Zookeeper seeking advice for 200 budgies

zookeeperD

New member
Jan 3, 2024
1
2
Parrots
Budgies
Greetings everyone, new to this forum and I come with a very specific situation looking for guidance:

I work in a zoo and manage a flock of ~200 budgies. Unfortunately, these birds have been locked into their indoor holding area due to issues with sarco and roundworm in their outdoor exhibit. All the same, we do our best to make them happy and provide a range of enrichment, browse, new perching, etc so they can maintain a breeding population with limited space. For awhile we had minimal behavior issues, but lately we have seen a disturbing trend of females attacking semi-grown nestlings, either killing them or leaving them “scalped”, essentially. We thought initially there was only one culprit bird being the aggressor, but we are starting to see other females do the same. We have space for about 50 nest boxes, and maybe half of them are actually being used right now.

Diet-wise, they are fed your standard millet seed mix and get chopped produce twice a week (greens, root and non-root veggies).

Territory obviously plays a role here, and we are trying to separate out aggressive females into a different space, but we are trying to reduce overall aggression as much as we can. Has anyone here ever been faced with a similar situation? Could lowering the temperature/altering photoperiod potentially slow their rate of breeding and also lessen their *raging* hormones?

I’ve managed large flocks of non-psittacines before but obviously budgies are more intelligent than your average passerine. Any advice would be appreciated and please remember we are trying our best in a difficult situation. Clearly this isn’t an optimal situation housing-wise but we are trying anything we can to alleviate these problems we’re seeing.

Thank you!
 
Last edited:

Jcas

Supporting Member
Parrot of the Month 🏆
Jan 9, 2023
575
919
Parrots
Quaker, 2 budgies
I only have two budgies, not 200! However, they are intelligent, high energy little creatures. My guess is that the females are killing nestlings because they feel there isn’t enough space for more budgies ( now that they are in a confined area). Another thing that can happen is that rival birds can attack each other’s nests. Perhaps when they had enough space it wasn’t an issue but now that they’re in closer quarters the territoriality is increased. I wonder if reducing hours of light they receive each day might help calm their hormones. Also, providing as much enrichment as possible ( I know you said you are trying to do so) as a tired, mentally satisfied budgie is less likely to engage in aggressive behavior. Wishing you the best with this flock! ❤️
 

Free as a bird

Well-known member
Jul 29, 2023
637
779
Parrots
2 cockatiels
Greetings everyone, new to this forum and I come with a very specific situation looking for guidance:

I work in a zoo and manage a flock of ~200 budgies. Unfortunately, these birds have been locked into their indoor holding area due to issues with sarco and roundworm in their outdoor exhibit. All the same, we do our best to make them happy and provide a range of enrichment, browse, new perching, etc so they can maintain a breeding population with limited space. For awhile we had minimal behavior issues, but lately we have seen a disturbing trend of females attacking semi-grown nestlings, either killing them or leaving them “scalped”, essentially. We thought initially there was only one culprit bird being the aggressor, but we are starting to see other females do the same. We have space for about 50 nest boxes, and maybe half of them are actually being used right now.

Diet-wise, they are fed your standard millet seed mix and get chopped produce twice a week (greens, root and non-root veggies).

Territory obviously plays a role here, and we are trying to separate out aggressive females into a different space, but we are trying to reduce overall aggression as much as we can. Has anyone here ever been faced with a similar situation? Could lowering the temperature/altering photoperiod potentially slow their rate of breeding and also lessen their *raging* hormones?

I’ve managed large flocks of non-psittacines before but obviously budgies are more intelligent than your average passerine. Any advice would be appreciated and please remember we are trying our best in a difficult situation. Clearly this isn’t an optimal situation housing-wise but we are trying anything we can to alleviate these problems we’re seeing.

Thank you!
Wow that would be an awesome job working at a zoo, with birds... Man I need a job change

Sorry to hear about the situation. I think Jcas made some excellent points above. They may feel it's not enough space for more birds, they might be attacking each others chicks and not their own.
You said that the enclosure is being fixed now. Hopefully they return to normal behaviour once their back in there. All the best
 

Chenetaqwa

Active member
Jul 16, 2022
78
118
Parrots
Winston ... 6 month old green cheek conure
4 budgies ( parakeet)
Greetings everyone, new to this forum and I come with a very specific situation looking for guidance:

I work in a zoo and manage a flock of ~200 budgies. Unfortunately, these birds have been locked into their indoor holding area due to issues with sarco and roundworm in their outdoor exhibit. All the same, we do our best to make them happy and provide a range of enrichment, browse, new perching, etc so they can maintain a breeding population with limited space. For awhile we had minimal behavior issues, but lately we have seen a disturbing trend of females attacking semi-grown nestlings, either killing them or leaving them “scalped”, essentially. We thought initially there was only one culprit bird being the aggressor, but we are starting to see other females do the same. We have space for about 50 nest boxes, and maybe half of them are actually being used right now.

Diet-wise, they are fed your standard millet seed mix and get chopped produce twice a week (greens, root and non-root veggies).

Territory obviously plays a role here, and we are trying to separate out aggressive females into a different space, but we are trying to reduce overall aggression as much as we can. Has anyone here ever been faced with a similar situation? Could lowering the temperature/altering photoperiod potentially slow their rate of breeding and also lessen their *raging* hormones?

I’ve managed large flocks of non-psittacines before but obviously budgies are more intelligent than your average passerine. Any advice would be appreciated and please remember we are trying our best in a difficult situation. Clearly this isn’t an optimal situation housing-wise but we are trying anything we can to alleviate these problems we’re seeing.

Thank you!
I don't think this has anything to do with the problem you are dealing with but after reading your post I would say you should increase the fresh veggies (more than 2 x a week) I give vegies daily, and cut back on the seeds some.. do you feed pellets?
 

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