My son wanted a pet bird, and we settled on a parakeet. Our budgie has been a wonderful pet for the whole family.
After opening this year’s birthday and Christmas cards, my ten-year-old son proclaimed himself to be “rich." There was no convincing him that “rich” is a state of mind. He was going to go crazy and spend, spend, spend. First thing on his list: a bird.
That’s right, not a bike, a skateboard, or a video game, but a bird. All of a sudden I found myself immersed in bird culture. What kind of bird should we get? What is the proper cage? How much is all of this going to cost (he’s not that rich!)? Ultimately, we settled on a parakeet. I would like to share with you why that has been a great decision for my son and our family.
What Is a Parakeet?
A parakeet is a member of the parrot family. They are indigenous to Australia, where they are called budgerigars or “budgies.” The name budgie is routed in Australian culture, but its exact origin is unknown. They are relatively small birds and weigh very little. They have been bred to come in many different colors, but what makes them stand out the most is their unusually long tail.
Parakeets are social birds. They enjoy being with other creatures (including humans), chirping, showing affection, and getting exercise. Some parakeets will learn how to mimic other sounds. There have been reports of pet parakeets repeating more than 100 sounds produced by their owners. There is no guarantee that your parakeet will “talk,” but there are few other birds that can be had as pets that give you a chance at this fun activity.
Things to Consider
There are a few things to consider before you buy a pet parakeet.
Playing With Your Parakeet
The first is connected to their desire to be social. If you cannot commit to spending time with your bird, do not get a parakeet. They want to be out and around you. They want to fly around the house. They want to be whistled to. If you do not do these things, you will be hurting the mental and physical health of your pet. Consider getting two birds if you are not willing to or can’t put in the time needed.
On the other hand, if you are able to spend an hour or more a day with your parakeet, consider getting only one. Better yet, get a male. Males are the more social and less aggressive sex of budgie. They are more likely to perch on your finger, shoulder, or, as my son has proclaimed, ”on my guitar.” Males also give you a better chance at mimicking activities.
Cleaning Up After Your Pet
Birds can be dirty—hence the phrase “dirty bird”—but compared to most pets, they are fairly clean. Sure, they will shed a little, and you will find the occasional dropping, but all and all, a little cleanup is all it takes. It could get messy if you do not stay on top of it, so plan on spending a few minutes each day cleaning up after your bird.
Paying for Your Pet
And, of course, you need to consider the financial obligations of owning a parakeet. They generally run in the $15–25 range. A cage, some food, and a few toys complete the purchase. For less than $100, you can have a pet that you will enjoy for years. The only ongoing cost will be the occasional bag of bird food and some fill for the bottom of your cage (grinded corn cobs are one option). Compared to other pets, these costs are minor.
A few simple rules should be followed when buying your bird.
Choose Your Pet Carefully
First and foremost, you need to observe the birds for a few minutes before you pick one. Do not choose one based on color alone. You need to pick one that looks healthy, active, and social. A bird that is immobile or isolated from the flock should be avoided. Again, if you are looking to interact with your pet, try to pick a male, ideally one that is young. You have a much better chance of shaping their behavior if they are young. Any bird over 5 months old could be too stubborn.
Buy a Sizable Cage
Your cage and its accessories will be an important part of your bird’s life, so you should plan on getting them the best accessories available. Parakeets like to fly, so the bigger the cage, the better. It is understandable if you cannot afford an extremely large cage and/or your living space cannot fit one, but you should spend a little extra to get the biggest cage possible.
Add Fun Toys and Perches to the Cage
How you accessorize your cage is equally important. Parakeets are intelligent birds, and they require cognitive stimulation. Adding multiple perches, bells, and ladders can be a great way to keep your bird active and happy.
You may want to reconsider buying a mirror for your bird if you are planning on socializing a lot with it. Parakeets are smart, but they're not that smart. They will think the bird in the mirror is another member of the flock and will be less likely to want to hang out with you if a mirror is present.
Have Fun With Your Budgie!
All in all, having a budgie in our home has given us great joy. With a little patience, some minor cleaning, and a small financial commitment, you can enjoy this wonderful species as well. If you do decide to purchase one, consider reading up on how to “train” them.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
k on May 04, 2020:
I do not have a parakeet but im trying to convince her to get me one. Any suggestions?
cassie on April 15, 2020:
i dont want to sign up for this web
Louise Lyons on September 22, 2019:
I have 6 parakeets but one of them stays by me all day and if the others try to come by me he Chase's them away . All of them come to me . I have them 3years now and I let them out of the cage all day plus I clean their cage every day .When I play music they all start singing. I love them so much they are my babies.
d w on September 05, 2019:
I use to raise parakeets 50 years ago and started again last year-I have 3 babies 3 weeks old and getting ready to hand feed them.
Margaret roberts on June 27, 2019:
I have a parakeet.i just love him.he is smart.when i clean his cage i clean his mirror with the food dish.i will call for him i will say out loud precious guess what i got he will fly on his food dish and clean the water off his mirror and food dish.i thank precious and tell precious he did a great job.i love my parakeet.
Jatin on June 16, 2019:
Didi fruit Badri mridanga Rajkot
Jacintha on June 12, 2019:
Wait. I can’t whistle. Does that mean I can’t get a parakeet
aprik on May 14, 2019:
i have a feamale parakeet and its so nice to have her here
Lisa on March 25, 2019:
My parakeet arrived home just after he turned 4 months old. He is awesome. I have plenty of time to spend with him. He is just over a year old, he talks, he dances to YouTube videos, especially David Guetta, and flies around our house about an hour a day. He even plays with our pit bull. They love each other.
Chloe on February 03, 2019:
Are parakeets more of a quote or loud bird
DoggoIsMyNameO on June 04, 2018:
Thanks for this! I’m planing to get a parakeet and wanted to know if they were a good bird for me and this article insured greatness from these birds.
hi554 on May 17, 2018:
dab on those haters
bugie123 on May 15, 2018:
I love parakeets
and your artckele
Lin Lin from New Jersey, USA on January 27, 2013:
I had a Parakeet once, just like the first one in your pictures. (Actually it belonged to my neighbor), a really lovely bird. He died of broken heart because I must study hard for an exam the following day, and have no time to play with him. Your hub brings back the memory. Thanks!
Boulism (author) from Short Beach, CT on January 25, 2013:
Its never too late billybuc!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2013:
You know, I've never had one. That in itself is rather remarkable. Not when I was a kid or a parent. I wonder why that is? :) Good job with this hub!