Parakeets are small- and medium-size parrots with a slim body and a long, slender tail. In fact, the word "parakeet" means long tail. They are extremely social, active birds, and they love attention from their owners. It's no surprise that they are at the top of the list of bird pets. Parakeets have a wide color range that includes green, yellow, red, orange, blue and violet. Parakeets can learn to "talk" -- meaning mimic words. Some can even whistle.
To ensure the good health of breeding parakeets and their babies, a male and female pair should be unrelated, free of disease and birth defects, and at least 1 year old.
A cage for a pair of breeding parakeets should be a minimum size of 20 by 20 by 20 inches and should contain a wooden nest box that is at least 12 by 12 inches. Some parakeet breeders place wooden inserts into the bottom of their nest boxes to prevent splay legs. Proper nesting material, such as pine shavings, should line the nest box.
Parakeets are hookbills and should be fed a varied diet consisting of seed, high-quality pellets and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Breeding pairs should be provided with a cuttlebone and calcium supplement to ensure proper egg development and to help the hen recoup nutrients lost in the egg-making process.
Female parakeets lay their eggs relatively soon after mating. Like many other types of birds, it's not uncommon for parakeets to lay one egg every other day until they have all been laid. Each clutch usually contains between four and eight eggs, although this can vary.
Parakeets usually incubate their eggs between 17 and 20 days. This can vary by a couple of days in either direction and is usually no cause for concern.
Hatchling Care and Weaning
If the parakeet babies are to be tamed as pets, many breeders let the parents raise the chicks until they are weaned. During this time, they will handle the chicks now and then to get them used to human hands. Most baby parakeets are weaned by the age of 6 weeks and can then be removed from the parents and interacted with on an individual basis.