What should you expect from your budgie?
Budgerigars (commonly referred to as parakeets or budgies) are quiet, intelligent, nondestructive birds that are easy to care for. They are the most popular and numerous companion birds because of their relatively gentle, gregarious and entertaining personalities. They do not tend to bond with an individual person and frequently interact with all family members. Budgerigars are capable of developing a large vocabulary (perhaps 200-300 words) but some effort must be made to accomplish this, and their voice is not as clear as other pet bird species. Some individuals are also good at whistling.
What should budgies eat?
The all-seed diet traditionally fed to budgies is deficient in a wide variety of nutrients and results in malnutrition, which may be expressed as unkempt appearance, lack of energy, reproductive failures and susceptibility to disease. It is ideal for budgies to eat pellets specifically formulated for parrots and prepared in a size that is appropriate to them. It may be somewhat of a challenge to convert a seed-addict budgie to a formulated diet, but some manufacturers and veterinarians offer suggestions that may help in this process. Until the conversion is complete, the bird may benefit from a trace mineral/iodine and vitamin supplements.
What do budgies do all day?
Budgies are playful and easily amused with simple toys. Because they (especially females) love to chew, toys must be free of toxic metals, hooks, sharp objects or small, easily consumed components. Providing small diameter, fresh-cut branches from nontoxic, pesticide-free trees is suggested for budgerigars. Check with your veterinarian for recommendations on locally available safe trees. Budgies are very curious and will investigate anything new in their environment.
Are budgies tame?
Budgies should be obtained when they are young so that they adapt readily to new surroundings and handling procedures. Budgies are easy to tame; therefore, it is best for them to be raised by their parents in the nest and then removed at weaning for taming. Young budgies can be identified by their large black eyes, pink cere and stripes over the forehead. The more time you spend with your budgie, the tamer it will become. It should be exposed early in life to novel situations (car travel, veterinarian visits and multiple visitors in the household) so that it is well adjusted to these events.
Why should the wings be clipped?
Budgies that are allowed unrestricted freedom in the home can encounter numerous physical dangers or toxins; therefore, wing clipping is recommended. The goal of clipping the wings is not to make the bird incapable of flight, but to prevent it from developing rapid and sustained flight to prevent escape. Additional trimming may be required 8-12 weeks after the start of a molt cycle.
How can you keep your budgie healthy, happy and safe?
- Give lots of attention.
- Feed a fresh, high quality, toxin-free pelleted diet with daily supplementation of small amounts of chopped vegetables and fruit.
- Grit is not necessary with modern captive diets
- Provide clean, fresh, uncontaminated water.
- Remove and replace food and water containers twice daily to maximize activity in a healthy bird.
- Provide an occasional opportunity for bath, shower, or misting (at least weekly).
- Avoid spraying house with insecticides.
Housing for your budgie should:
- Be as large as possible.
- Be clean, secure, safe, and easy to service.
- Be constructed of durable, nontoxic material (avoid zinc).
- Contain variable sized perches made of clean, nontoxic, pesticide-free branches.
- Have food and water containers placed at opposite ends of the enclosure.
- Avoid having perches located directly over food containers.
- Offer occasional opportunity for protected outdoor exposure to fresh air, sunlight (not through glass), and exercise.
Things you must keep away from your budgie:
- Ceiling Fans
- Hot cooking oil
- Overheated, non-stick coated cookware
- Leg chains
- Sandpaper covered perches
- Tobacco and cigarette smoke
- Chocolate, avocado, salt, alcohol
- Toxic houseplants
- Toxic fumes
- Easily dismantled toys
- Dogs, cats, and young children
- Cedar, redwood, and pressure treated wood shavings
- Sources of lead or zinc
- Plug in air fresheners
- Heavily scented candles
For more information visit: Association of Avian Veterinarians