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I have two budgies around 14 months old having their first clutch. Dad had previously bonded with another non-breeding hen in the aviary. When I introduced him to mum in the breeding cage, they literally mated within a few minutes - an amazingly short courtship that I had never previously seen. They were very kissy and within two weeks they had eggs and now have 4 beautiful babies.

 

The oldest baby who is now five weeks has been coming out of the box for the last five days. Dad has also taken a shine to this baby and has made several unsuccessful attempts to mate with the baby when the baby has asked for food. Whilst this is disturbing, I have seen this before and decided that if it gets worse, I will remove the baby who now seems to generally be able to feed itself.

 

The problem is mum and dad's relationship. Over the last week or so they have become quite aggressive to each other. Dad often flies at mum as if to attack and mum is frequently seen pecking him. If I put something in the cage like celery, they fight over it. Gone also are the lovey-dovey kissing sessions. As the babies have got older mum seems to spend a great amount of time out of the box whereas normally a mum would be thinking of starting another clutch. Some of this is because she almost has to sneak into the box sometimes to get in as dad will often fly at her. She spends much time on a seed feeder in the corner furtherest away from the box. Absent mum or agrressive/over protective dad??

 

Today I arrived home to find mum with a bloodied closed eye with blood around the eye in a 1cm diameter. I instantly removed her to a separate cage to assess and protect her. Luckily her eye is okay as initially I thought it may have been pecked out. Later I added the oldest chick to her cage that dad has recently been hassling. This was to stop dad from hassling the baby and also give mum company. In addition as I do not know what has occurred I can only assume dad has attacked mum. Perhaps dad got too amorous with baby and mum stepped in??

 

So initially the plan was to let dad raise the babies, but the niggling thought was what if dad was the problem and mum stepped in. I suspect the two youngest babies may also be female. Will he be trouble for them? I also was not sure if he was actually feeding the younger ones so I placed them temporarily on the bottom of the cage to see if he was feeding anyone - to no avail. One thing though when I went to return them to the box he flew down on top of them as if to protect them.

 

Having returned the babies to the box, I brought mum back to observe the behaviour. At this stage they had been separated 6 hours. Instantly he flew at her and tried to block her from returning to the nesting box. Why would he be so protective of the box? Does he think she is a problem or is he attempting to protect his harem? I have never seen such aggression between parents - only female budgies. Maybe one has a mental illness?

 

I then decided to take him out and put him in the separate cage with the oldest baby. Instantly he attempted to mate with the baby, so I have returned the baby to the nesting cage (she still sleeps overnight in the box even though she can eat and drink for herself.)

 

So the plan is to make sure mum is feeding the babies by midday tomorrow. If so, I will return dad to the aviary. If not, I will have to swap mum and dad again and remove the oldest baby to a separate cage with mum.

 

Of the other three babies, two may be in fact cracking seed themselves -not sure about drinking. But the youngest was a runt and five days younger than the closest sibling, so he still has quite a way to go and will need feeding. Continuous handfeeding is not really an option though.

 

So has anyone experienced this behaviour before between parents? What would/did you do?

 

Any comments/suggestions will be appreciated.

 

I let you know what happens if for nothing else to share the experience with others.

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I have only had one clutch and dad stopped having contact with the babies all together after raising them. He runs from his babies male or female.

 

Both parents still aid in raising them. For instance if I can't get a baby into it's cage I let out one of the parents from their cage. The babies still follow mum and especially dad around. He will fly into the cage and fly back and forth inside till he outmaneuvers the baby and flies out with an advance so I can shut the door.

 

I have heard of other people having a dad that has this behavior. My couple was together for quite some time before having a clutch, maybe the key is there. I guess a more experienced breeder would know more about this.

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At 5 weeks the chick should be feeding itself, maybe the others as well, if they are the normal 2 days apart. I think I'd remove larger chicks to kindy cage and leave Dad to finish feeding youngest 2. Mum could be okay on her own to recover before trying her again. Sounds like Mum is out of breeding condition while Dad is still raring to go. If Dad get aggressive to youngest you will have to remove chicks from him, Mum may also attack them if she hasn't had them with her.

 

Alternatively could you remove nest box altogether from cage and let the chicks free into cage with parents and see if that helps. (if youngest is fully feathered that is.)

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  • 3 weeks later...

So just an update. Mum successfully raised the four chicks alone once dad was removed.

Here is a picture of mum when first injured.

2013-12-19151232_zpsef27e572.jpg

 

And here are the kids

2013-12-31121350_zps171fdc07.jpg

 

And dad ..... well he got back together with a previous love within two days of separation.

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Well done, beautiful babies. Hope Mum's eye is okay now. Proves she's a good Mum so hopefully her next partner is more loving.

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