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Budgie Buying And Care For Beginners

Budgies are small colourful birds that are relatively easy to look after. They are the most widely domesticated bird in the world, and for good reason- budgies make a fantastic pet for old and young alike.

How to choose a budgie

When looking to buy your first budgie, juvenile birds are best for the novice keeper as they are still developing and adjusting to their surroundings, and will be easier to tame. Always buy from a reputable breeder or experienced owner. Don't buy a budgie under eight weeks old.

Cocks are often more talkative and personable than hens, but it is a myth that hens don't talk. They are, however, more difficult to hand train, and have a harder peck!

Budgies are available in lots of different colours including greys, greens, blues and yellows- but don't forget about the personality of the bird as well! Select one that is lively, cheerful, and doesn't seem unduly stressed out.

If you are considering getting a pair of budgies, remember that a cock and a hen together may potentially breed! Two cocks together generally get on better than two hens.

If your currently looking for a budgie, you can view our Budgies for sale section on Pets4Homes.

Feeding your budgie

In order to stay happy and healthy, your budgie will need an appropriate complete diet. Properly fed budgies have bright, healthy plumage and lively voices, and keep active during the daylight hours. Birds also enjoy playing with their food, and it is an important means of stimulation (as well as being rather messy!)

Most pet shops and even supermarkets sell packets of ready mixed complete budgie food, although the contents and quality can vary dramatically between manufacturers. Check the ingredients listing when considering buying a new brand of food, and introduce it gradually so that your budgie gets used to the change. Check the food dish daily, and remove any empty husks.

You may like to provide seed bars or honey bells as a delicious treat, but some other foods are harmful to budgies- never give your budgie avocado, lettuce, lemon, potato, sweets or chocolate.


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Handling your budgie

Budgies tame up very well, although patience is required and it's important that they are handled from an early age. First of all get the budgie used to being stroked while inside the cage, using a blunt stick or a spare perch to avoid being pecked! Stroke your budgie a couple of times each day and encourage him to climb or jump onto the perch or stick.

Once your budgie is happy with this, try using your hand instead of the stick. Be aware that it may take several weeks to get to this stage with your budgie.

To pick up a budgie, use your palm to cover its wings and back and gently hold your bird at the neck between your index and middle fingers. Move slowly, and avoid stressing the bird. Budgies will bite if stressed! Always pick up your budgie from a perch or while standing, never attempt to catch him while in flight.

A list of things you will need for your budgie

  • Cage - Assuming you are planning on keeping your budgie indoors, you should get the largest cage you can afford in terms of money and space. Bars should be no wider than 12mm apart in order to prevent any unexpected breaks for freedom, and should have some horizontal bars installed to facilitate climbing.
  • Cage cover - To be used at night so that your budgie won't wake you up in the wee hours twittering away!
  • Water bowl - Make sure your budgie has access to fresh water at all times, and clean his water bowl out regularly.
  • Seed bowl - Take care not to overfill the seed bowl, as leftover seed can become damp and mouldy. Throw out and replace any uneaten seed regularly, and always store your budgie's food in a dry, airtight container.
  • Grit - A fine sprinkling of grit on the floor of the cage for your budgie to scrape and peck provides an important digestive aid.
  • A perch - Various bars and perches within the cage are important in order to allow your budgie to roost.
  • Floor Lining - Cover the floor of the cage with newspaper in order to facilitate easy clean ups, and to provide a suitable surface for your budgie to walk on. Some people cover the floor of the cage with sand or sand sheets, but if a grit bowl is provided, this is not necessary.
  • Cuttlefish or a mineral block - An important source of calcium and nutrients for your budgie. Provide at least one of the two.
  • Millet - Budgies love eating sprays of millet, and have almost as much fun shredding the casings as they do eating it. Millet is only suitable as a treat or supplement, and not as your budgie's staple diet.
  • Tonic seed - A vitamin and mineral enriched seed mixture to feed as a supplement to your budgie's everyday feed.
  • Toys - Bells, toys and mirrors keep your budgie entertained on a day to day basis.

How to keep your budgie happy and healthy

Budgies can be kept alone if sufficient stimulation is provided, but are generally happier with other birds. In large aviaries, you can also mix budgies with other small parakeets.

Clean the cage and any equipment used in it regularly in order to make sure your budgie stays happy and healthy.

Your budgie will need a daily bath. This can either be provided in the form of a bowl of water on the floor of the cage or attached to the bars, or alternatively some birds like being lightly sprayed with tepid water in order to groom themselves.

Never use aerosol sprays around your budgie, and be aware of the cage's location in relation to other fumes they may become exposed to.

Always make sure the room your budgie is in is secure and contained when you let them out of the cage.

Budgies need their claws clipped several times a year. Talk to your vet about having this done- do not attempt to clip your budgie's claws yourself as a novice keeper.

Small parakeets are prone to a condition called 'scaly beak' which is contagious between birds. Seek advice from your vet if you suspect your budgie is under the weather or suffering from any disease or illness.


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