Once paired, budgies reach peak fitness when the cock’s cere is a vivid blue and the hen’s is chocolate brown. They begin to perch, feed and preen together. Providing bathing water helps get them in the mating mood. The male displays to his mate, with lots of head-bobbing and feather-fluffing, his pupils often dilating to pinpricks. He accompanies this with a bubbling, liquid song, often working himself into a hyperactive state of all-singing, all-dancing eagerness.
The female watches and listen to these antics closely, but does not join in. She has her own mating season chirrup, and the male often joins in with her when she shouts it.
The male persistently courts his mate, tapping her beak with his own to stimulate her. The female eventually lifts her tail in the air, raising her wings a little to let the male know that his wooing efforts have been successful. The cock bird then ‘treads’ the hen by performing the ‘cloacal kiss’ – touching the vent or cloaca (an all-purpose repository for sperm, droppings and egg-laying, common to most birds), and rubbing from side to side. The process is swift, but will take place several times that day.
Budgie Not Mating
If there’s no action, it may be that the birds are too young, or too old. If they’re still bickering after a few days together, they simply don’t get on. Occasionally a bird will opt to be celibate, probably due to suppressed hormones. This may be a temporary condition, or it may be a saintly lifetime’s commitment.
Budgie Nesting Behaviour
Budgies make very little fuss about nesting. The female will inspect the nesting box; or, if one is not provided, she will start scratching around in the corners of the cage or aviary for a suitable spot. Other members of the parrot family like to shred paper and collect dried grass and line their nests, but not budgies. If you put these items in the nesting box to make it warmer and softer, that’s fine, but don’t think the hen is going to help you!
A hen who has felt the hormonal surge of the mating season may start searching for nesting opportunities beyond the cage, if she is allowed free-flight in a room. The space behind the books on a bookshelf, or that cobwebby area at the back of the hi-fi are the sorts of places that will appeal to her. This behaviour is sometimes accompanied by heightened aggression. You can take her mind off nesting (if that’s what you want) by confining her to the cage for a couple of days. Check her diet, too, and go easy on the high protein foods, as these tend to bring on the nesting urge.
Budgie Behaviour Before Laying Eggs
Once mating has finished, the hen will install herself in the nest box, arranging the minimal furnishings, and emerging to eat and feed on the mineral block and cuttlefish. The male will start to feed her with regurgitated food as soon as she is nest-bound. Her abdomen will be visibly swollen as the eggs develop, as will her vent. Her droppings may be larger than usual, with a slightly different hue as she stocks up on the protein and minerals she needs. This is perfectly normal.