Budgies are one of the most common pet birds to keep at home, because of their beauty, how relaxing their singing is and how easy their care is. An animal with a long history of human history.
- 1 Types of budgies
- 2 Where do budgies come from?
- 3 What are the most common characteristics of budgies?
- 4 What is the behaviour of budgies?
- 5 How do budgies act when they share cages?
- 6 Distinguish the age and sex of a budgie?
- 7 What cage should I buy for a parakeet?
- 8 Where to place the budgie cage?
- 9 What happens if you decide to have the parakeet’s cage outside?
- 10 What can you feed a budgie?
- 11 How do you breed and reproduce a parakeet colony?
- 12 What diseases can a parakeet have?
- 13 What are the steps to follow to train the parakeet?
- 14 What to do with the parakeet when it is out of the cage?
- 15 What do you need to know before buying a parakeet?
- 16 How do you clean the parakeet?
Types of budgies
Where do budgies come from?
The parakeets originate from Australia, being the species registered as such in 1804. When this small animal was discovered, its beauty caused that very soon thousands of these animals were captured to commercialize them. However, the long journeys for transport and the lack of knowledge about the feeding of these animals led to the death of more than 95% of the animals captured.
Although the most common parakeet is the green, blue or yellow, during the two centuries of breeding the breeders have achieved the birth of new colors such as gray, pyos or violet.
What are the most common characteristics of budgies?
Parakeets generally measure 18 cm from the head to the tip of the tail, although there is a slightly larger variety, and weigh about 35 grams. The wild variety, the best-known, has light green underparts, with a yellowish head and black stripes on the back of it. However, their throat and forehead are a smooth yellow with a purple spot on the cheek and three black specks framing each side of the base of the throat.
In the center it has black spots, which are only visible when it spreads its wings. Its beak curved downward is a greenish-gray color and its legs are bluish-gray, with two fingers forward and two fingers backward. This makes it easier for them to stand on tree branches, cables and feed on seeds.
What is the behaviour of budgies?
Unlike other birds, parakeets are very sociable animals. They tend to live in flocks, although they are quite territorial even among their own species. With humans they don’t usually have many sociability problems, being able to get used to being with them and treating them as one of their own.
When the parakeet lives in captivity, there are a number of guidelines to help the owner know the status of his parakeet. For example, when you clean and beak-clean your feathers, putting each feather in its place, the animal will be grooming itself, a sign that it feels comfortable in its cage. Of course, the beak will also be cleaned and will emit its classic gurgling, its song. Although some parakeets are shy and have a hard time singing.
It’s not the only sign this animal will make. The position you take is also a message to your owner. If he is on one leg it means that he is resting, but if he is stretching one wing and one leg at a time, it means that he needs exercise, but the cage is too small for him or he is feeling quite trapped.
In the case of lifting the plumage, giving the body the shape of a ball, it is a sign that the animal feels cold and needs heat. In these cases it is necessary to move it to a warmer part of the house or where the sun may shine. Not enough, in case you separate your wings from your body, with your beak slightly open, is a sign that you are very hot. In these cases, it is best to put a cup of water in the cage for them to bathe and cool down.
If frightened, these animals attach their plumage to the body, keeping it stiff and breathing quickly. It’s normal to have your neck stretched up. They may have been frightened by something they heard outside the cage or because they didn’t wait for their owner. In the case of being released, it is not advisable to chase him back to his cage. He’ll come back on his own.
Unlike other animals, parakeets love noises, especially of the environment in general. So if you turn on the television or radio where there is one of these copies, it would not be strange to see it looking at this one. Interestingly, although they love noise, they are very scary, so you have to be very careful when treating them.
Parakeets are sociable animals, but also very territorial. In the case of having more than one specimen, it is essential that they live together from the beginning.
Two males will fight each other to see who owns the cage. Who will eat first, who will drink first, who will climb on a stick…. they will not kill each other, but they will hurt each other enough. In the case of females it is normal for them to fight each other, as it is in their nature, especially if there is another male in the cage.
This is why these animals have to live together from an early age or buy a cage large enough for them to move freely and have their own territory.
Distinguish the age and sex of a budgie?
Although it may not seem so, distinguishing the age and sex of a budgie is very simple. Age is determined by the lines on the forehead. Young parakeets have their foreheads covered with lines, while adults have them smooth. In addition, young people have less intense feathers. Another shape is the color of the eyes; young parakeets have a completely black eye, while adults have a white ring with a black dot.
As for how to differentiate a male from a female, the key is in the wax, or what is the same, the top of the beak around the nostrils. Males have this area completely blue, while females have a white to cream color, except in their heat stage, they have it brown.
What cage should I buy for a parakeet?
The most important question when it comes to taking care of one of these animals is: which cage to buy? Yes, the budgie may get used to living around the house with a little freedom, but most of his time will be spent in a cage. That’s why it’s important to choose it well.
The minimum size of the cage must be 50 cm wide if it is to accommodate a single budgie. In the case of housing two, it is best to have a width of one meter. Now, why so wide? And tall? The height will actually be about 30 cm, but this is not that important. The reason is because parakeets make more use of horizontal space than vertical space to move. It is ideal for the cage to have horizontal bars, as these animals like to climb the walls of the cage to take a look at the outside.
Now, what about the shape of the cage? Many make the terrible mistake of buying a round cage or simulating the shape of a mansion. Buying these types of cages only causes the parakeet to become disoriented. Therefore, it is best to buy a square or rectangular one. It is also not recommended that the bars of the cage be white, as this makes it very difficult for the parakeet to see. The spacing between bars should be at least 1 cm, because if it is smaller the legs or beak could become caught. And the more doors you have the better, so you can put in the watering trough and the trough.
When you choose the cage, the real headache comes: the accessories. By default, the cages already have a number of accessories such as a feeder, a hanger or toy. But many fail at one thing: the trough. As a rule, feeders are hung outside the cage and are transparent. They are not recommended for parakeets, as they are forced to stick their heads through a hole to feed. As if this were not enough, as they are transparent, they make the parakeet believe that they can escape, so they will empty the trough to try.
For this reason, the best feeders are those that are hung inside the cage, removing the outside and covering the holes that are exposed. They are easy to fill and are quite easy to clean. The drinker’s the least of the worries. Simply choose a dark plastic tube drinker and place it for the parakeet to drink.
Many choose to leave the hangers on the cage, but they make a terrible mistake. These are made of plastic, white with stretch marks. These stretch marks cause wounds on the parakeet’s potatoes and are not very good for these animals to rest on. It is best to replace these bars with natural branches. It is not necessary to buy it, since any tree branch, properly cut, can be used.
They provide a better grip for the parakeet, are more resistant and do not injure its legs. Also, these same branches are good for cleaning your potatoes and beak when you want to groom yourself.
Like other animals, parakeets love toys because it helps them get out of their monotony a little. The one they like the most is the swing, but they also like having a rope or a ladder. There is no need to fill the cage with toys, as this will stress the animal. In addition, mirrors or toys that can reflect light should be avoided at all costs, as this will be bothersome and stressful for the parakeet.
It is advisable to place newspaper at the base of the cage, which will make cleaning easier. In summer, it is a good idea for the parakeet to have a cup or glass of water inside the cage where it can cool off, but it should be removed once the cage is finished.
Where to place the budgie cage?
Another very important question, where to place the parakeet cage? The biggest mistake most owners make is to place it in the kitchen, an area where they are exposed to fumes and vapors that are deadly to them. They can’t be placed near a television set or under fluorescent tubes, as the sight of parakeets detects rapid flashes of light that are annoying to them and could end up driving them crazy.
So, where to place the cage? The living room, near a window and away from the TV is a good place. It is one of the busiest rooms in the house and allows you to hear the noise from outside, as they love the noise. At first they may feel frightened, but little by little they will get used to the atmosphere and will love the area. A sunny area in the morning but dark at night is perfect. Also, you can help them sleep better by covering them at night with a dark blanket, taking care to leave a space for air to pass through so they don’t choke.
If you choose to hang the cage, it should be at least as high as your eyes. This helps them to see everything from above, which is what they are used to. In the case of placing the cage on a table or on a special foot, they must be high so that the animal does not feel strange.
Although the sun may prove to be very beneficial for these animals, special care must be taken to leave them in direct contact with the sun’s rays. They also cannot be in a draughty area, as this causes them to catch a cold. Try the different areas of the house to choose the best place for the parakeet.
It is not usually highly recommended, but there is really no problem moving the cage from one place to another. During the day you can leave the parakeet in a sunny area, but at night in a dark area where the animal is comfortable to sleep in. However, sudden movements should be avoided so as not to wake them up during transport.
What happens if you decide to have the parakeet’s cage outside?
If you have a garden and plenty of space, it’s no wonder you prefer to have your parakeet outside your home. In these cases the cages have to be large, so that you can move freely without any discomfort.
It must not be located in a place where it receives the sun directly without having the possibility of shelter, nor where there are strong air currents. It also has to be taken into account that it has protection against rain, such as a roof over the cage and inside it a shed in which to take shelter.
Once they are located outside the house, in this case they should not be moved from there. In a flat they get used to what the territory is like right away, so there aren’t many problems, but when it’s outside, they don’t like changes very much. So choose a place where you can be well all year round or acclimatize for them. Unlike those who are bought or brought from outside, parakeets born in the cage will have no trouble acclimatizing to their new environment.
The big problem with having them outside is predators like rodents. The cages must be well protected so that they cannot reach them, and care must be taken to ensure that there is no cage in the area. Or this could not only lead to the death of the parakeets, but also to a huge pest in the house.
What can you feed a budgie?
The seeds are the basis of their diet, especially oats, but they also eat canaryseed, wheat and millet. However, there are other types of foods that they like. One example is lettuce, which should be given in small portions. A good food to give them in summer, as it contains water and it helps them to hydrate.
Other vegetables they can eat include carrots, spinach and chard, which provide vitamin A for their development. The apple is very good because of its high water content, although parakeets prefer bananas for their flavour. In other words, look for foods that are rich in vitamin A while they are growing, that are rich in calcium and especially in iodine.
If their food is based on seeds, they should be aware that they usually leave the shell, so you have to change the food in the trough every day or they will not want to eat. Although it is not highly recommended, you can also give them a little bread, pasta or cooked rice, as well as cheese and a little egg from time to time. Some people also give them a little cooked meat but it is not the best thing for the animal.
How do you breed and reproduce a parakeet colony?
The breeding of a parakeet colony requires a lot of work, perseverance and effort. Especially if you want to have a lot of them or try different color combinations.
Having already a male and a female, comes the important part: the calf. Parakeets can breed very young at five months, but it is best to wait until at least one year old. The reason for this is simple: if they are young, they may suffer from diseases or disorders when breeding. The fertility of the parakeet starts at an early age and can last up to six years.
Parakeets can breed at any time of the year, however the best season is spring, when temperatures are neither too cold nor too warm. They must not be molting their feathers and be healthy. It is not recommended that they have offspring more than three times a year, because they may become exhausted and their offspring may be of inferior quality.
With all this in mind, what can be done to motivate parakeets to breed? Some parakeets breed on their own, but there are some things you can do to help them. For example, they will need something to build their nest with, which they make from non-poisonous tree wood, so leaving the twigs inside the cage will motivate them to make one. Another option is to make a homemade one, but this is something that parakeets don’t usually like very much, so it’s best to let them do it themselves.
Once they have the nest and the couple is in place, during the mating season the courtship will begin and after three or four days the copulation will begin. After that, the female will spend the entire day in the nest until she lays the first egg. The eggs are laid every other day and there are about 6 of them. Once all the eggs are laid, the female will incubate them for about 18 days. Since there has been a difference in laying between each egg, the new chicks will hatch every two days.
It is normal for parakeets to be quite protective during their growth, so at this stage it is best to just change their water and food. They can even attack if someone gets too close to their calf.
What diseases can a parakeet have?
Parakeets are not free from disease. Some are hereditary, others suffer from poor nutrition and some from the environment. It is normal for the parakeet to feel down or have stopped singing, which helps to let it know that something is wrong. But sometimes these can be seen by a change in plumage or the appearance of spots.
- Cold: If the parakeet’s cage is located in an area with a lot of air currents, or where there are sudden changes in temperature, it is normal for them to catch a cold. It’s not deadly, and just giving them a little warmth will help them recover.
- Scabies mites: Scabs will appear in the beak area, sometimes even on the legs. It’s not a fatal disease either, but it will bother the animal. Simply spread olive oil on a cotton swab and apply it to the affected area to help it recover.
- Craw cold: These cases occur when the parakeet has been fed adulterated or green food, such as lettuce, without proper washing. The parakeet will feel sad, its feathers will bristle and its skin may turn purple. Plus, he’ll stop eating and drinking. The most common is that after 3 – 5 days of illness the parakeet will die, so clean grains and washed vegetables should be given.
- Gastro-intestinal cold: It is more common to see it in the youngest specimens when the quality of the grain is of poor quality. The parakeet depresses, does not eat and has white stools. They should be separated from the rest of the animals in the cage so that they do not become infected by being placed in an environment with a mild temperature and clean feed.
- Asthma: Parakeets can also suffer from asthma. It’s quite difficult to cure, but not impossible. Luckily it doesn’t cause death. Place a small piece of liquorice or a few drops of Tolupe syrup in the drinker’s water.
- Bronchitis: Germs, gas… it is common for parakeets with a cage in or near the kitchen to suffer from it. They breathe with difficulty, opening their beaks to suck in air, and are usually still with their eyes closed. It is best to put them in a warm but ventilated area.
- Epilepsy: It is very normal in very young specimens. The symptoms are jumping from one side to the other in a strange and crazy way, being paralyzed at the end. It’s a disease that can’t be cured, although some experts say that showering them in cold water and drying them in the sun helps them relax.
- Constipation: Parakeets will not be able to pass stools, although a little lettuce may help them heal. It is usually caused by a stressful situation.
- Fractures: It is not very common, but these animals can also break a wing or leg. In these cases it is best to take it to the veterinarian for precautions before it becomes incurable.
- Melancholy: Although a parakeet can get used to living alone in its cage, if it had a partner before it is normal that after the death of this one feels very alone. It is normal for the melancholy to disappear when you put him with another partner.
- Obesity: Can a parakeet get fat? If in the case of eating foods with a lot of fat. It’s not deadly, but it’s best to have a cage with some exercise equipment, such as a swing, and change your diet to vegetables.
- Paralysis: Sometimes some parakeets may have trouble making some movements. This is often due to a lack of vitamins or sunlight.
- Paraphosis: Parakeets feel as if they are depressed, remaining in their jumpers with ruffled feathers and closed eyes. It is often fatal, although two to five grams of iron sulfate in the water can help them recover.
- Nugget: Under the tongue the parakeet will develop a small tumor that will prevent it from eating. But it is not fatal, because by opening their beaks and holding their tongues with tweezers, they can be disinfected with a liquid based on crushed onions and strong vinegar. Although it’s best to leave it in the hands of a professional.
- Louse: A small organism that lodges under the feathers. Parakeets affected by these parasites usually have ruffled feathers and are restless. The parakeet should be sprayed with 90º C alcohol so that it can be removed.
What are the steps to follow to train the parakeet?
There is a big difference between the parakeet taking a liking to its owner and the owner being trained. It is not an easy thing to achieve, but it can be achieved. The most important thing is patience and constancy.
The most important thing is that the parakeet is young, as they are easier to train because they are more docile. It is also important that the parakeet’s character is cheerful and playful. This is what to look for when buying a parakeet. Be very careful to buy what is sold in stores as a “trained parakeet”. They have only had their feathers cut off so that they cannot fly and are forced to stand on one of our fingers so that they can get out of the cage.
Once you have the parakeet you have to wait for it to adapt to its new environment, which will take a few days. You will notice that you are already better adapted to your surroundings when you start singing or moving around in the cage. Once you are used to your new home, you have to earn the animal’s trust.
It is normal for them to be afraid and to think that we are going to hurt them, so first of all we must place the cage in a place where there are usually people and get used to them. Also, you should approach the cage at first only to change the food and water, speaking to them in a soft tone of voice.
Once you are used to the atmosphere of the house and our voice, it is time to take a new step forward in your confidence. Do not put your whole hand in the cage, as this will scare you. First of all, you have to get it on your finger.
To achieve this, you have to offer him some treats he likes on his finger, such as panizo, lettuce or carrot. Day after day he will become more confident, until at the end he is on his finger. Once this is done, we will have to caress her belly with our fingers. It requires a lot of patience, and under no circumstances should the animal be forced to climb on the finger.
Little by little you have to take the parakeet out of the cage on your finger, but it will not come out at first or it will fly away. Which could be a big problem, since many parakeets will not want to return to their captivity when they know about freedom.
What to do with the parakeet when it is out of the cage?
Making the mistake of leaving a space for the parakeet to escape or getting it out of the cage too early on the finger will cause it to decide to explore its new environment. It is actually recommended that the parakeet come out of the cage to exercise its wings a little.
It is normal for you to bump into furniture and walls, as it is an environment you do not know well and you will be a little nervous. In addition, there should be no sharp objects, stoves or fans that could stress the animal while exploring the area. The parakeet has to come out of its cage by itself and not by force. In these cases, it is best for the parakeet to be used to the owner’s hand, so that it can be put back in the cage when it has exercised enough.
You don’t have to chase him when he’s out of the cage or try to catch him. Just put a little of your favorite treat in your hand and let it go straight to your hand. Then bring him closer to the cage so he can just get in. Because he knows that there is food and water in the cage, he may just go back to it on his own.
What do you need to know before buying a parakeet?
The most common thing is to buy a parakeet in a pet shop, but unfortunately it is not the best idea. The motive? In the shops they do not usually worry much about the health of these animals and it is not uncommon for one of them to be sick or to be a very stressed animal when living with many others.
But if you opt for this acquisition, the ones to avoid are:
- Those with smooth and unclear plumage, with tail feathers without forming the kind of silhouette of young birds.
- Their feathers are hollowed out and are in the bottom of the cage, allowing them to be easily removed. It’s a sign that they’re sick.
- If your feathers are sticky or dirty around your anus, and your feet and claws are dirty, they are not in good health.
- The beak is cracked and the waxy holes are dirty. They may make harsh noises and gasp for breath.
- The skin is usually pink, but if they have yellow skin, they suffer from adipose degeneration.
How do you clean the parakeet?
Parakeets are very clean and neat animals, but it is not enough for them to groom their beaks to keep them clean. In the summer, a cup of water is a good way to cool off while washing, but in the winter it is also good for them to have a place to do so.
Don’t worry too much about how long your toenails will be, because with the bars of the cage and the bars of the swings and the poles of the hangers they will be of a reasonable size. If you decide to cut them, leave this to a professional. But if you do it once, you should always do it, because your nails will grow curved after the first cut.
It is important to clean the cage a couple of times a week. Placing newsprint on the base of the cage makes it a little easier to clean. If the parakeet is a bit tame, you can get him used to coming out of his cage during the cleaning task, so that he can spread his wings while he’s at it. The trough should be cleaned once a day to remove the shells of the canaryseed, while the water should be cleaned three times a week to remove any microbes and bacteria.