I was watching a documentary the other day about the habitats of many different birds.
I was amazed by the sheer variety of nesting habits of all different species, and it got me wondering about my parakeet’s nest.
I wanted to be sure I was providing it the best possible home, and so I decided to look into the question.
So, do parakeets need a nest?
The answer is yes, they do. Parakeets in the wild tend to live in nests in hollowed out tree trunks, often moving in after a woodpecker has moved out. They like to begin nesting in preparation for breeding, but they will also use a nest for sleeping.
Importantly, parakeet’s do not build their own nests.
So, you will have to provide one.
By “nest” of course I don’t mean a woven basket of sticks and branches.
Parakeets don’t construct nests out of materials, but simply move in to old woodpecker holes as I said.
They do require privacy and a sense of comfort and security when they sleep, however, so a small nesting box will be highly beneficial for them.
What kind of nest do parakeets need?
The important distinction here is that we are not talking about the traditional image of a nest.
Your parakeet just needs somewhere dark and private to sleep.
Simply put, this nesting box will consist of a wooden or plastic box with an entrance hole on the side.
You can pack natural materials into the box for extra comfort for your parakeet; things like feathers, straw, and wood shavings.
That’s really all you need!
Parakeets do not like total darkness, so the light provided by the hole will help them sleep more comfortably.
Your parakeet may take some time to adjust to the nest, so do not force it, and let it adjust more gradually.
If it doesn’t seem to ever want to go into the nest, the entrance hole may be too small, and not enough light is getting into the nest.
They do often snuggle when sleeping, lying flat on a soft surface.
This may be difficult in an exposed cage as they won’t be comfortable lying on the floor, so a small nesting box would be perfect.
Further, your parakeet will prefer somewhere warm to sleep, and the extra temperature provided by a nesting box should be all they need.
Lastly, just like us, your parakeet needs some privacy every now and then!
Sometimes they will simply retreat into the nest box during the day to take a nap, and giving them this option will help promote their good health.
Still, though, they can be very picky, so you may have to monitor their behavior to figure out the best fit for them.
How do parakeets sleep?
Parakeets have a variety of sleeping habits and it’s important to understand your individual parakeet’s needs.
In the wild, parakeets are just as likely to sleep clinging to a branch with its body tucked into itself for warmth.
Your pet parakeet will, very often, do the same.
They might look for the highest point in the cage and perch there to sleep. If you have several parakeets, they are likely to group together for comfort and warmth.
In the wild, parakeets will use the natural cycle of day and night to sleep just like we do.
It’s a good idea in that case to throw a blanket over your parakeet’s cage before you go to bed.
This will help them have a more natural night’s sleep.
They are, however, very often observed sleeping in nests outside of mating season.
This means that to give your parakeet the best possible living space, you should absolutely provide the nest option the year round.
So, you should ultimately provide perches and a small nesting box for your parakeets.
Whether they sleep it in every night, take naps in it during the day, or just like to come for some privacy, your parakeets will always appreciate a nesting box in their cage.
When do parakeets mate?
A lot of what you will come across when researching this question is on the topic of breeding.
In the wild, nests are most consistently used for mating, and not for sleeping in year-round.
Though it’s definitely a good idea to have a nesting box if your parakeets want it, you must also keep in mind that this could lead to breeding.
Parakeets can breed anytime of year if the conditions are right, and unless you’re looking to welcome some new members to your bird family, you won’t want that!
There are some things you can do to curb breeding behavior, but the main thing is how to identify it.
Breeding behaviors in parakeets include vent-rubbing, regurgitating food and tail lifting (in a female).
If you observe these behaviors and also have a male parakeet, you should separate them for a while if possible.
It would be best to encourage it away from the nest.
It may also begin to display these behaviors with toys and objects, and if you notice this, remove the toy.
The best option is to keep parakeets of opposite sex apart if they are displaying signs of mating. If your bird’s behavior doesn’t change, you can consult an avian vet about hormone injections.
To wrap things up then, the answer is clear that it will be best for your parakeet’s overall health and disposition if it has the option of sleeping in a nest.
Though it won’t always use it to sleep in at night, it can fulfil a variety of other needs too, providing comfort, security and privacy whenever your friend needs it.
Though in general parakeets are happy clinging to a high perch and snoozing away, they will always feel good about having a private space to retreat to when they need it.
So, ultimately, it’s your best option to have a small nesting box in your parakeet’s cage for it to use, but just remember, this might lead to breeding if you aren’t careful.