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Budgie Breeding

Most budgie owners stop short of becoming bird breeders. But there are still plenty of enthusiasts who like to add to the ever-growing budgerigar population of the world. Given the right materials and space, budgies breed easily, and as long as you present them with a suitable environment you can usually rely on the birds to simply get on with it, without much intervention from you.

Budgies in an aviary tend to pair up. However, many breeders – especially those who breed birds for exhibitions – are looking for the magic formula, the two birds whose combined genetic heritage will result in the perfect show bird. In a mixed flock, this means intervening to pair Opaline with Opaline, Crested with Crested, etc. If your aim is sheer colour and variety, though, letting them match up and get on with it by themselves will do the job.

If your chosen pair of budgies fails to bond, you can take it as a sign that you need to do a fresh spot of budgie matchmaking. Give them a day or two before intervening, however – it is common for a pair to be defensive or belligerent at first if they’ve been thrown together for the first time by a hopeful breeder.

Blue budgie on a wooden perch
Healthy budgie all perched and ready to go

Budgie Breeding Season

Budgies in the wild breed during wet spring and summer periods, which means they find themselves in the mood for much of the year in northern Europe. They also need long daylight hours to stimulate the mating instinct. In the UK, many breeders pair up birds in November in order to have new birds ringed (i.e. a ring put on their legs) in the new year. This annual ringing is synchronised for January 1st in the UK, and it means there are new, young birds ready for spring shows.

Stimulation for breeding birds can be provided by artificial light. They need 12 hours of light a day during this time, and the sunshine that makes it through your windows (if the birds are indoors) is not enough to satisfy their vitamin D needs (sunlight being a necessary part of vitamin D metabolisation). You will find suitable fluorescent lights at a specialist pet store – ask other breeders for advice on availability and the specific requirements of your cage or aviary set up.

Budgie Breeding Age

Budgies are physically able to breed after six months, but should not be allowed to do so until they are at least 10 months old. A younger bird will often fail to be a good parent. There’s no hurry - once they’ve matured, females will be able to breed for four years, and males for six.

First-time mothers sometimes lay eggs outside the nesting box. This is fine, as long as you put the egg in the box as a signal that this is where the others should be laid. Once she’s settled on an egg in the cosy box, she won’t repeat the mistake.

Budgie Breeding Food

A varied and nutritious diet should be a permanent fixture in your budgies’ life, and you don't have to change the standard feed during breeding. You should, however, provide a protein-rich side dish such as egg food (see the recipe in the Budgie Recipes section, above).

Budgie Breeding Cages

If you keep lots of budgies, you will need to give them personal space for breeding. This can be in the form of compartments in an aviary, or you can install the pair in a breeding cage. This should measure at least 60 x 40 x 40 cm. It will need to be equipped with standard budgie accessories – at least two perches, a mineral block, a cuttlefish bone, plenty of seed and fresh food and water, and a nesting box. The cage will also need two doors – one for access (for your hand) and the other for allowing passage to and from the nesting box - if you are breeding the birds in a cage, this should be attached to the outside.

Once the chicks have weaned (at about six weeks) you will need to transfer them to a large cage, or a separate section of the aviary. This should be supplied with plenty of food, water and perching space.

Budgie Breeding Box or Nesting Box

Budgies need cavities to mate and nest in – something that simulates the tree holes they favour in the wild. Nest boxes made of wood are a perfect substitute. Budgies are minimalist nesters, and need little more than a dry floor area to lay their eggs on, lined with a soft nesting material (untreated wood shavings or shredded paper will do).

The floor of the box will need to have a concave section, to help the chicks grip - this will prevent the condition known as splayed feet, which sometimes occurs if the chick has been standing on a hard, flat floor. (See Budgie Splayed Feet, above).

Install the boxes in your aviary, or fix one to the outside of the cage (whichever is applicable). This should be done in such a way that the female, (and, later, the chicks) has access to the cage via the open (i.e. removed) door.

Cleaning Budgie Nest Box

Nest boxes should be cleaned with a solution of one part white vinegar to two parts water, before the female budgie has settled in.

Customer Images


Tarina, 7 October 2023

My dad bought my mother a pair of parakeets for their anniversary Dec 21st, 2022 not knowing the sex of either. They put them in a nice moderate size cage in front of their picture window and that's where they've been ever since. Never let outside in natural sunlight. They did put in a cute gourd shaped wooden nesting type box thing for them to get in when they wanted to. To their amazent in July they saw 2 eggs in that little nesting thing and to their amazement each bird would sit on the eggs. Not sure exactly how much later one of the eggs hatched and the blue parakeet would chew up the food give it to their green one who in turn fed the hatched bird. All the while still sitting on the unmatched egg. About 4 days later the 2nd egg hatched. This baby was a lot smaller than the first but the 2 adults did the same thing feeding this new baby along with the first hatched. Now 3 to 4 weeks later the babies seem to be almost as big as the adults and are getting encouraged to leave the box by the adults. One is green like the one adult the other blue like the other. It is amazing. Unfortunately parents don't really know much about raising baby parakeets. They have gotten a second cage. Any information to help ensure these babies are properly and well taken care of would be much appreciated. They don't intend on keeping the new ones at this time. However I know how much they love their pets and after them being born in their care I think they may change their mind. Lol is this normal for parakeets to have babies this quickly being brought into a new home? They were paired together already when my dad purchased them from the pet store. Thank you to any and all that share info!

Bev, 2 February 2023

My first time having chicks was a total surprise. The mom is in our clothes hamper. It has front and back escape areas. My husband has now build a platform so I can made it more comfortable for them. One is 10 days old and the other two are two days and one day. Hopefully all will survive I just worry about the older chick vs the babies.

Alison, 6 March 2022

Parakeets are really fussy about what they consider nesting material. We found that they wanted something fibrous that they could make into a nest with a roof. I think we settles on crafters' cane, which they spent a lot of time shredding and manipulating

Jeffmaxleo, 5 March 2022

I have 2 budgies in breeding age and they are very healthy and I keep them outside in the sun for 4 hours every 3 days . I don’t know if that is enough because the room in which I have my budgies does not have windows that give sunlight . So will they breed ? And can I also move the location of the cage while they are breeding ?

Judy, 15 January 2022

I have a nesting box but the birds will not keep nesting material in box. I have tried a few things as material and they throw it out. My bird laid 2 eggs in the fold or pleat of a curtain. I just let it go . QUESTION... is this ok... Thanking you in advance Jjmyers