Check nest Boxes:
Checking the nest boxes every two or three days from the moment you expect the first egg must become second nature. Do it yourself, you need the personal insight into how things are going and the birds need to learn to recognise their keeper. In that way, they will become used to that person who peers into their home and handles them from time to time. If you want to check the eggs or babies, make sure you do it at the SAME time every day. We check on the birds once in the morning and twice in the evening. Look for and remove broken eggs, infertile eggs, and dead young. Removing infertile eggs is not that urgent. Budgie nests are roomier and the young may lie some distance from each other and the remaining unhatched eggs. A brood of Budgie young almost always includes an "older brother or sister" that will protect the younger hatchlings. Check the crop of all young for indications of how well they are being fed by their parents. A young bird that feels relatively light-bodied and seems to get insufficient food should be transferred to another nest box where the parents are more ambitious.

You can avoid a host of troubles, especially in summer, by keeping nest boxes scrupulously clean. The moist droppings that build up in the nests are a good breeding place for summertime bugs, mites, and lice. The bottom of the nest absolutely may become a wet, sticky mess. Now and then clean with Dettol or a safe insecticide. Take care to include the back wall and especially the seams in the spraying operation. Once a group of young has left the nest, disinfect the nest boxes in boiling water, treat them with Lysol or Dettol. Budgies can be extremely messy. Not only can they cover the nests with droppings, they also can cause a mess in feeding the young. This is due to the peculiar way Budgies feed their young. They feed the young from their crop after having let the food mix with digestive juices. Then, they pump the food back from their own beak into the waiting beaks of the young. It can happen that a parent bird hasn't mastered the feeding technique properly or can't feed properly because of a small deviation of the beak. Or a parent bird may be overly ambitious in feeding a young one.

The resulting mess defies the imagination. The young can be dirtied from head to toe. The head and beak, especially, can be caked with goo, so that the young look like monsters. The disadvantage is more than cosmetic. The caked mess hampers beak growth in that the upper mandible is stunted while the lower one keeps growing. As a result, the young don't get enough food and fail to grow properly. Even if they mature, they keep having difficulties eating. It is a good idea while the babies are growing up to check them every day and clean the bird droppings and food off of their feet and beak if it is caked on. This gives the birds a chance to get used to handling for when it is time to band them, or start hand training them for someone’s pet later on.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca