I want to breed budgies and purchase six birds from a breeder. This breeder purchased them from another person, so I do not know much about them. I was told that they have all bred together, are good parents and to use one male for every two females. There are two males and four females. I was also told just to put up two nest boxes and put all of the birds in one cage. What size cage would be good to breed all of them in?
If the instructions for breeding these birds were passed from one breeder to another and then to you, it is very possible some of the instructions were lost along the way.
It may be possible that all of these birds were housed in one cage and successfully bred without incident. In my experience, this set up would be the exception and not the rule.
Budgies may be bred in colonies, and many people succeed in breeding them this way. This is often the way novice bird breeders or those supplying the pet trade breed their birds. One of the downsides of colony breeding budgies is that it is difficult to know what parents the babies are from. Just because the chick is in the nest box does not mean the hen caring for that box is the mother. And even if that hen is the mother, there is no guarantee that all of the chicks in that nest have the same father. Males will mate with different females, and hens will sometimes share a nest or lay their eggs in the nest of another hen.
Take caution when using one male for two females when breeding budgies. Pick two pairs (two males, two females) and place them in a large breeding cage if you wish to breed your budgies in a colony. The other two hens may be housed together if they get along. The cage you are using to colony breed your budgies should contain at least two nest boxes (three or four would be even better), placed in different areas within the cage but at the same height. When the hens decide which nest box they are going to use, the extra boxes may be removed or left in place. If the hens are squabbling over the same box, remove that box and add another box in a different area.
The cage intended for breeding needs to be large. The size depends on the space available. This cage houses at least two pairs of birds, food and water dishes, perches, nest boxes (more than one nest box per pair) and, hopefully, a couple of clutches of chicks. Provide each hen with enough room (territory) around her nest box and chicks for a comfort zone.
Extra hens in a colony-breeding situation can cause fatal arguments. The extra males seldom present a problem and, in some colonies, help with the rearing of the young. Undoubtedly, these extra males will father some of the chicks.
You have a couple of options regarding the two extra hens. You can get mates for them and set up another colony cage as described above or, if the first colony cage is large enough, you can set up all four pair in that cage, making sure to add more nest boxes than you have pairs. Adding pairs to the colony-breeding cage should be done before any of the existing pairs have started to nest. Another option is, after the first two hens have raised their young and the males have rested, the extra hens could be placed in the colony-breeding cage with the rested males after the mothers and their chicks have been removed.
When colony breeding budgies, remove any hen that is not nesting. Hens not sitting eggs or raising babies can be very bothersome to nesting pairs. It is possible they may even destroy the eggs or chicks of the other pairs.
Breeding budgies can be very enjoyable for the right people. Read everything you can find on budgie breeding to give you the basics. Ask questions of every bird breeder you can find.Find an experienced and willing breeder to assist you. Pattern your breeding program after the plan of the experienced breeder. After you are experienced, you may incorporate others ideas into your program.