How to Help a Nesting Bird

Every spring brings on the urge to breed in many animals, and pet birds are no different. Even if you've only got a single female bird, such as a budgie, lorikeet, cockatiel, or canary, she may try to prepare a nest as nature intended. Here is how to make things easier for your nesting pet bird.


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    Look for the signs. Signs that your pet bird wants to start nesting include:
    • She starts to put feathers, seeds, grass, and other materials in the corner of her cage. She might also put them into her feeding dish.
    • The cere, or band above the beak, of a female budgie can darken.
    • Previously happy birds can suddenly become irritable and bite you, or refuse to move and just sit on the bottom of the cage.
    • The bird droppings will seem sloppier than usual, and will smell when egg laying time gets near.
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    Decide whether or not you'd like to breed from her. If you do, there are two options. Find a breeding partner for her in your home environment and let them get on with it. Alternatively, if you don't want to keep another bird but you have a friend who has the same birds, lend your bird for breeding and get her back afterwards.
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    If you don't want to breed from your pet bird, you'll need to help her by distracting her. Remove her nesting material regularly, along with any eggs she's laid. This will cause her to keep building a new nest. If you really don't want to remove the eggs, be patient. She'll sit on them until it becomes clear to her that they're not hatching, anywhere between 18 to 28 days.
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    Provide her with a same gender partner. This may be enough to take her mind off wanting to nest.
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    Change her location and her cage entertainment. A nesting bird might be persuaded to distract herself from the nesting behaviour if she's placed in a different part of the house and given new toys to play with.
    • Put her cage in a safe location outside sometimes, so that she can enjoy the sunshine and different views.
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    Feed her well. Include calcium in her diet if she's laying a lot of eggs.


  • If you put her cage outside, be sure that cats and other predators cannot reach her.
  • Be patient if your female bird becomes unfriendly. It's a temporary change during the nesting season and will right itself soon enough.

Things You'll Need

  • Distractions, new toys
  • Food with lots of calcium

Sources and Citations

  • Research source: Jill Fraser, Springtime is breeding time, p. 26, MetPet: A Guide for Caring Pet Owners, Issue 8, Spring 2008.

Article Info

Categories: General Bird Care