Keeping Budgerigars As Pets: Complete Guide For Beginners

Budgerigars or simply Budgies have the scientific name Melopsittacus undulatus. In the United States, they are also known as parakeets. Along with other parakeets like African lovebirds, Fig parrots, Asian hanging parrots, pygmy parrots. Budgerigars also belong to the family of smaller parrots.

The history of Budgerigars traced back to 1840 when they were first imported into Britain by John Gould. Although today, due to a series of mutations, there is a rich diversity available in colors ranging from soft blue, gray, green, yellow to many more; The purebred boasts a vibrant bright green and yellow coloration with scalloped markings that start from the neck, move down the back, and spread beautifully on the wings.

How Long Do Budgerigars Live?

Although the lifespan of a Budgerigar is mainly 8 to 10 years, it can even live up to 14 to 20 years. Liked and loved more among companion birds, a budgerigar is a lovely companion.

With a cute little beak and adorable talk, it would reach your heart fluffy making sure to provide you and your family with endless hours of rewarding joy and entertainment!

Is A Budgerigar Right Pet For You?

Before keeping a budgerigar as a pet, you may consider whether your choice of pet is right for you and your family or not by answering the following questions:

  1. The lifespan of a budgie varies from 9 to 20 years. Can you commit to the care and responsibility of a budgerigar throughout its life?
  2.  The gender of any bird cannot be determined at an early age. Will you accept a male budgerigar if you initially wanted a female?
  3. To keep your budgie happy and healthy, you should follow a routine. Are you willing to spend a part of your time cleaning, exercising, camaraderie, and your friend’s diet?
  4.  A budgie demands attention and care. Since they live in flocks, if you neglect the bird, it could become isolated, stressed or even sick. You should also spend at least 10-15 minutes every day cleaning your pet’s house. Can you and the other members of your family provide the necessary time and love?
  5. Budgerigars are messy! From their feathers, food to their droppings, they intend to follow their own rules. Decorating their surroundings with their trash seems to be their number one rule. There is no taming for this habit. It is what a budgerigar is. Are you ready to accept the complete package?
  6. Consider your environment and lifestyle before buying a budgerigar. You certainly don’t want to cause a disagreement with your neighbors when your budgie starts singing and talking at 6 in the morning.
  7. Although budgerigars are generally healthy if given the proper nutrition, will you be able to afford veterinary costs if your budgerigar becomes ill? Since birds vary from mammals, the diagnosis is complex and the costs of the vet can be expensive. Are you willing to handle these expenses?

How Many Budgies Should You Keep?

If you have a busy schedule, but still want a pet budgerigar, you may want to consider adopting a pair. Some reasons to get a pair of budgies are:

  1. You enjoy watching the interaction between your budgerigars.
  2. Your budgie would not feel lonely if you are busy and cannot play with it.

However, you should be prepared for the following:

  1. Budgerigars can be chirpy. If you prefer a quiet environment or reside in a small place, you can think twice.
  2. Training a couple would be more difficult than a single budgerigar since they tend to bond with each other rather than with their owner.
  3. Two budgerigars will need a larger cage.
  4. If they are male and female, mating can take place followed by offspring.
  5. It is not recommended to buy three budgerigars since two would form a pair, neglecting and possibly even bullying the rest.

Bringing Your New Budgerigar Home

Now that you have bought your new pet budgie, it is time to present it to your home. Selecting a pet store closest to your residence is recommended to avoid unnecessary stress and waste of time during an emergency. Also, after selecting your budgie, you should buy an amount of feeding that the budgerigar is used to having. To make the welcome perfect, here are some tips to help you:

  1. Ready the budgie cage beforehand. This is to avoid discomfort and disturbance once your new pet has arrived. You could place the budgie directly in its new home without having to store it in a stuffy box or make it wait.
  2. During your journey from the pet store to your home, keep the budgerigar carry box stable and upright.
  3. Try to get to your destination as fast as possible. If your vehicle is a car, keep the cardboard box away from hot or cold air conditioning. Upon arrival, move around with the bird carrier as smoothly as possible.

How to place your budgie in your new home

  1. Never handle the carry box roughly. This causes even more trauma to the already stressed and confused budgie. First make sure all requirements have been made, including food and water dishes, a swing, ladders, toys, and safety supplies. Open the entrance to the cage. Now gently place the budgerigar box in front of the cage door. Open the box and allow the budgie to come out for a few minutes on its own. If you’re still scared, lift the box up a bit and tap at the end. The budgerigar would receive the message and enter the cage.
  2. However, if the carry box can easily go through the cage door without any hustle, then you can place the box on the floor of the cage. Give the budgie time to come out of its own accord. Do not interfere with the box until at least the next day.
  3. At all costs, avoid touching the budgerigar or physically removing it. Once the budgerigar has moved into the cage, very slowly retrieve the carry box, close the cage door securely, and leave the budgerigar alone.

Feeding Your Budgerigar

If you expect your budgerigar to live a healthy and long life, it is vital to give it a proper diet. Select a diet that they would have originally eaten if they had not been kept as pets. This is because any food item outside their digestive system can pose a threat to the absorption of essential nutrients. So how do you give them the natural diet and wild party they deserve?

Base Diet

Your budgerigar’s diet should consist mainly of a mixture of good quality seeds or granules. This can generally be found in pet stores. Some people also create their own DIY food mix comprising canary seed (40%), millet (50%), and oatmeal (10%).

Vegetables And Fruits

Budgerigars can survive on seeds, but for proper health, it is essential to include vegetables in their diet. Like humans, budgerigars must also eat fruits and green vegetables for long and good life.

During the spring season, small grasses can be found that go through different stages, from bright green seeds to dry mature seeds on the stem. Pick up a few bunches of these and along with them, you can include a bag of dandelion, chickweed, and shepherd purse.

If you have a garden with these vegetables, include them and your budgerigar would greatly appreciate it: broccoli, silverbeet, green pepper, peas, spinach, sweet corn, celery, and zucchini.

Make sure the vegetable is thoroughly washed free of any dirt, pebbles, or thorns. Also, make sure the garden is not poisonous, toxic, or near a busy road.

In the fruit section, any fruit you provide your budgerigar will delight you. From mango, papaya, banana, orange, apple, grapes, plums, guava, pomegranate, peach, watermelons to any other edible fruit you can think of, budgerigars are fans of fruits, especially juicy ones.

Maintain a variety in the budgerigar’s diet and offer it something new and interesting every day. Although it may initially ignore it, keep submitting the items. You can also place the new food on the budgerigar’s favorite dish.

Important Tips For Interacting With Your New Budgie

Now, this is the perfect opportunity if you want to gain your pet budgerigar’s trust. Since the budgerigar has been taken away from its companions, it would feel lonely and isolated. Here are some tips to help you establish and build confidence with your budgerigar:

  1. Initially, for at least two to three weeks, allow the budgerigar space and time to adjust to the changed surroundings.
  2. Let it get used to activities at home. Inform family members to leave the budgerigar alone. With the exception of the person who will be responsible for taming the budgerigar, no one should disturb the budgerigar, look inside the cage, or even try to touch the bird. Because your budgie is new and adorable, it can be difficult to resist, but it is a vital step in training.
  3. The person in charge of taming the budgie can approach the cage and speak softly to the bird several times a day. Have plenty of treats ready and offer them to your budgie.
  4. At first, the budgerigar will refuse to eat or drink, but gradually it will begin to eat, drink, preening and chirping. When you notice that your budgie does these things, it means that it finally relaxed and accepted his new life.
  5. Be sure not to scare the budgerigar (such as grabbing or scaring it with noise) as this transition period would be the judge of its future behavior and personality.
  6. Although anyone can watch from a distance, only a family member (probably you) should be able to interact with it. This is important so that the budgerigar is not overwhelmed. Gradually, after having gained the trust of your budgerigar, other family members who are interested in interacting with the budgerigar may introduce themselves.
  7. As with the previous advice, it is important to give the budgie space. Have no more than a few people crowded around the budgerigar’s cage. This could cause the poor bird to feel trapped and traumatized.
  8. Keep the budgerigar in a less-frequented area of ​​the house. When around it, do your chores quietly and avoid the commotion. Whenever you pass the cage, speak in a low, soft tone so that the budgie gets used to its presence and voice.
  9. The cage should be level to the eyes so that you do not rise above the budgerigar.
  10. In its new cage, your budgerigar may not recognize and locate the seed and water dishes, even if they are inbuilt. You can initially sprinkle food on the floor. Also, make sure the budgie sees you pouring water on the plate.
  11. The budgerigar should be given the same food to which it is accustomed at first. Even if you want to switch to a better seed mix, you should transition slowly over a period of at least a week. Giving fruits and vegetables at this early stage can be harmful psychologically, as well as for the budgerigar’s digestive system. You can start giving hit fruits and vegetables gradually when it has settled more or less in its new environment.
  12. Budgerigars are strict followers of routine. Unlike other pets that may be excited or curious about new toys, budgerigars may not like a new toy or accessory and may even be terrified of the new object. Slowly introduce something new and watch your pet’s reaction. Some owners introduce new toys by hanging the toy out of the cage to see how they would react first.
  13. Budgerigars are social creatures and love to interact. Once the bird has adapted slightly to its surroundings, you can play soft music in the room so that the budgerigar does not feel isolated.
  14. Budgerigars need adequate sleep to be healthy, so starting from the first night, it is recommended to use a cloth cage to create a safe and comfortable sleeping environment for your parakeet.

Taming Your Budgerigar

Now that your new pet budgerigar has accepted its new home, the time has finally come to tame it by hand. Having a budgerigar used to your hand when it is six or twelve weeks is the best option since a six-month-old budgerigar catches up more slowly.

Here are all the techniques necessary to help you:

  1. The first sacrifice is on your part: patience. You can be sure that the end result will be worth it.
  2. Only the person who has been in contact with the bird from the beginning should opt for a hand taming. It is essential to form a bond that the budgie can trust.
  3. Once it used to your presence, go ahead and put your hand on the other side of the cage. All the while keep talking in the same soft tones. Don’t scare or surprise it by moving your hand suddenly. The best way is to slowly raise your hand from under the cage and then slowly move it closer to your budgie. If the budgie is still flutters or flaps, remove your hand and continue speaking. Now gently approach the bird again. After a while, it would get used to the presence of your hand.
  4. Once the budgerigar is no longer afraid of your hand, place some of its food in the palm of your hand or fingers and move slowly. Do not back off until the budgerigar approaches you. Note that you should not jump or back when the budgerigar is approaching and pecking at your fingers. This is how a budgerigar makes sure that your hand is not a threat. Once secured, your budgie can eat from your palm or even jump on your hand. This is the moment you have been waiting for. Stand still and let happiness and contentment kick in!
  5. Another technique is to place an empty hand near the budgerigar. Although your budgerigar may be cautious at first, you should get used to it as you move your hand closer to its perch. However, do not touch the budgerigar. While you are slowly moving towards your Budgie, keep talking softly. Now place a finger near its perch. After a minute or two, touch its feet. If the budgerigar doesn’t care, slowly touch its stomach. This is when your budgie could jump on your finger.
  6. When you have managed to convince your budgie to climb on your hand, stay stationary. After a while, move your hand (with the budgerigar still on it) an inch or two to the right and then to the left. If the budgie jumps, repeat the session one more time and then walk away. Conduct hand taming sessions for 15-20 minutes, at least five times a day, with an interval of every two hours.
  7. At this stage of taming, do not place your hand or finger on the budgerigar’s head, back or tail. Doing so will make the bird feel insecure.
  8. If you have two or more budgies, training can be more difficult as budgies will distract from each other. If you have multiple budgies, it’s a good idea to start taming just one of the first and move on to the others later.
  9. Once you have fully hand tamed your budgie, you can introduce it to your family members or others.
  10. During hand taming, all you need is perseverance, as the procedure can take up to 3 days, 3 weeks, or even 3 months to successfully achieve the end result.

How To Teach Your Budgie To Talk

Budgerigars are adorable chatterboxes. Once a budgerigar gets used to you, it will eagerly await those precious moments when you will perch it on your shoulder or finger. So how do you form this beautiful bond and make your budgie speak to you?

For quick results, you can try the following tips:

  • Try to spend as much time as possible with your budgie. Whenever you are close to your budgie, say a few words of greeting. For example, in the morning say “Good morning”, while bidding farewell for the evening say “Good night” or “Sweet dreams” and giving it something to eat say “Here you go”. Also, if you pass by or clean its tray, it may say, “How are you?” or ‘Where’s the pretty boy?’ etc.
  • Develop imaginative and fun phrases and soon your budgie will start to imitate you.
  • Use the same tone and rhythm every time you speak to the budgerigar. Whatever phrase or words you want the budgerigar to learn, repeat them gently. Teach the budgerigar its own name. Initially, the budgie’s unpronounced chattering will be all jumbled up, but you’ll catch some of the words that look alike.
  • During teaching sessions, keep a tape recorder nearby. When the budgerigar is alone, play the recording. Watch its reactions carefully. By listening to some phrases, it may get excited and start chattering. Write down the phrases that tend to make your budgerigar happier and use these phrases more.
  • Start a journal dedicated to your budgie’s vocabulary and progress. Near the cage, make a note of all the phrases and words that the budgie loves to speak and hear, and keep a copy nearby so that visitors can also enjoy talking and interacting with your budgerigar using the same phrases. During sessions, for each successful pronunciation, give your budgie a small gift and say, “Here’s your treat.”