Growing Birds:
Young Budgerigars get the first feathers on their backs and have their whole bodies covered with down when they're about nine or 10 days old. Now is the time to check if they're getting enough food. This requires close supervision, which some people find a little tedious. Look to see if the little crops are well-filled, if the young birds are growing well and if they react sharply and alertly to your presence. If they don't have enough food in their crops, you can feed them extra yourself. Use a feeding syringe, of which several models are available commercially. Or you can remove some underfed young for care by foster parents. It often happens that females suddenly start laying new eggs while they still have young about 35 days old in the nest. See to it that you remove these eggs from the nest as quickly as possible if you want to save them. Otherwise the very active hatchlings will surely damage them. Keep the eggs in a cool place, packed in a box with sterile cotton. Do not use dry sand for packing because it could harbour harmful bacteria. You can keep eggs up to nine days without risk, provided you turn them extremely carefully. Warm your fingertips before touching the eggs. Alternatively, you could give prematurely-laid eggs to foster parents. The female may have such a strong drive to start brooding new eggs that she throws her old brood out of the nest. You'll notice that she is seldom seen in the aviary but spends long periods on the nest. And of course, you will notice the evicted hatchlings on the floor, loudly begging for food and trying to climb back into the nest with flapping wings and clawing feet. That's particularly true for older hatchlings. You don't want all that commotion and the possible harm that could result. Take the young away from their mother and put them in a roomy cage with their father. He will take care of raising them further, with help as needed from you, the breeder. They can be housed without their father if they have started to peck and have clearly defined tails. House them indoors, if at all possible, because they really aren't prepared as yet to cope with night temperatures. Keep a close watch on these youngsters and feed them by hand if necessary to keep them fit. It would be a pity to lose them at this stage. Under normal circumstances, young Budgies can eat on their own about a week after they become fledglings. At that point, separate them by sex and house them in a spacious run where they can develop further.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.