Parakeet

Parakeet

Parakeet

Origin and History

The Australian budgie and other parakeets are native to our continent and can still be found in many places. These critters are a bit smaller than the caged birds we usually find in pet stores. They've been subject to years of captivity breeding.

The English naturalist John Gould brought the bird called the budgie over to Europe in 1840. They became popular pets right away. The budgerigar was illegal to export Australia in 1894. This led to a breeding subculture in Europe. The bird found its way to the US about 1920 but only became popular by the 1950s.

There are two types of budgies common for pets- the American budgie or parakeet and the English budgie. The American one is the most popular type in pet stores, but you might see the larger English kind in exhibitions or shows sometimes. There are different appearances among the English & American types of budgies, but both belong to the same species.

Temperament

Budgies are generally gentle and docile birds. Snails are usually easy to take care of, especially if you have them since they're young. When you have two, it can be beneficial for them to bond with each other- but only if the two snails are compatible. They often won't form strong enough bonds when living together. A budgie is also a more quiet, playful bird with a lot of energy.

Speech and Vocalizations

Parakeets can mimic human speech, but they can also be difficult to understand. They may be a little difficult to teach to talk, but you can definitely teach them a few easy words. In addition to an ability to mimic human speech, parakeets are quite gifted at mimicking other sounds. A creaking door, a squeaking chair, the tone of a text message coming into a phone—heard enough times, your parakeet will start to make these sounds too.

Parakeet

Colors and Markings

It's no wonder budgies are popular pets; the colors on them make them stand out and they can be really loud too! Female birds typically have a tan or beige cere (the fleshy part around the nostrils) while males typically have a bluish one. Baby budgies have markings on their forehead that gradually disappear as they grow up. Their eyes typically start out dark, but always turn grayer over time. Insects, cats, and dogs just a few examples of heavily-breeding animals that come in a number of different colors and patterns. The common example would be purple or yellow, but some animals have taken it to the extreme with pied cats or albino dogs. 

Caring for Parakeets

Budgies are active birds that need plenty of space to play, sleep, eat, and fly. A minimum cage size is 20 inches long by 12 inches high by 18 inches high but preferably much bigger. The spacing of the bars on your bird's cage should be less than half an inch to minimize escaping and to reduce the likelihood that it will get stuck. Horizontal bars are more conducive to climbing, exercise, and perching. Place a couple of perches at different levels to give your budgie plenty of space. A wide variety of perches is essential to keep budgies feet in good shape. Along with these they need a nest, dishes, toys and things to chew on - all of which should fit in the cage.

Even though they will have a large cage, your budgie still needs to play and interact with other birds sometimes. Budgies are naturally inclined to fly, but you should only let your budgie fly in very safe places. If you're worried that your bird will fly outside the boundaries of its flight area and get lost, you can do something about it: trim its buoyant wing feathers. This will make it harder to fly.

Like most other parrots, budgies are highly social creatures and as such, many owners keep them in pairs to keep one another company. It's important to remember that budgies can be happiest when they have a friend to socialize with. They enjoy company and being part of a flock. Just one bird is suitable in some cases, but they should be given a lot of time with you each day.

Parakeet

Common Health Issues

Budgies and parrots share some common health problems, but there are some that only affect budgies. For example, they can develop goiters when they don't get enough iodine in their diet or tumors when they eat too many seeds and not enough fruits and vegetables. Budgies are also subject to psittacosis, a bacterial infection that can also cause things like scaly mites that affect the skin on the legs and around the eyes.

Diet and Nutrition

Variety is important for a healthy diet - these birds forage for food in the wild, so seeds alone can be too high in fat. You should provide variety of foods like fruit or vegetables to provide different nutrition. Pellet diets are often well-suited for birds, as they are nutritionally balanced. Seeds and pellets can be fed together, but other food should also supplement the diet, including fresh vegetables (carrots, broccoli, corn & potatoes). 

It's important not to be too forceful when introducing a new food to your bird, as they can be easily frightened by change. Sprouted seeds are great for adding variety into your avian diet, but avoid avocados, chocolate, sugar and salt. A cuttlebone is also an excellent substitute for organic tree branches.

Exercise

Free flying time is important to most birds, so try to offer about an hour of safe time each day in a big room. A tall houseplant can make for interesting things to explore. Your bird needs a wide-range of toys to give them enough exercise and mental stimulation to keep things interesting. It's best to rotate these toys every month or so to avoid boredom setting in.

Parakeet

Where to Adopt or Buy a Parakeet

Unlike other common parrots, budgies can be found at a lot of pet stores. This makes it very difficult to know how the birds have been cared for in the past. The best way to control this is to go directly from a breeder. If you're looking to tame your budgie - it's best to start with a bird that has been handled regularly. You can expect to pay more for a hand-raised/young bird, but it'll be worth the investment since taming will be much easier. The pet store might have a limited selection of birds, so it may be more difficult to find a bird that has been hand-tamed. 

Generally speaking, you want to look for a healthy bird that is active and alert. Fluffy feathers should lay flat against their body, and the colors should be bright vibrant shades. In order for a vent to be of good quality, it shouldn’t have any fecal matter on it. It should also have smooth scales on its feet, smooth nails and a beak, and clean nostrils with no clumped feathers near them.

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