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Adopting Male/Female Budgie - Question

WikiWaz

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Hello All,

I'm considering adopting two budgies. While I prefer only male/male and female/female, my local parrot shelter has only male/female pairs and will not separate them because they grew up together. One of the shelter volunteers told me that if we do not provide an environment for nesting, a male/female will likely not mate. I really don't want any babies...so I'm checking here to see if people with budgie experience think this is true?

Thank you in advance.
 

Elysian

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Mine are both male, but I have always heard there are ways to prevent or mitigate hormonal/breeding behavior:

Don't give them any kind of 'nest'.. no nest box, no snuggle hut, nothing with dark spaces or corners they can nestle into.

Change up their cage regularly.. you don't want to scare them but shifting the environment around slightly adds just enough 'stress' to keep them out of the mood for babies.

Monitor how much light they get. I think more dark hours helps because they won't think its breeding season.

And if all else fails it's ok to take any eggs they do lay and replace them with "dummies"
 

Sparkles99

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Female-Male or Male-Male are the most likely combinations of budgies to get along, with Female-Female being the least likely. I think you should go meet some budgie pairs. :)

I have males, but have also heard that Female-Male pairs are the least noisy combo - something you may appreciate!
 

WikiWaz

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Signe
Mine are both male, but I have always heard there are ways to prevent or mitigate hormonal/breeding behavior:

Don't give them any kind of 'nest'.. no nest box, no snuggle hut, nothing with dark spaces or corners they can nestle into.

Change up their cage regularly.. you don't want to scare them but shifting the environment around slightly adds just enough 'stress' to keep them out of the mood for babies.

Monitor how much light they get. I think more dark hours helps because they won't think its breeding season.

And if all else fails it's ok to take any eggs they do lay and replace them with "dummies"
Hi Elysian - The shelter also said no nest box, snuggle hut, dark spaces. It just feels like at one point in their lives, they are going to want to mate. Hopefully changing up the cage monthly, not have nesting things, monitoring light will be enough.
 

WikiWaz

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Female-Male or Male-Male are the most likely combinations of budgies to get along, with Female-Female being the least likely. I think you should go meet some budgie pairs. :)

I have males, but have also heard that Female-Male pairs are the least noisy combo - something you may appreciate!
Ah that's good to know, thanks!
 

Kassiani

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Bear in mind that just because they mate does not necessarily mean the hen will lay eggs. If she does, you can simply replace them with dummy eggs. A hen can and will lay eggs even if there isn't a male in sight.

I think a male/female pair sounds sweet!
 

Feathered

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I have a mated pair female and male, when my females cere turns dark brown that means she wants to breed, so when that happens simply do what Elysian said. When I switch my birdies cage around they don't get stressed. Just super curious and mess around with the new toys
 

JewellBird

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I have two male/female pairs of budgies, one pair never mates or anything, but the other two do and the female from that pair has started laying eggs. I don't provide any nesting opportunities for them and don't encourage it, but my one female budgie is determined to lay eggs even if it means laying them on the cage floor or in her food dish. I also have 2 other female birds (cockatiel and conure) and I have never had an egg laying issue with them yet, only one of my female budgies. I just toss the eggs out when I find them, because I don't want them raising a clutch. In my experience it has really just depended on the individual bird, because as I said previously I only have the egg laying issue with 1 of my 4 female birds and none of them are given anything to encourage nesting.
 

Elysian

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Kansas City, Missouri
Oh year, Feathered makes a good point - you will know when the female is in "in season" because the cere will change. That's when you really want to switch up the lighting schedule for sure.

If you're super worried about it I would talk to an avian vet.. it depends on how strongly attached the birds are, but perhaps you could get two side by side cages and separate them when needed (but still let them see/hear each other).. or if you up with a prolific egg layer there are some veterinary interventions that can be done, they are just not usually recommended unless egg laying is risking the health of the bird.

Also what someone else mentioned.. even if you had a sole female, they can still decide to lay eggs..just wouldn't be fertile ones. You'd want to switch out those eggs for dummy eggs (or boil and replace) as well, because sometimes just taking the eggs away makes the bird lay more.
I get how some people wouldn't like the idea of doing that to potentially fertile eggs, but it's better for the birds all around.. for your bird's health as well as the unwanted babies who may not end up finding a home.

Lastly, if the rescue is keeping male/female pairs and not having babies all over the place.. they probably do have good tips :)
 

WikiWaz

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Oh year, Feathered makes a good point - you will know when the female is in "in season" because the cere will change. That's when you really want to switch up the lighting schedule for sure.

If you're super worried about it I would talk to an avian vet.. it depends on how strongly attached the birds are, but perhaps you could get two side by side cages and separate them when needed (but still let them see/hear each other).. or if you up with a prolific egg layer there are some veterinary interventions that can be done, they are just not usually recommended unless egg laying is risking the health of the bird.

Also what someone else mentioned.. even if you had a sole female, they can still decide to lay eggs..just wouldn't be fertile ones. You'd want to switch out those eggs for dummy eggs (or boil and replace) as well, because sometimes just taking the eggs away makes the bird lay more.
I get how some people wouldn't like the idea of doing that to potentially fertile eggs, but it's better for the birds all around.. for your bird's health as well as the unwanted babies who may not end up finding a home.

Lastly, if the rescue is keeping male/female pairs and not having babies all over the place.. they probably do have good tips :)
Right! Some of the male/female budgie pairs they've had for 2 years now (so sad) and those pairs have not laid.
 

WikiWaz

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I have a mated pair female and male, when my females cere turns dark brown that means she wants to breed, so when that happens simply do what Elysian said. When I switch my birdies cage around they don't get stressed. Just super curious and mess around with the new toys
Good to remember, yes thank you. And if I get approved for adoption for the male and female budgies, I will get them DNA tested. I was told that my last budgie was female, because her cere was brown. I later learned it could be a sign of testicular cancer in male budgies.
 

WikiWaz

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I have a mated pair female and male, when my females cere turns dark brown that means she wants to breed, so when that happens simply do what Elysian said. When I switch my birdies cage around they don't get stressed. Just super curious and mess around with the new toys
Distraction by new shiny toys...lol.
 

WikiWaz

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Bear in mind that just because they mate does not necessarily mean the hen will lay eggs. If she does, you can simply replace them with dummy eggs. A hen can and will lay eggs even if there isn't a male in sight.

I think a male/female pair sounds sweet!
I think so too as long as they don't have babies. Too many birds out there without homes ya know?
 

WikiWaz

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Mine are both male, but I have always heard there are ways to prevent or mitigate hormonal/breeding behavior:

Don't give them any kind of 'nest'.. no nest box, no snuggle hut, nothing with dark spaces or corners they can nestle into.

Change up their cage regularly.. you don't want to scare them but shifting the environment around slightly adds just enough 'stress' to keep them out of the mood for babies.

Monitor how much light they get. I think more dark hours helps because they won't think its breeding season.

And if all else fails it's ok to take any eggs they do lay and replace them with "dummies"
Thanks Elysian. I clean the cages once a week with a deep clean once a month. I then do a rotation of toys/perches at the deep clean, so hopefully that will be enough.
 

Destiny

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Good to remember, yes thank you. And if I get approved for adoption for the male and female budgies, I will get them DNA tested. I was told that my last budgie was female, because her cere was brown. I later learned it could be a sign of testicular cancer in male budgies.
Although you can certainly get a DNA test to confirm gender, it will likely be a waste of time/money. Visual gender identification in adult budgies is pretty straight-forward for most color mutations, so that's usually adequate. DNA testing is typically reserved for parrots that have no visible gender differences.

An adult male budgie's cere turning brown is quite rare and definitely cause for concern. It is not always cancer, but it is not normal and can be an early sign of a bigger problem. However, I would only worry if you know that you have a male budgie. Otherwise, a crusty brown cere is much more likely to indicate that you are looking at a normal adult female who is in season.

There is an old adage in medicine - "when you hear hoofbeats behind you, don't expect to see a zebra". It means that you should be beware of leaping to a rare or unusual diagnosis when there is a more commonplace explanation for the same symptoms. There's no point chasing after zebras until you rule out horses as the source of those hoofbeats. ;)
 

Lady Jane

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If you look up the postings of our budgie expert @PoukieBear you will read that for budgies it is not necessary to replace laid eggs with dummy eggs. My two budgies were together for about 3 years and never mated. You may have siblings and if they do mate just remove the eggs. Do you have any photos yet?
 

BirbBrain

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Hello All,

I'm considering adopting two budgies. While I prefer only male/male and female/female, my local parrot shelter has only male/female pairs and will not separate them because they grew up together. One of the shelter volunteers told me that if we do not provide an environment for nesting, a male/female will likely not mate. I really don't want any babies...so I'm checking here to see if people with budgie experience think this is true?

Thank you in advance.
Hi! I have two tiels' not budgies. But they are male/female. If you don't want babies, you can boil the eggs that they lay for a few minutes. Then, once they've cooled down, give them back to the birds.
 

Lady Jane

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You can boil eggs of cockatiels but not necessary with budgies.
 

Lady Jane

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Hopefully this write up will help with answering your question. It is written by @PoukieBear one of our members.


How to prevent breeding and egg laying.

1) Reduce Daylight Hours.
- Cover the cage so your bird(s) only gets 8 hours of daylight per day.

Why? Budgies naturally breed in the summertime when days are longer. This allows them more time to forage for food to feed their growing clutch of chicks. By reducing daylight hours, you will also reduce hormones that trigger a bird wanting to breed.


2) Do not Overfeed.
- Do not completely fill up your bird(s) food dish, or feed high fat/high protein foods.
Why? Budgies naturally breed when food is plentiful and easy to find. Budgies only need 1.5 teaspoons of seed per day. The rest of their diet should be vegetables and pellets.
3) Re-arrange the cage frequently.
- Move perches, rotate toys, rearrange ladders and swings, move food and water dishes. You can even move the entire cage to a new location in your house if you have the space to do so.
Why? Budgies will only want to breed when they feel safe and comfortable and have a stable environment. By changing things up frequently, you can reduce the chances of breeding behaviour
4) Remove any potential nesting spots.
- Make sure there are no nest box, coconut shells, happy huts, grass baskets, pottery bowls, or anything else that is not meant for a budgie’s cage that could be mistaken for a nesting spot.
Why? Budgies can be opportunistic breeders and may use items that you think are unlikely nesting spots.
5) Do not stroke or pet your budgie’s back, wings, rump.
- If you want to touch your budgie, give it some loving scritches at the head and neck area. You need to avoid stroking your budgie’s back.
Why? Stroking a budgie’s back is like molesting your bird. It’s part of the mating process and should be avoided at all costs.
6) Separate Male and Female birds.
- Place your male and female birds in their own respective cages, or use a cage divider to separate them.

What happens if my bird accidentally lays an egg?
Don’t panic. Simply remove the egg from the cage and throw it out. You do not need to replace it with a fake egg! An average clutch for a budgie is 4-6 eggs, and she will not continue to lay eggs if you keep removing them. Budgies can’t count, and her body is not capable of producing an unlimited number of eggs.
 
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