Budgie Breeding Calendar
General feeding advice for budgies
Budgerigars enjoy and benefit from fresh and clean green foods and chickweed suits them admirably. However, dandelion leaves, groundsel and many green-leaved vegetables such as parsley, spinach, lettuce and cabbage are equally suitable. Root vegetables, such as carrot and beetroot, can also be given and the occasional piece of apple is relished.
Chickweed, like all the green foods that we give to our birds, should be free from any pollutants and not be affected by frost. Thoroughly wash it in clean cold water and give it a small handful at a time while it is still crisp and fresh. Remove it after a few hours when or before it becomes limp. It is unusual for budgerigars to gorge themselves on green foods but, to avoid the possibility and the probability resulting problems with diarrhoea, provide only small amounts at a time - just enough to loosely fill a teacup is adequate. To avoid contamination with droppings on the cage floor, either hang greenstuff in bunches or use a dish for items such as cut-fruit or vegetables.
Throughout the year, grit should be available to assist digestion by grinding the food in the bird’s gizzard. Budgerigars will habitually spend time at the grit containers, even grinding at times up what is there into fine dust. A mixture containing varieties of mineral grit, oyster shell and even pigeon grit is suitable.
Millet Sprays suspended from the cage or aviary roof should be offered occasionally. Budgerigars, especially young birds, will spend hours foraging through the stalks until they are stripped bare, a useful activity to overcome boredom.
|Budgie breeding insights
|November to December
Generally, within the UK, budgerigars can withstand very cold winters and many birds having access to outside flights venture outside and seem to come to no harm. However, care is needed in freezing conditions, especially to ensure drinking water is not frozen and also that breeding birds and their young are well protected from cold winds. In such conditions some form of artificial heating is advised in the birdroom but ensure that it is completely free from fumes; modern electrical tubular or oil-filled heaters or radiators are ideal to keep the room temperature around 10 degrees C (50 degree F). Ensuring birds stay in peak breeding condition can be helped by feeding Haith’s Budgie Breeder’s Mixture at this time.
Take into account that the normal incubation time for budgerigar eggs is eighteen days but also consider that eggs are laid on alternate days and similarly hatch at the same rate and order. On occasions hens do not commence incubation immediately and wait until two or three eggs are present before starting to incubate. Do not be surprised that some eggs from large clutches fail to hatch as they may not all be covered by the sitting hen. So breeding of show birds is fairly dependent on timing and understandably, close recording of all events and details associated with each bird becomes essential to ensure the highest chance of breeding success. The aim is for young birds born early in the year to be fully developed before the next show season begins and second clutches should be clear of the nest and independent by early summer.
Breeding pet budgerigars follows a similar schedule but is not tied to the exact dates imposed by ringing birds for competition. It is also not governed by the constraints dictated by competition rules and show standards and the thrill of breeding colourful pet birds is the main attraction. Nevertheless, the management of the breeding programme remains the same, undergoing all the joys and failures that any breeder will inevitably encounter.
|January to June
At this time of the year breeding birds will have young on the perch and being weaned on to seed but wait until they are at least six weeks old, independent and feeding themselves before removing them to a separate flight. Continue feeding a high protein diet, alongside their staple diet, to enable youngsters a better chance of developing into healthy and fit birds. Haith’s own special staple mixtures are Special Budgie Mixture, Bravo Budgie Mix, Global Budgie Mix and 50/50 Budgie Mix and they also supply CeDe Budgie Mix.
|Late July, August and into September
July and August is the time when breeders are beginning to assess their stock and deciding on those they wish to keep and those they will dispose of. Coincidentally, it is a good time to be obtaining fresh stock for the next breeding season. New birds need time to settle into their new home and get established into a new routine well before the stresses of the annual moult and the approaching breeding season are imposed upon them.
Like any other bird, the budgerigar is susceptible to climatic changes, primarily seasonal but also to local conditions imposed on them by sudden variation of the weather or maybe a different environment such as a show hall or moving to a new aviary. Such changes may trigger a partial (soft) moult where a few soft feathers are dropped but seldom are primary wing and tail feathers lost. These physical changes generally only occur in collections of birds where they must be moved around to suit the breeder’s needs and are seldom seen in birds kept in the home as pets. The condition is only temporary and the feathers are soon replaced.
|September to October
September and November are usually quiet months for most but with the show season starting soon birds need to be fully fit and in their best condition. It is not too early to return birds to their staple seed diet with occasional supplements of Budgie Tonic Seed to ensure they are receiving as broad a spectrum of vitamins and minerals as possible.