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Colony Breeding

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Some of us on bbc have been accused of being negative about colony breeding. We have been labelled as talking about doom and gloom of colony breeding.

Members on here have stood up and stated that they have had success colony breeding and indeed are in the middle of successfully breeding that way with no problems and indeed they also tell others they will likewise have no problems :P

A couple of weeks or less later, the same people are on here posting about attacked chicks or fighting parents or broken eggs and raided nestboxes.


The BBC members on here who have been around the longest, you will find, are the ones who say NOT to colony breed. Not because its just something to say, not because we want to burst your little breeding balloon of happiness,

BUT BECAUSE we have either experienced it ourselves or seen far too many topics here about the dangers and perils for the birds breeding that way.


So what if birds in the wild breed in a colony. They have millions of miles of sky and a zillion trees to choose for their nests and their home and their boundaries and their escape from each other.


Put a pile of budgies in an aviary the size of a single bed or a little bigger ( some colony breed in cages barely fit for two budgies ), stack a few nestboxes jammed together on a shelf and think you are heading for breeding success ? I am sorry I dont think so.

They have no escape. Like prisons they have to create a heirarchy that works for them within the confinements we put them in....and if that means fights to the death or kill chicks to clean out a box for their use, then thats what happens.


Even when I colony bred in a massive 10 metres by 3 by 3 metres aviary we had deaths, underaged birds breeding due to nestboxes, fighting for nestboxes, dead chicks, smashed eggs, adults fighting tooth and claw on the ground.

Even with me working from home and able to watch the birds most of the day didnt help.

So why we say please dont colony breed ? Because we know and we care.


Topics of interest......................


female killing ....


sad day


colony vs caged......a debate


colony breeding issues


aggressive hen


attacked budgies


killed mother


colony breeding mistake


another colony breeding tragedy


colony tragedy


hen attacks

Edited by KAZ
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What Kaz said times millions!!!

:P:P:D :raincloud: :raincloud: :raincloud:

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Guest cranberry

Thanks for that KAZ. I have been tempted a few times to whack a few pairs in my aviary as everyone I speak to says they breed well in a colony...until you read stories like those. It just puts you off for good. I'll stick to individual cages I think. Funny thing is I have Mask Lovebirds in a colony and they seem to get along very well. Actually most people breed them in a colony yet they are generally a more agressive bird towards other species than a budgie but seem to do less damage in a colony on their own.

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Yes, sadly, whilst I'm not claiming to be an experienced breeder I have still had the worst experiences trying to 'colony breed' always with the hens being aggressive and downright violent. I know some people have luck straight away but it usually is a small group unrelated put in to a new aviary at the same time with a range of nesting sites. Interestingly, I've only heard about the early successes and no news later! :blush:

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Yes I must also agree with Kaz , I only started breeding last year and after witnessing a fight right in front of me and babies being thrown out by others it was a decision that I made very quickly .


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Hi all,


well I started two years ago and had two pairs in one cage and they started atacking each other over the boxes, i removed one pair and pair breed well, I then read up on here, from then on on have breed in breeding cages with no fighting.

I have a mate that colony breeds and has problems all the time. But this is my choice. :blush:



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Posts about colony breeding


I was colony breeding, and whilst this little one was still waiting for feathers, a rogue hen

invaded the nest and bit him across the beak and cere. I might never have know why he came up this way if I hadnt been doing daily nest checks.


She got her toes bitten off by her lovely daughter when i tried colony breeding.


A woman at school told me a few weeks ago that her budgies had laid eggs - colony breeding, outside aviary. I asked her yesterday how they were going, and she said they had all been thrown out of the nest. She didn't know at what age. She brough me in an egg today, and I cracked it open. It looked to me like the outside of the bird had started to form.


Mine did some serious damage to each other when i tried colony breeding so i have to separate each pair into breeding cages if i want to breed.





I tried to colony breed but my hens got so aggressive i had to take the boxes out!!! A couple had bloody toes and ceres. Hens can be real agro!!!!!!!!!


ohh By The Way there was another death... i dunno if i told u guys but the white bird was attacked to death by the same budgie that kiled the other 5


in my avairy we have one breeding pair who two years ago successfully reared three beautiful healthy birds, last year unfortunately one of our other females got in to the nest box and slaughtered the two day old babies and destroyed the egg, this year the breeding pair have tried again and the mum has layed one egg but now seems to have abandoned it and although i am watching the egg and trying my hardest to protect it the bird who killed the young last time is threatening it,


My friend had one female attack another pairs' babies and two were killed, she now has them separated coz she has more eggs but is this just a one time thing or could it happen again?

Also two of the babies mysteriously died and she doesn't know why.


I didn't have any problems with colony breeding until my Mummybird got killed and 3 babies attacked, 1 died and the other 2 I handreared. By the time you have problems it is tragic and not worth the risk


I checked on the aviary, to find Mummy bird, who has 3 babies in box, dead and bloody on the floor. I checked on the babies, and all 3 are injured, have been attacked by another bird


the one time i tried colony breeding all my hens tried to butcher each other!


I have one hen who lost all but one toe when i tried to colony breed


Other hens can try to enter the nest box, killing babies or even Mum herself.(this happened to me, and is not an unusual occurance). So, despite previous successes with colony breeding, tragedy can and does happen


i colony bred last year with 4 pairs. i ended up having to remove 1 pair, the hen became agressive & attacked another hen & babies.

i wont colony breed again (24 birds!)


I've taken the nest boxes out - we have a few minor injuries now and i'm not going to wait for one of them to be life threatening. So out came the nest boxes.


i own three budgies. most of the time they are :angel:s but when sunflower (my beautiful yellow budgie) who died was alive they had terrible fights! Included in these endless battles they tore up each others nest boxes. Also it has left Dipsy (the father budgie) in a bit of a mess. His beak is bent sideways! he can eat well but im still worried. But theres more. Bellablue the mother, has also died, and Dipsy has taken up with Blue-berry (his daughter!). They have already laid egg but since the nest box is in tatters i dont know what will happen! im also a bit creaped out about this father & daughter thing ! But my mum said that if any do hatch i can take my pick! But other than that Ocean (Dipsys son) has taken a bit of a disliking to a big black spider ( about as big a someones thumb) that is biulding a huge web in each corner of the cage. I NEED HELP



There's another 50 or more pages of these same sort of stories.........one day I will post them too. But for now...it makes a point worth learning from

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I used to colony breed. I had no trouble either until I did start to........then then were deaths :)

Edited by **KAZ**
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  • 1 month later...

My advice is based on my experience of colony breeding. I havent always been a cabinet breeding show budgie breeder. I just want people to go into it with their eyes open thats all.

Edited by KAZ
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  • 2 years later...


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  • 2 months later...

I agree with this but at the same time I disagree, I have 20 budgies in a large aviary that breed as a colony. I have had some minor problems but nothing drastic, I have 10 pairs in there with about 20 breeding boxes so that they can have a choice of many boxes and it lowers fights. xx touch wood nothing bad happens xx I have raised many budgies in the aviary and have mixed feelings about the 2 different breeding ways.

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Hi Here's my opinion for what its worth. Colony breeding problems are almost always the owners fault.

Overcrowding colony birds need about four times more space per pair than cage breeding birds who's

personal space is governed by the walls of their cage. An aviary of breeding budgies should almost look

empty .

.Nest box arrangement & number. Never enough & too close together.

Care in the selection of suitable compatible pairs. Allow birds to select their own mates & remove the rest.

If you want to breed big numbers, Stick to cage breeding. Yours B.J.

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The 4 to 1 ratio mentioned is understandable, however it is also important to note that bird establish little areas that they like in an aviary, then people go put breeding boxes in there, removing "liked" areas.


I cannot breed as I would feel terrible if the worst happened. It will...eventually. It is in the birds nature. It may not happen the first or second time, but it will.


We are not preaching about this, we are simply stating the case for what we have seen.

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  • 11 months later...

Very well written! I agree totally and I am not a breeder. I did have two budgies breeding unintentionally (well apparently intentionally on their part). I have been reading this site a while and imediately separated the female and male I caught breeding from the group. The female eventually started to lay. I am so glad I did this because the other birds became quite curious about the nest and especially the females seemed intent on getting in there. It was of course impossible. I suppose they wanted to go and mess it up. Everything went fine and my babies will be going to their respective families soon.


Thanks for putting this out there. :)

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Hi Phoebes,

Glad you read through this topic and took the given advice to heart. Seeing the results of a happy pair in a separate cage is heaps better than seeing dead or maimed chicks and eggs. etc. Glad your breeding efforts were successful.

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Hi Phoebes,

Glad you read through this topic and took the given advice to heart. Seeing the results of a happy pair in a separate cage is heaps better than seeing dead or maimed chicks and eggs. etc. Glad your breeding efforts were successful.


Thank you. I feel blessed that it went so well. I must admit that the two parents really impressed me with the care they provided for each other and their young. It's a humbling experience.

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  • 3 months later...

I'm avairy breeding at the moment, so far so good but I have two pairs per avairy. One avairy is 11 x 6 the other is 5 x 7 they both have 6 nest box's per avairy ( 2 pairs & 6 boxes) my chicks are only starting to hatch though so I may run into problems, if I do I will be removing the boxes and just having birds to look at

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  • 4 years later...

you can quite easily colony breed if you are very careful

yes correct aviary size and flock size is a problem

a few watering and feeding points to spread out contact *(some hens are just damn grumpy)

common knowledge- more nest boxes than hens - no closer than 700mm apart (birds have their own territory) ALL AT THE SAME HEIGHT

have a spare smaller aviary, to house spare cocks and hens- they will become THE trouble makers

if a hen persists on an already taken box then MOVE all the unoccupied nest boxes around in different spots/or her for about a week (she will get that box out of her head)- shade , light, wind, exposure, may be a factor for why they are not occupied 

keep perches away from nest boxes as you create territory problems *(just watch your birds to note that they are not happy when others come too close)

my opinion only, been there done that, still do , still breed good quality birds with good numbers of young

I also cabinet breed a selected few pairs of my best as I want to get what I can from my birds that are ageing, their babies are the future for crossing

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