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We have several budgerigars and from time to time my partner sees an egg in their cage and disposes of it immediately. They are possibly fertile because we have both male and female budgies however the cage doesn't have a nesting area so it's probably unlikely the female would be able to keep the egg warm enough for it to hatch.

We keep a few small tree branches / leaves and the odd piece of fruit / veg on the bottom for them to nibble on but it doesn't really cover the entire area. Most of the eggs seem to be laid down the bottom directly on the bottom of the cage. While well sheltered it's outdoors so there would be cool air passing under the eggs.

Because budgies are somewhat skittish it's hard to know how long (if at all) they are trying to nest on them. I wondered if removing the eggs quickly may cause some sort of anxiety or if maybe it's better to leave them in place a while until they "give up" on them trying to hatch?

We're not especially interested in breeding them but if that seems like the most humane thing we're not certainly not opposed to it and I'm sure we can find them loving homes. If that sounds like a better option I'd also be interested to know at what point eggs that haven't hatched should be removed?

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    Why don't you just place small nesting boxes with some bedding material inside, that's not too much of work. – Hammad Oct 13 '13 at 9:20
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    @Hammad, I guess that's another idea worth considering, I was mainly thinking we don't want too many but I'm a member of Freecycle so guess I could just offer a few for adoption if things got to that point. – PeterJ Oct 13 '13 at 9:26
  • @PeteJ That's definitely the best solution to your problem :) after all they are living beings! You can spread the love of pets by giving them as a gift to your friends – Hammad Oct 13 '13 at 9:35
  • @PeterJ : I'm not sure I understand what's your question here. You want to know it you can remove eggs (because you think that they won't succeed), of if the birds will have some stress if you remove them, or alternatives to improve the probability of mating and having baby birds, or ? – woliveirajr Oct 15 '13 at 17:37
  • Caged birds tend not to be good parents. The worse thing you could do is allow the bird to nest the egg then ignore the babies after they have hatched. I am not sure if I am qualified to answer though on the stress of removing eggs. – maple_shaft Oct 17 '13 at 12:21
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  • Budgerigars (commonly known as budgies) will generally not lay eggs unless there is a suitable nesting area; in fact usually they will require a nesting box. The best remedy would be to ensure that there is no build up of matter in the cage. There will be less likelihood of them laying.

  • Put any fruit or snacks in a small ceramic dish for several hours during the day and then remove it. That's what I do with my birds, to avoid getting old fruit bits rotting in the cage. This will also stop the build up in the bottom of the cage. If you are meticulous with keeping the bottom of the cage cleared and raise any perches of ladders you have that are closer to ground level, it will remove the nest like feel the birds are experiencing at the bottom of the cage.

  • My personal experience of owning budgies (which extends over 40 years, I was 3 when I got my first budgie), budgies are not particularly skittish as far as birds go. They are quite personable. However a larger group of them will make them less user (human) friendly.

  • As far as harming the budgie laying the eggs. It is more humane to remove the egg promptly, than have a bird nest on an egg that is not viable. Without a proper nesting box or nest, it is unlikely the egg will be kept warm enough to survive. When I was studying animal husbandry, we were given the experience of trying to keep an egg warm enough to survive hatching and it requires continuous warmth. The air currents, although minimalised from the relative shelter at the bottom of the cage would still be enough to cool the egg.


Reference:

  • (1) IMPROVING BREEDING OUTCOMES FOR BUDGERIGARS Notes from a lecture by Dr Rob Marshall BVSc(Hons) FACVSc(Avian Health) Lecture given at Wynnum approx 5 years ago and reprinted for the benefit of our newer members PDF
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