Quite often, new bird owners buying parakeets (budgies) are advised to consider a pair to keep their pets less bored and lonely.
Potentially, the pair you get will be a male-female, and given the odds, they will reproduce.
That said, depending on whether you want your pair to mate (or not), the right environment is crucial, and this includes a nesting box.
So, does this mean budgies (parakeets) will breed without a nesting box?
The short and quick answer is YES!
If a pair of budgies is given the right environment, and by this, I mean ideal housing, food, and exercise, they will do everything in their power to breed with or without a nesting box.
However, any other setup may not be the best for their health and well being.
What we consider a nest-box is different from what they consider a laying area.
A laying area can be anything run-off-the-mills, from coconut halves, food dishes, and even the bottom of their cage, but a budgie with some type of nesting box (as opposed to a bare laying area) in the cage is more likely to breed.
It's a natural reaction to their environment.
Follow along as we venture more into the best way to keep your breeding (or not) budgie pair.
Do Budgies Need A Nesting Box to Mate
As we said before, budgies (parakeets) do not need a nesting box to mate. They will 'buddy-up' as long as a male and female are living together and the settings are ideal for reproduction.
However, if you are deliberately trying to get your budgies to breed, it's always best to get them a nesting box, plus provide them with the right food and conditions.
This will ensure your birds remain healthy and reproduce more readily, and also give the eggs the right environment to hatch.
Plus, more chicks will survive their first few days on earth.
What to Put in Your Budgies (Parakeets) Nesting Box
All birds, budgies included, need a comfortable, soothing environment that allows them to rest when it's time to breed...
...and from experience, the best way to do this is by providing your breeding pair with a nesting box.
Ideally, you do not need a lot of material, as budgies do not build nests anyway, but your nesting box should, at the very least, contain a tray in which the female can lay her eggs.
Having said that, budgies (parakeets) are minimalist nesters, and a dry floor area lined with soft nesting material (untreated wood shavings or shredded paper) can be used instead of trays.
Unscented pine shavings are readily available in most pet supply stores and can be purchased in large or small cubes. The hen will arrange the shavings to her liking, so provide enough amounts for your bird to work with.
Paper beddings are also safe and come in different shapes, textures, and colors. Alternatively, you can use newspapers but avoid color and glossy paper to prevent possible lead poisoning.
Another thing you'll need with any breeding bird of the parrot type, such as budgies, are concave inserts for your nesting box. They help prevent splayed legs, a condition that sometimes occurs when chicks have been standing on hard, flat floor for long.
Food and water should be provided, especially after the babies have hatched. Plus, note that the parents will consume more seeds when caring for the chicks, so you may need to feed them bigger portions than you are used to.
Parakeets are hookbills and should be fed a varied diet consisting of seed, high-quality pellets, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables:The Spruce Pets.
Cuttlebone and mineral block (calcium supplement) should be made available as well to ensure proper egg development and to help the parakeet hen recoup nutrients lost in the egg making process.
Lastly, when considering your parakeets' nesting box size and design, I recommend getting one that's at least 12 by 12 inches and with a one and a half-inch hole for the birds to use as a doorway.
How to Encourage Your Budgies to Breed
To successfully breed a pair of budgies (parakeets), your birds must be in breeding condition, healthy, and have been on a breeding diet for around 3 months before the nest box being put in each cage.
That said, it's not lost on me that the statement above can be a little ambiguous for a new parakeet owner without much experience keeping birds.
For that reason, I've detailed 3 tips below to help both newbies and experienced keepers looking to breed budgies.
**#1—**Pairing and Bonding
The first thing to note is that for any budgie pair to breed, they must be compatible and have bonded.
Unfortunately, not all budgies will bond, and the pair you get might be among the lot that doesn't.
You can tell if your male and female budgies have bonded if they preen each other or hold beaks, which ensures that mating and eggs come sooner rather than later.
If only one of your birds is showing interest, there is a chance your pair is not compatible. For instance, the male might try to feed and kiss the hen, but the female fails to show interest and choose to not sit or cuddle with the male.
She might even nip at the male and push him away.
On the other hand, a female might be ready to breed and show interest by taking up the mating pose, but the male fails to mount her.
If for some reason you suspect your pair has not bonded, I recommend you try adding another pair to encourage your hen to mate.
Making sure she is mentally ready is pretty crucial to achieving success.
**#2—**Cage and Nesting Box
Once you have a bonded pair that you would like to breed, separate them from the rest of the clutter to ensure no other male gets to the hen when in breeding condition.
Place the pair in a large cage, preferably one that's 24 by 18 by 18 inches.
Of course, if your parakeets already have the appropriately sized coop, you'll only need to make a couple of changes, including adding a nesting box inside the coop.
As we said, your budgies nesting box does not need to be too elaborate but ensure you add all necessary items (mentioned above) to help condition your birds more readily.
Please also note that the way you place your nesting box will dictate how soon your budgies breed.
If the hen does not see the nest box as a safe place for a clutch, there is a possibility she won't be mentally ready to breed. The reason could be range from the nesting box being too low to the entrance being too exposed, thus not private enough.
To help her feel more secure, consider covering three sides of the cage with a blanket (assuming its a conventional style cage), and ensure the nest box is placed up high with the entrance facing away from you.
In the wild, budgies breed during the wet season when there is plenty of food and longer light hours to find supplies. As such, mimicking these settings should condition your parakeets to reproduce.
Feed your budgies high protein and fat foods, plus increase their calcium intakes with cuttlebone, mineral blocks, and liquid calcium.
Spaying them with water to mimic rain and increasing the length with artificial light (full-spectrum plant lights) also goes a long way in conditioning them.
To condition your budgies put them on shorter days (10 hours is ideal) and feed them well with sufficient calcium and protein. With the appropriate diet and the longer daylight hours, they should come into condition.
Breeding conditions in budgies is essentially a change in the body to prepare the bird for reproduction. When parakeets get to this point, they are primed and ready to raise chicks...
...at peak fertility.
The most apparent conditioning sign, and what most budgie owners look out for in a bonded pair, is the change in the cere, plus the outward behavior of their bids.
If your budgie's cere is not brown, then she is not in condition.
Having said that, you can attempt to breed your budgie pair outside of the ideal time, but the results will always be better if you work with their natural body cycle.
In conclusion, budgies breed better if you have more than one pair. Breeding noises from others will help them mate.
Have fun keeping budgies🐦.