Kissing Parakeets Parakeets are the most popular pet birds. They come in a wide range of beautiful colors and are affectionate and playful. There are many types of parakeets, the most common pet parakeet is the budgerigar or budgie. With a life span of about 10-15 years in captivity, they offer the companionship of a parrot without the burden of a 50 year plus commitment. They make the ideal first bird for children and new bird owners.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing

In the wild parakeets live in large flocks because of this in captivity they prefer to be with another parakeet so be prepared to own two.  Parakeets are highly
affectionate and intelligent. They will require at least thirty minutes a day of interaction with you. They like to be stroked and held and talked to.  Because of
their  intelligence they also need a lot of bird toys and distractions in their cage.

Parakeets, like parrots, can be taught to talk but only to a limited extent. Since their voices are quite soft many people believe that they are unable to talk but that is not true. They also love to learn new tricks so a parakeet will keep its owner busy entertaining him. A bored parakeet is a destructive parakeet so before deciding on a parakeet as your pet make sure you have enough time for it or you may be setting yourself up for some pet headaches.

Parakeet Cages

In the wild, parakeets love to fly so for your parakeet to be happy it needs to have enough room in its bird cage to fly freely. The bigger its cage the better. A minimum size bird cage for a pair of small parakeets is 39 in. x 20 in. x 32 in. Parakeets like to climb as well as fly, so they need both vertical and horizontal space. Parakeets don’t like cold drafts so keeping the cage away from windows and doors is important. They also don’t like strong smells so keep them away from kitchens and bathrooms. They require a 60-70% humidity level, so in dry areas or during winter when the humidity in the air in many places becomes very low a humidifier may be needed.

In the cage there should be numerous bird perches. Some should be set higher up and others should be in position for the waterer and bird food dishes. Parakeets enjoy a cuttle bone in their cage to keep their beak in shape and provide extra calcium. You can also put lava stones or concrete perches. They like to chew branches so various branches can be included in their cage too.

Beware of poisonous plants such as oleander, acacia, boxwood, horse chestnut, privet and laburnum. Good branches to use as perches would be willow, poplar and fruit trees.

Parakeets love bird toys! Lengths of thick hemp rope act as great gnawing toys for parakeets. They also like bird swings and bird cage ladders. Anything that is bird safe is ideal to keep these intelligent birds busy. Take care not to include toys with thin strings or breakable parts that could harm your parakeet.

Parakeet Food

Your parakeet needs fresh food and water everyday. The bird cage water bowls  should be washed in warm water daily to avoid build up of algae.

There are many brands of nutritionally complete bird pellets for parakeets. Here at Rick’s we feed them a mix of Roudybush Crumbles, ZuPreem Avian-maintenance FruitBlend, parakeet seed and topped with calcium and spirulina.

On top of this they should be given about a 1/4-cup of fruits and vegetables and other fresh food such as bean sprouts. Focus on the brightly colored fruits and vegetables like broccoli, mangoes, carrots, dandelions, green peppers, zucchini, and papaya for example. They also like additional protein foods like peanuts, peanut butter and eggs.

Do not feed your parakeet the following: avocados, grapefruit, lemons, cabbage, rhubarb or any processed dried fruit these are either difficult for your parakeet to digest or poisonous!

Parakeet Care

Parakeets should be let out of their bird cage to fly around at least a couple of hours each day. When out, be sure that all windows are closed and all fans, especially ceiling fans are off. Some people like to keep the wings of parakeets clipped to keep them from flying off too far. This is best left to the avian veterinarians  or Rick’s Fish & Pet store to do because if not done correctly bleeding can become serious. Experienced bird handlers and owners can use wing clipping scissors which are designed specifically for this application.

Parakeets need a bird bath about 2-3 times per week. How the bath is given will be decided by your bird’s preference. Some like the mist from a spray bottle. Some prefer a flat dish of water at the bottom of their cage where they can get inside and bathe themselves. Others like to get in the bathtub and be sprayed with a hand held shower. It will just depend what your pet prefers. It is better to give the bath in the morning so that the feathers are dried by bedtime.

Bird cages should be cleaned weekly making sure that all surfaces are washed thoroughly with bird cage cleaners.  Some Parakeets like to have their cage covered with a cloth at night.
Usually if there are cuttle bones and perches of a variety of textures your parakeet will keep its own toenails and beak in good shape. Occasionally, if the nails get too long you can trim them with a bird nail clipper that has been disinfected. Make sure you have styptic powder on hand in case you mistakenly trim to close to the vein and it starts bleeding. Holding the foot up to the light before trimming can help you identify where the vein is.

Parakeet Training

There are many informative bird books and bird CD’s about parakeets. The first thing to teach your parakeet is to take a treat from your hand. Then the bird can learn to let you scratch its head and to jump onto your finger when you put it out. Hand reared birds, since normally very used to people, are often easier to train. The best time to teach your bird new tricks is in the evening.

Parakeets, though not exceptional talkers, can learn a quite a few words and whistles. Only happy, healthy, well-loved birds are able to talk. So the first thing is to make sure your bird is comfortable with you and you with him before you start any training. Birds learn just like children. When you repeat a word while doing an action they will associate those two things. For example, when you give your parakeet a treat and you say the word “Treat” he will soon associate the treat with the word until he is able to say treat when he wants one. Repetition and patience are the key to training any pet and parakeets are no different.

Parakeet Illnesses

A healthy parakeets has: 
smooth feathers
, clear bright eyes
, normal stools, 
a healthy appetite and 
normal level of activity.

Like most birds, once a parakeet shows signs of sickness such as loss of weight, sitting at the bottom of the cage for a long time, sneezing and dripping from nose and mouth, the bird should be taken to an avian veterinarian.