Hand-raised budgies (Ultimate Guide)

Last Updated on August 24, 2022 by Ali Shahid

As a experienced owners you know, babies need their parents’ care. Occasionally, owners have to take on this responsibility.

Although they already have budgies, hand-raising a baby budgie is an art. Thus, it is important to consult experts on how to hand raise a budgie.

The budgie, or budgerigar, is a small parrot found in Australia. They are naturally light green. However, breeding in the pet industry has led to some color mutations.

Chicks should be raised by their parents, but sometimes the parents abandon them. In such a case, you will need to hand rear the chicks. 

Those of you reading this article must be experiencing this problem. I’m sure you have lots of questions about hand-raising a budgie.

Our goal in this article is to answer all your questions with expert opinions. Join us to learn how to raise a budgie successfully.

Baby Budgie Formula For Rearing

Purchase the hand-feeding formula that is specifically designed for budgies. Be sure to read the instructions on the formula container carefully. Powdered formula is usually mixed with 103-degree heated sterile bottled water.

The ratio of formula to water depends on the budgie’s age. It’s best to have the formula at 98 degrees Fahrenheit for proper digestion. Put the formula in a bowl of hot water during feeding to keep it warm. The formula should never be heated in a microwave.

If the commercial formula is not available, the birds can be fed lukewarm milk dipped in bread.

However, this would only be a last resort for you. A glass container is essential for preparing formula because plastic containers harbor bacteria. It is never a good idea to prepare formula in dirty containers.

Food should only be prepared for a single meal at a time, and any leftovers should always be thrown away. The formula should have the consistency of a soft dessert.

It shouldn’t be too thick as the baby could choke on the formula. Also, don’t dilute it to the point that the bird can inhale it. 

Feeding Technique And Instruments

A syringe is used to measure feed volume and spoons are used to dispense it. Hand-rearing should not be done with crop needles or tubes. Chicks should readily eat from their mouths.

Whenever crop feeding is required, it should only be performed by professionals. Clean and disinfect feeding instruments. Disinfecting feeding instruments between clutches is also recommended.

It is very important that the chick shakes or bobs its head vigorously before you begin to feed it. At this point, the chick’s airway closes to prevent inhalation of food. Once the feeding instrument is placed in front of the mouth, the formula can be slowly introduced.

You should feed until the budgie stops eating or the total amount of feed is consumed. If the bird doesn’t show a feeding response, do not feed them. They can inhale the food, which can kill them.

After feeding, the crop at the bottom of the neck will enlarge. Within 1-4 hours after feeding, it should drain steadily and almost completely.

Feeding instructions

Place the baby budgie on a napkin or towel on a table or kitchen counter to feed it comfortably. The goal is to provide a realistic environment that is as close to its natural environment as possible. Budgie parents tap their babies’ beaks to stimulate feeding.

Thus, use the feeding instrument to gently tap the baby budgie’s beak to encourage the feeding response. As soon as the baby detects food, it opens its mouth and bobbles its head.

When feeding their chicks, parents insert their beaks through the side of their babies’ mouths. The food is then regurgitated into the mouth of the baby bird. Thus, administer the feeding syringe at a slight angle on either side of the baby’s beak.

Slowly press the plunger and stop periodically to allow the baby to swallow. It is never a good idea to rush the feeding process. The plunger should be pressed only after the baby has swallowed its food. As soon as its crop is full, it will stop gaping.

There must be an immediate halt to feeding. Overfeeding can result in formula flowing down the throat and into the windpipe of a budgie.

Force feeding a reluctant baby is not a good idea. Immediately after feeding, wipe the baby’s feathers and beak with a warm, damp cloth. In general, a baby’s crop empties within four hours. Crops that cannot empty within that time are problematic.

When the crop still has leftover food, do not feed the baby. Never force the crop, but massage it gently with lukewarm water.

Care of Baby Budgies in Different Growth Stages

1st Week

When a budgie is born, it has no feathers, and is helpless. A baby budgie’s peeps and movements become louder by day 5. Despite their closed eyes, they’re able to hold their heads up on day 7.

During their first week of life, baby budgies begin to grow feathers. The best time to start feeding is from 6 am to midnight. It is recommended to feed the baby every two hours. On day one, a chick needs about 1 ml of formula per feed.

It can be gradually increased to 2 ml on day four and 3 ml on day seven. As the baby receives sufficient fluids in their feed, extra water is not necessary. Additionally, both parents and babies sleep at night, so feeding the baby at night is unnecessary.

 2nd – 3rd Week

Around the 8th or 10th day of life, babies usually grow pin feathers and open their eyes. In the third week, the baby is covered in

· Down feather

· Pin feathers

· Tail feathers

In the second week, you can feed the baby every three hours. Each feed should contain 4 ml. There will still be a 6 a.m. feeding, but the last feeding can take place at 10 p.m.

In the third week, you can increase the consistency of the baby formula. Each feed should contain five ml. Feeding frequency can be reduced to once every 4-5 hours.

4th – 5th Week

As the baby budgie develops flight feathers, he or she is now called a fledgling. This is also the age when they begin foraging for food on their own. Once the chicks leave the nest, sprinkle some grain on the cage floor.

This will motivate them to peck for themselves. Reduce the frequency of feeding to 2-3 times per day and increase the amount of feed to 6 ml per feed.

When the baby is 5 weeks old, weaning must begin. Now the young birds can eat weaning foods. Weaning foods include:

· Greens

· Bits of toast and bread

· Crushed boiled eggs along with the shell

· Cream cracker biscuits

Young birds can easily digest this mixture and it is ideal for rearing them. Millet, finger millet, foxtail millet, sunflower seed, etc., are also recommended.

6th – 7th Week

It is now time to move the young bird to a cage. While they feed on their own, it is important to watch them closely to ensure they are eating well. If needed, feed your pet one or two times a day for a few more days.

When shifted to a cage, make sure the cages are big enough for them to move around freely. Perches should be placed just above the cage floor to make climbing easier. Put a shallow bowl of water in the cage’s bottom.

It is ideal to place the cage near sunlight but not directly in it. Avoid exposing your birds to cold breezes or draughts, especially at night. To maintain healthy feet and claws, it is essential to provide birds with fresh, natural branches.

Furthermore, it keeps them occupied while strengthening and sharpening their jaws. Otherwise, they’ll get bored and start plucking. If possible, cover the cage at night with a cloth to give it a sense of security.

8th- 9th Week

The bird should be fully weaned by 8 to 9 weeks. In three or four months, the birds will have adult plumage.

Conclusion

This was all about hand raising a budgie. While it may seem challenging and exhausting, if you follow the right guidelines, you can complete it smoothly. Just follow the instructions regarding the bird’s age.

Each budgie’s needs are different. Don’t forget to follow the hygiene and feeding instructions in the article. At this age, even the smallest mistake can be deadly. Hopefully, this guide has answered all your questions. I hope you find it useful.

References:

Gage, Laurie J., and Rebecca S. Duerr, edsHand-rearing birds. John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

Author

  • Ali Shahid

    Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.

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