Should I provide a nest box?

Discussion in 'Caged Birds - Finches, Canaries, Cockatiels, Parro' started by itsy, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Without a nest box, would my female parakeets risk becoming egg bound? They have not laid yet and are still fairly young. By the bars on their head, I'm guessing shy of a year. My original bird is now assumed to be a male. His coloring makes it difficult to go by because his cere was always slightly pinkish/blue, but the area around the nostrils is leaning towards the blue side and the entire cere is now more blue than before. I know it can be difficult to sex them until they're mature. The females (Greyerre and Daisy) came to the house together and the male was originally here. They are one big happy family now and Cloudy (the supposed male) won't shut up.

    So - back to the original question. Should I provide a nest box? At what age will the females begin to lay? Is their laying cycle year round, or do they take a few months off? How many eggs will you get in a month? Is it like with reptiles and they go for a clutch of them and wait until there are a few and then sit?

    Thanky you smart BYC members for all yer help. [​IMG]
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Unless you want to breed them, it's not really in their best interest to be laying eggs all the time. Usually you give them a nest box and when they are ready they will have a clutch of maybe 2-6 eggs or so and hatch them out... and with ample food and water... continue the cycle every 2 months or so till conditions are not conducive to breeding or the female becomes unhealthy from egg laying. I read that you only want to let them have at most two clutches a year... my pair of 3 years started laying eggs this spring and after 3 clutches despite no nest box, only 12 hours of lighting and so on to get them to STOP brooding... I separated the pair... I like my girl bird and this egg laying clutch rearing was wearing her out. They are nothing like chickens when it comes to egg laying. Plus, you can barely give away babies to people....


    I say, it is best to not provide a nest box and hopefully the girls never lay.
     
  3. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    Budgies and other parrots are not at all like chickens in this regard-- that is, while some feel the urge to lay and will lay eggs regardless, most do not unless the conditions are telling their bodies to do so, and thus should not be encouraged unless you have a really good reason to encourage laying!

    Egg laying, for our parrots, is much more taxing than it is for our chickens. Not to say that it doesn't take its toll on some chickens too! But chickens have been bred for hundreds and hundreds of years to lay eggs they way they do, and their systems have been altered for it so to speak. It is not without a risk for a chicken, as we see for those poor hens that suffer from internal laying, prolapse, and other egg laying problems. BUT, for parrots, their bodies are designed to lay a clutch of eggs, incubate, raise the babies, and be done until next year! Species depending of course. Regular egg laying can and often does lead to problems, including egg binding, prolapse, calcium and other nutritional deficiencies, stress, and general health decline. It is the sad fate of many female budgies, cockatiels, and other commonly bred parrots. It's especially sad when you consider that a healthy budgie in captivity can live to be over 20.

    Providing a nesting box or optimal breeding 'conditions' are far more likely to prompt your keets to lay eggs than anything, and without it they may not even lay any (a good thing!). Not having a box will not mean that they will become egg bound.

    For a keet, some optimal breeding conditions are:

    -Long photo period (having long days-- including artificial light! This can be a HUGE trigger for some birds)
    -Having nesting cavities available (boxes, other dark places they can get into)
    -Diet
    (A few other things, too, but I don't suspect that they are an issue in this case.)

    So you can help your 'keets to keep from being 'in the mood' by making sure they get at least 8-10 solid hours of darkness at night, making sure they have a good diet, and not providing them with any nesting sites. [​IMG]
     
  4. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for so much information.

    My mom has voiced that she wants some in her home, so if I were to breed them, I'd wait until the summer. I'd really like the opportunity to provide her with budgies who were held from a very young age so we could increase the odds of being hand tame.

    I should be covering them at night as well. We're usually up very late and they're being exposed to more light, even though it's artificial. I wouldn't want to throw them off and it may make them stressed out.

    Glad to know there are little risks with getting egg bound if they weren't breeding!

    I had a horrible memory of when I was younger. My parents were still together and my dad wanted to get finches. Those poor little birds were laying eggs in EVERYTHING but the nest and I think that a few of the females laid themselves to death. I want to make sure my birds live long healthy lives!
     
  5. Magic Birdie

    Magic Birdie Overrun With Chickens

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    They usually don't lay eggs unless you give them a nest box [​IMG]
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Quote:Parent raised chicks tend to be just as flighty as bin-o-budgies from the store as soon as they fledge. [​IMG] I hand tamed two store birds no problem. The chicks the parents raised and I handled from 2 weeks on seemed tame... till they learned to fly, and it was start at zero just like the parents were.
     
  7. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Parent raised chicks tend to be just as flighty as bin-o-budgies from the store as soon as they fledge. [​IMG] I hand tamed two store birds no problem. The chicks the parents raised and I handled from 2 weeks on seemed tame... till they learned to fly, and it was start at zero just like the parents were.

    Interesting. So it wouldn't help for me to hatch them myself and handle them constantly? What would make the difference, hand feeding? Can they be taken care of 100% without their parents if we're home all the time and feeding them by hand on a schedule?
     
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    You might want to read up on hand feeding before you think about wanting to do it, especially with budgies... they are tiny and temperature of formulas have to be spot on. From the squeaking and regurgitating going on, parents seem to feed their babies every 30 min or so around the clock... no idea why they are awake at 3am in a pitch black bird room... but I would hear them then too. [​IMG] I would not venture to hand feed a hatchling at all.

    [​IMG]

    You might consider visiting birdboard or some other bird forum for specific info.
     
  9. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aww! What a beautiful mama (or papa). [​IMG]

    Thanks for the advice. I don't see me breeding them any time soon and there's lots of research to be done.

    I wish we had just gone to a breeder to begin with instead of a chain store. When we got our first two (one passed away unexpectedly), we spent tons of time with them trying to get them to tame up. They had full head bars, so we knew they were younger than the other birds there. We were finally able to get them to jump on our hand to eat from it (while it was in the cage) but that took forever and was a struggle.

    NOW - they're all nuts and fearful and I just let them be. It's a shame that the babies would end up the same way. I should just purchase a breeder budgie for mom.
     

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