Species Focus Budgies and Parakeets
Budgies and Parakeets, proper name Budgerigar, Melopsittacus undulatus, are sometimes called Parakeets by some pet store personnel. Truly one of the best known of all parrot species. Yes, that’s right, little Budgies are just as much a parrot as any of the big guys. Although they are only about 7 inches in length (and almost half that length is in their long tails), there is super parrot personality packed into these little birds. Budgies are native to Australia and in the wild live in huge flocks that might consist of a thousand birds or more. In the wild, Budgies are primarily green, but the selection you will find as a pet is truly a bird of many colors. Be prepared to choose from blues, greens, yellows, white, violets and other beautiful colorations. In their wild habitat they are often seen visiting grasslands and enjoying thoroughly the young tender seed grasses, and often in our homes they enjoy foods such as carrot tops and other dark green leafy vegetables.
Budgies are nothing short of fun loving gregarious little birds who will keep you entertained for hours with their acrobatic play. They may be small, but there is also great talking potential in every little Budgie. Some of these very talented talkers have been known to rival African Greys in the size of their vocabularies. Just remember these little birds will have a much smaller voice than the larger parrots, but they can be quite clear and distinct in their pronunciations.
Many people choose a Budgie as their first bird because Budgie beaks are much less threatening to them than the larger parrots. Budgies are often chosen as a first bird for children as well due to their smaller size. As a child’s first bird they can be great as long as the child is old enough to take some responsibility for taking care of the bird and is old enough to know all birds must be handled with care to prevent injury to both the bird and the child. Although sweet hand-fed Budgies seldom bite, if provoked or injured they can inflict quite a painful pinch.
Housing for a Budgie will include a nice roomy cage to play in. Please do not fall for the horrible sales pitch of many uneducated personnel at pet stores who recommend a very small cage because it’s a very small bird. I can’t imagine any human wanting to be shut up in a closet all day, so why would a bird want to be kept in a cage too small to move around and play in. Buy a nice roomy cage and make sure the cage bar spacing is close enough to keep your Budgie safe. The bird should not be able to put its head through the bars of the cage to prevent injuries. Then be prepared to buy some fun toys for your Budgie to keep your bird happy. Toys are not a luxury, toys are a necessity to keep your bird happy and healthy. Budgies often love swings, rings, and moving toys they can swing on and perform those acrobats on.
Feeding your pet Budgie will depend on the bird’s age, health and environment and your Avian Veterinarian can provide valuable information for your particular bird. For our healthy young birds we feed a high quality parakeet seed mix. As these birds are grass seed eaters in the wild, we feel seed should make up a portion of their diet. Our diets also include a high quality pellet or extruded food which will provided the vitamins, minerals and nutrients necessary and lacking in an all seed diet. We also feed lots of fresh greens, vegetables and some fruit. Budgies can become overweight with age, so their diet can play a major role in keeping your bird healthy. Budgies are sometimes prone to tumors as well, and any lump noted on your bird should be checked by an avian veterinarian for treatment as soon as you notice it. Your Budgie should always have access to fresh clean water. Don’t be surprised if you find your little bird splashing around one day in his water bowl thoroughly enjoying a bath. Some Budgies really love to bathe.
No matter what color Budgie you choose, you can be assured a Budgie is a little bird with a big loving personality who will enrich your life for many years.
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[Editor's Note: The above focus is based on personal experiences and opinions raising and keeping Budgies for over 40 years.]