Do budgies mate for life?

Four budgies inside a bird cage

Just like humans, budgies are sociable creatures that form strong pair-bonds which can last for many years. But that doesn’t mean they mate for life!

Most budgies will mate with multiple partners in their lifetimes if they are given a chance. If a pair of birds are kept together in captivity, they may happily mate for life. However, if they lived in a large flock, you’d probably find that they mated with different birds over time. 

If you want to know more about how budgies show affection and raise their young, this article will get you started!

Are Budgies Monogamous?

There’s a lot of contradictory information about this online. I hope I can clear up any of your doubts here!

Budgies form bonded pairs that can last many years or even a lifetime. 

But they aren’t always monogamous. Sometimes, the male will sneak away and mate with other birds while his partner raises the chicks in the nest box. 

At the same time, a female budgie will sometimes mate with a male that isn’t her partner. This could be to give her the best possible chance of producing fertile eggs. Or it could be to rope in extra help with feeding the babies. 

Sometimes partnered birds will split and form new relationships with different birds. Other times, the bonded pair will be faithful to each other for life.  

So, although budgies tend to form monogamous bonds, things can get complicated. (You could say the same thing for us humans!)

How Budgies Show Love

Budgies are super affectionate with their partners. Here are some of the ways they express love!

  • Preening each other
  • ‘Kissing’ – tapping their beaks together
  • Feeding each other
  • Nuzzling 
  • Chatting to each other
  • Mating dances 

These bonds become important when budgies raise their young because Mum stays in the nest with the chicks while the male finds food for them. However, it’s not unusual for budgies to have homosexual relationships. 

They can express love just for the sake of it, without any expectation of raising chicks together. 

How Budgies Reproduce 

Mating Dance

Before climbing aboard, the male budgie will try out his best dance moves to impress the female. If his head bobbing convinces the lady that he is the guy to raise her chicks, then she’ll give him the green light. 

Mating 

Budgie mating takes only a few seconds. The male will climb on the female’s back, and they will rub their cloacas (genitals) together. They will do this many times over several days to give them the best possible chance of success. 

Incubating the Eggs

Once the male starts feeding the female in the nest box, there’s a pretty good chance that she is ready to lay her eggs. She will usually lay four to six eggs in each clutch (group of eggs). 

After mating, it will take one to two weeks for the budgie hen (female) to lay her first egg, but she will lay another one every couple of days after that. 

It takes 17 to 23 days for a budgie egg to hatch once Momma starts incubating them. It might be tempting to keep checking how the eggs are getting on, but it’s best to leave your budgies be and let them get on with this themselves!

Hatching 

It can take a chick several hours to hatch, so don’t worry too much if it seems to be taking a long time! If an egg hasn’t hatched after 23 days of incubation, it probably never will. 

Risks of Budgie Breeding 

Unwanted Birds

If you consider letting your budgies breed, ask yourself whether you can find good homes for all the chicks. Already, millions of exotic birds are in captivity, and many of them end up in shelters or abandoned. 

So, think carefully before adding to this population!

To prevent your budgies from breeding, you’ll need to make sure they don’t have a nest box. Still, give them plenty of perches and toys to hang out on, but they go to the nest box only when they feel broody anyway. 

If that doesn’t seem to fix the problem, you may have to consider separating your birds. This can be hard on them, though, because they are social creatures that need interaction.  

Of course, if you have a same-sex pair of birds, breeding won’t be a problem!

Pressure on the Female

You should also be aware that breeding takes a toll on your female budgie. She loses lots of calcium, vitamins, and minerals every time she raises her young. If you breed her too often, she could literally die of exhaustion!

FAQs

When is a Budgie Ready to Breed?

Budgies can technically start breeding from around six months old, but it’s best to not breed your birds before they are one year old, so they get plenty of time to develop. Think carefully about your decision because your bird population can soon get out of hand!

Why Don’t My Budgies Like Each Other?

Some budgies just don’t like each other. You’ll know this is the case if they ignore each other, stay apart, and don’t groom each other. In the worst case, they might start fighting. If your budgies don’t get on, you might have to separate them for their safety. 

Final Thoughts 

Budgies are social and loving birds. Sometimes they are monogamous and form bonds for life. However, sometimes they ‘cheat’ on each other or leave their partner for a different bird. It depends on the individuals! 

Don’t forget that budgies don’t automatically like each other just because they are the same species. Two birds might dislike each other so much that you have to separate them for their safety. But in general, budgies are much happier in the company of friends.  

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