Parakeets are small birds from the Psittacidae or Conure families, according to Animal World. They are small parrots that range from six to 18 inches and come in a rainbow of hues. They are fairly intelligent and like to sing and mimic the sounds they hear. Parakeets are ovarian and do not become pregnant. Rather, they lay eggs.
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Parakeets do not need mates to lay eggs. However, an unfertilized egg will not hatch or grow into a bird. According to the Animal World encyclopedia, parakeets become sexually mature between five and 36 months of age, depending on the species, and prefer to mate for life. Breeding pairs need to be separated from other birds because they become aggressive. Breeding females also require a special diet with more fatty seeds and vitamin supplements. It is usually easy to sex a parakeet by the color of its cere (the nubby area above the beak), but the color will vary depending on the species of parakeet. If you want to breed your birds, provide a cuttlebone for calcium and ask a vet about nutrition requirements and how to tell if they are healthy enough to procreate.
Signs of Egg Laying
To lay a fertile egg, a female parakeet needs to mate with a male, usually more than once. The birds regurgitate back and forth to each other, then the male will mount the female amid a great flapping of wings. According to Practical Pet Care, the female will lay an egg within 30 hours after mating if the male succeeds in fertilizing her. Then she will lay one egg every two days, usually laying a total of three to eight eggs.
Before laying the egg, the bird will usually produce visibly larger-than-usual bowel movements. She may begin to molt and use her feathers for nesting or become more interested than usual in the nesting box. The parakeet may begin to preform a routine such as cleaning itself repeatedly or going around the cage in a certain manner, but this should only last a few hours.
Signs of Complications
Parakeets can commonly become egg bound, often when the mother has not received enough vitamins or variety in her food, or is lacking in calcium. When the bird becomes egg bound, the egg gets stuck is the vulva and can put pressure on the bird's internal organs, eventually causing death. Signs of this complication include a swollen abdomen (the birds belly will not swell up unless there is a problem), labored breathing or limping. The limping may be a sign of severe nerve damage cause by a caught egg. Sitting on the ground for prolonged periods of time is also a sign of difficulty.
It is important to get your bird to an experienced avian veterinarian if you think there is even the slightest possibility that your bird is egg bound. If you do not get help, there is a high likelihood that your parakeet will die, according to Practical Pet Care's Bird Forum.