Pregnant Budgie: Complete Care Guide (2022)

Budgies can be great pets for people of all ages and experience levels. They are small, relatively quiet, and much less demanding than some of their larger cousins.

If you have a budgie or are considering getting one, you might be concerned about budgie pregnancies or unwanted eggs.

In this article, I will teach you how to spot the signs of budgie pregnancy, how to care for your pregnant budgie, and how to prevent unwanted pregnancies. 

Signs of a Pregnant Budgie

  • Heightened Aggression
  • Searching for a Nesting Spot
  • Bump Near Vent
  • Changes in Cere Color
  • Larger, Discolored Poop
  • Swollen Abdomen
  • Brood Patch Near Vent
  • Weight Gain

Two budgies

Heightened Aggression

If your female budgie is suddenly more aggressive toward you or the other birds in the cage, it could be due to pregnancy.

Budgies are prey animals in their natural habitat in Australia, which makes them very competitive over safe nesting spots and protective of their mates and offspring. 

An overly aggressive budgie is likely trying to make her space as safe as possible for her future babies. 

Searching for a Nesting Spot

In the wild, budgies nest in holes found in trees and logs. Here, they will place feathers and other nesting materials to create a suitable spot to lay their eggs.

In captivity, budgies will easily accept appropriately sized nest boxes, preferably lined with soft nesting material. 

If youve noticed that your budgie seems to be spending a lot of time in the nest box working on a nest, or searching around the cage for a suitable space to lay eggs, she might be expecting. 

Bump Near Vent

One sure sign that your budgie is pregnant, or gravid, is that she has a bump near her vent. This wont be easy to see, but if you gently explore the area, you should be able to feel the eggs inside her.

Since budgies are small birds that often lay between 6-10 eggs, there isnt much space inside them for the eggs to form. This is why you can often feel them near the vent. 

Changes in Cere Color

A budgies cere is the area above its beak where its nostrils are. In females, the cere is normally white or off-white, while in males, it is light blue.

When they are ready to breed, the females cere will often become brown and enlarged and the males cere will become darker blue. 

If you notice that your birds’ ceres are changing color, they are likely ready to breed or have already bred, meaning your female is likely pregnant or will soon be pregnant. 

Larger, Discolored Poop

If your budgie seems to be pooping less and her poop is larger than normal, this could indicate that she is gravid. As the eggs form, they take up more space in the female, which gives her less space for food and bowel movements.

This means her bowel movements will become larger and less frequent. It might also cause the color of her stool to change slightly due to an increased intake of calcium. 

A healthy non-gravid budgie will usually poop roughly every 10-15 minutes, so a change in that schedule could indicate pregnancy.

However, larger, less frequent, and discolored stool can also be a sign of illness. If these symptoms last more than 3 days, you will want to get your pet to the vet. 

Swollen Abdomen

In some budgies, you might be able to see the abdomen enlarging. The difference is usually subtle, but if you keep a close eye on your bird, you might be able to see her start to grow before she lays her eggs.

This is especially true in smaller females or in females with larger than average clutches. 

Brood Patch 

Many female budgies will develop a brood patch, or featherless spot, near their vent when they are ready to breed. While this alone isnt an indicator of pregnancy, it is a sign that your female is ready to produce eggs.

If your female is kept alone or only with other females, keep an eye out for her to lay an infertile egg. If she is with a male, you might soon have eggs in your future. 

Weight Gain

Like a swollen abdomen, weight gain might not be very noticeable to the naked eye. However, if you are aware of your birds normal weight, you can weigh her to test for pregnancy.

A gain of more than a gram can be an indication that your female is carrying eggs. 

Curious budgie

Changes in Pregnant Budgie Behavior

One of the most obvious changes in behavior that your female budgie might exhibit when pregnant is aggression.

If your normally placid female is suddenly nipping at you and her cage mates, she could be pregnant. 

Another sure sign is her behavior toward her mate. If your budgies have been especially flirty the last few days, hanging out together, grooming each other, or singing to each other, they were likely courting and preparing to mate.

Once these signs stop, your birds have probably mated and your female is now pregnant. 

Once your female is pregnant, you might find that she is spending a lot more time in the nest box, and her mate might be feeding her partially digested food.

These behaviors are normally seen only in pregnant birds, so get ready. You are likely about to become a grandparent! 

How Long Are Budgies Pregnant? 

After breeding, a budgie will usually lay her first egg within 24-30 hours. She will then lay an egg every other day until all of her eggs have been laid.

The average number of eggs in a clutch is five, but females can lay as few as one egg and as many as eight. 

How to Care for Your Pregnant Budgie 

If you think your budgie is pregnant, you must provide her with the ideal care. A happy, healthy budgie will be a good mother budgie, so follow the care guide below. 

  • Provide a nest box
  • Feed her a good diet
  • Provide cuttlebone and mineral blocks
  • Move the cage to a low-stress area
  • Minimize handling

Nest Box

If your budgie doesnt already have a nest box, it is time to add one to the cage. You will want to select an appropriately sized nest box with a hole just large enough for her to fit through.

An ideal budgie nest box is big enough for her nest and her babies, but too small to allow predators to enter.

This will make her feel safe and secure. Be sure to add soft nesting material so that she can prepare her nest. 

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Feed a Good Diet

Feeding a balanced diet is paramount to the health and happiness of your budgie and her babies.

A diet of 20% seed, 20% pellets, 50% fresh vegetables, and 10% egg is ideal.

For more on this, see our diet section below. 

Provide Cuttlebone and Mineral Block

You will want to make sure your female budgie has access to a cuttlebone and a mineral block at all times.

Producing eggs takes a lot of calcium, and if she isnt provided with enough, it could lead to egg binding or brittle eggshells that will break when the parents try to incubate them.

Egg binding is a life-threatening problem, so if your female seems pregnant and hasnt laid an egg after three days, you will need to consult a veterinarian. 

Low-Stress Area – Minimize Handling

The other things your pregnant budgie will need are a quiet environment and a healthy diet.

Once you know or suspect that your budgie is gravid, you will want to keep any stressors to a minimum. Handle only when necessary and try to keep other pets away from the cage. 

A stressful environment will make your budgie unhappy and can lead to her not eating enough and not getting enough calcium. It can also lead to her abandoning her eggs or babies.

To keep everyone happy and safe, try to create a stress-free environment for her. 

Budgie eating seeds

Pregnant Budgie Diet – What to Feed a Pregnant Budgie

Diet is incredibly important for pregnant and parenting budgies.

You will want your budgie to have access to a cuttlebone and a mineral block at all times.

Her diet should also be made up of about 20% seeds, 20% pellets, 40-50% fruits, and 10% egg. 

Seeds

Several good commercial budgie diets are on the market, but if you prefer to make your own, these are the ingredients I use in my budgie mix. 

  • Canary Seed
  • Thistle
  • Red Millet
  • White Millet
  • Cracked Corn
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Flax Seed
  • Oat Groats

Vegetables

Quite a few vegetables are healthy for budgies. You will want to finely chop or puree your vegetables in a food processor so that your bird can more easily eat them.

I like to aim for a mix of three or four of these veggies at a time and I try to rotate every few days. Feeding different vegetables regularly will ensure that your birds are getting a good diet with a healthy variety of nutrients. 

Dont be discouraged if your birds dont take to eating vegetables right away. Many take a while to adjust to eating fresh vegetables, especially if you get them from a large box store. 

Some healthy vegetables for budgies are as follows:

Egg Diet

Powdered egg diet mixes are sold online and in bird specialty stores, but it’s also easy to make your own.

Gravid birds and those raising babies should be given this diet twice a day if possible and allowed to eat as much as they like in about 30 minutes. 

The ingredients for an egg diet are as follows:

  • 1 hardboiled mashed egg (you can include the shell if you have organic or free-range eggs)
  • ⅓ cup cooked brown rice or whole-grain pasta
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed
  • 2 tablespoons pellets
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped vegetables

Chop all the ingredients finely, or mix them in your food processor.

The egg diet can be kept in the fridge for up to three days.

If you arent using organic eggs and cant include the eggshell, you might also want to include a calcium supplement. 

Budgie sitting in front of a mirror

Is My Budgie Pregnant or Sick? 

Many of the signs of pregnancy in budgies are also signs of illness.

A good indicator that your bird is sick and not pregnant is that one or more of the symptoms lasts more than a few days without any sign of eggs.

Since budgies are gravid only two to three days before laying their first egg, you should know on day four if your budgies behavior is due to illness. 

Symptoms of Illness in Budgies

  • Fluffed up feathers – this is often a sign that your bird is cold or ill
  • Larger than normal poop
  • Oddly colored poop
  • Hunched over – a bird that is hunched over is likely in pain
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sitting at the bottom of the cage
  • More aggressive than normal
  • Sneezing

When to Call the Vet

Budgies are prey animals, which means they will often hide most symptoms of illness until they are fairly sick.

If you notice your budgie exhibiting a rise in aggression, larger than normal or discolored poop, or restlessness, you should first rule out pregnancy. Then contact your veterinarian to set up an appointment.  

If you notice that your budgie has fluffed-up feathers, make sure they are away from all drafts and that the room is at a normal temperature.

If it is, contact your vet. For all the other symptoms listed above, call your vet immediately. 

Avoiding Pregnancy

If you have multiple budgies and dont want to end up with any budgie babies, the foolproof method of prevention is to house males and females separately.

Budgies can be sexed by the color of their cere, so you should be able to sex them before they are able to mate at six months.

It is a good idea to separate by sex before six months, even if you want babies, as it isnt recommended to breed females until they are 10 months of age. 

If separating your budgies isnt an option, you can keep your budgies in a cage that doesnt encourage breeding.

Remove nest boxes and keep nesting materials to a minimum. This should discourage breeding.

If you notice your birds flirting despite the lack of nesting areas, you can also reduce the amount of light they are exposed to.

Most budgies will breed only when exposed to 12 hours of light a day, so reducing this should prevent breeding behaviors. 

Can Budgies Get Pregnant Without Mating? 

If you have only female budgies and one is showing all the symptoms of pregnancy, dont worry.

This is natural. While females cant produce fertile eggs without breeding with a male, some females will produce infertile eggs every once in a while.

This is due to a rise in hormones and is completely normal. Most females that produce infertile eggs will lay only one.

Simply remove the egg(s) and dispose of them. The female wont want to sit on them and wont miss them once they are gone. 

Recommended read: Do Budgies Lay Eggs Without Mating? Yes, Here’s Why