Taking Care Of Your Budgie
"WE CARE ABOUT PET CARE" and we know you do too!
That's why we're including this care and handling brochure with your new budgerigar (Parakeet). This guide will answer many of your questions and will help you take good care of your budgie. Sometimes you will have to consult your local veterinarian on animal health problems. You, your veterinarian and your pet store form the team which will be responsible for your budgie's well-being during it's lifetime.
A budgerigar is a friendly, cheerful companion for young and old alike, and is particularly suitable for apartments and other environments not conducive to larger pets. He or she is bright in appearance, personality and intelligence and will bring you many years of love enjoyment and companionship.
Many budgies are classified as "bar-heads" which relates to the pattern of feathers across the top of the head that carries on down to the cere (band of flesh across the top of the beak). Bars indicate the age of the budgie since they gradually disappear beginning at about eight weeks. Full adult Plumage is acquired when the bird is three to four months old. Some light colored budgies, such as Albinos and Lutinos, may not have discernible bars. Your budgie should be the picture of health, with clear eyes and glossy full plumage (unless he's molting).
It is also difficult to guarantee the sex of a budgie until the bird is at least three months old. At this age, the cere will have turned blue for a cock, or brown for a hen. Again, this does not hold true for Lutinos or Albinos.
Taking Your Budgie Home
Your new pet will be placed in a special bird box so that you can take it home safely. Your pet store carries a wide variety of cages, and it would be a good idea to match your new pet to the proper cage for its needs. Any large cage having horizontal bars should be suitable. Horizontal bars are easier for budgies to grasp.
When bird and cage arrive in their new home, it is wise to follow a simple procedure prior to letting the budgie out of its box. First, situate the cage in a room which enjoys an even temperature, free of drafts. Position the cage an adequate distance from windows so that the bird does not get too much heat from direct sunlight in the summer or too much cold in the winter.
It should also be placed at a reasonable height since budgies don't like being low. A high cage also is not as apt to being interfered with by other animals such as cats and dogs. The cage should be setup complete with food and water and a small sprinkling of seed on the floor to ensure that the budgie has enough to eat until it finds the feeder. After the bird is acclimated to its new home, seed should no longer be placed on the floor since it could become contaminated with fecal material.
When everything is ready, you should gently open the box and let the budgie walk into its new home. At first, the bird may seem bewildered and might flurrer about wildly in the unfamilier surroundings. If it doesn't settle down quickly, drape a cover over the top and sides of the cage to give it a feeling of security. After it has been quiet for a while, the cover may be removed.
Your bird should be left to itself the first few days (or weeks) to allow it to adjust to its new surroundings. As it regains its confidence it will start to explore its new home. Very young birds may just sit on the perch or the floor of the cage for the first day. Total adjustment to the environment may take a week. Don't forget to clean the cage frequently and scrape the perches. Wash and disinfect the cage occasionally to prevent the buildup of fecal material.
Budgies are easy to feed, and your pet shop can supply a high quality budgie feed mixture consisting of canary, white millet, and pannicum seeds. The seed dish should be washed, dried and refilled as often as necessary since it can be soiled with fecal material. Wash and refill water dishes everyday, particularly if vitamins are added to the water. Millet sprays can be provided in small quantities as a treat, but not in excess. Honey bells and seed sticks may also be offered.
Cuttlebone or a mineral block as a source of calcium should always be available as should a variety of fruits and vegetables. You can also try your budgie on breads, cheeses and table food. A number of pelletized diets and vitamin supplements are also good for your budgie and are available at your pet store. During the early months of adjustment and training, you may find twice-a-day feedings helpful. If your budgie is not receiving fruits and vegetables frequently, consider supplementing its diet with vitamins. Your pet store can advise you on type and amount.