When Birds Don't Nest:
Are you sure you have a pair? Really sure? Two friendly females might share a box, but a dozen infertile eggs is no great reward for all that effort. The color of the cere is an excellent guide to recognising sex, but only when the birds are in top breeding condition. At other times its color can be downright confusing. Did you pattern your nest box after the standard design available in most pet shops? Granted, wild budgies find nest sites that were not made from rectangular pieces of plywood or hardboard, but remember that these birds can fly for miles, if need be, to find something that suits them. In a cage there is only your choice. I suggest that you purchase your first nest boxes and concaves from a pet shop. Does the opening in the nest box face the light or dark? You might find that a rejected nest box will be accepted if you turn it to face a darker exposure. Are there too many birds in the cage or aviary? Do they fight for the nest boxes?

You should provide more boxes than you have hens so every pair can have a choice. Does the nest box hang inside or outside the cage? Sometimes even this makes a difference, really. Hens that reject a nest box which hangs outside have been known to settle happily when the same box is hung inside the cage or aviary. They seem to like to creep over the outside before they go in. (Ps. Ours are outside and they nest with no problem) Is the nest box similar to the one the bird was hatched in? You may find that your bird is happier sitting in a box which resembles its birthplace. Females fight harder, bite harder, and compete more strenuously for preferred nest boxes. Often during a fight between hens, eggs and chicks will be thrown out, and sometimes even the adults will be severely injured or killed. What you should do, as I mentioned before is to provide extra nest boxes and also remember not to crowd your breeding birds. The extra nest boxs are only required if you choose colony breeding.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca