Parakeets are the most popular pet birds.
They come in a wide range of beautiful
colors and are affectionate and playful.
There are many types of parakeets the most
common pet parakeet is the budgerigar or
budgie. With a life span of about 10-15
years in captivity, they offer the
companionship of a parrot without the burden
of a 50 year plus commitment. They make the
ideal first bird for children and new bird
Things to Consider Before
Parakeets are widely available from pet
stores, but the better option is to find a
reputable parakeet breeder. In the wild
parakeets live in large flocks because of
this in captivity they prefer to be with
another parakeet so be prepared to own two.
Parakeets are highly affectionate and
intelligent. They will require at least
thirty minutes a day of interaction with
you. They like to be stroked and held and
talked to. Because of their intelligence
they also need a lot of bird toys and
distractions in their cage.
Parakeets, like parrots, can be taught to
talk but only to a limited extent. Since
their voices are quite soft many people
believe that they are unable to talk but
that is not true. They also love to learn
new tricks so a parakeet will keep its owner
busy entertaining him. A bored parakeet is a
destructive parakeet so before deciding on a
parakeet as your pet make sure you have
enough time for it or you may be setting
yourself up for some pet headaches.
In the wild, parakeets love to fly so for
your parakeet to be happy it needs to have
enough room in its bird cage to fly freely.
The bigger its cage the better. A minimum
size bird cage for a pair of small parakeets
is 39 in. x 20 in. x 32 in. Parakeets like
to climb as well as fly, so they need both
vertical and horizontal space.
Parakeets don't like cold drafts so
keeping the cage away from windows and doors
is important. They also don't like strong
smells so keep them away from kitchens and
bathrooms. They require a 60-70% humidity
level, so in dry areas or during winter when
the humidity in the air in many places
becomes very low a humidifier may be needed.
In the cage there should be numerous bird
perches. Some should be set higher up and
others should be in position for the waterer
and bird food dishes. Parakeets enjoy a
cuttle bone in their cage to keep their beak
in shape and provide extra calcium. You can
also put lava stones or concrete perches.
They like to chew branches so various
branches can be included in their cage too.
Beware of poisonous plants such as oleander,
acacia, boxwood, horse chestnut, privet and
laburnum. Good branches to use as perches
would be willow, poplar and fruit trees.
Parakeets love bird toys. Lengths of
thick hemp rope act as great gnawing toys
for parakeets. They also like bird swings
and bird cage ladders. Anything that is bird
safe is ideal to keep these intelligent
birds busy. Take care not to include toys
with thin strings or breakable parts that
could harm your parakeet.
Your parakeet needs fresh food and water
everyday. The bird cage water bottles should
be washed in warm water with dishwashing
soap daily to avoid build up of algae.
There are many brands of nutritionally
complete bird pellets for parakeets. For
parakeets, just like for us, eating the same
thing everyday is boring. In the wild
parakeets eat a wide variety of foods from
nuts and seeds to flowers and insects.
Budgies need 1-2 teaspoons of bird pellets
per day. On top of this they should be given
about a half-cup of fruits and vegetables
and other fresh food such as mealy worms and
bean sprouts. Focus on the brightly colored
fruits and vegetables like broccoli,
mangoes, carrots, dandelions, green peppers,
zucchini, and papaya for example. They also
like additional protein foods like peanuts,
monkey and dog chow, and cottage cheese. Do
not feed your parakeet the following:
avocados, grapefruit, lemons, cabbage,
rhubarb or any processed dried fruit these
are either difficult for your parakeet to
digest or poisonous.
Parakeets can be given bird vitamin
supplements in their water 2-3 times per
week if needed. They also should have a
separate dish in their cage for bird sand
and oyster shell.
Parakeets should be let out of their bird
cage to fly around at least a couple of
hours each day. When out, be sure that all
windows are closed and all fans, especially
ceiling fans are off. Some people like to
keep the wings of parakeets clipped to keep
them from flying off too far. This is best
left to the avian veterinarians to do
because if it is done wrongly bleeding can
become serious. Experienced bird handlers
and owners can use wing clipping scissors
which are designed specifically for this
Parakeets need a bird bath about 2-3
times per week. How the bath is given will
be decided by your bird's preference. Some
like the mist from a spray bottle. Some
prefer a flat dish of water at the bottom of
their cage where they can get inside and
bathe themselves. Others like to get in the
bathtub and be sprayed with a hand held
shower. It will just depend what your pet
prefers. It is better to give the bath in
the morning so that the feathers are dried
Bird cages should be cleaned weekly
making sure that all surfaces are washed
thoroughly with bird cage cleaners.
Parakeets like to have their cage covered
with a cloth at night.
Usually if there are cuttle bones and
perches of a variety of textures your
parakeet will keep its own toenails and beak
in good shape. Occasionally, if the nails
get too long you can trim them with a bird
nail clipper that has been disinfected. Make
sure you have styptic powder on hand in case
you mistakenly trim to close to the vein and
it starts bleeding. Holding the foot up to
the light before trimming can help you
identify where the vein is.
There are many informative bird books and
bird CDs about parakeets. The first thing to
teach your parakeet is to take a treat from
your hand. Then the bird can learn to let
you scratch its head and to jump onto your
finger when you put it out. Hand reared
birds, since normally very used to people,
are often easier to train. The best time to
teach your bird new tricks is in the
Parakeets, though not exceptional
talkers, can learn a few words and whistles.
Only happy, healthy, well-loved birds are
able to talk. So the first thing is to make
sure your bird is comfortable with you and
you with him before you start any training.
Birds learn just like children. When you
repeat a word while doing an action they
will associate those two things. For
example, when you give your parakeet a treat
and you say the word "Treat" he will soon
associate the treat with the word until he
is able to say treat when he wants one.
Repetition and patience are the key to
training any pet and parakeets are no
A healthy parakeets has:
clear bright eyes
a healthy appetite
normal level of activity
Like most birds, once a parakeet shows
signs of sickness such as loss of weight,
sitting at the bottom of the cage for a long
time, sneezing and dripping from nose and
mouth, the bird should be taken to an avian
As a starter pet, parakeets are
ideal. They are affectionate, hardy and not
too demanding on their owner's time. Still,
they are intelligent birds that crave
interaction with humans so some important
decisions should be made before people
decide to buy one as a pet.