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I now own apet budgie! Visited a pet shop in the local area and seen this beaut yellow budgie with little white cheeks and black little eyebrows with a green stripe on his back he was the only one sitting there by himself being quiet and shy while the rest of the birds were all going mad! His name is called denzel and he is lush to have around. I am attempting to tame him as he is still quite young so far he doesn't mind my hand in the cage so the next steps will be to feed from my hand. He loves to chuck his seeds everywhere and jump from perch to perch however he is a bit odd as when he is tired and about to go to sleep I will put a blanket over the cage and turn the lights out then all of a sudden he comes to life all I can hear is cage clanking flying for about ten minutes and then he eventually sleeps! I would love a night vision camera just to see what on earth his bedtime routine is! He loves carrots but won't touch anything red tomatoes apple or red peppers. If anyone wants a stress free pet then I would recommend a lovely bird
We've had Bob (or is it Billy, I forget) for around five years now, we actually swapped him for a canary that we had at the time but the kids decided they would prefer a budgie and as the canary was pining for his mate who had died we thought a swap was the best option so that the canary could go to a new home where there was an aviary and lots of other small birds for him to bond with. Bob was roughly a year old when we first had him and was in super condition, he still is so I expect we'll have another couple of years of his company at least.
Budgies are so easy to care for, we feed him seed and buy millet sticks for inside his cage - a water bottle and pieces of chopped up carrot pushed between the bars pretty much completes his dietary requirements and he's really no trouble or expense. When we first brought Bob home we only had a basic cage but my partner quickly realised he needed something bigger and also more entertainment in the cage as he was showing visible signs of becoming bored - namely plucking out his own feathers and being destructive towards the toys that were available to him. We bought him a hessian covered bell which he's loved since the day it was put in his cage, we're actually on the fourth identical bell now as they get so much play time the hessian starts to unravel after a while.
We try to let Bob out of the cage but it's clear he prefers to be in his little home to flying around, I suspect this house is too busy for his liking so after a quick fly around (and usually a poo on the tele) he tends to head back towards his sanctuary. The ideal solution would be for me to let him out during the day when I'm in on my own and the house is quiet but I have a semi-phobia of handling birds so that's not doable at all, occasionally Bob will think he's clever you see and then my partner has to move him to the cage by hand which I absolutely could not do.
In terms of keeping himself clean, Bob has a little plastic hut thingy that we fill with water and place in the bottom of his cage - if he feels he needs a bath he'll hop in, but this isn't often and he tends to keep himself clean using his beak. He goes through phases of losing a lot of feathers but this seems to be a natural cycle as he never gets bald patches and isn't irritated by this sometimes large-scale feather shedding - I get irritated by it, but that's a whole other review!
MY EXPERIENCE OF BUDGIES
I had the pleasure of sharing my home with a lovely tame budgie for 7 years.
We had a very small home at this time, and because of shift work he was very rarely left home alone. This meant that although we only had the one pet, he still got plenty of human company. He seemed very contented when we gave him attention, especially as he often got let out of his cage to exercise, or watch TV perched on or near us. When he did eventually become ill and die, the vet said that he suspected cancer had caused the problem. Though it is sad when pets die, he gave us some great memories.
We moved home soon after that, and got another budgie. Again it was a single bird, but as we then had 2 main rooms downstairs, a kitchen dinner and a lounge, he did not get the same amount of company. We spend our time split between the 2 rooms, and he stayed in just the one. He was never as tame as the first one, and didn’t live as long. I see this as proof that you should only keep a single budgie if it is going to get lots of attention, for example from a mostly housebound person who needs company themselves.
Otherwise I think it is definitely kinder to have at least two budgies who are brought up together. Don’t mix the sexes if you don’t have room in an aviary for baby budgies! You may not easily be able to find a new home for them.
Their cage should be out of direct sunlight but away from any draughts. If this cage is too small to fly around in, they should regularly be let out to exercise, but first make sure the environment is safe for them and any windows shut.
For ease of cleaning we used sheets of sandpaper at the bottom of our cage. We also had sandpaper covers for our perches to help prevent toe nails becoming too long.
We gave clean water and new food daily, as well as clearing away the droppings. They should be given as varied a diet as possible. Buy budgie mixes that contain more than just seed. Small amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables, washed to remove any chemicals on the surface, can also be offered.
I think the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) charity website is a great source of information on budgie, and other pet, welfare. Despite their title they would much prefer to offer information on how to keep pets healthy, than treat them because they have become ill.
Budgies are colourful and friendly little birds. They can be kept alone or in groups. Personally I have 4 budgies and they are all in one cage together. I feel that as I am not at home all day, everyday, it is nice for the budgies to have some company and they can often be seen grooming each other. For someone who is at home a lot, keeping a budgie alone would be excellent as you can tame it, and even teach it to talk.
Do budgies make good pets?
Budgies are generally very social, gentle and affectionate in nature. These loving companions interact well with most members of the family. Budgies are inquisitive, active, free spirits who enjoy flying, playing and chewing!! Non-toxic pet-safe toys (which can be bought as most pet shops for between £1 - £5) should be provided for your budgie's entertainment. Although their voice is not as clear as some of the larger parrots, budgies have the ability to learn to talk. Talking or mimicking requires some effort and training from the owner though. Males seem to talk better than females although both are capable. One lovely trait of a budgie is its cheerful whistling and chatter, my own budgies sometime drown out the sound of the TV in the evenings. Budgies can be finger trained and some even being stroked.
Cost of a Budgie
I got all my budgies froma friend who bred them so mine were free. However, you would look to pay anything from £5 (from a private breeder) and up to £30 from a pet shop
Choosing a Budgie
When selecting a Budgie, try to choose a young bird as it may be easier to tame and train. Older birds may be slightly more difficult to tame so if you intend on interacting with your bird on a daily basis, I would buy the bird at a young age. Hand reared babies often make better pets since they have been completely socialized with humans from birth. Young birds are easier to tame and adapt very well to new environments. Your new bird should be exposed early to different events (males and female voices, sounds of traffic, the TV etc.) to help make your Budgie a calm, well adjusted pet. You should choose a budgie that is alert, lively and not too nervous. After buying your Budgie, you should really take it to your vet so they are able to have a look at it and make sure everything is as it should be.
How long to Budgies live?
Budgie's can live to about 8 years of age although I had a budgie when I was younger that lived until he was 11.
A simple rule is - get the biggest cage you can afford. The minimum cage size for 1 bird is 30 cm x 30 cm x 60, most available cages are too small. The cage should be large enough to allow the birds to fly between perches. It is better for the cage to be longer than it is higher to allow flying.
Place the perches as far apart as possible to allow flying between them, and use the branches of native trees so that the bird's feet are exercised as it grips perches of differing thickness. I often cut apple tree branches from my parents apple trees as this is perfectly safe for the budgies to chew and it very good and keeping the birds beak nice and short. Toys are essential to keep your bird amused, although ensure you buy toys designed for budgies from a pet shop. You can use newspaper or sandpaper on the floor of the cage to allow easy cleaning. I personally use newspaper and clean them out twice a week. I just removed the top sheet of paper with all the dropping and food on it and leave the remaining paper. They are very easy to clean out but it is very important to make sure you clean them out at least once a week as leaving a cage to get too dirty can lead to disease.
Wide rather than deep dishes allow better access to feed and water, and ensure that all food items can be reached
The cage needs to be kept in natural light but away from direct sunlight. Keep your bird out of draughts and away from cooking fumes or the fumes or perfume, cleaning products. Birds can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but sudden changes can be deadly. Windy areas should be avoided, although mild breezes will often be welcome, especially during warm weather. Fresh air and unfiltered sunshine are important, and if necessary you may have to put your bird (and the cage) outside for an hour or so each day during the summer. Placing the cage where your bird can see and participate in family activities will provide your bird with plenty of stimuli.
Food and Drink
Budgies need a balanced diet or bird food, which you will need to blow the husks from on a daily basis. This is done easily by passing the seeds from one container to another and gently blowing on them when you do so. This blows away all the useless husks that the birds cannot eat. Budgies also need regular treats such as fresh lettuce, apple, cucumber, carrots and dandelion leaves. You can also get Budgie treats from most pet stores, these come in lots of different varieties and include items such as honey sticks, bells etc. These are only 70p odd each so very reasonably priced for a little treat.
A cuttlefish bone should be available to provide calcium.
What you need to know before considering buying a Budgie.
Budgies need a constant supply of fresh water. I change my budgies water everyday but every other day would also be ok.
Budgies will also need grit in their cage. This is to help aid digestion and is vital for them. This is very cheap at pet shops and can be bought for about £1 a bag and this normally lasts about 6 months. You can get a small feeder and attach it to the side of the cage, fill it with grit and the budgies will help themselves.
Budgies are intelligent, active creatures, and should be allowed to exercise out of their cage at least once daily. This exercise obviously needs to be done under supervision, and in the safety of the home with all windows shut and items like mirrors covered as the birds could fly into mirror and injure itself.
The normal wild colouration is green with black bars on the wings, back and head. Older females have a tan or beige cere (the fleshy part around the nostrils) and the males have a bluish cere, but this is unreliable in some colour variations and young birds of both sexes have pink ceres so it is often difficult to sex budgies from a young age. Young budgies have bar markings on the forehead that recede with age. Through selective breeding a huge variety of colours and patterns are available, such as violet, blue, yellow, pied, albino, and more.
Taming your budgie
Pairs of birds make good company for each other, but usually will not bond as well with their owners or mimic speech as well. A single bird is fine, as long as you spend a significant amount of time interacting with the budgie on a daily basis
You have to allow your Budgie some time to get used to you and its new surroundings. You will have to spend time getting your bird to trust you before you can tame him. Taming sessions should be short (10 minutes or less) and done several times a day. Each time you achieve one step, repeat it several times until your pet is comfortable with it. When your bird is comfortable with you being near his cage and responds to you by getting close to the side of the cage you are near, it is time to introduce him to your hand. Offer him a small piece of millet or a broken sunflower seed but do not try to touch him if he moves away from your hand. Hold your hand in the cage doing nothing, just to get him used to your hand. He will start to realize that your hand will not hurt him, but this may take a day or two. At first your Budgie may be very worried about your hand being in the cage and will fly around in a panic but it will soon get used to the presence of your hand. When your Budgie stops trying to get away from your hand, you can slowly move closer until one day he allows you to gently stroke his breast. Continue to quietly talk to him when you are doing this. When he seems comfortable with your hand touching him, you can gently press against the abdomen and push up a bit. There is a good chance that he may put one foot onto your finger. If this does not frighten him, you can give another slight push and he may put his other foot up and be standing on your hand. He will probably jump off immediately - but remain calm and try again if he is not frightened.
A Budgie will usually test a branch (or a finger) before stepping up by grabbing with his beak. This is not a bite, does not hurt and is very normal. Be ready for this to happen, and don't pull away if he does test your finger before stepping up.
Do not rush to take him out of the cage when he first steps onto your finger. Your Budgie is still getting to know you and although he is now comfortable with you while in his cage, he may become frightened when you take him out of the cage.
Before you take him out of the cage on your finger, you must be certain that he can not be injured in the room. If you have other pets, remove them and close the door. Close the curtains over the windows so your bird does not crash into the glass. It is also a good idea to cover any mirrors and they can fly into them and injure themselves.
After he has been stepping up regularly, you can move your hand towards the cage door to take him out. Your bird might panic when he is outside the cage and begin to fly wildly around the room. If your bird flies, he may not know how to land properly and you may have to go and pick him up by having him step up on your finger. Do not chase him to try to get him to stop flying. Just wait patiently until he lands and slowly go to pick him up, talking quietly to him.
Repeating all the above actions on a daily basis will pretty much guarantee you a tame Budgie.
Costs of keeping a Budgie
The cost of keeping a Budgie is relatively cheap. However, it can be expensive when first getting a budgie as you obviously need to provide a cage etc. Luckily my cage only cost me £10 at a boot fair but they can cost anything from £40 upwards. Food for budgies is very cheap, I buy budgie millet seed and it costs about 60p for a bag which lasts a month. Obviously you will need perches but these normally come with the cage or can be easily obtained from any fruit trees.
All in all the budgie is a brilliant pet for people of all ages. They are great for companionship and will liven up any household. They are easy to care for as long as you follow the basic guidelines.
That said, budgies can also get ill, like all other animals so you always need to have money put aside for any unexpected vet bills.
I received an e-mail in my inbox this morning from my calendar alert system; today is the day which marks the third year anniversary of my first budgie passing away. It's certainly a sad occasion but does provide me with some reflection time on pet ownership. I consider myself very lucky to have his partner and mate still with me today six years later, and hope she'll still be next to me in her cage for several more years to come.
A budgie, or Budgerigar, is a common small parrot. They feature flat tails and usually tall, slender bodies. In the wild budgies are generally either white or yellow based in colour, but in captivity have been bred to form desirable mutations. Budgies are widely available and range in cost between £10-30 for a standard aviary bird. Specially hand reared birds will cost significantly more due to the intensive training and care provided in the early stages of the bird's life.
Prior to buying a low cost pet, one must examine the cost of supplies necessary to care for it. The bird cage is often deemed a vital necessity and can be the mostly expensive piece of equipment required by the bird keeper. The old adage "bigger is better" applies well to budgies. They may be small birds but usually live very active and vocal lifestyles. A budgie should always be allowed daily roaming time outside of the cage but this can often be dangerous due to household hazards or other animals. A carefully purchased bird cage can alleviate some of the stress caused by constant confinement. There are many round cages on the market but each sport the same disadvantage in its round design. The item may be aesthetically pleasing and fit in well with home decor, but the bird held within it will not experience the same happiness as in a rectangular cage. This is because birds are, by nature, very low on the food chain and prey for other animals. Cages with a rectangular box design offer four corners which the bird can cower into should they feel afraid or for general peace of mind and self assurance. My budgie frequently spends her day with a toy mirror in the corner of the cage and appears very content with her surroundings. Cages range in price but a basic "starter" cage with food cups and lining sheets can begin around £20. I usually find this price's size only suitable for one budgie, and should the keeper be considering two or more he or she may want to look for larger sizes which can begin around £40. A cage cover may also be on a wishlist of items. A clean blanket or bed sheet could also be found useful in place of a formal cage cover. Cages should be covered nightly to allow a more calming resting atmosphere, and lately the cover has been used to keep my bird warm in our current severe winter weather conditions.
A budgie's cage will also require cleaning periodically. Keepers differ on what should be done and when, but I have been finding that changing the lining paper once a week followed by a paper change and complete clean the next week is suiting my bird. The cleaning process can be a long one depending on the size of the cage and the amount of toys and items held within. I begin by first removing the bird from the cage and allowing her to fly freely around a closed room. All toys and cage fillings are then placed in a plastic tub of hot water and natural washing up liquid. These are left to soak while the cage itself is cleaned. I take my cage which consists of a removable plastic tray, the outer plastic shell and wire cage top into the shower and hose it down with scalding hot water. A mixture of 25 drops colloidal silver per pint of hot water is then prepared within a clean hair mister and used as a surface spray. After allowing the mist to sit on the cage items for 15 minutes, it is once again sprayed with hot water to remove residue and dried throughly with a clean tea towel. The soaking bird cage parts are then throughly rinsed, dried and placed back within the cage. A fresh sheet of paper is laid down at the bottom of the cage and is returned to its rightful owner after filling up the food and water cups. At the moment, colloidal silver is not found in high street shops in the UK and because of this I may be switching over to a brand of "bird safe" disinfectant cleaning sprays. I have seen these range from £2.99-5.00.
Avian nutrition is also an area to dive into a wide scope of knowledge and wisdom. Unfortunately, many bird keepers see the standard white millet mix for 89p as safe to provide as a daily feed for birds. This diet for a bird is equal to daily helpings of cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets and chips for humans. White millet is fatty, oily seed which can be used to maintain the glossiness of feathers nicely, but should not be offered as the sole point of nutrition. Variety should always be provided to birds who will accept it. Raw foods including fruits and vegetables should be given daily but don't be surprised if a bird doesn't take to this food. Neither of my birds have willingly eaten fruits or vegetables and prefer to stick to what they know. Budgies should never be offered avocado, mushroom, apple seeds or dry beans. Each of the foods can be deemed poisonous for birds and may cause extreme intestinal discomfort or death. Dark, leafy greens are generally safe and provide an excellent boost of nutrition to those who will take it. Seed mixes otherwise make up an acceptable dietary base which can be supplemented through the use of over the counter multivitamins and minerals. Vitamins can either be supplemented as on food powder or in water liquid with the same general result being achieved. I prefer using in water supplements due to their ease of delivery and my feed mix being naturally richer in vitamins to begin with.
The mix I provide to my budgie is a 50/50 blend of "supreme" branded seed, which usually contains canary seed, white millet, proso millet, red millet, oats, and green egg biscuit, and EMP. EMP is a brand of soft egg food formulated to promote feather and bodily growth and repair. It is also a rich nutrient source of protein, vitamins and minerals which are often missing in a standard seed mix. This is not an economical solution in comparison to the "cheeseburger style" white millet diet. Each kilogram of this 50/50 blend can range between £5.50-6.00, and I find 1 KG can last for three or four months on one bird. I do attribute it to my bird's fit state of health and have no intention on switching her away from this diet unless suggested under a vet's advice. Regardless of what seed or food the bird keeper wishes to provide, fresh seed and water should be provided daily at minimum. Food cups should be washed in between use as well.
As with most of our animal friends, a trip to the veterinarian will be required at some point. I have not needed to make many trips with my bird but should one become necessary it is a lengthy journey to the other side of my town. For birds, a regulated avian vet should be sought as most standard veterinarians do not have the experience of theoretical knowledge to properly deal with bird ailments. This level of care and expertise does come at a price, however. My most recent trip to the vet due to an upper respiratory infection cost me £130 which included a short course of antibiotics followed by a course of probiotics and in water vitamin supplements. Should a bird keeper suspect his or her budgie is sick, time is of the essence as many fatalities occur during an observation period before being acted upon. Budgies are naturally very intolerant of stress and sickness, and can pass away very quickly under these circumstances when it could have been prevented. Listings of avian veterinarians can be found by doing a quick Google search for "Avian Vet UK".
Another stress budgies typically experience is boredom; they can literally be "bored to death". Many bird keepers combat boredom through the provision of toys and cage fillers which do usually do the job. Toys can range in price depending on what the bird keeper wishes to provide. Most "value" range toys are satisfactory in this instance, and can fill the cage with an assortment of mirrors, ladders, and bells for under £5. A bird cage should also be placed close to where the bird keeper spends most of his or her time. My bird is currently sat on top of my dresser which is about five steps away from where I'm sat at my home computer. The changing of sounds, music, movement and other stimulation can also help with combating boredom. Whenever I leave the room for an extended period of time, such as when I'm going out of the house, I will switch on my radio or leave a playlist of songs which continually loop until my return.
Hygiene seems to be a pressing issue with budgies. Unfortunately for me, both of my budgies hated taking baths and at any point I would put the bath in they would fly in terror from the cage. This often leaves me with the requirement of buying over the counter plume sprays or simply spraying them with the warm watered hair mister used to clean the cage. This is not something I do on a regular basis and wouldn't recommend it more than once a month if budgies are naturally against the thought of bathing.
Budgies are social animals and therefore love to make noise. Most mornings I rise to an onslaught of chirps and yells from my bird who is telling me it's time to get up. Their lively personalities can't be described in modern terms. Like all beings, personalities can be unique to the bearer and these birds bring with them a strong sense of emotional variety. Noisy and upbeat typically describes a healthy budgie but my bird enjoys extended quiet periods without any obvious health concern. Most budgies will typically become quiet during seasonal moulting periods. This is the process by which budgies renew their feathers by "shedding" the old ones. It's important to maintain cleanliness and nutrition during these periods as the process would likely be very stressful to go through. I can't imagine having to renew my skin by losing it on an annual basis.
Owning budgies has been a great experience for me. While they typically don't provide the outward love of a dog or the smothering of a cat, their presence is a joyful one and something which I would recommend to anyone seeking a pet. Ownership is expensive but the expense is recovered in its infinite reward of companionship.
Having grown up with dogs, my ideal pet is a dog. However, living in a rented house that doesn't allow dogs, cats, rabbits or any other 'intrusive' pets, I needed to look for more options. Goldfish were out, as the last ones were placed on a windowsill during a redecoration when the blinds were down and unfortunately it was a very hot day. Hmmmm... I didn't want a hamster, nor a mouse, nor (God forbid) a big spider. So myself and Mr. Nykied settled on a budgie.
Off we trotted to a pet shop (having discovered that Pets At Home no longer sell birds) to look at the budgies. We left the shop with a cage, a budgie, a landing pad, food, cat litter (for the bottom of the cage) and various other items.
The budgie travelled home in a little box and once we'd cleaned his cage, he sat on a perch and didn't move for the entire evening. Well, it had been a bit of a traumatic day for him, after all! The next day he was a bit more lively and now Floyd Mayfeather is chuntering away like R2D2 on my shoulder. But how have we got to this stage? Well, first I'll look at what a budgie needs.
A cage, for a start. Preferably quite a large, square cage. The fancy cages just don't do it for budgies as they won't go into the extra space that is usually at the top. It's good to get one that has a pull-out section at the bottom, for when you're cleaning the cage. This cage needs some sort of lining on the bottom: sand, special sandpaper or, in our case, cat litter.
The cage needs perches. For some reason (I've yet to discover why), the perches should run from front to back rather than sideways across the cage. The perches should be made of wood rather than plastic, or at the very least be covered in sandpaper.
The cage also needs some sort of feeding implements. We're currently on our fourth lot of feed holders. The first lot that came with the cage were not accessible to the budgie when he was on his perch, so we put some glass ramekins on the floor of the cage, which worked well, but we wanted some that were at perch level, so I bought some tall ones that had a base that poked through the bars of the cage, but our bird didn't like those, so I bought some that hooked onto the inside of the bars and he seems to be happy with those.
Budgies need seed. It's best to start them off on the same seed that they're used to eating. The seed also needs to be accompanied with grit. This can either be mixed in with the seed or put in a separate container. They also need water, although I have yet to see Floyd actually drink from his drink box, but this is not unusual. They also need some green items, such as a slice of apple of a leaf of lettuce. They should not be fed avocado as this is poisonous to budgies. We also give Floyd either a millet spray or a seed bar which hangs from the roof of his cage. To be honest, he doesn't really touch his millet since he's discovered that he likes the seed bars but this is one fussy bird.
They also need a cuttlefish to chew on and an iodine block, which they will nibble on. My budgie when I was a child ate everything, including salt from dinner plates and roast potatoes, but Floyd is still shy of things he doesn't know.
They also need a bath. We bought one that clips onto his cage when the door's open, but he doesn't like it yet, so we spray him with warm water in a water spray, which he's getting used to and quite likes now.
The budgie needs some toys. There's the belief that if they have a mirror in their cage, they will pay you less attention and are less likely to talk, so Floyd doesn't have a mirror. He's still not talked though, unless you count copying off Star Wars characters as talking!
~*~Taming and Training~*~
Once your new budgie has been in his new cage for about a week, you can start to hand-tame him (or her - a male budgie has a purple bit where his nostrils are, a female has a neutral colour). This involves putting your hand close to the cage until he's used to it, then gradually, over the course of weeks, putting your hand further and further into the cage. When he's finally used to that, it's time to try getting him to step up onto your finger. This is achieved by gently pushing your finger into the bottom of his belly, just above his legs and saying 'Up', so that he gets used to stepping up on that command. I'll mention that budgies should not be handled roughly, so it's a case of very gently pushing his belly.
Only once the budgie has learned to step up confidently and will happily be moved around the cage on your finger should he be let out. Some people say take him to a small room but we let Floyd out in the lounge. The curtains should be shut, as the bird won't understand the concept of glass and could break its neck should he fly into the window. It was a bit of a scary time, as once he was flying, he got a bit panicked until he found something to land on. Because he should be used to stepping up at this point, he should step onto your finger so that you can take him back to his cage, although this could take some time as the movement could send him off flying again!
Once your budgie is confident at being out of his cage, flying and landing, and being walked around, you can try putting him on your shoulder or head. Floyd will now happily sit on my shoulder for hours, even when I sit down, stand up or walk around. He also lets me put my face very close to him and he's getting more confident every day.
And that's it really. Floyd's cage is open whenever we're awake and in the house, so he comes out whenever he wants to, although he is yet to learn how to fly to us and land on us (that takes a while, as a budgie needs to get his sense of perception first and Floyd certainly doesn't have that yet!).
He's noisy, that's for sure, and he'll chirp away and chunter to himself. He also has episodes where he will chirp really loudly, as though he's angry, which mostly occurs when he wants attention. And budgies do need a lot of attention.
So, if you're thinking of getting a budgie, you're all set! You will laugh at your bird but it takes a lot of patience, time and attention to get your budgie to trust you and be happy to be with and close to you.
Thanks for reading and if I've missed anything out, please tell me!
Having lived all my life in flats I would never consider a cat or a dog. Others do, but my desire, however overwhelming, to have a four legged friend was outweighed by the cruelty of leaving a creature locked in a flat while I was out at work. So a budgie it was- a cage, a daily clean and feed, coupled with loads of love and affection was all my feathered friend required and while I was working I assumed he amused himself by playing with the toys I had bought him and what appeared to be his favourite pastime- singing and chatting to himself in the mirror. That is how he spent his days when I was home anyhow.
We became very close friends and I soon got the hang of what he was trying to tell me, for example, if I went into the bathroom for my shower in the mornings before switching on the tv- he was not amused.
He ate very well, not only his seed and millet, but a daily side salad and fresh veg- he was partial to cucumber, lettuce, carrot, raw runner beans and similar delicacies. After his main course he would enjoy fresh fruit, a slice of apple or pear or the occasional piece of peach- though the latter could irritate him if too juicy. In the mornings he was partial to a few sips of tea and a nibble of toast crust.
When I played music he loved to dance-he certainly had great rhythm. His head bobbing up, down and around, tapping his feet- oh yes he certainly boogied on down.
When I left him with a friend for a few days if I went away, he would tolerate it, but any longer and he would literally turn his back on me until I had wormed my way back into his affections. It could take a while.
I assume he felt safe as if ever he had a nightmare and flew of his perch in the night I was there- it didn't seem to matter how deep a sleep I was in- one worried squawk and I was at his side with TLC. Usually having found him clinging to the side of his cage, looking somewhat afraid.
He certainly had his own personality and I just know that he loved me and I know I loved him.
Now budgies are famous for talking and my little mate was a chatterbox- of course they only repeat what you say, but I cannot deny it was cute to see him gazing at himself in the mirror admiringly saying I love you.....I love you. And if he ever looked at me and said those three little words I melted- what was it again? oh yes... Put kettle on.
Now it is a long story, but he ended up with his own money box, and any money my parents or I found on the pavement went into his savings. After a while I went into a pet shop and was looking at some very luxurious cages, the assistant came along and said " they are special cages aren't they? but were you looking for something less expensive?" "Yes" I replied -"they are expensive, but then he is paying for half of it himself". I wish I could describe the look on her face- but I suspect you can imagine. He got the cage- it was a mansion.
He lived until he was 12 years old - which is good going for a tiny budgie- and I miss him still.
The tradition of saving any money found on the pavement for him has never ended, but now the money goes to an Animal Sanctuary- it is what he would have wanted,
I've wanted a pet for a very long time, but unfortunately my boyfriend who I live with is allergic to all things fur, which crossed out a lot of things. He also hates lizards, snakes, etc, so really, there wasn't a lot of choice.
We were at our local pet store picking up some fish food and I saw the cages of bird, and, as he's not allergic to feathers, we decided it would be the perfect pet.
Initially we wanted to get a cockateil after reading they are really easy to tame, very friendly and can talk. However, in the pet shop they said that cocktiels bite a lot, and are actually quite vicious. The woman said it definitely wasn't a good idea for a first bird. She recommend the gentle budgie, a lot smaller and not as noisy, which are generally more friendly. There was only one budgie left, and it looked so lonely that I begged my boyfriend to get him/her. Unfortunately, we're still not 100% sure on the sex. The woman in the pet store said it was female, but she's gone through a few changes since then, such as her beak turning blue, but then back to beige, so it could be a boy. We've called her 'pretty girl' for so long now though so there's no going back!
We selected a nice looking bird cage, only to be told it was too small. Surprisingly, they actually need a lot of room. So we chose another, bigger, one and then got all the kit we'd need (food, sand for the bottom, treats, water bowl, food bowl, cuttlefish and some toys) and took it all home.
My boyfriend named her 'Pig'.. lovely! So she's been our little pig since then. When we first got her home, she was very timid and frightened, and we left the cage half-covered for a few hours so it was darker so she could settle in to the new smells and sights of her cage. Budgies are never meant to be left in daylight, but should be in the most used room of the house, so she's currently sitting in the corner in our lounge.
Budgie's need a lot of interaction, so after a few days when she'd settled in a bit, me and my boyfriend were both chatting away to her, and after a couple of weeks I started putting my hand in the cage so she could get comfortable with it there. After a few more days, she let me stroke her belly, and a few more days after that, with a lot of prompting, I got her to sit on my finger by holding my finger out like a perch and gently nudging her belly so she'd get up onto it. She's still not 100% comfortable with doing this a few months on, and it still takes quite a bit of prompting, but because I work full time I probably don't give her as much attention as she'd like.
She's got lots of toys in her cage and a mirror, which she's constantly looking into (taking after her mummy no doubt!) and chatting away to herself, so I think she's happy.
I feed her bird seed, millet and the seed treats. I've tried her with loads of human food, but she doesn't seem at all interested, which is a shame as I'd like to ger her to eat fruit, veg, biscuits, and things like that. Maybe when she's a bit older she'll try it.
I'd definitely recommend a pet bird for someone who's looking for something to love but hasn't got loads of time to spend with the pet. Budgies generally amuse themselves if you make sure they've got plenty of toys, and if you talk to them all the time when you are around, they'll become used to your voice and face and won't be shy. Budgies are also perfect for anyone who might be allergic to fur.
I haven't yet let her out the cage because I'm worried I won't be able to get back in, but when I can trust her more to sit on my finger without lots of prompting, I definitely want to give it a go.
I have had my budgie, Carrot, for over two years now. Up until then, I had never had a pet bird before, but knew they were friendly having met those owned by relatives. I'll write the rest of this review in terms of the pros and cons of budgerigar owning.
Budgerigars need a LOT of attention to be happy. If you plan on having only a single bird, you should be mindful of this. If you have more than one, they can keep one another occupied, but take care when choosing genders. Females are most likely to fight, so best to stick to male/female or male/male.
Buderigars will poo wheresoever they please. This is really only a nuisance to the houseproud, as their droppings are generally quite dry and brush off easily.
They will often have a favourite person; Carrot's is my father, and when he's around he basically ignores everyone else. I'm not sure why this is, perhaps he spends most time with him, and animals often prefer male voices because they are deeper.
Budgies, like all birds, are delicate and when they become ill it can be difficult or impossible to treat them. They need a fair bit of space to remain healthy too, so be prepared either to invest in a large aviary or to allow the budgie out of its cage often. Carrot never has his cage door shut while there are people in the house (take care of things the bird might damage or that might harm the bird though- Carrot does like to pull the wallpaper off, and he once got tangled in a curtain string, which has now been removed).
Budgerigars are very intelligent and friendly creatures! They vary in personality but as long as you spend plenty of time with them, you will develop a warm and cheerful relationship with them. If they remain healthy, they will live for 7-10 years and possibly more, so they are wonderful companions.
Budgerigars (particularly males) can learn to talk. They will need intensive training if there are specific things you want them to say well, but they often pick things up by themselves. Carrot says "Carrot's a good boy", "Pretty boy!", "Seeds", "I'm gonna get you!", "Whatcha doing?", "Weirdo" and several other phrases, and also imitates noises such as the telephone ringing, the door creaking and laughter.
Budgies are quite cheap to look after, requiring, apart from the initial expense, budgie seeds (I use Trill), a box of which is inexpensive and lasts quite a long time.
This is my guide to looking after budgies to help people take care of them and understand what they need. I will include general information which will answer some questions you may have.
First of all a common question what is the difference between a parakeet and a budgie? or if any at all. The term 'parakeet' is almost a catch-all name given to many smaller parrot species, usually slim birds with long pointed tails. The name 'budgie' or 'budgerigar' comes from Australia where budgies live in the wild. The budgie does have alternative names given to it such as shell parakeet and warbling grass parakeet, hence people calling them budgies and parakeets. A lot depends on which part of the world you live in. In the USA a budgie is often referred to as a parakeet.
budgie life span. how long will a budgie live?
i have heard many diffferent opinions about how long people believe a budgie will live. The main factor in this is how the budgie is cared for for example diet and exercise are the key importance areas. The most common age I have been informed budgies live is 8 to 10 years. It is not unusual for a budgie to live to 14 years of age and the occasional budgie makes it to 20. To insure your budgie has a long and happy life provide a clean cage,
daily exercise, a healthy diet including fresh fruit and vegetables offered daily, plenty of activity and companionship.
where to keep my budgie?
A budgie should be kept in cage but allowed out reguarly for at least couple ours a day for exercise. A budgies cage must be kept clean and tidy ideally cleaned every other day to prevent build up of bacteria to prevtn harm to your budgie. Alot of cages come in sizes where they are higher than they are wide which is infact the wrong proportion. The budgies cage shoudl have easy accessabily to food and water and areas for treats and toys to keep the budgie occupied and entertained. Budgies are extremely active and need to stretch their wings and have space for fluttering around the cage. For this reason, your budgie cage should be lengthy rather than high in order to provide some room for flying.
In my opinion, the minimum cage requirement for one budgie is:
Across - 18 inches or 46 cm
Wide - 12 inches or 30 cm
High - 12 inches or 30 cm
i hope this helps :D
I had 2 budgies when I was growing up and the first thing I did when I got my own place was buy a budgie. At one time I had 3 but once the last one died I couldn't bear to get another to replace him so have a cockatiel. Budgies are quite small and come in a variety of colours, males have a blue cere and females a brown cere (the bit above the beak).
You can buy them in most pet shops and garden centres - I always end up buying the poorly looking ones to give them a good home - one I had was so starved he looked awful and he never really recovered properly. They don't cost a lot £10-£20 and you need minimal equipment for them (please be sure you buy a big enough cage a few more pounds spent will be a much better life). It is worth having a close look at the bird before you take it home, if they have a crusty face or any discharge from their cere they are likely to need urgent medical treatment from a vet. Also have a good look at the other birds its sharing a cage with especially in pet shop chains quite often many of them will show signs of illness, which means yours might develop it after you take it home.
I had a large bird cage with an outdoor perch on the top so they could be out during the day if they wished. And they love to look out the window! In my experience the more they are out and the more exercise they get the better their temprement is. Once they have learnt the layout of the room they will happily fly around and avoid any furniture you have.
Like many people I fed budgie seed (Trill about £1.50 but lasts a long time) with fresh fruit and veg (not really that successful they always preferred seed) and a constant supply of fresh water. Millet as a treat is always greeted with enthusiasm!
Budgie's are noisy and I have never managed to get one to sing any tune or talk. They are trainable though, especially to hand tame with some patience. If you are nervous with a new bird teach them 'up' using a pen rather than your finger that way you won't constantly pull away if they bite scaring them. My last budgie Rolf would ride on a remote control car he loved it if you didn't make it move he used to fly to the controller to see what was wrong and back to the car.
They are an excellent bird to be around children because when they bite they don't break fingers. But they can get frightened easily.
Don't underestimate the mess especially the seed husks and when you bath them they splash water everywhere.
The shortest a budgie has lived is 3 years (he was ill when I got him), the longest is 10 years. They are wonderfully friendly birds I highly recommend them.
~ Overview ~
I have always been an animal lover but must admit that birds were never top of my list of favourite pets to keep. That is until I decided to take pity on an unwanted green and yellow budgie called Rocky and decided to give him a new loving home. This is a review of my own experiences of keeping a budgie and all the pros and cons.
~ Feeding ~
There are lots of opinions about what you should and shouldn't feed budgies, and many say that their life span (normally 5-7 yrs but can be as much as 10-12 yrs) highly depends on what you feed them. Like the majority of budgies, Rocky has a basic diet of Trill budgie food which is a mixture of different seeds that give them most of the nourishment they need. It is good to supplement this with fresh fruit and vegetables, although after trying every trick in the book I have still failed to get Rocky to eat any! I don't think he was ever fed any fresh food before I got him and so he seems to be a bit suspicious of it.
It is also ok to feed budgies limited amounts of treats. These often come in the form of seed sticks or bells with extra ingredients like honey or fruit. But Rocky's absolute favourtie treat is millet. He goes mad for the stuff, and given half a chance he would probably live on it! Remeber not to give them too much though, they need to eat plenty of their Trill before anything else.
~ Cage ~
A budgies cage should be of a decent size so that they can move around and get some sort of exercise. An aviary is even better as they might have room to fly a little. Rocky just has a cage but he is let out to fly around the living room on a regular basis giving him the exercise that he needs. I never have to worry too much about catching him again because he feels much safer in his cage and tends to get back in there himself when he has had enough! Some people prefer to get their budgie's wings clipped so that they cannot fly. I suppose it depends if you have somewhere suitable for them to stretch their wings.
Their cage should be lined with sand sheets. Some people prefer to use loose grit but I prefer the sheets just because it is slightly easier to clean out. Rocky also has sand coated perch covers. Both of these things are great for budgies to nibble at. The grit is good for them and helps their digestion.
Budgies should be provided with some toys to play with. They are intelligent creatures and need mental stimulation. Don't overcrowd the cage with toys though, just a few will do. They especially like to have bells to ring but there are a variety of different toys to buy for a small amount of money. As Rocky lives on his own he has got a mirror to give him some company. Some people say that you shouldn't give single budgies a mirror as like Narcissus, they can fall in love with their own reflection, but I haven't seen any evidence that this is true!
They should of course be provided with a constant supply of fresh water at all times. Their cage should be cleaned out on a regular basis as and when needed, probably every few days.
~ Other information ~
Budgies need to be kept in an area where people are around and they will be given a lot of attention. Unless of course they live in a large aviary with lots of other birds. Budgies are very sociable birds and need company. The more attention you give them, the more you will be rewarded in return. If you are patient enough you can teach them tricks or even teach them to talk. They have very small voices, not like parrots, but they are perfectly capable of speaking. Male birds are often better speakers.
At the very least you should be able to hand tame your budgie to sit on your finger, as long as you start training him/her early enough. Rocky won't do this as he was never handled when he was young. But he is still much more trusting than when I first got him. There's still a little hope that he will willingly sit on my finger one day!
~ My Opinion ~
Budgies make wonderful companions as they are very sociable. They have big personalities and can be very rewarding as pets. They are extremely intelligent and it's fun to teach them tricks and to talk.
You have to be prepared for a lot of mess! Especially when they eat a lot of millet, or they are moulting. You'll be finding feathers and bird seed in the stranges of places for ages!
They can also be very noisy. Rocky goes beserk if there is music on the TV or if he can hear seagulls outside. He is normally good as gold at night though and as soon as the lights go out he is quiet as a mouse until the morning.
Overall, they are very rewarding pets. Especially if you live somewhere where you can't keep a cat or a dog but want something a little more exciting than a goldfish. (No offense to goldfish as I have kept those myself too!).
As a keen budgie keeper I have owned a large number of budgies in the past and have a passion for them and their welfare. I am also a worker in the animal care sector and have qualificaitons within Animal care, management, development, breeding and many other subject matters. I will go through the basics of the budgie in this review, though if you have any further questions feel free to e-mail me on email@example.com. Here we go!
It is very important to consider all aspects of the animals welfare when keeping a budgie in captivity. The natural environment which the budgie is homed in must be fully planned and evaluated to ensure that it fulfils the budgies needs as well as remembering that this is a commercial animal collection so the enclosure design and suitability must match the needs from the publics perception. This includes looking into the size, enrichment, cleanliness and security of the enclosure with special considerations of the animals welfare and the publics perception of the enclosure and animal/s within it.
The size of the enclosure should be large for the budgerigar. People will often keep budgies in small cages as pets, but this is not suitable for a budgie being kept within an animal collection as the area which the bird is kept in should look as natural and similar to the budgies natural environment. This is important for the public to be able to see and learn from and to provide the animals with suitable enrichment to prevent abnormal behaviour. The aviary can never be too large for budgies, but the aviary should not go above around 4m by 4m within a commercialised business as the public may then be unable to see the budgies fully which ruins the public perception, however with homing budgies at your own property and not for business, you can never get too big for the budgie.
The aviary should have some trees in it which can be quite small, but tall trees with few leaves so that the public can see the budgies, but the budgies also have branches to sit on as they naturally would in the wild. It is important to fit wooden branches near to the fences of the aviary so that the public can easily view the budgies whilst they are resting. There should be wooden nest boxes attached to the fences of the aviary as the budgies would naturally make nests and will enjoy spending time in a nest box.
There should be a roof to the aviary obviously to prevent the budgies from flying away. The aviary should also have enrichment such as cuttle-fish which budgies love to chew on (and I have known them to sit and fall asleep on these too!) as well as millet sticks for additional enrichment when eating. The first budgie which I had the nails became overgrown and the vet had to treat this, after this we were told to cover a small area of the floor with sandpaper which worked really well and we never had this problem again. Although I have not found any research online or in books to suggest this, I have seen it work, so I would say it is a really positive method of enrichment in my own experience.
The aviary should be cleaned on a regular basis and the faeces and urine should be removed from both the floor of the aviary and the branches within the aviary. Anything which can be removed such as possible rocks or mock logs etc should be disinfected to reduce the chance of infection or the harvesting of bacteria and parasites.
The enclosure should also be fully secure to prevent the birds from escaping and possibly harming themselves or causing distress to members of the public. This should be done with double doors to prevent escaping as birds can fly and will commonly fly for freedom if they can. The fencing to the enclosure should be strong and be able to withstand possible break-ins using pliers commonly used by vandals and petty thiefs.
All budgies should have regular treatments against worms, parasites, and vaccinations against disease. This is very important with the budgie as there Is often many of them in a small environment so the risk of cross infection is very high. This is for the welfare of the animals mainly, but also the public perception as embers of the public can find it very distressing to see an animal which is unwell.
The budgies normal behaviour will generally include being quite timid when approached by a human or if a sudden movement or sound occurs. If the bird is not used to being handled it is normal for this to occur more frequently and is not a cause for concern. A calm approach the budgie is needed and lots of patience around the budgie to allow the budgie to get used to human presence.
Budgies should make noise and sing to each other or to itself or any people who are around. Usually a variety of sounds will be made by the budgie as a way of communication and the budgie is very big on repetition. Budgies can spend hours singing tunes at each other and repeating the tune being sung.
The budgie should also have its feathers flat unless it feels under threat when they will fluff their feathers up. The tail should be in a straight line, sometimes the budgie will fan out tail feathers as abnormal behaviour. The budgie will also often climb bars or fences of a cage and this can not be prevented and is normal for a budgie within captivity although it is created from boredom which the budgie experiences in captivity.
Budgies should always be keen to eat food at least once an hour whilst awake. If this behaviour and pattern is not shown then there could be cause for concern and there is the possibility of a mental or physical problem with the bird. The other option is that the budgie may have just had a change in diet and so will not eat the food.
Budgies will often feather pluck. One budgie which I have owned feather plucked to an extreme and was almost entirely bald down one side. This occurs when the budgie is bored, stressed, exhausted, living in an overcrowded or too small environment or is not receiving the correct nutritional diet.
Budgies which are ill can often be seen to sit continually on the floor of the aviary. This is often a result of the budgie suffering from chill, shock, digestive problems, weakness, lack of food, muscular problems or joint problems. This behaviour should be responded to by checking the amount of food which has been eaten first and then the room temperature. If neither of these are abnormal then a vet should be contacted.
If a bird continually fluffs up its feathers it is a possible abnormal behaviour. This is done often when a bird feels threatened and often the tail will be spread also. This is all done to make the budgie appear larger and more threatening himself. This can also happen because the budgie feels too hot or too cold or is attempting to dry after a bath or getting wet somehow. This is not often a problem unless it occurs frequently and for seemingly no reason when it could be a physical or mental problem causing it.
The budgie can show signs of aggression towards other birds and budgies are not adverse to bullying the week. This can include pulling at other birds feathers and all pecking and scratching at the bird. If this happens then the bird being picked on should be removed as budgies can end up killing birds when picking on them.
To prevent any of the above abnormal or aggressive behaviour enrichment which stimulates the budgie should be put into the aviary. Mirrors are a popular choice in small areas or if there is only one or two budgies, but additional perches, branches and other resting areas as well as a bath or two baths which the budgie can use are a good idea. Music has been thought to have a calming effect on the budgie as well as the sounds of other birds on tapes. This can be used therefore, or tested, to see if it helps any situations which appear to be stressful to the budgie.
One of the reasons that the budgie has become such a popular pet to own is that they are very cheap to feed. The food is not expensive and additional treats work out at a good price and tend to last the budgie a long time.
The budgie should be fed a commercialised budgerigar diet. Budgies will eat between one and two teaspoons of this bird seed mix per day. Budgies should not be given other forms of seed food as these are not suited for the budgie and different foods are designed specially to suit individual bird species.
Budgies eat their food by cracking the seed using their rounded beak, eating the kernel from within the seed and removing and leaving the husk (outer layer or shell). The husks are normally left in the seed bowl and these should always be checked to see if the bowl is full of husks or seeds as these look similar. The husks should be removed every day and the food should be topped up at the same time to ensure all budgies have a constant supply of food.
Fresh fruit as well as fresh vegetables can be given to the budgie in small quantities and help to provide more variety to the budgies diet as well as making the diet more balanced. The fruits and vegetables which are suitable are apple, broccoli, brussel sprouts, leafy vegetables (except cabbage and lettuce) are all ideal. You can also create variety by taking some budgerigar mix and soaking it overnight then putting the seeds onto kitchen paper towels and leaving for two to three days. These will begin to sprout and add extra variety to the diet.
All this additional food should be removed daily also. Fruit and vegetables left for more than 12 hours can make the budgie very ill. It is important to give the budgies a supply of grit continually. This is because the grit is digested and used in the gizzard to grind down the seeds as obviously the budgie does not have teeth.
Cuttlefish bone is brilliant to give to the budgie as it helps to keep its beak in good condition and is a good treat for this bird. Cuttlefish bone found on a beach should not be used. Only fully cleaned cuttlefish should be given to any budgie.
It is important to clean the budgies water at least twice a day as it can get very dirty very quickly as birds will often defecate in this. The budgie will not drink a great deal so if water does not seem to be drunk often this is not a means for concern and is quite normal in the budgie.
When buying a budgie to breed from it is important to try to get them at a young age. The way to sex a budgie is by the colour of the beak. The male budgerigar has a blue tinge to the higher part of the beak around the nostrils, whilst the female has a beige, red, brown, pink or tan tinge to this area. To breed it is essential to buy one of each sex, but if you wish for a bond with the budgie, or if you are homing them with a budgie brought in a different place it is essential to quarantine them for 90 days minimum. This means keeping them in separate cages, in separate rooms and washing your hands after touching both budgies. This is because disease usually shows before 90 days of being in a new place, and if one has a disease it is economical as well as ethical to prevent the other budgie from getting the disease.
There are no separate species of budgie, however there are different colours and the different colours can be preferable to certain people. The English Budgie which is bred domestically in this country is the largest variety of the budgie worldwide, the domesticated budgie is markedly smaller in other countries and the wild Australian original budgie is smaller still with a lot more speed. The most popular budgie for people to buy is the English budgie within this country with the yellow plumage as this offers a full variety of colours, the most popular sex is the male as the male is generally less temperamental and can make a much stronger bond with the owners as well as having a higher chance of talking. Another thing which many buyers will want from a breeder is a hand reared budgie, so this is something worth considering, although the time and effort which must be put into this is enormous.
When buying your own stock it is important for breeding to look for colours which should give a nice looking baby budgie. This should increase sales and popularity for the budgies. The budgies should also be in good health and living in a good environment. It is important to check the conditions which they have previously been kept in as well as the age of the budgie as they reach sexual maturity at nine months and the length of time they may stay sexually mature varies greatly with each budgie.
It is important to check your budgie for health issues before attempting to breed from the budgie. This is important because diseases may affect the pregnancy may also turn out to be unsuitable for breeding if they are not and the bird may suffer from the pregnancy if it is pushed on her. Also a general veterinary check up should allow them to quickly check that the bird is ready for being mated and it will not be harmful or distressing to the bird.
The budgie along with the cockatiel are the most common birds to be seen in a veterinary practice and there are a lot of diseases which need to be checked for with standard keeping of the birds, but when breeding it is essential to screen for everything.
Budgies are very prone to obesity, which can cause problems with mating and during the pregnancy, they are also extremely susceptible to getting lymphomas (fatty tumours). These are not harmful, but they can cause problems in mating depending on where they are situated as the mating process may cause pain in the tumour.
Birds which are found to have a problem with weight often also suffer from liver problems as a result of the obesity. This is because over time fat cells can replace the liver cells until it is unable to function properly because so much tissue has been destroyed. This can be checked by doing a bile acids blood test, however this is not always conclusive, the only fully conclusive way to check is to do a liver biopsy, but this will often cause death in a small bird such as the budgie, so this would only be done in dramatic circumstances or in a post mortem.
Thyroid dysplasia was once a very common disease to be found in the budgie, and is now less common. It is caused by Iodine deficiency in the diet. This mainly occurs when birds are fed seeds only and so this is deficient in iodine. This can be checked for by looking for signs of it which includes problems with breathing, differentiation in normal noise and sounds which the bird would make and an enlarged thyroid gland, this is easy to treat, but needs long term treatment before breeding.
The next thing which will be check for is parasitic diseases in the budgie. This includes the Knemidokoptes mite, (recognised by a crusty beak and feet), red mites (recognised by looking like tiny specks of red pepper on the skin), feather mites (recognised under a microscope and also by a bird scratching to excess), Giardia and Ascarids-roundworms (recognised by diarrhoea or faeces tests).
A full blood count is used on a bird which can recognise if the bird has a bacterial, fungal or viral infection as well as checking for anaemia or dehydration in the bird. A grams stain is also often used to check for potential problems although this is not 100% accurate by any means.
Reproductive problems which can occur in the budgie are; hypocalcaemia which can be treated with an intra-venous injection of calcium, a tumour of the testicle which is recognised by the beak going from blue to brown in the male budgie and is not treatable at the moment to make the budgie suitable to mate and dystocia, which is problems in laying eggs, which is recognised by the egg not being able to pass through the birth canal and can be helped by supplying heat and humidity to the female, and if this does not work, veterinary care will be needed for the bird.
The main thing to check is that the birds do not have any genetic problems, this can be done by looking back at the line of birds which have bred to make your birds and looking at the family, the lifespan of the birds and overall health of the family members of the birds.
The main issue in breeding from birds and problems with genetics is from in-breeding. For this reason it is important to separate brothers and sisters from each other and purchase birds from entirely different regions to prevent chances of genetic problems in the offspring.
Also it is important to record the previous mating success of the birds family and the birds you are breeding from yourself, as if you breed correctly and create pedigree birds then breeders may want to buy from you and a full health and mating as well as reproductive history will be a bonus and increase the chance of sales as genetic problems can cause reproductive problems in the bird.
There are three different methods to breed budgies, this is colony breeding, flock breeding and cage breeding;
Colony breeding is when all the birds are put into an aviary regardless of colour and the birds are allowed to pick their own mates and then the babies are sold when they arrive. This has a problem in the fact that the genetic history and the information on the parentage of the young is hard to record, also the colours will end up mix and can create numerous numbers of one colour which does not give potential buyers a choice as the dominant genes will generally prevail.
Flock breeding is the method where pairs of birds are chosen by the breeder and are then put in cages to form a bond and then put into a large aviary one pair at a time. The pairs then usually stay together long term and always breed together and also have the benefit of the other birds which makes it a lot more like their natural lifestyle, the only negative factor is if one partner dies as this can cause fights as the lone bird will try to make a new partnership, or the lone bird will end up being isolated. Also the males can sometimes mate with other birds, although this is not common.
The final breeding method is cage breeding. This is where the human picks out the pairs and they are put into small cages for mating. There is a high success rate for this and parenthood is guaranteed, but it can cause undue stress to the birds and they do not get to socialise and interact with any other birds which is a disadvantage.
The birds should be kept in a large aviary. There is no such thing as an aviary which is too big for breeding birds, or birds in general. It is very important that the birds remain active before, during and after pregnancy to enhance the health of the birds and reduce the chances of problems with reproducing. A wire mesh aviary is ideal for the birds with natural enrichment such as large branches, numerous perches, water bowls and feed bowls in a sheltered area, hides, trees etc.
The thing which needs to be introduced to the cage is a nesting box. This can be an external attachment to the cage or aviary, or can be placed within the natural environment. The bottom of the box must be build with a concave design (an oval dip) to prevent the eggs from rolling around. Providing that this is provided as well as all the amenities for the budgie to build its own nest, as some prefer to do this, the birds should not have any problem with mating.
It is important to build a sheltered, sometimes even heated area, to keep the budgie warm whilst she sits on her clutch of eggs as well as providing a place which the budgie knows will be safe and warm to enhance the chance of mating as the female will be more likely to have a high survival rate within her brood.
It is essential to keep the food and water near to the budgies nesting box or nest as the female will leave the clutch to eat, drink and defecate and it is important that she does not leave the eggs for too long. Budgie nests are not hygienic, which is why it is so important to have an outside design which still provides the essential protecting that the budgies need. The chicks will flap and feathers do fly everywhere as well as defecation, dusts and numerous unpleasant smells!
Extra food needs to be put into the environment such as foods containing vitamin D3 as this enhances the chances of a healthy reproduction. Also after the health screening is done the vet may advise for certain treatments and changes to environment as well as less of more of certain types of food to give to the budgie to give high chances of a good healthy brood of chicks.
It usually takes around a month for a pair of budgies to bond well enough for the female to become ready for mating. This is variable depending on the age of the pair. The female will develop a crusty beak when she is ready to be mated and many ritual dancing and singing formations will occur to impress their partner. The mating itself takes around 5-10 seconds. The female has then been mated with and will usually lay a clutch of around 4 8 eggs one after the other.
After mating the first egg will usually be born around 2 4 days later. The female budgie will leave this in the nest and continue to sit nearby but not on the egg whilst preparing to lay another egg, this is then laid around 2-3 days after the first and this continues until she has completed her clutch.
The female will usually not incubate the eggs by sitting on them until around 2 days after the last egg is born, this is assumed to be because she is unsure as to weather she will lay another. She will then sit on the eggs for the duration.
The process prior to incubation can vary in length and from the time of mating, to the time when 5 eggs have been laid (as this is the average) can be between 10 days and 16 days, again this could last longer or shorter, usually longer if anything, but this rarely happens.
The normal incubation period for a budgie egg is 18 days. This begins when the female sits on the nest. This can sometimes happen with the first egg in the budgie, though it is more often to happen once all the eggs have been laid. The female will sit on the eggs or close to them constantly, only leaving to get food, water or to defecate and then will quickly return to the eggs to continue incubation.
This is the same in all types of budgie from the different countries which they come from and can vary so much in colour and sizes due to. They are all as fertile as each other and the incubation period lasts as long in each form of budgie.
It is important to note that a budgie should never ever be removed from the accommodation it has settled in during incubation. This will distress the budgie and often she will reject her eggs or possibly eat them or cause damage to them upon her return. This should only ever be done in extreme cases, like if the budgies health is at risk, and then the eggs must be removed and incubated elsewhere.
Sometimes if an accident happens or if the mother of the eggs shows no interest in incubating them you will need to incubate them yourself. This should be done in a small box with a lot of cushioning and in a room which is warm, but not hot, such as perhaps a cupboard with a lamp in it etc.
The eggs should take roughly the same amount of time to be incubated by human intervention as they would if the mother was incubating them; as should happen normally, and is recommended. This method of incubation is also often used to aid in hand rearing of the young which helps to increase sales as the budgie get used to humans from such a young age and is believed to be much more likely to make a good bond than a budgie who has been normally reared by its mother.
The mother of the chicks will naturally rear the chicks, bringing them food and water, as will the father usually. Occasionally the mother and father of the chicks have been known to fight at around this stage, although this is a rare occurrence, but worth taking into account.
The form of learning whilst the chicks are at such a young age is called imprinting. This means that the chick learns from the noises which the mother makes as well as the behaviour both the mother and father show. The chicks start learning whilst they are still in the eggs and can hear the noises which their mother is making as early as this and learn to recognise these noises.
The chicks first open their eyes at around 12 14 days of age, before that they recognise the call of their mother and father as well as noises, but no visual stimulus at all. There is also a form of taste, as the mother and father will feed the chicks from their own mouths, which allows the chicks to learn the smell and taste of their parents, further allowing natural bonding to take place.
From birth the chicks will be heard to make noises, however at around 20-25 days of age it is often recognisable that the chick is imitating either its father or mother in the noise patterns which it is producing. This is still part of the imprinting and bonding which will take place for the budgie.
The chicks will often begin moving out of the nest at around 2 months of age, when they are learning to fly and have a good show of feathers appearing, colour is now obvious on the bird. This is the stage where the clients who are considering buying the birds should be contacted, as they can come round to view and book the bird they like.
The birds are fending for themselves and flying at 3 months of age when they are ready to go to a new home, or can stay put depending on the reasoning for the breeding. At this age they will be able to climb bars, eat from the food bowl, fly successfully and mimic behaviour patterns which their parents have shown over the period of imprinting.
The other way of rearing is to hand rear the bird, the same things will happen as the above, but the bird will copy behaviour patterns you give, listen to noises you make and you have to be completely dedicated to the birds as they need feeding around every 2 hours even during the night as well as needing warmth and company and protection.
The birds wont mimic noises made my its mother and father and imprinting is not so successful. However it is believed that there are higher chances of the bird talking and higher chances of a strong bond between the budgie and the owner, which is why prices are higher and hard reared budgies are more in demand than the normally reared bird.
I have had both hand reared and parent reared budgies and I found that the hand reared budgies tend to be more prone to making mess and less intuitive, whilst the other birds are fully capable of doing everything themselves and I have even noticed they seem more confident in flight and in general. I had one budgie which talked fluently, which was not hand reared, and one who talked a little and did learn around 10-15 words, though no sentences, which was hand reared, so I am not entirely sure I agree with hand rearing birds, I also find that with patience and determination as well as a kind and gentle nature, the non hand reared bird is just as tame as the hand reared, and can be even more so.
I have two budgies called Birty and Polly they are both blue apart from polly who has more white feathers. Budgies are avalible in differant colors they include green, yellow, blue, silver, and other combinations of those colors. It is difficult to tell the males from the females when they are young but the male has blue around the noistels while the female has brown. Budgies love to play with toys swings and mirrors and are not happy to be left alone unless they have another bird for company or you are with your budgie alot. My budgie has now learned how to whistle and i am told that budgies can learn how to talk but its best to start to learn them when they are young. Sadly my budgies have not learned how to talk yet but i suppose it takes time. Budgies make great pets and are not that expensive to buy around £18 all though its best to buy the biggest cage you can afford as this makes your budgie more happy. my cage cost £50 and can house upto 3 budgies and also has the option of buying a stand. I recommend having a budgie as a pet as they great, sing alot, not that messy and can be housed in a cage or an aviary.
Can anyone advise please. We are new to budgie keeping and bought our budgie, Bobby, only a couple of weeks ago. He is very entertaining and very noisy, and we are trying to teach him to talk. It may just be coincidence, but our 5 year old daughter has come out in a raised, red rash on her legs, and we wondered if she might be allergic to Bobby. Has anyone else experienced this, and what can be we do about it?