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The Playful and Personable Parakeet
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The Playful and Personable Parakeet

Ben, Critter Culture Staff
Updated Sep 18, 2020

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Parakeets, also known as budgerigars or budgies, are cheerful and animated birds indigenous to Australia. They made their way to Europe around 1838, where they became the staple pets for affluent families. Budgies entered the U.S. in the 1920s and now make great companions to bird-lovers worldwide. They are often considered beginner birds, meaning they are ideal for first-time pet parents.

Some breeds like Monk or Quaker parakeets are considered exotic birds, so make sure there are no restrictions while adopting these breeds.

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1

Budgie’s appearance

toys parakeet appearance onceawitkin / Getty Images

Budgerigars are small, slender birds, around 7-8 inches long, with long dark blue tails. They have colorful feathers, with black markings on their backs and wing that provide camouflage for these ground-feeding creatures. Due to their ability to see UV light, some of their spots glow, allowing them to attract their mates. The top part of the budgie’s beak, called cere, is pink for young ones, blue for males, and brown or white for females. When well taken care of, budgies can live for 7-15 years, depending on the breed.

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2

Cage requirements

budgie cage U.Ozel.Images / Getty Images

Appropriate cage dimensions for a budgie is typically are 18" x 30" x 18 in size with 1/2" bar spacing. Ensure that the birds cannot escape through the gaps between the bars, and avoid decorative cages. A female budgie may lay eggs only if it has a nest or breeding box.

Keep your parakeet occupied by providing a variety of entertaining toys to play with. Ensure that they are designed for small birds, so your budgie’s toes or beak don’t get caught in them. Also, avoid anything that has strings as the birds can get entangled in them.

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3

Training a parakeet

Yellow-green budgie sitting on a girls hand against blurred background. akrp / Getty Images

Budgies can listen to and recognize cues, so it is relatively easy for you to tame and train your parakeet to solve puzzles. Once the birds get accustomed to their new home, start by teaching them to perch on your hand. Place your finger next to their perch and gently nudge the bird’s chest, which causes it to jump onto your fingers.

Parakeets are highly perceptive and can learn a lot of words. They love to play games, interact with you, and have conversations.

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4

Need for social interaction

social interaction budgies Tony_Bendele / Getty Images

Parakeets are flock birds, meaning they like to form strong relationships with their kind and with people. If you have a single parakeet and give it a mirror, it may get attached to its reflection and ignores the surroundings. Before introducing a new bird to the current one, place them in separate cages, adjacent to each other. Once they get acquainted, you can put them together. Keep a watchful eye on them as one may be dominant and bully the other birds. Parakeets bond for life and live together harmoniously with their mate.

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5

Include fruits in your parakeet’s food

budgie food Thang Nguyen Quoc / Getty Images

Parakeets eat grass, seeds, and vegetation in the wild. But in confinement, relying on seeds can be fattening. Give them a healthy mix of seeds, pellets, fruits, and vegetables for a nutritionally balanced diet. Choose only organic produce consisting of kale, cabbage, spinach, and other veggies and apples, pears, and similar fruits.

Never give garlic, avocado, onion, mushrooms, or chocolate to a parakeet. Always wash and cut the fruits or veggies and make sure they are at room temperature.

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6

Parakeets are happy groomers

grooming budgies DmyTo / Getty Images

Parakeets don’t just drink freshwater; they love to bathe in it. Every 2-3 days, provide your pet with a shallow dish of lukewarm water to have a refreshing soak. You can also spray some water gently on its body, avoiding the face. If you have two or more birds, they can mutually preen their feathers and groom their chin, face, head, and other out-of-reach areas.

Keep their food or water containers clean and change the water once or twice a day. Line the cage or habitat with an approved bird litter, paper towels, or shredded newspaper to collect the droppings.

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7

Health concerns - when to see a vet

health issues in parakeets JanJBrand / Getty Images

Parakeets make it challenging to detect their illness as their instinct is to hide their issues. If you detect a decrease in appetite, it may be an early sign of an illness. Also, if the bird droppings are not firm or crusty areas on its feet, you should see your veterinarian.

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8

Parakeets need much attention

playing parakeets Ingus Kruklitis / Getty Images

Often, pet parents lack the required knowledge about their parakeet’s health or various accidents. You must pay attention to appropriate bird care and notice any changes in your pet’s behavior. Since parakeets regularly groom themselves, any change in their routine can indicate stress or health problems. Proper treatment, diet, exercise, and veterinary care can help you avoid issues like obesity and iodine deficiency.

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9

Happy parakeets love to sing

happy parakeets Oleksandr Shchus / Getty Images

Parakeets are some of the most vocal birds in the world and have a remarkable ability to repeat sounds. This characteristic is among the top reasons that make this fun-loving bird a favorite among pet parents.

Parakeets are very imaginative, and when happy, they can create melodies from human speech or the environment. If your budgie is constantly chirping, singing, and even screeching, you can be sure that you are doing a good job.

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10

Avoid direct sunlight

indoor parakeet iVangelos / Getty Images

Parakeets like to live in normal household conditions, not too cold or too hot. Take care that the cage is not a vent with consistent drafts, and prevent it from receiving direct sunlight. To maintain a stable cage temperature, you can cover it at night to keep the birds warm. For shade and shelter, get a roosting box for the cage so the parakeet can feel more at home.

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