It is pretty much common knowledge that birds reproduce through eggs. But what about Parakeets? And do they continue to do so when kept as pets? Here is what you need to know about this vibrant and social parrot species.
So, do parakeets lay eggs? Parakeets do lay eggs, even when kept in captivity. They routinely do so seasonally, during the spring, with 4-8 eggs typical per clutch. Parakeets can even lay eggs even without a male’s presence and are more likely to do so if a nest is kept in the cage.
Many new owners are shocked the first time they see eggs in their cage.
Especially if an owner to keeping a single parakeet.
It often arises questions of what to do with them. Can they be handled or even eaten?
All fair to raise and ones that we will be looking to address here today.
When Do Parakeets Lay Eggs?
Parakeets start nesting in the first half of the year. Some begin as early as January/February, whereas others may start laying eggs towards the end of May/June.
Typically, a wild parakeet will lay an egg as early as it feels necessary. Instinctively, of course.
So, in the wild, a parakeet will lay their eggs when they perceive there is less competition to find a nest.
Alternatively, if you’re keeping parakeets as a household pet, then they will most likely start laying eggs in early spring.
They won’t be competing for nesting holes and, as such, can afford to leave it a little later.
But it gets a little more nuanced with captive parakeets.
We will look at those factors in the next section.
Factors That Influence Egg Laying In Parakeets
For a parakeet to begin the egg-laying process, they need to be in an environment conducive to the process:
For a parakeet to feel confident and comfortable in laying eggs, then they will need to be in a big enough space to accommodate the nesting process.
If parakeets are purposefully bred, then, of course, the size will also be important for breeding itself.
Nevertheless, a parakeet should be in a sufficiently large cage, one that measures at least 24″ L x 12″ W x 16″ H.
If breeding is a priority, then it’s important that the cage has up to four dishes; two for food and water and two more for fresh and soft foods.
This will ensure your pregnant parakeet is getting enough nutrients and can easily acquire them.
Parakeets need somewhere to lay their eggs, and a nesting box is precisely that.
If a parakeet has a nest, they are far more likely to lay.
In fact, if you are looking to breed parakeets, a nesting box is essential.
Otherwise, the chance of breeding is lowered dramatically; parakeets do not feel comfortable reproducing.
Lighting has a big impact on when a parakeet lays its eggs. Hence why they lay at specific times of the year.
To promote the health of a parakeet, they typically need 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness each day.
However, a parakeet with more exposure to daylight will look to lay more eggs. If another male is present, they will be more inclined to breed.
A parakeet will only be able to produce eggs when fed right. Besides, it’s a process that requires a lot of energy and resources.
And then there is the fact that eggs are enclosed in a calcium-rich shell. So they need ample amounts of this mineral too.
Thus, for a parakeet to lay eggs, they need to be obtaining a high-quality diet.
It goes without saying that if you are looking to breed your birds, their nutrition should be a priority.
For breeding purposes, you should also look to provide a diet primarily of soft food.
Baby chicks will need to consume soft food in the early days of life, so it good to get the parental parakeets used to it beforehand too.
Here’s what you should look to feed a parakeet to support health and the ability to lay eggs and/or reproduce.
- Parakeet Pellet mix
- Leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits
- Cooked and chopped eggs
- Parakeet seed mix
- Abundance of water
How Many Eggs Do Parakeets Lay?
In most cases, you can expect a parakeet to lay between 4-8 eggs over the course of 1-2 weeks. All eggs laid in the nest during this time contribute to a clutch (a group of eggs from the same nesting session).
However, how many eggs a parakeet will lay in total and per clutch will depend on a number of different factors.
For instance, if you are keeping only one female parakeet, chances are they are going to lay a lot less – and laying will occur less frequently.
Another example would be where a parakeet suffers from a condition known as egg-binding. This is where a parakeet is not able to release an egg from its body.
It can be fatal if not treated, while it can also dramatically lower the total number of eggs produced.
So, if you suspect that your parakeet is egg-binding, it’s essential to contact the vets immediately, even if you are only keeping one bird.
Here are some of the signs of egg-binding to look out for:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swollen abdomen
- Decreased appetite
- Shaky Wings
- Walking funny
How Often Do Parakeets Lay Eggs?
Parakeets typically lay one egg every two days during each nesting session. Thus, a clutch of 4-8 eggs can take anywhere from 8-16 days to lay all of their eggs.
In fact, the reason why each egg is delayed by a day is due to the fact that a female parakeet only possesses one working ovary.
One other aspect of egg-laying to be familiar with here is that a female may spend up to 10 days in the nesting box before she starts laying.
This is somewhat normal and expected; she is merely preparing her nest for the oncoming clutch.
If an egg is fertilized (through breeding with a male), it will take around 18 days to be incubated prior to hatching.
If, however, an egg does not hatch after 23-25 days, it is safe to assume that the egg will not do so.
For those that are successful, a chick will take up to half a day to fully emerge and break free from the egg.
Do Parakeets Lay Eggs Without A Male?
Female parakeets have been known to lay eggs without a male, being more common in older birds. However, for the most part, this is not something owners should typically expect.
If an owner were to find their female parakeet laying eggs without the presence of a male, chances are it is due to the environment she is being kept in.
For instance, if she is provided with a nest in her cage, she is being exposed to a lot of natural light, and it is during the breeding season.
If you have a pet parakeet and you want to discourage any egg-laying, then you can do so by not creating an environment that is conducive to do so.
She still needs to be taken care of, mind.
So you still want to afford her lots of space and provide her with the best diet possible.
Equally, if she were to lay an egg, it is nothing to worry about.
If she has done so without the presence of a male, then they are going to be unfertilized.
Nothing will happen.
The following section outlines what you can do if your female does lay an egg or two.
What Should I Do If My Parakeet Laid Eggs?
What you should do if your parakeet lays an egg will depend on whether you suspect it is fertilized or not.
If you only have one parakeet, then you can safely dispose of the egg at any given opportunity.
If you have multiple parakeets, are housing different genders together, or if you are specifically mating your birds, then there are some other considerations you will need to take into account.
Besides, there could be live hatchlings in there, after all.
If your parakeet’s cage contains a nest box, then you will not have to do anything. Simply leave your parakeets to do their job and watch the process unfold.
You may need to intervene at specific times, such as removing broken eggs or dead chicks, but this is not commonly required.
If their cage doesn’t have a nest box, then at this stage, you should promptly buy one. That way, your parakeets can incubate their eggs.
Moving fertilized eggs is generally not a good idea unless deemed necessary. But if you do need to do so, be sure to wear clean gloves.
After around 22 days, the eggs should begin hatching.
Once they’re hatched, your only job is to make sure that the chicks are obtaining all that they need, such as being fed enough food by their parents, for instance.
A good way to check is by looking at their stomachs; they should look full.
If not, then you’re going to have to take matters into your own hands by supporting the feeding process.
Speaking with a vet during this time is strongly advised.
Thankfully, your parakeet should instinctively know-how and want to take care of their hatchlings. So, feeding is generally not required.
Furthermore, hatchling parakeet grows up fast and quick.
At two weeks old, you can even look to begin holding them for up to ten minutes at a time.
After four weeks, you can increase this time to 15 minutes.
When you’re parakeets are between 6-8 weeks old, you can buy a new cage and house them inside. At this age, they do not depend on their mothers anymore.
How Do You Know When Your Parakeet Is Going To Lay Eggs?
A parakeet will display certain signs and behaviors just before she lays eggs. This includes molting, pooping in larger quantities than normal, and show more interest in a nesting box (if provided).
A parakeet will actually use her feathers as part of the nest, and molting is one such way that she can release and acquire them.
A higher desire to clean and prune their feathers and circulating the cage in a calculated way are other signs to look out for.
Immediately before, you may even notice signs of straining in your bird.
But for the most part, it’s very difficult to tell when a bird is pregnant.
So you may not even know until you discover eggs in the cage!
If you do however, notice any of the signs mentioned above, it is strongly advised to purchase a nesting box for your parakeet cage if you don’t already have one.
Can You Eat Parakeet Eggs?
While it is possible to eat parakeet eggs, it is generally not advised. They are small eggs, after all, and do not offer much in terms of nutrition.
There are reports of owners who have tried their unfertilized parakeet’s eggs, but it does not appear to be a particularly popular or common thing to do.
Besides, it can actually be quite risky.
Parakeets could be carrying a disease, and there is no way of guaranteeing that dangerous germs and bacteria have not been transferred to the egg.
You also need to be particularly careful if you are keeping two parakeets together of different genders.
It can be difficult, if not impossible, to know if the egg has not been fertilized.
You do not want to be eating a baby parakeet… for obvious reasons.
Parakeets certainly lay eggs – like pretty much every other bird.
Interestingly, however, these birds can continue to do so in captivity – even without another male present!
If they do so, simply disposing of the egg is all you need to do. Besides, you should not expect as many eggs or as frequently with just one bird.
Can you eat them? Perhaps – but it does not come advised.
Alternatively, if you are housing two parakeets of opposing genders together, then chances are you are going to have your fair share of eggs and hatchlings that need raising!
Thankfully, if this is the case, your parakeets will do most of the rearing.
You may need to intervene at times, however, so contacting a vet and being informed of what you need to do and when comes strongly advised.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.