The Parakeet: Delightful Additions to the Family

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August 13, 2013

Have you ever wondered if the cute, little parakeet makes a good pet? They’re adorable – but they don’t really seem to have much personality, and they’re not as interesting as the exotic, colorful birds you see in the specialty pet stores. The good news is the price tag isn’t as big!

Parakeets are only known by this name in the United States, the more correct name is Budgerigar, or Budgie for short.  Originally from Australia, these birds are a delightful addition to any family.  Compared to other parrot-type birds, the Budgie is inexpensive to purchase and house.  With patience, training, and luck, yours might even learn to mimic human speech. But how to get started?

Before Purchasing Your Parakeet

To get started with a Budgie as a pet, you’ll need to purchase all the items necessary for its home:

  • A cage that’s at least 1.5 feet wide, 1.3 feet deep and 1.3 feet tall. Parakeets are active little birds, and need plenty of space to flap their wings and move around inside the cage.  For a Budgie, wider cages are better than high, because the birds tend to stay in the top portion of the cage, so the bottom space is typically wasted space.  Measure the width between the bars, and don’t get a cage that’s bars are more than half an inch apart – any more space could lead to a dead bird if a head or body gets stuck between the bars.
  • For food, purchase a high quality seed, cuttlebone, mineral block, pelleted food, and a favorite Budgie treat is Millet Spray.
  • These intelligent little birds also need a variety of toys to keep them mentally stimulated and active. Purchase a variety, and switch them out every week or two.
  • Invest in a couple of natural branches. Pet stores sell a variety of these. Most cages come with food/water dishes, but it’s always a good idea to get an extra or two.  Budgies enjoy many types of fresh produce – an extra dish provides a place to feed it, and after a few hours you can remove it to avoid spoiled produce from being ingested.
  • The bottom of the cage will need a lining for ease of cleaning.  Black and white newspaper is the perfect cage lining.
  • One last thing is a cage cover.  You don’t need to spend money on a fancy one, a small, light-weight blanket that covers the entire cage works just fine.

Choosing the Right Parakeet

It’s finally time to get your Budgie!  Look for local breeders, you’ll get healthier, friendlier birds than if you go to a pet store.  The latter is especially important if you want to train your Budgie.   Take your time and watch the Parakeets as they move about their cages. You want one that is active and inquisitive with no nostril or vent discharge (The vent is the rectum).  The face shouldn’t be scaly, and the feet and beak should be clean.  In fact, not only should all the birds be clean, but the entire facility should be clean as well.

After selection, the fun begins. Parakeets are very intelligent and can be taught tricks easily.  Look online for training tips, there are many sources out there.  When properly cared for, you can look forward to a decade or more of enjoyable company from your new pet.

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