Parakeets can make great pets: They are lively, active and adorable. Whether you desire baby parakeets or not, parakeets in a cage together often naturally mate. There are a variety of signs that let you know when they are mating and steps you can take to encourage or discourage their behavior.
The ideal parakeets for mating are around 1-year-old and in good health. Healthy parakeets are active, responsive and will spend a good portion of the day grooming themselves. Their feathers are shiny. Look out for over or undergrown beaks, malformed feet, or runny droppings; those may be signs of unhealthy birds. Also, it can be easier to facilitate mating a pair of already bonded parakeets.
The ideal cage for the mating pair will be large and will not have other birds inside. Place at least two perches in the cage, along with food and water dishes, and pieces of bird-friendly wood. Female parakeets enjoy gnawing on wood, and it can also encourage them to breed. Attach a wooden nest box about 8-by-8 inches, and line it with unscented pine shavings to the outside of the cage. The parakeets will want a safe, separate space to use as a nest. Have a second cage ready for when the baby parakeets are born.
The most active mating season for parakeets is between October and March. Parakeets like moderate temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the parakeets on a schedule: Cover their cage at night and allow them 12 hours of darkness. Uncover the cage at sunrise and avoid placing it in direct sun. Avoid handling the birds, and clean their cages on a regular schedule.
Make sure that your parakeets are well fed with enriched food and organic greens. Even small amounts of pesticides found in non-organic food can kill baby birds. Give them new food and water each day.
Parakeets become anxious and begin to enter the nest box frequently when they are mating. They may also start building a nest out of newspaper scraps and wood pieces on the cage floor. The birds will also begin to feed and preen one another more frequently and vocalize more often. Give the birds privacy for the mating ritual. If mating is successful, you will see the female laying eggs within a few days.
Once the female lays eggs, add a vitamin supplement to her food that has extra calcium so that she does not deplete her reserves. Avoid touching the eggs, as this can poorly affect the chicks inside. It takes 17 to 20 days for the eggs to hatch, and the female parakeet will feed them until they are about three weeks old. Once chicks begin to emerge from the nest, you can handle them.
If you do not want your parakeets to breed, move their cage to a different location or rearrange the objects inside so that the cage does not seem like a stable place to raise offspring. Disrupt the parakeets' sleeping and waking routine.