Parakeet BreedingYou love parakeets - and the idea of making millions of your own parakeets is somewhat alluring. Just what should you consider before you get into breeding parakeets?
First off, of course, the parakeets both have to be adults. Young parakeets have little interest in sex :) Parakeets become adults at around 6 months, but I would highly recommend waiting until the keets were a year or older. Parakeets take this long to learn to talk and to fully become part of a household. It seems awfully cruel to me to force a barely-born creature to go through the stresses of childbirth when it has barely become settled in its world. If your only aim was to breed thousands of budgies, I suppose 6 months is where you would begin. But if these birds are your pets, I would wait.
Next, of course, they have to be male and female. While you might THINK they are, unless you are really certain, you could easily have 2 males or 2 females. They of course would lack the appropriate parts to connect together to make fertilized eggs with. You can't tell just by courtship behavior. Females will court females, males will court males. It shows that they care for each other. But only a male parakeet plus a parakeet equals fertilized eggs. Note that females WILL lay eggs even if a male isn't around - they just won't turn into parakeet babies. It's like with chickens. Chickens lay eggs all the time that are unfertilized, these are what we eat for breakfast.
OK, assuming you did have one male, one female, both adults, the parakeets might just not be interested in sex with each other. There are all sorts of reasons why. Parakeets are extremely intelligent and don't just mate with any random parakeet. So there is never a guarantee that a pair of keets will start creating babies. You need to be happy with them as pets and not think of them as baby producers.
If you're interested in the physical aspect of bird mating, then yes, a male bird has a sex organ, just like male humans do. He is called the "cock". The female bird has an opening between her legs, just like female humans do. She is the "hen". Just like with dogs, cats, horses and other creatures, the male gets behind the female and puts his organ inside her from behind. This is even a common style of sex for humans, too. In any case, when this happens, the female's eggs are then fertilized and able to make baby parakeets. If she lays eggs without having this interaction with a male, the eggs are unfertilized. That's like most chickens that lay eggs for us humans to eat. Those eggs you get in the supermarket are unfertilized eggs. They won't turn into baby chickens. It can take about 3 weeks for an egg to get out of a female's body.
Eggs that are fertilized take about 18-20 days before they hatch. Then it takes about 4 weeks of care before the chicks are fully feathered and ready to be on their own. It is CRITICAL if you are involved with breeding parakeets that you are home and on call 24 hours a day during this time, to care for the mom and the keets. Moms can get egg-bound. Baby keets can have all sorts of complications.
I personally feel strongly that a person really should own parakeets for several years before they start thinking about raising baby parakeets. It is a serious thing, to cause new life to be brought in this world and be dependent on you. ALL sorts of problems can happen during childbirth. Heck even with human beings, I believe I was just reading that one out of 5 women *DIE* in Iraq while trying to have a baby. Those are real life human females who are pregnant in the year 2004, who are dying because of lack of proper care.
Parakeet parents can get egg bound and can have other things happen to them during the stresses of childbirth. The human owner would need to be able to help them through the process so they did not die. Baby parakeets are of course very tiny and can need medicine and other care.
Many breeders go through special training programs before they start raising young birds. Some even get college degrees in animal care. If you are going to take that step and start encouraging your birds to go through the stress of childbirth you need to at least have a book or two on the topic - and I *highly* suggest you go talk to a bird breeder in your area to find out what you are getting yourself into. You can't just wave goodbye to them in the morning and go to school all day. You have to be there to care for the chicks.
Also be sure you get in contact with a bird veterinarian in your area and have the vet check out both parents to make sure they are healthy enough to breed. That way the vet also knows who you are so if you call her up in the middle of the night with an emergency, she'll meet you at the office to take care of it.
Once you've done those things, good luck with your breeding adventures!
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