Food for breeding parents:
This info is for most Parakeets, including Budgies, Cockatiels and other Grass Parakeets such as Bourks, Red Rumps etc..
Unless you feed your birds a wide variety of food they may need a supplement while they have babies. You can buy premixed breeding formulas or mixtures, or parakeet chick feeds from some pet shops if you do not have the time to create a similar mixture as stated below. If your birds only get the regular seed, this is hard for the babies to digest and they may not survive or may become weak. They can also get crop impaction from not being able to digest the seed without the additional crop milk from the hen. You should feed the parents something that will help the hen create the crop milk. The below formulas help provide additional proteins and minerals and are easier for the babies to digest when fed by the parents. Soaked groats and brown bread will help but they need more nutritional food added to the mixture as the examples below show.
Soaked seed mixture:
A sample of what to give adult birds while they are breeding. We give breeding pairs a mixture of PYM (Philips Yeast Mixture), crushesd non-medicated pheasant or chick starter, CEDE (egg mixture for birds) and a powdered mineral premix. Every night some groats are placed in a container of water and let to soak for 12 hours (overnight). The mixture is then washed and drained in a strainer. After this you add a few tablespoons of the above mixture to the soaked groats depending on how many birds you have breeding and feed this to the breeding pairs every morning and evening. (twice a day). You can soak more in the morning for their evening feeding. This is given to them about 3 days before the 1st chicks are due to hatch and up until the last one leaves the nest. This mixture gives the baby birds that extra strength boost and nourishment. Apparently the birds love this and eat it like children with candy but is very nourishing for them.) They also get their normal food along with fresh vegetables such as carrot, spinach or washed lettuce leaves. The soft food is very important to the feeding of the babies by helping the hen create the crop milk which is vital to the babies.
A full, wider sample to consider from one of our Champion Breeders:
Basic 50/50 Budgie mix. (50% Canary and 50% Millets) with two table spoons of Wheat germ oil mixed into a container approx. 20lb in size and let stand 24 hours prior to feeding . Gravel (Available at all times) comprising of Crushed (cooked) egg shells, oyster shell, limestone and a fine sprinkling of charcoal, well mixed. Cuttlebone (Available at all times)
Fresh "tap" water.
(Millet spray once a week, when not breeding.)
After pairing up, soft foods are given twice a week until a day prior to the hatching of the first egg. Then daily. When chicks hatch, daily feeding of cubes of whole wheat bread soaked in milk fed at 06:00 (as soon as main lights come on.) In the evening a soft food composing of 50% wheat and 50% groats that have been soaked for 24 hours, well rinsed and drained, then mixed with CEDE egg food. NOTE: I will add grated carrot to the mix but not to the birds that I select for a Nest Feather Show team. ½ Millet sprays are introduced directly into the nest boxes as the chicks feather-up. Whole Millet sprays as they leave the nest. Chicks can usually be safely removed from their parents after a period of 42 days. (Observing that the chicks are feeding themselves is a must to be sure). At this time they are placed into an 8ft. Nursery/training cage where the Soft food is continued in Bulk. After the first moult the birds are removed to a Nursery flight which has access to an outside aviary. If fruits, greens or vegetables are fed it is my preference for them not to have come direct from a refrigerator and removed after 24hrs. I am not a supporter of feeding lettuce, I prefer the greener spinaches.
I will put left over steak bones in the flight but NOT during breeding season.
I have in the past played with different compositions of vitamin additives but am a firm believer in the natural goodness of exercise, good fresh air and sunlight that my birds get all summer in the outside flights.
The above is what works for me, not to say that it is correct for everyone.
Another sample from a Novice Breeder:
I feed 3 parts oats and 1 part wheat that are soaked for 24 to 36 hrs. In the morning the mixture is placed in cold water, 12 hrs later they are rinsed off and then the next morning or 24 hrs after being put in water, I take 1/2 half away for feeding. Then 12 hrs later I use up the rest of the soaked mixture. Oats take longer to get soft than groats. The wheat seem to take a bit longer than the oats but in any case they are both fine after 24 or 36 hours. I don't leave the mixture out of water until it is being fed. The mixture is then mixed with 3 parts of 12 grain cereal that is purchased at a bulk food store and 1 part CEDE mix. Also soaked brown bread is placed in the cages daily with millet spray.
I give this starting one day before the first bird is due... and I keep feeding this when the chicks are put into the young bird cage. I have been taking the young birds from the cage at around 70 days old and placing them in the large flight with the older birds. Sometimes as a treat (maybe twice a month) I'll put some of this mixture into the adult flight. Carrots are given daily in slices attached to each cage and also the main flight. We also put vit B-12 tablets in 8 oz. of water then mix this in with drinking water. We also put 1 Jamieson Super Vita-Vim and 2 Jamieson B-12 vitamins in 2 L of water and then use 8oz of this mixture in with another 2 liters of water. I change the water every 18 to 24 hrs and the birds get the mixture for two changes, then clear water.
Alternative soaked seed mixture:
Taken from the book 'The Cult of the Budgerigar' (1984)
Four parts Canary seed, 1 part Pannicum millet, 1 part white millet, quarter part wheat and a small quantity of groats are mixed together, put into a bag and soaked for 24 hours in cold water to which for teaspoons of Blue Label Deosan has been added per bucket of water. After 24 hours the water is emptied out and the bag of seed is thoroughly rinsed under the tap. It is then hung to dry out. The next day this seed is emptied into a bucket and laced with linseed, and a small amount of emulsuion rich in vitamins is mixed into it. On alternate days the seed is sprinkled with a yeast product and the emulsion is left out. During the day grated carrot and crumbled brown bread is given to the breeding pairs at a rate of on tablespoon per pair. The young are given this food even after they have left the nest for a few more weeks. You can use spinach instead of carrot.
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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.