Oh man. I thought I had it made with my cranky parrot’s old cage. I had to put a fat dowel rod down to block the one area my craftiest parakeet could exploit to get out, but otherwise it was nice, big, and roomy. But if I add two more parakeets, it’s gonna get crowded.
And so, I spent the past three days waffling about a new cage and what type to get. I finally picked it out and paid for it, and it’ll be a few days before it shows up. They don’t have cages this size in the pet stores, so I HAD to go online. But I don’t have the extra parakeets yet, either.
Yes, my parakeets need boyfriends. Well, I have four of them, and two (Pickle and Nana) are a bonded pair. So much so that a couple of months ago I looked over the rim of my coffee cup to find them going at it. Yeah, I wasn’t expecting to watch parakeets banging at 8 a.m., and looked it up online to figure out that’s what they were doing.
Seriously, there are quite a few “parakeet (or budgie) mating” videos on YouTube if you’re curious. I’ll wait…
I wondered when my other two (Aqua and Sky) would get together, but they made no moves to do so that I could see. They were all generally friendly, but I’ve noticed a little agitation the past few weeks. I partially blame that on them not getting good sleep because of the mouse problem I was contending with. When a mouse was under their cage eating the seeds they scattered and making noise, they’d wake up and freak out, flapping their wings, which got me up and that was how I figured the vermin had returned.
Now, they’ve calmed down a bit and gotten good sleep, but I realized a bigger issue that was rising: the blue parakeet my neighbors and I thought was a boy is now displaying the color traits of a girl.
So, instead of 2 males and 2 females, I’ve got 1 male and 3 females. Ruh-roh.
No wonder things have been getting tense. Pickle’s becoming quite the ladies’ man (which probably pisses off his lady). And my white one, Sky, has had very dark ceres for a long time (the nostril area, and in females, if they’re getting to mating age or wanting to mate–forgot which–that area gets dark).
Actually, Sky looks a LOT like the parakeet at the top of this page, dark ceres and all (just a lot more white), if you were wondering.
I got to worrying about Sky, who I’ve had the longest with Pickle (Aqua was the one with questionable gender that is getting darker ceres, rather than blue ones as the boys have. Nana came in the same time as Aqua. Blue parakeets are damned difficult to tell male vs. female til they get older). Sky was looking a bit pudgy and acting a little erratic, especially with Pickle and Nana. There’d be some angry pecking at each other a few times, but then it would cool down. Sky looked a little slimmer a couple of weeks ago all of a sudden and when I was cleaning the cage, I noticed an egg in one of the breeding boxes.
That surprised me, because I remember budgies mate with only one, and Nana hadn’t displayed signs (think she’s a bit young, too, for breeding). But when I put the egg up to a light, I discovered it was an unfertilized egg. Definitely Sky’s work, then.
Poor Sky has been itching for a boyfriend. There’s a circular toy in the cage that looks like soft rope knots all over it. One morning a couple of weeks ago when I was getting my coffee (why do I see the weirdest shit when I’m getting my coffee–honestly?), I saw her and Pickle next to each other, clinging to the toy. She and he were rocking the toy back and forth, and he occasionally gave her kisses and they traded food back in forth like the budgie mating ritual. It actually looked a bit like this, what they were doing:
I tried not to laugh at how strange they looked, then I realized if he’s a mated man and she kept moving the way she was…. I asked my neighbor about it and she said “yep, parakeets masturbate sometimes.”
Well, watching that poor girl, whose ceres are so damned dark she’s apparently been itching to mate for months, it makes me wonder if it is detrimental to their health if they can’t mate and are ready to. And now Aqua’s getting that coloring on her, which may mean fights coming up if things go much longer.
So, when I looked in the cage and realized Aqua is most likely a female, rather than an uninterested male, I decided I’d better get two males when the chance comes.
But there’s two issues. The first is my cage is not gonna be big enough, mostly because it’s awkwardly shaped at the top. The second is the lack of parakeets to buy right now.
That damned winter storm killed a lot of parakeets across Texas, and pet shops are very slowly getting them in after all these weeks from breeders. But I’m gonna need time to put the cage together (make sure there’s no burrs on the metal and file them off if I see any), dress it up with toys and food bowls, and get my current parakeets to trade places before I even think of getting two more, anyway. I heard a few will be in in the next few weeks. Some stores have 2 or 3 parakeets, but they’re too young to tell sex properly on them all. I don’t want to leave one lonely parakeet behind, waiting for another owner to come, or more parakeets to share their cage with (I’m the same way with fish–don’t want to leave only one of a certain species alone in the tank). So I’ll wait til there’s more than a handful and get a pair then.
So I figure a flat topped, taller cage with plenty of space for multiple perches and swings and the like would give them plenty to do and room to do it in. I don’t plan to keep the babies if all that lovin’ pays off the way nature decides. I have an agreement to give them to my neighbor’s mom if she wants them, because she raises parakeets. But most of all, she doesn’t want a genetic bottleneck (and neither would I) and babies brought in from the outside to raise with her babies and mate would minimize any health issues. I’m all for that.
Of course, if she can’t take any more babies, I will have backup cages I can use and give away or sell the ones that come about. This new cage will have room for one more breeding box if I need to use it, and I’m glad for that.
I just find it funny that with all that’s been going on, it’s my parakeet’s sex life that’s been weighing on me the most this week. Hey, they make me happy, just like my dogs, so why not make ’em happy, too?