with them. Aside from that, there are a few basic steps to pairing parakeets so they can have babies.
1. Determine if You Have a True Pair of Parakeets
Because almost any two parakeets will get together if they have no other choice, what looks like a breeding pair could just be two females or two males.
The good news is that the males and females of these birds look different, so you can tell which is which just by looking at them.
- The blue cere is the fleshy area right above the beak, where the nostrils are, on males. All of the nostrils are blue. Some fancier types, like lutinos and albinos, and some pastel-colored birds, may have a pinkish-lavender cere instead of a blue one, and the nostrils may also be completely lavender.
- Males have a light ring around each nostril hole, but young females have a lighter blue on their cheeks. As the brain ages, it turns a tannish brown colour and gets rough. Albino and lutino hens may also start out with lavender eggs, but they will turn brown and rough over time.
2. Parakeets Must Bond to Breed
Before a real couple can have babies, they have to bond.
The birds will sometimes pair up on their own in a larger flock, but you can choose the male and female you want to mate if you want to create certain colours and patterns.
It’s best to pair young birds and let them grow up together, but you can also pair birds that are already grown up.
The male will start feeding the female at some point. When you see something like that, you know they’re really close.
3. Wait for the Parakeet Pair to Reach Maturity and Breeding Condition
Most parakeets can have their own babies when they are a year old.When the hen’s eggs get dark and crusty, it is the best time to set up the nesting boxes.
Colony Parakeet Breeding Versus Breeding Single Pairs
There are two ways to get parakeets to have babies: in a group or in a couple.
Colony Breeding for Parakeets
For colony breeding, a large flight of many pairs is needed. The flight should be about 6 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 4 feet high, and the wires shouldn’t be more than half an inch apart.
You should give each pair of birds one nest box and an extra one to keep them from fighting. All nest boxes should be hung at the same height, near the top of the enclosure.
Colony breeding has some benefits, like only having to clean one place and making sure that your couples get enough exercise, but it also has some drawbacks.
- You can’t be sure that a very dominant male won’t breed more than one female or that a pair won’t switch partners.
- Even if there are about the same number of men and women, there may still be problems.
- There is a chance that some parents will try to hurt other people’s babies, and sometimes eggs are hurt, too.
- If you let the parents raise the chicks until they can eat on their own, you might forget which pair of chicks go with which pair.
Breeding Individual Pairs
Giving a single pair of parakeets their own room to breed makes it much easier to deal with the problem.
- There will never be any question about who a girl’s parents are.
- Adults have a much lower chance of fighting.
- Eggs are rarely broken.
How to Breed Parakeets
Before you read on, you should know that the most important thing about breeding parakeets is to have birds that are healthy in every way and have no problems.
#1: You must figure out if the pair of parakeets you have are true.
So, if that’s true, a pair might look like it’s breeding when it’s just two females or two males.
The fact that male and female parakeets look different is great news for you. That is, you can tell just by looking at them what gender they are.
Males: Check the cerebellum to find out if a parakeet is male or female (the area just above the beak where the nostrils are).
If the parakeet’s head and nose are both blue, it is a male.
The cerebrum of females is also blue, but it is a lighter shade of blue. A bright ring will also be around each nostril hole on the female.
You won’t see a man wearing something like that. As the female gets older, the cere turns a tan-brown colour and gets rougher.
#2: Parakeets must bond in order to breed.
Before breeding can happen, the animals must first bond. Parakeets will pair up with another bird on their own.
However, if you want specific colours to come from specific parakeets, you must select the female and male.
When your parakeets get close, they might sit next to each other on a perch and even follow each other around.
You’ll know how close they are when the male starts feeding the female.
When they get married, they become a real couple.
#3: Wait for pair to reach maturity and breeding condition.
Parakeets are fully grown after about a year of life. When you look at your female parakeet’s cere, you can tell a lot about how old she is.
If her cere is brown and crusty, it is a good sign that she is ready to start the process of breeding. You can even give them places to nest.
Breeding Set Up
It will make your parakeets more likely to breed if you have the right conditions for them to do so. Before you start breeding, you should have the following things in place:
The following should be true of the cage your parakeets live in:
- The size should be 24″ long, 12″ wide, and 16″ high.
- It should have a separate door leading to the outside from the nest box (so your birds can easily get in and out).
- The cage should have more than one place for the bird to sit.
- Place a mineral block and a cuttlebone on the side of the cage (their purpose is to provide the female with calcium for making eggs).
- A dish for food and water
There are many different sizes and shapes of boxes that fit together. There are many breeds that come in these different sizes and patterns.
It would be great if you chose a pattern that was made just for parakeets. Choose a rectangular shape with an opening at one end and a circular depression in the floor for the eggs to sit in.
When it comes to nesting materials, you want to make sure they are safe for your birds to be around. Some safe possibilities include:
- Aspen shavings
- Recycled newspaper
- Even shredded newspaper
Cedar shavings are a choice, but you shouldn’t give them to your bird.
Their smells are dangerous to birds.
Also, don’t be surprised if the nesting material gets pushed out of the box by your parakeet couple. Just put it back in the box. Parakeets just prefer a bare interior.
About 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness are needed for a parakeet every day. They should also rest when things are normal.
When the days are longer and they are trying to have babies, it can be helpful to give them a few extra hours of daylight.
The sun can help the female parakeet make vitamin D, which is important for making strong bones and egg shells.
As a breeder, you should always keep in mind that there should be a lot of different foods for your parakeets to eat. How much good, fresh food your couple gets to eat makes all the difference when it comes to nesting.
If you feed them often and give them good food, they are more likely to build a nest.
If you give these foods to your parakeets, they will continue to eat them after their babies hatch.
The following foods should be part of their diet:
Clean water is important because bacteria can grow in water that is dirty. At least three or four times a day, you should change the water dish. (Or any time you think it’s dirty.)
Fresh organic fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens: Your pair of parakeets will love broccoli, carrots, peas, maize, apples, Swiss chard, kale, bananas, roasted sweet potatoes, and bell peppers. Make sure to wash and cut these foods before giving them to your birds. All of these are good choices!
Eggs that have been cooked and chopped, or commercial egg food: Eggs are high in protein and softer than some fruits and vegetables.
The male parakeet will also find it easier to feed the female if the food is soft. You can even put the shells in the eggs to give the female more calcium.
High-quality seed mix for parakeets: Parakeets don’t need to eat seeds, but they can if they want to. Pick something that has a lot of different parts. You can also choose a hulled product that is also omega-3 rich.
High-quality pellet mix for parakeets: Pellets can give your bird the nutrients it needs every time it eats. Make it easy for your pair to get pellets.
As a general rule, old or soft food that has been out for two or three hours should be swapped out for something newer.
This is so that your birds don’t eat anything that is no longer good.
Once your couple is set up for breeding, it’s usually just a matter of time before they start having babies.
Fertilization and Parakeet Egg Production
When the female is ready to mate, she leans forward on the perch and lifts her tail just a little bit. In order to get his sperm into the female, the male will stand over her and rub his vent against hers.
He might breed her more than once a day, and the female will start laying eggs every other day. On average, there are four to five eggs in a clutch. The behaviour before mating is shown in the video below.
Incubation starts when the female starts to sit tight on the eggs. She might not sit on them until she has laid two or three eggs, but that’s fine.
About 18 days will pass before each egg hatches. If the female sits right after laying the first egg, one egg will hatch every other day.
Checking for Fertility
Eggs aren’t always fertile, but about a week after the female starts sitting, you can try “candling” them.
Carefully pick up each egg and put it in front of a bright flashlight. If the egg has a golden glow and red lines inside, it can hatch. If you only see a yellow light, it’s likely that the egg is not fertile.
You might be able to see faint outlines of the chicks as they grow, but as they get closer to hatching, the eggs will become more opaque and have a clear air pocket on one end.
Taking Care of Baby Parakeets
When the eggs hatch, you have to decide how to take care of the chicks. You can go one of two ways. You can let the parents take care of the chicks or feed them yourself.
Letting the Parents Raise Their Chicks
Once they hatch, parakeet chicks are very small and hard to hold and feed by hand.
Breeders often let the parents raise the chicks until they are old enough to leave the nest. They will be handed at least once a day for the first 14 days after birth.
Male parakeets have been seen feeding the female, since she only leaves the nest to poop or drink from the water dish. After the guy feeds her, she goes to feed her chicks.
If you decide to feed the chicks by hand, you should know that you have to take them out of the nest box when they are 21 days old.
The next step is to put them in an incubator, which can be bought or made at home. This will keep them warm until they have all their feathers.
Once the chicks are 21 days old, they will need to be fed formula every 3 to 4 hours with a tiny syringe until their crop is empty.
Most recipes come with instructions on how to use them and how often you should feed your chicks as they grow.
How to feed a child by hand:
- If the chick is facing you, it will be easier to feed it.
- Put the tip of the syringe into the chick’s beak on the right side. Also, aim the formula at the back left corner of your mouth.If your chick moves around a lot, you can move the syringe to the position that makes them feel most comfortable.
- As you slowly squeeze the syringe, keep an eye on the chick. As soon as they swallow the powder, their heads will start to move up and down. Feeding them will get easier as you do it more, but don’t give them too much formula at once. They can die of suffocation.
- After the chick is done eating, make sure to wipe away any formula that got on its face.
- A warm, damp paper towel can be used to do this. You can throw away any formula that hasn’t been used and then clean the syringe.
As the chicks get bigger, their feedings will get longer, and they may need less food throughout the day. This will become clear when they start eating on their own.
Tips to End Breeding Activity
Some couples don’t know when to stop having babies, so they keep having them. The hen will be too tired to lay eggs and feed her chicks, which could kill her.
Don’t tell the pair to stop until they’ve made no more than two clutches. These steps can be used to make a single pair or can be changed to make a whole colony.
Because longer days make them more likely to try to mate, you should limit their daytime hours for a few weeks.
This is easy to do by putting a dark cover over the cage after eight hours of daylight. Every day, take off the cover first thing in the morning.
Remove the Nest Box
Take away the pair’s nest box and any toys that hang from the ceiling, like coconut cottages and other similar things. If the hen doesn’t have a good place to nest, she won’t lay as many eggs.
Separate the Pair
If you have to, move the hen to another cage. The fact that she can’t see her partner and is in a new place should help her stop thinking about having babies.
How can you tell when a parakeet is about to lay an egg?
How many eggs does a parakeet usually lay?
Most of the time, a female parakeet lays 4-6 eggs. Every other day, eggs will be laid until there are no more to lay. There are various numbers of eggs laid.
What should you do after your parakeet lays eggs?
Put your parakeet’s eggs somewhere safe, like a nesting box, after she lays them. You can buy natural nesting hair to put the eggs on if you don’t have a nesting box. In 22 to 30 days, the eggs will hatch.
Be a Responsible Breeder
If you said yes, you can try breeding one or two pairs to see if this is a hobby you want to keep up. If you said no, just have fun with your parakeets and do your best to take care of them.
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