My experience with caring for budgies comes from both keeping one as a pet, as well as advising pet store clients on proper set-up and care.
An Ideal Pet Bird for Beginners
Budgies, which are more commonly known as parakeets, are excellent starter birds for those who have never owned a pet bird and would like to have a feathered friend. They generally have a cheerful disposition, are not as demanding as many larger birds, and are relatively hardy.
As single birds, they make good companions and enjoy interacting with their owners. Anyone who is willing to learn about these bubbly little birds and their care should be able to bring one home and have several years of companionship with their new pet.
A Little Bit About the Bird
Budgerigars, or "budgies" for short, are natives of Australia. Though they are commonly referred to as parakeets, this term can actually apply to a number of parrot species. The two types of domestic budgies are the British budgerigar and the "regular" budgerigar. The British budgie is a much larger bird than its regular cousin. In this article, I will be focusing on the regular sort of budgerigar, as this is the variety most commonly available in the United States.
Budgies are petite, hook-billed birds that, in captivity, live mainly on a diet of seeds, fresh fruits, and veggies. They typically will live twelve to fourteen years, if you take good care of them. Budgies are flock birds in the wild, so if you want a budgie that will interact with you, you must keep only one bird per cage. The object is for the bird to see you as its "flock." If it has other birds sharing its cage, your budgie will bond with them primarily rather than you. Budgies are intelligent little creatures and can be taught to talk and to do small tricks. Once again, it is necessary to keep the bird by itself in order for it to learn to talk or do tricks.
While wild budgies always have vibrant green body plumage and yellow heads, selective breeding in captivity has produced birds with quite a few variations in feather color and pattern. Most of these birds will be some shade of green or blue with an accent color, though there are budgies that are all yellow or white.
Budgies can be sexed as adults by looking at their cere, which is the little band at the top of the beak where the nostrils are located. Male budgies will sport a blue or lavender-blue cere, while females' ceres are a dull brown or tan. Juvenile budgies all have pinkish-lavender ceres. It is not possible to sex a budgie on sight when they are a juvenile. If you are keeping a single bird, it does not matter whether you can tell its sex before you buy it, as both sexes can be equally affectionate.
Finding the Right Bird
As a prospective budgie owner, you have two options available as to where you can obtain a bird: breeders and pet stores.
Purchasing a bird from a breeder can be an excellent choice, as these birds are often hand-raised and very used to human interaction. The drawback here, on the other hand, is that these birds are usually more expensive than those you would find at a pet store. You can find breeders in your area online, in the phone directory, or at a bird show. Make sure you buy from someone who is a reputable breeder, though, to avoid getting a bird that is ill or has physical problems.
Buying your bird from a good pet store is your second option. Pet store budgies, while cheaper than those bought directly from a breeder, are not always particularly friendly at first. This is due to the fact that many of them are raised without much human handling. When they are brought to the pet store, they are put in an aviary with a dozen other budgies and still are not handled. As flock birds, they are content with other budgies and do not know what to make of people. In the end, this leaves you with a bird that is normally not ready to just hop on your finger. So when going to a pet store to purchase a budgie, know that you may have to work with it a while to get it to trust you and be finger-trained.
Whether you decide to buy from a breeder or a pet store, there are a few things that you should check before purchasing the bird:
- The area where the birds are kept should be clean and dry.
- The birds themselves should be free of any sign of illness (vents clean, eyes clear, ceres not crusty, no sign of mites, no labored breathing, no bird sitting very still in the corner by itself with its feathers ruffled up). Even if the bird you like is healthy, do not buy it if there are others in the pen or cage that appear to be ill.
- The bird you like should not have physical issues, such as an overgrown or crooked beak.
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Things to Buy for Your Budgie
The most important thing you will buy for your bird is its cage. Since this is where it will spend the bulk of its time, a cage must be large enough for the bird to move about freely; otherwise, the bird will be an unhappy creature. At a minimum, the cage should be 14" long x 11" wide x 12" high. Remember, once food dishes, perches, and toys are added, the actual space in which your pet has to move about will be diminished.
Please resist the "starter kits" some pet stores offer if the cage they include is smaller than the above dimensions. I know it will seem like a good deal at the time, but it will not be good for your bird in the end. If you can afford an even larger cage, then get it. Your bird will thank you. We as humans go through busy times when we cannot give our pets as much playtime as they want/need, so if the bird has a bigger play-space, it will not mind some alone time quite so much.
Whatever size cage you buy, make sure the bars are no more than half an inch apart. This will prevent your budgie from getting its head caught between the bars. Also, try to find one with bars made from heavy wire, as the bars tend to bend easily on cages with thin bars. Finally, a cage with a non-toxic coating on the bars is best as it prevents rust from developing. I like cages made by Prevue Hendryx, as they are spacious, good-quality cages.
Most cages come with one or two dowel-style perches. I recommend removing one of these perches, however, and replacing it with two or three other types of perches. Other types of perches available include natural branch perches and shaped sand perches. The reason for this is your budgie needs a variety of differently-shaped perches on which to sit in order to keep its feet healthy.
Straight dowels do not offer the shape variation that is necessary. The shaped, sand-covered perches have the added benefit of helping to keep the bird's claws trimmed (though toenail clipping will still be necessary from time to time). I have used this particular type of natural branch-style perch, as it fits nicely in the average budgie cage.
The other thing that cages come equipped with is food and water dishes. You will also want to buy a separate cup in which you can put treat seed or fresh foods.
Buying a good budgie/parakeet food for your pet is essential. There are seed and pellet varieties on the market for budgies, and both have their pros and cons. In spite of all the choices available, I would suggest that, as a first-time owner, you stick with the food that the bird was already being fed when you bought it.
Sometimes you can convert a bird from seed to pellets or vice versa, but it does not always happen and is better attempted by someone with experience. Your new bird may notice if you try to feed it a different brand of food and not eat it, so when you are starting out, it is better to stick with what the bird already knows. You want to make your budgie's transition into your home as stress-free as possible.
Toys and Other Necessities
Other accoutrements necessary for your bird are a cuttle bone or mineral treat, a cage skirt, and toys. The cuttle bone and mineral treat serve roughly the same purpose, which is to keep your bird's beak trimmed to the proper length. The cage skirt is for your benefit rather than the bird's. Like all types of pet birds, budgies can be a bit messy, so it is easier to keep the mess contained to the cage when there is a skirt on the outside of the cage.
The toys are an important part of a budgie's existence. A bored bird is not a happy bird. If you want your budgie to interact with you, then avoid toys with mirrors, because it will think it has another bird in the cage and prefer the company of the "mirror bird." Some good toys that budgies like are little balls, twirly toys, rings, chew toys, and bells. My budgie loves bells, and almost all of his toys feature bells because of this. Do not be surprised, however, if your bird looks at a new toy as if it is enemy no. 1. The budgie is merely making sure the new addition to its cage is not going to eat it, and it will usually warm up to the new plaything within a day or two (or three).
Items You Can Save Money On
There are a few items that you can skip buying and use a substitute at home to save money. The first would be a cage cover; they look nice but a clean towel does the trick for putting your bird to bed at night.
The second thing to skip is corn cob litter or cage liners to put in the bottom of the cage. Newspaper or paper towels work just as well as the store-bought items (do not use newspaper, though, if your bird's cage does not have a grating in the bottom that separates him from contact with the newsprint).
The final item that you most likely will not need to buy is a stand. An end table, nightstand, or some other flat surface where the cage cannot be knocked over is sufficient. The exception to this would be if you have cats in the house (or dogs that like to chase birds); a stand that keeps the cage well out of the reach of a curious feline is best.
Life With Your New Pet
Setting Up the Cage
When you bring home your new budgie, set its cage up first before taking the bird out of the carrier in which you brought it home. The location of the cage within your home is an important thing to decide. The kitchen is generally not a good place, due to the high level of activity in the room and the potential hazard of toxins being released into the air from singed non-stick pans. Many kitchens also have doors leading to the outside in or near them, which can cause drafts. You do not want your bird to sit in a draft, as it is not good for its health.
A bedroom, office, or corner of a family living area are the best places to put a bird cage. If you find noise distracting, though, you may not want to put the bird near a home workspace. Budgies tend to be chatterboxes, which makes them entertaining; this can become obnoxious, however, if you need quiet! Not all budgies are this way, but quieter birds seem to be the exception. You will not know until you get the bird settled in and used to its surroundings whether it will be noisy or a moderate twitter-bug. Do not always assume that covering the bird will make it quiet until you want to get up in the morning; mine has been known to start his chirping at 5 a.m. (granted, this is normally because he hears someone up already).
Once you have found a spot for the cage, put it together and stick whatever absorbent material you have chosen to use in the bottom. Place the perches next, with consideration as to what configuration will allow the bird to move to move about the cage freely. Make sure to put perches by the food and water cups (I stick the one long dowel-rod perch in front of the dishes in order to leave more play room in the rest of the cage). Know that you can always rearrange the perches if necessary. Add the toys to the cage after this, along with the mineral treat or cuttle bone. Fill the food dish and water dish.
Introducing Your Bird to Its New Home
The best way to put your new friend in its home is to take the top off of the cage and gently place the bird inside of it. Only do this if the bird's wings are already clipped, though! If the budgie's wings are not clipped, or the cage top does not come off easily, then put it in the cage through the door.
On a cage that has a "guillotine-style" door (one that slides up and down), it is better to first secure the door in the "up" position with a clip or twist-tie so as to avoid accidentally dropping the door on budgie's head. (Make sure you secure the door this way any time you want to move the bird in or out of its cage.) Partially cover the cage, and give the bird a day or two to adjust to its new surroundings. This means do not take it out of its cage, put your hand in its cage, or even talk to it too much (especially in a loud voice) during this time. It will most likely be freaking out at being put in a totally new environment and will need some space. Birds and stress do not go well together, so give your pet the peace and quiet it needs.
Interacting With Your Bird
After your bird has become accustomed to its new abode, you can begin to interact with it. If the bird is already finger-trained and has its wings clipped, you can easily take it out of the cage and start getting acquainted. If it has its wings clipped but is not finger-trained, teaching the bird to "step up" onto your finger requires just a little bit of time and persistence.
First, put your hand slowly into the cage, approaching the bird from below rather than above (it thinks you are an attacker coming to eat it if your hand swoops down on it). Some birds will not like your hand in the cage at all, so you may have to spend the first day or two just getting it used to your hand being in the cage.
Once the bird is comfortable with your hand being near it, take your index finger and place it gently against the bird's front, right above its feet. As you do this, say in a soft voice, "step up." The gentle pressure against its front will usually cause the bird to crawl on your finger. If not, then try again a few more times. The point of saying "step up" is that you want the bird to learn to get onto your finger without having to put pressure on its chest.
Budgies can master this trick in a day, but it may take more time than that with your bird. If it does not learn the first day, do not push it, but let it rest and try again the next day. I do not recommend that a first-time bird owner take their budgie out of the cage unless its wings are clipped. It can easily injure itself running into things if it flies away from you.
Clipping Its Wings
If the store from which you purchased it would not or could not clip its wings, try to find a friend that has experience clipping wings or go to an avian vet. If these options do not exist for you, you can learn to do it yourself, but, please, be very careful and make sure you understand thoroughly what you need to do before attempting it. You can seriously injure your bird if you are not careful.
Bonding With Your Pet
Once you and your budgie have become friends, your bird will enjoy having playtime with you or simply sitting on your shoulder. Giving your pet some "shoulder-time" while you read or watch TV is a great way to bond. An old towel works as a protection against bird droppings on your clothes; make sure it is a dishcloth sort of towel rather than a bath towel, however, since a budgie's little talons can get stuck in the loops of a bath towel.
Keeping Your Budgie Healthy
One thing you should never do to your bird while interacting with it is kiss it on the beak. Human saliva is toxic to budgies. You should also avoid using aerosols or other types of sprays round the bird; budgie's lungs are delicate and breathing in those sorts of things can be harmful to your pet.
It is best to find a good avian vet as soon as possible after purchasing your budgie. Budgies are relatively hardy for their size, but you should always keep a lookout for signs of illness and contact your vet if you suspect your bird may be ill.
Signs of illness include wheezing, labored breathing, runny eyes or cere, a crusty cere, loose droppings, a loss of feathers (with no new growth—molting is normal), abnormal growths on the head, not eating, and sitting very still and quiet in a corner with ruffled feathers. While this is a list of some of the most common signs of sickness, it is not complete. As you get to know your bird, you will notice any abnormalities in its behaviour. This will enable you to act quickly if you think it is unwell. Quick action is necessary as illnesses in these little birds are often fatal if left untreated.
Adding Variety to Its Diet
Feeding your bird fruit, veggies, and treats in addition to its regular food is a great idea as it adds variation and extra nutrients to your pet's diet. Make sure you put these items in a separate cup from the regular food, and limit the amount of treat seed and millet you give your bird. Budgies can become overweight, and extra weight is not healthy for the bird.
Fresh greens like spinach and arugula, and fruits like apples and oranges (sans the seeds) are all budgie-safe fresh foods that can be given in moderate amounts. If you are not buying organic produce, make sure to thoroughly wash items that cannot be peeled in order to remove pesticide residue. Since not all fruits and veggies are safe for your bird to eat, please check out this list before trying any items other than the ones I have mentioned here.
Avoid giving your bird "people food," as most of it is entirely unhealthy for birds and some things can also be toxic. When feeding your bird, give it enough seed in its cup to last a couple of days or so and then re-fill it when it has eaten most of the seed (make sure not to mistake the seed hulls the bird leaves behind as uneaten food).
Cleaning the Cage
Change the water at least every other day. If your budgie seems to enjoy bathing in its drinking water, try putting a shallow dish in the cage now and then and encourage it to use that instead. Budgies do not need to bathe as much as some birds because they live in an arid climate in the wild.
If there is a grate in the bottom of the cage, then the absorbent material in the tray should only need to be changed once a week since the bird has no contact with the tray. If there is no grating, then change the material in the tray every couple of days. The whole cage should be wiped down once a month. Every few months it is good to take the cage apart and wash it thoroughly with mild dish soap to remove the gunk that builds up around the edges and in the corners.
Budgies Are Wonderful Pets
My budgie has been a wonderful little pet, and I will always be glad that I decided to bring him into my life. He is a sweet creature that makes me smile at his antics and happy chatter. If you are looking for a pet that is small, cheerful, affectionate, and relatively easy to keep, then I most heartily recommend that you welcome one of these birds into your home.
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.
Questions & Answers
Question: What should I do about my budgie when I go on vacation for a week?
Answer: While a budgie doesn't have to have a pet sitter stay with it to ensure it will be all right while you are on vacation, it is a good idea to have someone check on it at least every other day. Whoever checks on the bird will need to know how to change the food and water, as well as be able to recognize any signs of illness or injury. Of course, if you have a friend or family member with whom your budgie can stay while you are gone, I'm sure it would love the company!
Question: How long will it be before my budgies eat food after bringing them into their new home?
Answer: They should start eating by the end of the first 24 hours. You will know they have if you see seed hulls left on top of the food in the cup or in the bottom of the cage. If the birds don't start eating before the end of the second day, then you may want to contact the breeder for some guidance. If you got them from a pet store, then consult an avian vet as to what you should do.
Question: I am going to get two female budgies, and I read somewhere that if you get two budgies at a time, they will bond with each other and not the owner. Is that true?
Answer: While it is true that they will be more attached to one another than anyone else, it does not mean that they will not like you at all. How much they like you will depend on how much time you spend with them. If you rarely get them out of the cage to play with them, they will naturally form less of an attachment to you than they would if you played with them frequently.
Question: Should a budgie's cage be placed near a window?
Answer: Yes, I think it is good for a budgie to be able to see outside during the day. I would recommend keeping the window closed, however, if the cage is right next to it (as opposed to a few feet away) since mites can get inside and onto your bird through an open window.
Question: Is there a way to make my budgie and my cat be friends?
Answer: While there are cats that show no interest in hunting birds, they tend to very much be in the minority. Unless you know absolutely for certain that your cat is one the rare ones that behave in this way, I will not take the risk to find out. Things can go badly very quickly if your cat decides your budgie looks like a snack! The only friendship that should be attempted is one with cage bars between the two.
Do teach your cat not to lunge at the cage or stick its paws through the bars; the cat needs to know the bird is off-limits for hunting.
Question: I have tried feeding fresh apple pieces and romaine to my birds, but they won't touch it. What am I doing wrong?
Answer: Sometimes you have to offer small amounts of fresh food several days in a row before the birds will even try it. Once they do sample it, they will either look forward to more or refuse to touch it ever again. So, don't give up too quickly, but be ready to move on to a different fresh food if several days go by without them eating it. You may also want to limit the food selection to one new item at a time.
Question: I have had my parakeet for two years, but he will not let me touch him. How can I get him to let me handle him? Someone told me he has too many mirrors in his cage. He has three small ones and one he can see his whole body in. He also is able to come in and out of the cage much of the day.
Answer: I would start by paring down the number of mirrors to one small one. Replace the other mirrors with a new toy or two, so he won't be as disappointed over the loss of most of his mirrors. After that, start putting your hand in the cage and just holding it in there near him for a few minutes at a time. Do this at least a couple of times a day, slowly moving your hand closer as he grows to accept your presence in his space. Eventually, he should permit you to touch him gently on the chest. (I cannot guarantee a specific time frame for this to happen within; every bird is different. Gentle persistence is key.) Once you can touch him, you can try teaching him to step up on your finger. You may want to curtail his time outside the cage somewhat while going through this process. If he views getting out of his cage as a reward for learning to be handled, he might become more cooperative with the process.
Question: What temperature does the room where I keep my budgies need to be?
Answer: The temperature range of the average home interior is usually fine for a budgie. If the room is particularly chilly, you can try adding a snuggle hut to the cage as a warm-up spot. The one thing that should be avoided is drafts, whether they be from a window or air conditioner. Too much cold air blowing directly on a budgie isn't good for it.
Question: A budgie has flown in through my window. I’ve tried advertising to find the owner. He is very well trained and flies onto my head and finger. I’ve bought a large cage for him, and he seems settled. Should I get his wings clipped?
Answer: I would advise having his wings clipped, since he sounds as though he is an escape artist. This will ensure that he cannot fly off again the next time he spots an open door or window.
Question: How many days can a parakeet go without drinking water?
Answer: I would never leave a parakeet without drinking water. A domesticated bird is used to having a constant supply of clean drinking water, and would not do well without it.
Question: Can I move my budgie's cage from time to time to other places in the house?
Answer: Yes, you can move the cage to any place in the house that is free of drafts, noxious fumes, or aerosols. In fact, I would encourage you to do so. Your budgie loves to be anywhere you are, and would prefer you move its home to whatever room you are occupying at a given time. You can also take it out on a screened-in porch, as a budgie enjoys a sit outside with its owner on a pleasant day.
Question: I have bought a new female budgie today for my male budgie. How will I know that my budgies are getting along? What signs should I look out for that will tell me my budgies do not like each other?
Answer: It will be rather obvious if they don't like one another. Squabbling, pecking at each other, not sharing the food and water, and refusing to sit near one another are all signs of them not getting along. If there is little of this happening, and they are instead preening each other and sitting together, then you will know they like each other. If they do bicker a moderate amount during the first couple of weeks, don't worry about, though, as they may need some time to become accustomed to the other's presence. Only separate them if they do not get along at all and are injuring each other when they fight.
Question: I have two parakeets. Do they help each other get rid of the old feathers while molting, or do I have to do something such as rub their heads?
Answer: Budgies who share a cage often preen each other, so your birds very well may do so to help one another out while molting. Budgies do not need our help removing old feathers; even a single bird preens and fluffs itself well enough on its own to get rid of feathers during the molting process.
Question: I have three parakeets. How many times a week should I give them those treats on a stick?
Answer: I would only give them one stick a week at most; limiting the treat to every other week would be even better. Parakeets, just like any other pet, can gain weight and have health problems if they consume too many treats.
Question: My budgies won't use their snuggle hut. What can I do to make them like it?
Answer: Some birds just don't like snuggle huts; mine never would use one. You could try putting some treat seed in it to lure them into it. Once they go in, they might decide they like it. Otherwise, there is not much else you can do.
Question: Could a responsible 11-year-old take care of a parakeet?
Answer: Yes, responsible children at about age nine can easily take care of a pet parakeet. The child would, of course, require assistance with some things such as wing clipping or nail trimming. The routine care and cage cleaning are simple enough, however, for a mature child to handle.
Question: I have a cat. Where should I put my budgie's cage to keep the bird safe?
Answer: Where you put your bird's cage will depend, in part, on how aggressive your cat is towards the bird. Some cats will watch the bird from afar and not approach the cage. Others will come closer, but will not try to harm the bird. Then there is the type that will bat at the cage, try to stick its paws in it, or even lunge at the bird. Determining what category your cat falls into will help you decide where to place the cage. If your cat is aggressive, put the cage in a room where the cat is not allowed to be. If the cat only shows mild interest or little interest at all, then it should be safe to keep the cage in a room where the cat is allowed. Just make sure the cage is on a table or a sturdy stand on the off chance your cat did suddenly jump at it; a stable platform for the cage will make it harder for the cat to knock it over. I would suggest not leaving the cage in the same room as the cat whenever you are not home, however, as one can never be completely certain that the cat will leave the bird alone while the humans are away!
Question: My budgie is not drinking water. What should I do?
Answer: Budgies typically do not spend much time at their water dish drinking. So, it could be that you just are not seeing your bird drink. If the bird truly is not drinking at all, however, then you would need to take it to an avian vet to determine what the underlying issue is, as not drinking could be indicative of illness.
Question: I am looking into getting two male budgies that will be coming from a rescue; the birds are bonded. Is there a chance we will be able to teach them to talk and maybe do the trick or two?
Answer: I would consider teaching them to talk to be highly unlikely at this point, not only because they are coming as a pair, but also because they are probably not young birds if you are getting them from a rescue. Teaching them a trick or two may still be possible, however, especially if you train them individually. Letting the one still in the cage watch while you work with the other may help them to learn the trick better.
Question: Are parakeets expensive?
Answer: A budgie/parakeet is not an expensive bird unless it is of a show-grade quality. Do keep in mind, however, that setting up a proper cage environment will likely cost more than the bird itself. This is balanced out by the fact that the bird's upkeep costs are relatively low.
Question: Is it okay to have a budgie if I already have a cat?
Answer: Yes, it is perfectly fine to keep a budgie while also having a pet cat. Just keep in mind that most cats view small birds as prey, and safeguard your budgie's cage accordingly. Some cats will try to paw at the bird through the bars or the cage door, while others will simply watch the bird without threatening it. If you get a budgie, watch your cat closely whenever it approaches the bird's cage. You should know within the first week or so whether you can trust your cat to be in the same room as the cage. Never, of course, take your budgie out to play when the cat is in the room. Even a cat that ignores the bird while it is caged may try to pounce on it when it is out. Some commonsense caution is usually all that is necessary to keep both a cat and budgie in the same home.
Rhosynwen (author) on July 17, 2020:
@ Linsey Hare:
First off, don't fret about what happened when you brought them home. That won't have a negative impact on their perception of you and your husband. Their nervousness is natural, especially since they are so young and weren't hand-raised. They will become used to each aspect of their new home a little at a time. Just keep talking to them, slowly putting your hand in the cage now and then.
Also, while I would continue to offer them the fresh food in tiny amounts just to get them used to the idea, don't worry if it takes them some time to try it. As long as they are at least eating their seed, they will be okay for now.
Enjoy your new pets!
Linsey Hare on July 14, 2020:
Hello first time budgie owner here! just got two budgies from the pet store two weeks ago. they are small they haven't had their first molt yet, and they have had no human interaction. they sing and chirp in their cage and seem to be happy. all I can do right now is talk to them outside of their cage which is in my living room, and sometimes that scares them it scares them whenever I put my hand in the cage to fix a toy or change their food/water they fly around in panic no matter how slow I move my hands. they wont eat any fruit or veg I give them they don't have a clue how to use their bird bath their scared of their toys please help! if this is normal? how to get them used to me or how long they need to trust me and my husband. oh and the day we brought them home from pet store the got out of the box when we tried to transfer to their cage. they were flying around my house in a panic for probably 30 min my husband finally cought them one by one in his baseball cap please tell me we didn't break trust with them forever before we even earned it to begin with!!!!
Rhosynwen (author) on June 14, 2020:
I hope by now your bird has settled in a bit better; if not, don't worry (unless he's still not eating/drinking--then you need to contact the breeder for help).
A bird can take up to two weeks to fully acclimate to his new surroundings, so I would not be concerned about your budgie not wanting to come out of his cage yet. Every bird is different, and if you have a cautious one, then he make take longer than average to want to interact outside the cage. Remember, even though the bird was raised by a person, it was used to that person, and not you. Just as it takes some time to become good friends with another person, so it takes some time to build a "friendship" with your bird. So, relax, talk to your bird, and let him get to know you. Once he does, he will be eager to come out and play. :)
Anonymous on June 10, 2020:
I got a budgie from a breeder yesterday, and he's nearing the end of his first 24 hours. He hasn't explored his cage, he hasn't eaten or drank, he won't even fly out of his cage when its completely open. The breeder says that all of his budgies are used to companionship, meaning that my budgie is just lonely. But I want to tame this budgie, and getting two of them would be too much to handle. Should I get another budgie to make the first one happy? Is there anything I can do? I am a first time budgie owner, and I want to make my budgie happy.
Rhosynwen (author) on May 11, 2020:
The bird will start chattering more the longer you have her; it's all a matter of her becoming comfortable with her new people and environment. It sounds as if you are taking good care of her so far, so just keep it up and she will be settled in soon.
Felicia on May 08, 2020:
So my five year old daughter and I just bought a baby budgie three days ago (her eyes are completely black)
She is eating, making small noises here and there and pooping a lot so I think she’s doing okay. I work 12 hour shifts on a 3/4 split (three days on, four days off, four days on, three off) and my daughter is with her other mom while I work so sometimes she’s alone for like 12 hrs (I’ve been having my girlfriend check on her throughout the day) I talk to her for at least 2 hours when I come home at night. I can’t get enough of how pretty she is but I was wondering how long before she starts making noise and how do I make sure she’s happy and comfortable? She is such a precious baby, I’m so happy and excited and I just want her to be the happiest she possibly can be!
Rhosynwen (author) on May 02, 2020:
Repetition and patience. Not all budgies are talkers, and it is impossible to tell when they are young whether they will have that tendency. If you do end up with a talker, however, start with simple words, such as "hello".
Keeping the bird in an area (at least part of the time) where it hears the family talking also seems to help it learn.
Hello on April 29, 2020:
I am going to convince my parents to get a bird, how do I teach my cute baby to speak?
Rhosynwen (author) on March 31, 2020:
@ Birdy girl:
I'll answer your questions in order to keep it simple:
1. No, you normally can't tell whether a young parakeet will end up talking or not. Most pet stores only have young parakeets that are kept in groups with no individual interaction with humans going on. The only way to ensure that you have a talker is to adopt an older bird who has already started learning.
2. I honestly don't think the sex of a parakeet makes that much difference if you are only going to keep one alone as a pet. Also, because most parakeets are young at the average pet store, you won't even be able to tell whether you have a male or female at first. The exception would be if a particular bird has been at the store long enough to be able to tell its sex.
3. Teaching a bird tricks, just like teaching one to talk, depends on the bird. Some seem to be more interested than others. An easy trick to try to see if your bird can learn such things would be having it learn to pick up a jingle ball and put it in a small cup. Use a treat such as a bit of millet to encourage it (sort of as one would do while teaching a dog tricks). If it can learn to do that, then you could try to to teach it to do other things.
4. Parakeets are "low-maintenance"; 10-15 minutes is average for daily care. You will need to take the entire cage apart and deep clean it periodically, however, so that will take some extra time.
5. Once the bird has settled into its new environment, it will become used to the household noises, including those made by little brothers. :) As long as no one is yelling in the bird's face, it will tolerate such noises fairly well, and may even tweet loudly along with the noise.
Enjoy your new pet!
Birdy girl on March 31, 2020:
just a few questions:
I am planning on getting a parakeet (from a pet store) and was wondering if you can tell if a parakeet has speaking ability before buying it.
When i do get a parakeet, are there any pros or cons to male Vs female? is there a difference?
i am homeschooled and will likely spend a lot of time with my budgie. can you reccomend any tricks besides talking, whistling, and step up?
how long will the actual care take per day?
lastly, will it react negatively to loud noises? not consant blaring music, but an accasional yell (i have little brothers)
Rhosynwen (author) on March 10, 2020:
While I can't determine whether she is actually "in terror" or not without seeing her in action, it is more likely that she is simply being a normal, active budgie. Frightened budgies tend to sit very still and breathe heavily, or flutter rapidly in an attempt to escape whatever is scaring them. Upset ones squawk angrily. If your bird is running around and tweeting, she's probably just playing.
Daniel on March 09, 2020:
I just got a pet budgie and guess she is getting used to the environment. I noticed that she is easier to pet early in the morning just after bedtime and all other times she runs around the cage as if in terror. Is this normal?
Rhosynwen (author) on January 07, 2020:
Budgies can still fly for short distances (mainly downward) with their wings clipped. The question is whether she is getting any lift when she flies. If she is, then she probably doesn't have her flight feathers clipped sufficiently (or they need to be clipped again--flight feathers do grow back). Just make sure whoever clips her wings truly knows what they are doing!
As far as leaving the cage door open to explore goes, I would only do that if you are going to be in the room the whole time the door is open, and it is a room that is safe for her to explore (such as no fans running, no other pets present, no cooking going on, etc.). I would never recommend allowing you bird to do any unsupervised exploration.
Sam on January 05, 2020:
My budgies wings are clipped but she can still fly far and she climbs up on my finger for 2 secondes and flys away i leave the cage open for her to explore is it a good idea and any advice
Rhosynwen (author) on January 04, 2020:
If you follow the directions I gave in the article about finger-taming, eventually you will have both birds tamed. I would focus on the one that is already more tame first (but don't leave the other out of your training completely!). Do your training of the tamer one in front of the wild one, though, so that he can see how much fun his buddy is having. Budgies do learn by watching.
Lily on January 04, 2020:
I got 2 new budgies and it is the first time i had budgies one is tame but still afraid and one is wild how do you tame a budgie and make it not scared of you
Rhosynwen (author) on December 30, 2019:
I am not a vet, so I unfortunately cannot give you medical advice. As far as I can tell from your description, your bird may have mites. To know for sure, however, you would have to check with a veterinarian and get their advice for effective treatment.
Shoaib7477 on December 29, 2019:
I have many pair of budgies , i notice my one of female budgie have some unusual differences, her one nose hole is getting bigger and something is going on his this side and i notice some type of parasites or lice were running on her face i tried to catch it but you know that budgie can’t hold their noses , i have a picture and videos of it but I can’t attached over there , i use some pioden on her nose ,
kindly tell me what should i do now
Rhosynwen (author) on December 27, 2019:
I am sorry to just be getting back to you. I am sure by now the bird is quite settled in. If she was chirping and eating in front of you from the start, she was probably quite happy to have someone taking care of her and giving her attention.
Ray on December 21, 2019:
I just received a neglected female budgie yesterday. She seems to be chirping quite a lot and has even eaten in front of me multiple times. IS she settle in yet, or should I give her more time?
Rhosynwen (author) on December 03, 2019:
@ Lynda Asmarzia
How long have you had your bird? If you haven't had it for very long, or haven't been trying to finger-tame it for very long, then patience and persistence is key. Some birds are already finger-tame when you get them (normally thanks to whomever raised them), but for many pet budgies this is a new thing they have to learn once someone takes them home. So, keep trying; trying can include just sitting there with your hand in the bird's cage so it learns that your hand is nothing to be afraid of.
Lynda Asmarzia on December 03, 2019:
Hey, I don’t know, but when I put my finger in front of the budgie, it walks or flies away. What should I do?
Rhosynwen (author) on November 21, 2019:
You are welcome.
It sounds to me as if Calliope is simply a more cautious sort. She obviously likes you if she accepts food from your hand and will get onto your finger. Because she has a cautious nature, she is going to take longer to become completely comfortable with you and her new home. Just be persistent in interacting with her, and eventually she will be less quiet and shy. Every budgie is different, so I cannot tell you exactly when the change will happen. Believe me, though, you will know when it does, and will probably have to tell her to be quiet sometimes after that! :)
Charlie on November 20, 2019:
Thank you for the article, Rhosynwen.
I have a couple questions about my parakeet, Calliope's, behavior. She's a juvenile I bought from a local pet store around two months ago. She sits on one perch all day, only coming down to eat. She doesn't play with her toys, look at her mirror, or chatter. She does, however, call out if I play videos of parakeets chattering. She happily eats off of my finger and will--with a little coaxing--perch on it; though she flies right back to her favorite perch if I try moving her away from it.
Does this all seem like normal behavior to you? I'm trying to get her to bond to me, but we've been stuck at the listed behaviors for over a month now. Can you offer any advice on what steps I should take next?
Rhosynwen (author) on November 14, 2019:
@ Bird guy:
Glad to have been of help to you!
Bird guy on November 11, 2019:
I really liked this passage about parakeets. It gave me a lot of great info!
I am looking forward to getting one
Thanks a lot!
Rhosynwen (author) on October 23, 2019:
Unfortunately, not knowing how large your house is or how the rooms are configured leaves me unable to answer this question exactly. If your kitchen is a separate room from the others, rooms adjoining it are fine. If your house has an "open" plan with the kitchen and main living areas all joined together in one large room, I would say across the room from the kitchen. I hope this helps!
Anonymous on October 21, 2019:
I need to know how far the cage should be from the kitchen. Tysm!
Rhosynwen (author) on September 02, 2019:
As long as the transfer between houses is low-stress, your bird should be okay. The easiest thing to do is just strap the cage securely in the car with the bird still in it. Make sure t