‣ Budgerigars, commonly knows as “Budgies, or Shell Parakeets”.
‣ Scientific name: Melopsittacus Undulatus
‣ Origin: Australia
‣ Size: Ranging from 6 to 8 inches
‣ Average lifespan: 6 to 10 years
Did you know! The oldest budgerigar ever recorded according to Genus Record, was named Charlie, he lived in England, and reached the age of 29.
So, what is a Budgie?
Budgies are one of the most popular pets worldwide, right after cats and dogs. They come in so many color variations, they have an amazing social nature, easily cared for, easily bread, and readily available. You can hardly ever find a pet store that doesn’t have these amazing smart little parrots.
But because of that, many people buy them out of an impulse without taking the time to learn about them beforehand.
Sadly; It’s not that hard to see how many budgies’ owners and sellers who don’t have enough knowledge on how to properly care for these birds.
There are two types of Budgerigars;
Whereas, the most significant difference between the two is their size.
English budgies are 2-3 times the size of wild budgies.
Budgerigars are the smallest specie of true parrots; as they have a curved beak and their feet has 4 toes; 2 forward and 2 backward.
In the wild, they live in very large flocks, so they have a very social nature, that is why it is advisable to get a pair instead of one bird if you don’t have enough time to spend with your bird (daily).
And by spending time with him, I mean; How much time you have to spend 1 on 1 quality time with your bird; interacting and training him/her.
How to choose your Budgie?
Choosing your budgie could be a bit overwhelming. However there are certain things you need to look for in your budgie to make sure he is in good health.
Pay attention to details:
- Make sure you get a young weaned bird.
- Look for the active birds.
Birds are really good at hiding their sickness. So you need to look for those who are active; flying from one perch to another. If a bird seems to be lazy, sitting at the button of the cage most the time, has trouble balancing and has ruffled feathers, chances are; that the bird is sick or injured.
- See if the bird’s feathers have any bold spots.
- Check out their beaks and feat. Make sure that they don’t have any deformities.
- The bird’s eyes has to be; bright and clear.
- Check their food and water.
- If you want a really tamed budgie, ask for hand feed ones.
- And finally, once you purchase your bird, take him to the vet to make sure he is in good health.
Note: If you already have other birds, don’t introduce the new member to the flock before getting him checked at the vet. If he is carrying any illness, you don’t want the rest of your birds to catch it.
So now you have your little companion, got him checked and he is in perfect shape… ready to be introduced to his/her new home.
How to make your budgies happy?
1. Cage size and Bar spacing:
“The Bigger the Better”
The Standard rule for buying any bird’s cage is that: the cage has to be double the size of the bird with its wings spread.
You can never get a cage that is too big, but you can get one the is too small!
It makes me really sad when I see beautiful birds like budgies put in a tiny cages without enough room for anything really… Just because the salesman said its OK.
Budgies are very playful, they love to climb up and down the cage, hop and fly around from one perch to the other, so they need enough space to do that.
Just because they are small, doesn’t mean they don’t need enough space to fly around and play.
Minimum budgies cage size as recommended by professionals is: 12 by 18 by 18 inches (30 by 45.72 by 45.72 cm) for 1 Bird.
Given that the bird will be given regular hours outside the cage daily. Yet, I still personally believe that is too small for the birds.
It’s important to know that; If you get a cage that is too small for the number of budgies you have, they can become really aggressive and hurt one another.
‣ Bar Spacing:
Bar spacing is also very important. Because, if you get a cage with bar spacing that is too wide for your bird, there is a risk of the bird sticking his head between the bars, which may injure the bird, or even worse, he may actually choke to death.
For budgies, It is advisable to get a cage with Bar spacing that is: 1/2 to 5/8 inches (1.27 to 1.5875 cm).
2. Perches and Toys:
There are so many different types of perches on the market that you can choose from. However, you need to make sure that; the perches are comfortable, and that you get them in different sizes and textures.
If all the perches are of the same sizes and textures, it can cause sores and deformities in your bird’s legs.
Moreover, toys are very important to stimulate your budgies mentally and physically. So that they don’t get bored.
In the wild, birds spend most of their time forging for food. But in captivity food is just there, so you need to find ways to keep them busy… thus happy.
Nevertheless, you can always create your own Forging toys for your birds. It can be as simple as placing a piece of paper on top of their food bowl, to more complicated ones that they can chew and play with… Just make sure the toy is safe for the birds. Meaning that; there’s no chemicals used and that it doesn’t have pieces they may choke on.
3. Cleaning the cage:
The Cage must be cleaned regularly.
With budgies, i personally prefer to place a paper towel at the bottom of the cage, and simply roll it and throw it away on daily basis or as much as needed.
Water bottle should be cleaned and refilled daily to prevent Bacterial infections.
‣ Deep Cleaning the cage:
Deep cleaning the cage is really important, for you and your birds. You must Deep Clean it every couple of weeks.
Personally, I deep clean my birds cages once a month (or more if needed).. However, you can do it more or less depending on your birds and how much you feel the cage needs to be cleaned.
‣ How to deep clean the cage?
Never use soap – Birds are very sensitive. Soap and other cleaning products leave chemical residues that may harm your birds.
To deep clean the cage; you can either use vinegar or lemon juice. Those 2 help in killing bacteria.
Personally, I prefer filling a spray bottle with water, vinegar and 1 lemon to give it a fresh smell;
1. Remove everything from the cage: Food plates, water bottles, and perches.
2. Get a new scrub, and deeply clean everything, using the spray bottle you prepared earlier. Or you can simply wash it under the sink with water first, then use a clean scrub or towel while spraying with the vinegar/Lemon juice mix.
3. Leave them to dry, then put everything back in its place.
Note: If your budgies are nesting on eggs, Deep clean with a wet towel without touching the nest, or moving the cage.
Budgies are seed eaters. They just love them. However, to make sure that your budgies are getting sufficient nutrition, Fresh Vegetables and fruits must be served, in addition to their seeds.
But I will get to that in details, in another article..
‣ How many times should i bath my budgie?
Some people would tell you to shower your bird every 4 days or so, some may say more and some may say less.
Honestly, there is not a define answer or rule to that in my opinion. The method varies depending on; the whether, where you live and each of your birds’ personal preferences.
Whereas, the more you observe your birds, the more you will get to learn what they enjoy.
‣ Different ways to shower your birds:
Most Budgies love spray bottle baths. Fill a Spray bottle with water, and gently spray your birds.
If you find the little guy rolling around, and moving closer to the bottle, this means he’s enjoying it. But, If he flies away, its your sign to stop.
My Birds love it, specially on a hot day.
2. The Classic bowl of water bath:
Just fill up one of their bowls with water and watch them happily singing and jumping in and out.
However, if this method is what your birds preference is, be careful; don’t leave the water for too long, so they don’t get bacterial infections. And don’t fill it in a deep bowl because accidents may happen, and the bird may drown.
3. Open Faucet:
I’ve never personally tried this method, but i have seen so many videos on YouTube of bird owners opening the water tap, and the birds just love it. They fly around, pass under the water, and jump in and out of he sink.
4. Rolling around in wet greens:
Some budgies would fly away if you spray them with a spray bottle, but put their greens wet in the cage and they will roll around in it.
So just observe your birds, and that’s how you really get to know them. Each bird has their own personality and characteristics. The more time you give them, the more you learn and understand what makes each of them happy. And it shows in the simplest things like; Taking a Bath.
Budgies are flock birds, which means that; in the wild they live in large flocks, and it’s really rare to see a budgie or any parrot alone in the wild, unless he’s hurt or sick. Moreover, these birds are monogamous, which means they mate for life. So if you decide to get 1 bird, you need to spend at least an hour interacting with your bird everyday. However, its much advisable to get 2 budgies.
Hope you found that useful.. I’ll See you next time ✌️