Correct Breeding Age:
Don't start birds into breeding at too young an age. Too many fanciers start breeding birds that hardly are eight or nine months old, but there are great disadvantages in this. Biologically, females are not full-grown at this age, and their bodies are not able to produce eggs without risk. Birds that start laying too young are too nervous and unsure, something often misinterpreted as youthful enthusiasm. They leave the nest for the slightest cause, lay infertile eggs, don't brood some eggs, and, in short, aren't really up for the job. Make an exception to this rule only if necessary to rapidly establish a special mutation or to propagate it rapidly. Then let your nine-month-old females start breeding if they are closely supervised and limited in the number of eggs they are permitted to lay. Give these eggs to foster parents to raise, to save the young mothers from the tiring effort involved in brooding and raising their own young. But don't misinterpret this exception as license to convert young females into egg-laying machines!

Ordinarily a breeding pair of Budgerigars should be at least 12 months old. The male may be only 10 months, but definitely not younger. I emphasize this point because many bird fanciers are overeager and rush into breeding as soon as they think their birds are grown. In fact, however, birds like Budgies that reach adulthood at about one year of age don't reach their optimal breeding condition until their second and third year. Only then is the bird's body truly full grown and fully developed, and the bird has learned the tricks of brooding and raising young. If you keep good records, you can check these facts, established by research, with your own birds. You will notice that results with birds in their second and third years are substantially better than those with birds in their first year. After the third breeding season, the performance of the female especially tends to decline, while the male's strength clearly abates after his fifth or sixth year. Young from later breeding seasons clearly are of lower quality, and champion breeders prefer working only with breeding pairs two or three years old.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc. 1996