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How to Care for Your Pet Budgie

I think that budgies are fun pets and great company. I'm happy to share what I've learned about caring for these mischievous birds.

Why a Budgie?

Budgies are fun, cute, mischievous characters to have around. They offer great companionship and love to show you when they are happy by chirping and prancing on their perches. They can often be seen dancing and singing to music and love nothing more than interacting with their fellow birds and humans.

However, before deciding whether a budgie is the right pet for you, you need to ensure that you know what a budgie requires to live a happy and healthy life. You can then decide whether you can give your budgie the time and attention it deserves.

Necessary Equipment:

  • Cage: Ideally, the cage should be 100 cm x 50 cm x 80 cm (40 inches x 20 inches x 32 inches). When looking for a cage, try to find one with horizontal as well as vertical bars as budgies love to climb with their feet and beak as well as fly.
  • Food bowls and water bowls
  • Perches: Preferably wood, not plastic. You can use natural branches as perches, such as those from willow, elder and apple trees. Branches of different widths will help your budgie exercise its feet and keep its nails short.
  • Toys, especially swings, bells, ladders and mirrors.
  • Food (see separate section below)
  • Sandpaper for the base of the cage.
  • Grit (see separate section below)
  • Cuttlefish: This is for your bird to sharpen and file its beak on, and it's also good for bones.
  • Mineral block
  • Bird bath

Considerations When Buying a Pet Budgie

Budgies are easy pets to care for and have few requirements. However, it is important to ensure that you are fully aware of the commitment you are making before you decide whether a budgie is the right pet for you. The average life span of a budgie is 8–10 years, although they can live longer than this. Additionally, your budgie will require daily exercise, and its food and water bowls must be cleaned regularly.

One or Two Birds?

You also need to consider whether you would like a single budgie or a pair. Budgies offer their owners enormous entertainment and companionship, but if you cannot give your bird a great deal of time and attention, it may become lonely and stressed. You may therefore decide to buy a pair who can keep each other company.

If you do decide to buy a pair, it is advisable to purchase a male and female or two males. Two hens will almost certainly fight and cause each other harm. A male and female will not produce offspring unless provided with a nesting box.

Have Your Say . . .

Signs of a Healthy, Happy Budgie

When acquiring a budgie either from a breeder or pet shop, you need to ensure that you are purchasing a healthy bird. Here are a few things to look for:

  • A clean and well-cared-for environment. The cage should not be cramped and dirty.
  • Active, playful, chattering budgies. They should not be timid or quiet.
  • Make sure the budgie’s eyes and nostrils are clean and free from discharge.
  • Feathers should be sleek and healthy looking. They should not be damaged.
  • The budgie’s feet should be clean with four toes on each.

How to Ensure You Are Buying a Young Budgie

If you want to ensure that the breeder or pet shop is selling you a baby budgie rather than a fully grown adult, you need to ensure:

  • The barring on the head extends all the way down to the cere (waxy covering at the base of the upper beak).
  • The eyes are dark and do not have the white irises that most adult budgies have.
  • The cere is mauve. In adult males, the cere will usually be blue in most varieties; in adult females, it will usually be brown.

Settling In Your New Budgie(s)

Before you bring your new pet home, you should ensure that the cage is ready and situated in a quiet part of the house away from any loud noises, excessive heat or drafts. You could cover half of the cage with a tea towel or sheet so that the budgie has somewhere to hide and feel safe.

On arriving home, you should introduce your bird to its cage and leave it alone to settle in. Your budgie will be very frightened at first and will need time to get used to its surroundings. It may take a few weeks for your budgie to gain confidence.

Diet and Nutrition

Your budgie will require fresh food and water every day. Your budgie’s main food source should be a good quality budgie seed mix.

When your budgie eats seed, it nibbles the husk off the kernel and leaves it behind in the food bowl. This causes empty husks to gather at the top of the seed bowl, and they must be removed each day so that your budgie can reach fresh seed.

Water must be replenished daily so that it remains clean and free from bacteria.

Your budgie will also require a small amount of fresh greens or fruit daily. Safe greens and fruit include:

  • Apple
  • Grape
  • Broccoli
  • Kiwi
  • Melon
  • Chickweed
  • Spinach leaves
  • Carrot
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Plum
  • Mango

Do not feed your budgie avocado or lettuce.

A mineral block and cuttlefish can be placed in the cage to keep your budgie’s beak trim and provide it with additional minerals to help keep bones healthy.

There are many commercial treats available in pet shops and supermarkets such as seed bells and fruit sticks, however they are often high in honey and should therefore only be fed occasionally. Budgies also enjoy millet sprays as a treat but you should bear in mind that millet is fattening and should only be offered once a week.

The Grit Controversy

Many budgie experts believe that budgies should always be provided with grit as it is necessary for its digestive system. It is thought that the grit particles help break down the seed in the gizzard ready for digestion. However, other experts contest this and believe that the purpose of grit is to help birds break down the husks that they swallow with the seed, as budgies do not eat the husks they say there is no need to supply grit.

This is ultimately the budgie owner's decision. The PDSA do recommend grit.

Exercise

Once your budgie has settled into its cage and is beginning to grow in confidence then you will need to ensure that it has enough exercise. Your budgie requires time out of its cage to fly. The more time you have available to allow your budgie out of its cage the better. The environment must be safe, electric fans should be switched off and you must ensure that all windows and doors are shut. Budgies can be excellent escape artists and it is estimated that 6 out of 10 budgies escape each year.

Be warned budgies love to chew wallpaper, books, magazines and papers. If left unattended they can cause damage to your interior decoration. Also ensure you do not have any poisonous, prickly or thorny plants in the room.

Other dangers include candles, toilets, water containers that your budgie might drown in, ovens, fires and poisonous substances such as graphite in pencils, adhesives, varnishes and detergents.

Sleeping and Resting

Just like humans, budgies are diurnal. This means that they are awake during the day and sleep at night. However, beware, if your budgie cage is placed anywhere near a window it will wake as soon as the sun rises and can be very chirpy at this time of the day!

Budgies require at least 10 hours of sleep each night. A good way to ensure that your budgie gets enough rest is to cover its cage at night and remove the cover once you are awake in the morning.

Your budgie will also doze during the day. You can tell when your budgie is dozing as it will sit quietly with closed eyes, one leg drawn up and its head slightly tucked into the side of its wing.

Hygiene and Cage Cleaning

Your budgie will keep itself clean by preening its feathers daily and bathing in its bird bath. However, it is up to you to ensure that your budgie’s cage and equipment are kept clean and safe.

All cleaning can be done with hot water and a wire brush. Detergents should never be used as they are poisonous, although pet-safe detergents can be purchased from pet shops.

See the table below for a list of jobs you will need to do.

Cleaning Tasks for Budgie Owners

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Provide clean water and remove husks from the top of your budgie’s seed.

Clean the cage thoroughly with hot water and if necessary a pet safe detergent.

Check the cage and clean any dirty toys or perches.

Replace sandpaper.

Remove any fruit or greens that have been in the cage for longer than 24 hours.

Ensure that all toys, perches and utensils are clean.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Comments

Harjot Kaur on August 09, 2020:

Once this quarantine is over I am going to be getting 2 budgies and this has really helped me

Ddddrr on January 10, 2020:

This was sooo helpful I am trying to convince my dad to let me have a parakeet

Girlgirl on December 14, 2019:

I really want a budgie and this website have gave me lots of imformation

Birdygirl on October 26, 2019:

Thanks for the info I'm trying to get a bird and I'm wondering if there's anything I can get for asking my mom and dad to let me I have lots of worry that they'll say no so I'm gathering info on the Budgie so then I can show a presentation to them and gain there approval saying stuff like "I've calculated the amount of money I need and I can pay for it by myself with no help from you" but I have a brother too so I'm worried that they'll say no because there kinda loud so I need some help on what to say because I REALLY want one and I'm spending lots of time looking on what to do and how to get them and how to care for them and stuff like that so then if they do say yes I'm ready but my mom and dad already said "There will be no more pets in this house" but birds are my passion and my best friend has a bird and I'm wondering if I get a bird how they'll get along so I can see her more please help me!!!

Ilene Jones on May 02, 2019:

I've never left my budgie overnight, since i've had him, single birdie, afraid to leave him alone but have a memorial out of state to attend cant find anyone to watch and care for him he's my life! Will it harm him to keep his cage uncovered and extra food ?

Watermelongirl.yea on August 09, 2018:

I really want to get two female budgies, but I am having trouble convincing my mom to see them as the feathered angels they really are. My sisters and I all really want them. Can you give me some pointers to help us convince her? TYSVM! - Watermelongirl

Brenda Hinton on July 16, 2018:

please can you advice?

Our budgie is now 7yrs old. We took him to our vets 3 weeks ago because his poop had become very watery.

I had to add a small pinch of the yellow powder to his drinking water for 7 days.

Although some improvement, he is not his usual self, he is now very quiet. Really no chirping at all. ( and he never shut up when my hoover was on ).

He is mainly puffed up all the time, and seems always to be curled up asleep.

He is still eating and drinking, but no chirping.

Is there something that I should be doing for him now, or is this very sadly all to do with his age?

Please can you advice me?

My room is so un-naturely quiet.

Sasha on July 17, 2017:

My budgie loves lettuce. Why is it bad for them to eat lettuce?

SunPoet on May 30, 2017:

Mysteriously 2 honey budgies came to me a lady just lost her mom and gave me the birds. Didn't speak english so glad I found you website!! my last bird lived 23 human years I wanted to know if the seeds from green bell peppers would be good for them my sherbert loved them!

Mickji from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object on March 06, 2016:

And only the lovebird sleeps with its head on its shoulder. The budgie only close its eyes puff and sit on the perches (when it it not hanging on the bars) but remains sealed to it with his feet. The lovebird instead sleep too well and loses his balance and risk of falling often, even when it's awake.

This time I don't have normal pets... not that I've always had a normal one, but these beat them all!

Thank you for your hub ^^ It was nice reading it!

Mickji from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object on March 06, 2016:

"poisonous substances such as graphite in pencils" ? My lovebird loved to destroy all my coloured pencils! (it lived 16 years)

Now I have a budgie and a new lovebird but they are both weird.

First, the budgie is scared of water, tremendously scared of water and also never drink.

It's not friendly playful and don't destroy paper. It doesn't like the seed stick which has honey on it and sleep attached to the cage's bars. At night you'll hear a thump in the night and then a fluttering of wings.... it's a bat budgie....

The lovebird is not friendly and playful either, but at least it tried to take a bath... and now I've noticed that the bath is small for a lovebird....maybe it's a canary bath, not a budgie nor a lovebird bath.

They both don't eat the salad and the apple I put in their cage and I don't know how to teach them to eat it other then touching their beaks with it. But the lovebird turn its head and the budgie seal it's beak and you'll end up with it facing the sailing better than eating the fruit...

I really hope they will become noisy and friendly also because I always keep the cage's door open at night and day, to let them do what they want.... but they want to stay inside, sleeping and puffing their feathers.

Any tips on how to make your bird friends friendly and playful?

JR Krishna from India on July 03, 2015:

Wow! Beautiful photographs