You may have recently jumped into the world of bird ownership with a pet budgie and so you may be wondering what you should know about your new pet. Today, our Greeley vets offer some advice on how to care for your new pet budgie.
Budgies for Beginners
Budgies can be a great choice as a pet bird for beginners who love birds and are ready to bring a pet bird into their life.
The budgie (budgerigar) is a small colorful bird from Australia that is both easy and inexpensive to care for. These delightful little birds are lovable and affectionate, and some may even learn to say a few words if you are patient and attentive to their needs.
How Many Budgies Should You Get?
While individual personalities differ, most budgies are playful and active. If you're the type of pet parent with plenty of time to devote to your feathered friend then keeping a single budgie should be fine.
On the other hand, if you aren't sure how much time you will be able to spend interacting and bonding with your pet bird, it may be best to bring home a pair to keep together. That said, single budgies are more likely to learn to speak than those who have other feathered friends sharing their space.
When choosing a pet budgie it's a good idea to look for birds that have been hand-fed as babies and handled frequently by humans while young. This may help to ensure that your pet budgie isn't too fearful or nervous of you or others who live in your household.
Caring for Budgies
Budgies make great 'starter birds' for pet parents who are new to caring for avian pets. Below are a few guidelines on how to care for your pet budgie.
- Purchase the largest, best quality cage you can afford, and fit into your space. Be sure that the cage provides plenty of space for your budgie to extend their wings and flap without touching the sides.
- Equip your budgie's cage with a variety of perches so that your budgie can move around and change position easily. Include one concrete perch to help keep your budgie's nails trimmed, and do not place a perch directly over food or water as this could lead to contamination.
- Place the cage in an area where your feathered friend will be able to see family members moving around and feel like part of the family. Ideally, the cage should be located in a spot with lots of natural light but out of direct sunlight or drafts.
- Be sure to clean your budgie's cage at least once a week and scrub the food and water bowls, toys, and cage bottom with hot soapy water (then rinse well).
- Whether you own a single budgie or a pair, entertainment is going to be important for your pet. Budgies are smart, active little creatures that need to keep their minds occupied.
- Provide your feathered friend with a selection of bird-specific toys that won't catch their beaks or nails. Look for budgie-specific mirrors, swings, and chew toys in order to avoid potentially toxic materials or choking hazards.
- Supervised time outside of the cage is a great way to ensure that your budgie gets plenty of exercise. Restrict your pet's access to a single (supervised) room and be sure that there are no hot elements or open windows that could cause your budgie harm. Bird-specific play gyms are available from reputable pet stores that can help to keep your budgie occupied and happy while enjoying time outside of the cage.
- 75% of your budgie's diet should be a specially formulated pellet food for small parrots, the remaining 25% should consist of a variety of fresh foods including leafy greens, fruits and sprouted greens. Contact your avian vet for more information on what to feed your budgie.
- It is essential for your budgie to always have access to clean fresh water. Change your pet's water every day to help your bird stay happy!
- Even before you consider purchasing a budgie, it is important to locate a vet in your area that has training in the treatment of avian patients. If your budgie becomes ill, knowing where you can find help quickly is going to be important.
- Your pet budgie should see an avian veterinarian every 6 - 12 months for a standard checkup including a fecal exam, blood work and a wing or nail trim (if required).
- Some common health issues seen in budgies include parasites, obesity, chronic egg laying, overgrown nails and beaks, and egg binding. Contact your avian vet right away if you have any concerns about your budgie's health.