Budgie's are Laying (Need Help)

Discussion in 'Caged Birds - Finches, Canaries, Cockatiels, Parro' started by MrNappy, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. MrNappy

    MrNappy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 23, 2012
    Ajax, Ontario
    I have some questions about breeding. I have done research on this subject but everyone usually writes the same thing, these are some specific questions.

    1. During the first molt do they usually loose their neck feathers? (Like the stripes on neck?)

    2. There were 2 breeding boxes when i got them. My mom took one out, taking too much room. They would never go in the one that was in there. Today i put the box back in and the male and female spent 2 hours inside. At night i checked there was an egg. The female and male aren't sitting on it, why aren't they?

    3. Why didn't they go in the breeding box that was there before? (It was used, i got it from my friend he had 27 in there, cage and everything)

    4. My female finished her molt but my male didn't and she still layed an egg, what should i do?

    5. The friend i got the budgies from, interbred them, can you list pro's and con's of interbreeding?

    6. How can i hand-train the babies if they have any?

    Thank you in advance, sorry this was way too long. I still have more questions but keep forgetting em. (My first time posting in budgie column). My friend said the male was 4 months and female was 6 months, i have had em for about 2 months.

    P.S. I have my Jumbo Coturnix Quail right in front of them and my Button Quail, hearing-distance away. And the budgies love copying them, i guess they are mocking them [​IMG]. I heard you can't teach a budgie to speak like an African Grey, but can i still teach em some phrases and what not?


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    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
  2. TweeTea

    TweeTea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 11, 2012
    Canberra, Australia
    Again, the info below is more for a 6-8 week old partially tamed bird. But will have some other info you may find useful.


    Taking your baby bird home

    The baby bird, like all chicks, is likely to suffer from separation anxiety for a short period of time when removed from the parents. This is natural, and is likely to happen at whatever point the bird is seperated unless it is a fully grown adult (at which point it will be more difficult to develop a bond with the bird).

    When you first take the bird home is should have minimal handling, to avoid it associating the handling (and new owner) with its separation anxiety. Instead, it should be left in the cage and you should, as often as possible, sit next to the cage when doing things like eating breakfast, dinner, reading etc.

    The bird is highly social and will begin to gravitate towards you. This may take a few days or longer but it will eventually happen if you have patience. When he begins sitting beside you in his cage try opening the door and putting your hand at the opening with seeds on it. Do not put your hand into his territory. It is his safe zone and will make him anxious. Food is a strong incentive with birds and can equally build good and bad behaviours. If he is ready to interact he should eat from your hand. If he does you can put your finger to his chest and he will step onto it.

    At this point you can let him sit on your shoulder. I would do this as much as possible if he is happy to (see behaviours to help identify if your bird is happy). I would still recommend that you don’t try to touch his head or back. Very few birds like having their back touched. Offering a finger to the chest is widely accepted by birds and is far more readily accepted when building a bond with your cockatiel.

    Another tip I like to recommend for encouraging the bird to hop on your hand is to anticipate where the bird is trying to get to. A bird will generally lean or stretch in the direction they are interested in going and appreciate being helped there. When you put your finger to his chest and he steps up, move him in the direction he is stretching towards. This helps build a positive association with hands. By picking the bird up and predominantly putting him in an undesirable location will lead to hand avoidance, but it is ok if you occasionally move him where he doesn’t want to be.

    Both males and females have a strong sound/action association. For example, if you say “up” every time you put your finger to the birds chest, it learns the action with the command. If you say “do you want to come out?” every time you go to take the bird out of the cage it will know this phrase means it will get out of the cage (and male birds are likely to say this when they wants to come out – see behaviour notes on talking/singing).

    Once your baby bird is happily grinding his beak and cleaning his feathers on your shoulder you know he is completely at ease. If you wanted to try giving it a head rub at this point it may accept it. I have found this a difficult thing to get the birds accustomed to but once they accept it they start to demand it. It is difficult to find the balance between getting the bird past the irritation of initially being touched to recognising the benefits of this activity. This chick has had lots of head rubbing as his feathers came out so should take to it quite quickly once he is happily bonded to you.

    Some people also recommend that no mirrors or reflective surfaces are in the cage. The bird will make friends with the bird in the mirror which is not a problem unless it is a male and he gets territorial. Our male fell in love with his reflection which is why we ultimately got him a mate. It took a year for him to fall out of love with himself and realise he had a girlfriend. Another option for providing a ‘friend’ can be to offer the bird a small stuffed toy in the cage. Some birds will bond with a toy, others will not. It will not impact on the bond it develops with a living human friend.
    Food

    A baby cockatiel has weaker beak muscles than an adult when it first starts to try and eat seeds. I like to buy the cockatiel seed mixes as they offer a range of seeds from easy to open millet, too hard to open (but hugely preferred) sunflower seeds. It is also good to get the bird eating more than one seed variety to hopefully get a broader nutritional mix in its diet. I avoid the mixes with the red round seeds though as I have never seen a cockatiel eat these, and I figure they are a waste of money bulking out a seed mix.

    Once you see it easily eating sunflower seeds it should be able to tackle pretty much anything. It is great to offer fresh food to a bird but I have found that the babies are not very experimental. Once they take to a fresh food though there is no going back, they will love it for life. The benefit of finding foods they love is that you can use food to lure the birds to a bird area, or to distract a bird from bad behaviour. Also different birds will have preferences, may like everything or very little.

    Healthy treat options:

    · #1 treat- Grass seed. They are grass seed birds, and love eating the fresh seed. I collect it from my yard or whenever I am out walking, it is free and abundantly available.
    · #2 treat- Salad greens, broccoli, any green leafy vegetable.
    · #3 treat- Meale worms. Cockatiels love eat crawling insects when they come upon them and totally love meale worms. If they were free I’d make them the #1 treat.
    · #4 treat- Seeds soaked (for about 24 hours. This small amount of seed development drives them wild, they especially love fresh soaked wheat)
    · Corn on the cob (they eat it fresh and still enjoy it once the kernels are all dry. Better in winter than summer though as it warms the birds)
    · Porridge. Be warned though once they get a taste of your breakfast they will be begging for more.
    · Plain cooked rice and pasta
    · Mashed pumpkin, potato, squash, zucchini … Most mash-able vegetables really.
    · Multigrain bread some birds prefer this soft, others like the crunchy texture when it is toasted)
    · Carrot (oddly they will devour this if made as a perch, but cut it up and mine wouldn’t go near it)
    · Celery (apparently the crispy texture is great)
    · tomato
    · Peas (In moderation, legumes are high in nitrogen and the birds love them but should not eat too much 1-2 pods a day would be ok)

    Food to Avoid:

    · There are 2 types of sunflower seeds, a stripy variant, and an all-black variant. The stripy seeds are fine to offer but the black ones have been known to cause liver failure in small parrots all the way to large horses. Avoid the black sunflower seeds.
    · Caffiene. chocolate, tea or coffee. Your bird may beg for these but DO NOT give in. Human can digest caffeine, pets can not. It accumulates in the muscle tissue and slowly poisons your pet (cat, dog, bird etc) resulting in heart problems.
    · Some plants have chemicals in the leaves as part of their natural defence. Rather than memorise hundreds of plants I work on the theory if I can’t eat it, neither can the birds. Some highly toxic plants to avoid include rhubarb leaves,

    You will find that your bird will love to chew on things, especially things like paper and tissues. I put cuttlebone in the cage for them and let them chew on paper as they don’t ingest these, just work out the beak on them.

    NOTE: If you let your birds out when you eat, their curiosity will make them want to taste your food. If they like it (and they like lots of human food) they will be forever begging to be let out when they see you eating.
    Setting up you bird area

    Cage Type: A large cage is preferable but a small cage is ok for a Cockatiel as long as they can get out and stretch their wings regularly. Your bird will go a bit stir crazy if cooped up in a small cage all the time. We allow our birds out daily to have a flap in the morning and in the evening. It doesn’t have to be for long as long as they get a chance to spread their wings. If we go away for a week we leave them in their cage with plenty of food and water which is fine. They are generally very excited at seeing us arrive home.
    Cockatiels are very territorial, and their cage is generally their safe haven, a no go zone for human hands if they are inside their safe haven. If you want to clean the cage out try to do this when the bird is out of the cage to avoid aggravating/scaring the bird. My hand raised pair probably dislike this activity most of everything I do. It is even worse than the sound of vacuuming.

    Out of cage sitting area: If you don’t want the bird on you all the time, but want to let them out of the cage, it is good to get them accustomed to a specific bird area. This could be a ‘bird gym’, but it doesn’t have to be an expensive bird setup. The key aspects are:
    · create a perch in a raised location (they like to look down on life rather than gaze up at things so the higher the perch or platform &perch is the more likely the bird will gravitate to it). The bird should be able to sit at shoulder height or above preferably. I set up a space on top of my square cage which is perfect as seed scraps fall into the cage.
    · It is handy to have the perch somewhere that food, seed husks, and poo can fall into a collection point, be it newspaper on the ground or a flat platform with an edge that can be easily cleaned.
    · Make sure water is available. I use a 20cm diameter pot plant base which my birds drink from and bath in. Note it will get dirty fairly quickly if they are keen bathers so don’t forget to regularly change the water, or only offer a bird drinking container. If they have both they will only drink from the bath.
    · Regularly have birds treats offered on the perch (See the food section for treats) secured with either with pegs or in bowls. This will encourage the bird to want to go to its bird area as food is a strong incentive.
    Bird Behaviour – Defensive and Aggressive

    Hissing / opening beak at you: This is defensive behaviour,it says stop or I will nip/bite. My dad loves to tease birds and get them doing this. He finds it funny and calls it playing. Basically it is the bird is saying “I’m really unhappy with this situation- back off!” To maintain a happy interaction with your bird I strongly recommend stopping whatever is aggravating the bird. Basically the more you aggravate the bird the more you drive it away from wanting to interact with you. Let it choose to interact and it will bond much more to you.

    Nipping / Biting: This is not playing it is bird Aggression. Birds will try to warn you off with gentle nips if they don’t like something but if you keep doing things that irritate them, the nips will get harder and harder till the bird is biting and you are pulling your hand away in pain. The speed that they go from nipping to firm biting will vary from bird to bird.
    Other Bird Behaviour

    Beak grinding: Your bird is extremely contented, relaxed, and happy. All cockatiels do this. It is like they are chewing invisible food in little batches “gringrind – grind – grindgrind-grindgrind”.

    Gentle Nibbling: Your bird nibbling at hairs on your neck, your fingernails, your ears. I associate this as bird grooming. Not all cockatiels do this and some do it on and off. In a social setting these birds will often groom each other (paired birds or parents and babies etc), in this case the bird has chosen to groom it’s close family member - you.

    Talking/whistling/chattering: This is behaviour generally associated with a happy male Cockatiel. Females don’t usually learn to talk, whistle tunes or chatter, they are mostly quiet, of course there are always a small few exceptions making it difficult to use this characteristic for sexing birds. Both males and females will make loud short chiuwip calls which translate to “I’m here, let me out”, and is also used in call-and-answer chatter common in breeding pairs.

    Preening: Your bird obviously feels contented and safe. This appears to be behaviour that birds prefer to do with company, so if you are sitting close by the cage, and you see your baby bird preening in the cage as close to you as it can it is most likely it feels very safe and comfortable with your company.

    Hanging upside-down: Hanging upside down with wings splayed or flapping. This indicates the bird is happy and excited. It can also be a sign that your bird is hoping you will let them out of the cage.

    Yawning: Well the obvious behaviour link is that the bird is tired. Sometimes the yawning action is used to dislodge food stuck in the top of the crop or to compact food in the crop. Some birds also get continuos yawning. I have one bird that regularly does this and the other doesn’t. I would not generally be worried if you find your bird yawning.

    Crest up: Alert, paying attention. Birds often do this when excited but also raise their crest if scared.

    Crest down: Very relaxed
    Bobbing head / Swaggering: Your bird is most likely a male bird and has become amorous. This will be most obvious if he is offered a mirror, he is likely to puff out his chest, walk away from the mirror and back again possibly with a swagger or like he has a limp. He could also bob his head a bit.

    Investigating crevices: If your bird begins to obsessively get into nooks and crannies around the house it is looking for a nesting location. This could be anything from a shoe to a corner of a counter. Wherever they feel safe.

    Laying eggs: Some say this is the only true way to tell males apart from females. If your bird is laying eggs you either need to find her a mate as she is getting very clucky for a family, or prepare to intervene. An obsessive egg layer (common in female cockatiels) will risk self-harm through depletion of calcium etc. There are various approaches to inhibiting egg laying. Eg - move the cage (a new unfamiliar setting can break the clucky mood). Another approach is to buy 6-8 small plastic eggs so she feels like she has a clutch to sit on, This will stop her laying as she has a full nest and after a few weeks she will give up on the unhatched eggs. If you do not want your birds to breed then do not under any circumstances give them a breeding box. This stimulates their desire to mate, and increases egg laying in clucky females.

    Night time cuddles: This is a tricky one. My male bird is addicted to night time cuddles. He insists on joining us on the couch as we watch TV. At sundown he is most receptive to head rubs and will sit in the centre of my chest to indicate he is ready to receive cuddles. The catch is that because birds sleep after sundown they get irritable easily. So while the bird desperately wants to join us, he wants everyone to sit perfectly still in front of the TV and go to sleep like him. If he doesn’t get his way he can nip our fingers. The bonding benefit to letting him join, is that birds like to sleep with their flock, so there are pros and cons for letting the bird join you on the couch. I’m a sucker and opt to let him join us, especially as we work most of the day.

    Plucking or Moulting?: Birds moult for the first time at about 8 months of age give or take a few months, usually around early winter. So if you have had the bird for 6-10 months, it is getting wintery and suddenly find the bird is loosing feathers it is highly likely it is moulting and will be fully feathered again in 2-4 weeks. If your bird has been grinding its beak and appeared happy before the feather loss started it is most likely moulting. If the feather loss lasts for longer than 2-4 weeks, the bird has shown signs of stress or aggression and there are signs that new feathers are also being removed it is unlikely to be moulting, the bird is probably stressed.
    Occasionally a stressed bird may begin to pluck out its feathers. While it is possible to buy sprays to deter this it is probably better to figure out what is distressing the bird and remove the stressor. If left for a long time it can be extremely difficult to stop the plucking behaviour. In both cases you are likely to see the bird paying lots of attention to the feathers.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. MrNappy

    MrNappy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 23, 2012
    Ajax, Ontario
    Thank you, for all that information.

    As you can see it layed another egg this morning and broke it. I never touched her egg, only looked at it twice. Both were on ground near enterance of breeding box. I fed them to my jumbo coturnix quail.

    My female is semi-tame (she stays on my finger, but is kinda scared of me), the male is out-right terrified, whenever i put my hand in he flies all around the cage, the female just watches me. (Refill food and water)
     
  4. ladybirdb12

    ladybirdb12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 7, 2012
    Tweetea, hit everything to the tee :)
    everyone has ideals what is best for your friend (bird)
    I have had a lot of vet bills, I had a very hard time last year with my teils, and no every sickness was different, cancer to inlarge liver to egg bind and even a diabetes, I was going was going crazy, each bird needed meds, to tubing them making them eat untill the meds would work, I lost some it was heart breaking.
    but my vet asked me if I give them seed or pellets, I said seeds plus human food. My vet said try pellets slowly putting it in with the seed, I chosed pretty bird since my cockatoo was on it made for cockatoos, I spent tons of money on my too she would snip her feathers, she lack nothing vet after vet for ten years no vet had answers, lol told my feed store guy, about my cockatoo he laughed and said give her pretty bird food. I used to call her duckatoo, five years later she is now called cockatoo :D
    I have buggies, umm but not for breeding, I don't think I could feed those tiny beaks if needed. Its very hard feeding a one day old cockateil they are smaller then a quarter, but if the baby could not stand, then I will pull them and feed them, every two hours!!!!
    Your birds, try pellets mixed with seeds, if you want.
    Inbreeding ummm I feel that's not good, you can have babys deformed then again maybe not. I keep track on blood line.a male that sired a female that's ok, same as a female that had a male baby that's ok but brothers and sisters NO I would never do that,that's me. I do have a female named skippy and a male named Bee Bee they are brother and sister, I had raised them when they were a day old, PETS, they are trying to hook up but if I see any eggs I will trash them. All of my breeders are pets lol or I am their pet they kind of own me. But some of them I WILL NOT BREED EVER to much of a risk, egg binding and such.
     
  5. ladybirdb12

    ladybirdb12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 7, 2012
    You know ask around for a breeder near you, see if that person could show you how to hand feed and even ask if you can feed a baby. U tube and infor isn't going to help you if you need to feed them, its very hard, the food temp must be right and such
    another helpfull hints, give your birds 100 % whole wheat bread, and rub exact baby bird powder on the bread, this will give your birds the VITAMINS that's needed when the female is dropping eggs, also if you get a baby the parents will feed this to their baby, very healthy!!! :)
     
  6. ladybirdb12

    ladybirdb12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 7, 2012
    Just saw pics, you need a lot more shavings in box, make it thick!!!!!! You can get displayed legs (babys)
    the eggs looked like they got broke from no shaving and the birds trying to lay on them, lol they will fight over on who is going to sit on them (SOMETIMES)
     
  7. TweeTea

    TweeTea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 11, 2012
    Canberra, Australia
    I agree with Ladybird that it is best to learn hand-raising from someone who can show you. It is difficult to learn how to feed a baby bird and you risk suffocating them if done incorrectly. Most hand raisers are passionate about their birds and keen to share that enthusiasm. :)
     
  8. MrNappy

    MrNappy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 23, 2012
    Ajax, Ontario
    I put more wood shavings, thankx
     
  9. tillyita

    tillyita Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 12, 2012
    Australia
    I disagree with the lining of the budgies nesting box. In the wild budgies breed in hollow logs and rarely if ever line their nests. My family and I have bred budgies and Weiros (cockateils) for years and have never lined their nests and we have never had leg or feet problems. The nesting box should be big eneough so that they can move around. Yours looks a little on the small side - but should be fine so long as you don't end up with a massive clutch.
     
  10. ladybirdb12

    ladybirdb12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 7, 2012
    Weirors is that a nick name for cockateils, thats neat, lol but why do downunder use weirors? Ummm instead of cockateils, please don't take this wrong,very interested,.
    have seen wild cockateils,? And cockatoos? You are so lucky if you seen them in the wild.
    always wanted to visit downunder, lol SNAKES AND SPIDERS UMMM, SCARY LOL
    what is the short word for cockatoos or nick name? :D
     

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