Parakeet Care: 5 Ways to Keep your Budgie Happy and Healthy
How to Take Care of Your Parakeet
Parakeet care is fairly simple once you know what to do. Parakeets or “budgies,” are fairly low maintenance and one of the key things to keep in mind is being careful to watch for very subtle signs of not being well. Your parakeet will try to hide the fact that she is not well when not feeling good.
Tip 1: Choose a healthy one at the pets store
This should be common sense, but most excited first-time pet buyers don’t even know to watch out for this and even if they do, don’t really know what signs to look for. You want to start off right and make sure the pet you get starts out the healthiest it can be. You’ll want to choose a budgie that is closest to the top of the cage. The birds at the topmost perch have the highest social status and feel the best about themselves. They will be the healthiest ones to pick from. Also they should be singing like crazy if everyone else in the cage is. You’ll also want to start off with a young bird. You can tell if they are still young if they still have black stripes on their heads. if there is a solid color on their forehead then that bird is already an adult. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, younger birds are easier to tame and have more life in them.
Tip 2: The right cage accessories
One of the things you will want in the cage is a cuttle bone. This will be for keeping your parakeet’s beak healthy and short. If your budgie has nothing to chew on the beak would get too long and be in the danger of cracking. This is really bad news for a parakeet if that happens. Secondly, you’ll want to avoid getting gravel for them. We are taught to buy this stuff for parakeets to eat, but this is only useful for outside birds. For an inside bird with regulated diet, this is not at all necessary and may even complicate the digestion. Lastly, you’ll want wide perches. The small skinny perches that come with the cages will give your poor bird arthritis later. Varying width perches such as a poly perch or a rope perch are good choices.
Tip 3: A good Diet for a Parakeet
Diet control is pretty simple for a parakeet. I usually get the gourmet selections at the pet store, since you want just more then the generic millet cheap stuff. Fresh water everyday is important since the water dish can get really gross and slimy pretty quickly. Pay attention to the seed shells that will accumulate on top of the food after your budgie is done eating. If you want to help and get rid of these for her, you can blow on the top of the dish to remove them, but watch out, they will go all over the place and or your eyes! The top secret trick i found to get rid of the shells is a damp paper towel. Just dab it on the food and only the shells will stick. No one else teaches this! So try it out. One last thing – you should give your beloved budgie one veggie a day. My parakeets love broccoli. Just a little a day is fine. Budgie LOVE junk food, but it will shorten their life span (and yours for that matter) significantly. So if you do eat junk food, don’t share it with your budgie.
Tip 4: Treating Your Parakeet According to Their Gender
Males and females are very different from each other in behavior. I actually didn’t get along with my current parakeet until I realized I have my very first female parakeet! She likes a lot of “me” time to herself, more personal space and less fun and games compared to my other parakeets. She loves to sit and sing. She would be content to just sit on my finger while I just look at her, or have her cage just near by while I’m at my computer. She’s happy enough with the company and once in a while if she’s in a wild and crazy mood, she just might let me scratch her feathers or play a parakeet game. Though Sam (my parakeet) isn’t as fun as my male budgies of the past, she is very low maintenance and perfect for a quiet ambiance.
Males on the other hand, want to get involved in everything you are doing. They steal your cards from your card games, they “help” you type on the computer, they pick at your ears and brains while you’re trying to read. They are much more interested in sounds. Most will go right up to your mouth to hear that new “cool” sound you’re making. These guys are true playmates. They are usually a bit noisier too and love loud music.
Tip 5: Signs of Illness and what to do
As i mentioned before, budgies will hide when they are sick. Here are some things to look out for. Sitting on lower perches of the cage is the first thing to keep an eye on. Shifting perches here and there is ok, but if your parakeet always sleeps in the same place every night and one night sleeps some where lower in the cage, then, you must observe him/her more closely. Also, if your budgie stays on a lower perch and has a droopy tail, this is also a sign of a parakeet that is not feeling well. Other things to check are weeping eyes and running nose and change in the dropping. If the droppings are more watery this means an upset stomach.
Most illness that a budgie has can be turned around by just keeping your parakeet warm. Give them fresh food and water, a fresh veggie and then cover the cage with the exposed side of the cage pointing toward a warm light right beside the cage. The warmth and light of the bulb has saved many of my pets in the past. Also make sure there are no breezes in the room, this will help your budgie from getting sick in the first place.
Parakeets are very low maintenance pets with high rewards. They are good starter pets for children or beginning bird trainers. They brighten up a room and make life more exciting. From having a pretty song bird in the corner to a highly trained free flighted pain in the butt, these guys will certainly make life more interesting and prove to be a great companion and friend.