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When caring for a baby parakeet, the parents will do most of the work. Still, it’s important to prepare by providing a nest box, bedding, and plenty of food for the breeding pair of adult parakeets. Parakeet owners can check periodically to make sure the parents are caring for the baby parakeet and that it is developing normally.
A nest box can be purchased at pet stores and bird supply stores. Many of these can be found online. The nest box ideally should be mounted outside the cage for free-roaming parakeets. If the birds are not free-roaming, the box can be mounted on the outside of the cage with cage wires cut so budgies can access the nesting box without leaving the cage.
Parakeets should have access to bedding material, like pine chips, to build their nest. Proper amounts of bedding will prevent a baby parakeet from developing splayed legs. A wooden insert with a concave bottom for the nest box will also help prevent this problem.
Like the cage, the nest box should have adequate amounts of light during the day and should be covered at night. Adult parakeets will be hungry while caring for a baby parakeet. It’s important to provide them with extra food and fresh water during this time. Bird seed, vegetables, and fruit can be offered, but must be organic.
For the first few weeks of the baby parakeet's life, the mother will do most of the care, providing warmth from her body and feeding the chick pre-chewed food. After hatching, chicks will be completely helpless and blind. The chick will develop quickly and stay with the mother in the nest for three to six weeks.
The nest box should be checked periodically for debris and dead chicks. If a chick dies, it should be removed immediately to prevent disease. Living chicks can be checked for splayed legs. If this developmental problem happens, it can be corrected if caught early because the chick’s bones are still developing.
A baby parakeet may be handled with clean, washed hands, but it should be touched as little as possible. If the adults reject the baby parakeet, it may be hand-fed using a syringe and commercially prepared parakeet chick food. Younger baby parakeets may be fed five times a day, while older ones need to be fed only twice a day.
After several weeks, the parents will stop feeding the chick and leave the nest. They will attempt to call the babies out of the nest. If the budgie chicks do not leave within about two days, they are at risk of starving to death. They may be gently removed at this point and should begin to behave much like adult parakeets.
@irontoenail - I don't actually think stress is all that bad for them, to be honest. Birds in the wild have to deal with predators and other animals all the time. As long as you make sure your birds are above eye-level so they feel like they are safe in a tree, you aren't going to be stressing them out too much.
Although if you are fiddling with the nest all the time and they aren't used to you that would definitely be a source of stress.
@browncoat - Actually, you can do this technique with a lot of parrots where you basically raise the chicks alongside the parents. It works particularly well if the parents are fairly tame and used to you and you need a special nest so you can get access to the chicks without disturbing anything.
Basically you let the birds alone for the bulk of the work, but you regularly block the birds out of the nest for a few minutes and feed the chicks a few mouthfuls. Then, when they are older and leaving the nest, you continue feeding them longer than the parents do and handle them a lot.
This works almost as well as raising them without the parents in
terms of taming the chick and it means you don't have to worry about feeding the babies five times a day. And I would argue that it's better for their long term health to be tamed and happy around humans, because otherwise they could suffer from stress.
Parakeets are one of those birds where it is very tempting to try and hand raise the chicks, because they will be much more friendly to humans if you do this and will probably sell for a higher price.
But you should never try to hand raise a chick unless you absolutely have to. There are just too many things that the parents can do for a chick that you can't, or at least, that you can't do properly. The chick may not survive, and even if it does, it may never live a normal life.
Birds can be tamed with a lot of patience when they are older and this is by far the best thing to do for their health.
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