About Parakeets as Pets
The most popular pet birds in the U.S. are parakeets. Also known as budgerigar or budgie, these little birds come in an assortment of bright colors. You’ll find that there are several types of parakeets, but this article will focus on the English Budgie and the American Budgie. English Budgies are a little larger with fluffier head feathers that cover more of the beak and eyes. Parakeets have a life span of about 10-15 years in captivity with the same level of companionship of many larger parrots without the larger mess and time commitment.
What You Need To Know About Parakeets
While parakeets are easy to find, handfed parakeets are atypical. Even reputable parakeet breeders find it difficult to justify the time commitment of hand-feeding a baby parakeet for the sale price of the bird.
These affectionate little birds are smart, too. With about a 30 minute time commitment each day, you can expect a loving little pet that may learn to talk and enjoy riding about on your shoulder. A Petite Sized Bird Diaper will help keep your shirt clean. Parakeets may become too loud, cage bound and nippy if you don’t spend enough time interacting with them. Parakeets love to be scratched on their head and around their ears. They love parakeet toys and especially enjoy bird tents or bird beds. Because of their intelligence they also need a lot of parakeet toys.
Although they have a soft voice that matches their tiny body size, parakeets can learn to talk. Our bird talk training CD Feathered Phonics University 101 CD was specially developed for small birds with tiny voices. Parakeets can also learn bird tricks including Birdie Basketball or riding a skateboard. Before you teach your parakeet tricks, though, make sure that it knows how to step onto your finger without biting. Follow simple bird training techniques to teach your parakeet the “step up command.”
Parakeets need a bird bath about 2-3 times per week to keep their skin and feathers in top condition. Options for bathing a parakeet include an in cage bird bath such as Lixit Quick-Lock Bath, a shower perch or a mist style water bottle. Other bird grooming tasks will involve trimming your parakeets beak and toe-nails and clipping it’s flight feathers so it doesn’t fly off. An avian vet can assist with these tasks. Many bird stores also offer grooming services. Or, check out our article on grooming on our bird claw and feather clipping scissors page. You also need to track your parakeets weight with a good Bird Scale.
Signs of a healthy parakeet include:
- smooth feathers
- clear, bright eyes
- normal stools
- a healthy appetite
- normal level of activity
If your parakeet shows signs of illness including weight loss, listless behavior, 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 veterinarian immediately.