Guest Author - Diana Geiger
The parakeet, budgerigar, or lovingly called a budgie, is one of the smallest members of the parrot family. The term parakeet covers many different species. The most common bird that the term parakeet covers is the Australian budgerigar. The Australian budgerigar is the color green in the wild. Through many years of selective breeding processes, the bird can be purchased in a variety of different colors.
The scientific term for the budgie is Melopsittacus undulates and fitting the meaning is song parrot with wavy lines.
Parakeets and budgerigars live and fly in flocks, They are a highly social animal and in all fairness to the budgies they should not live as a single bird unless you have a tremendous amount of time to spend with your budgie.
Male birds are more likely to talk than female birds. But females are every bit as sweet. You can tell the gender of parakeet by the cere (nose), the colored fleshy area above the nose. Males have a bluish or brighter colored cere whereas females have a brownish cere. Young budgies are sexed differently. Young males will most commonly have a dark pink cere, a young female can have a white or white bluish cere. There are differences to these rules but the majority of the time hold true.
Purchasing/Acquiring your Bird
Purchase the bird from a reputable breeder or pet store or adopt from a rescue. Make sure the parakeet has bright eyes and bright sleek feathers. If he is huddled up and droopy looking he may be sick. Observe the bird for a while and make sure he is active and interested in his surroundings. Make sure his vent is clean and his droppings are well formed.
A wire cage is best. Wire cages can be sanitized easily. A square or rectangle cage is much better than a round cage. As with any bird the bigger the cage the better. Make sure there is plenty of space for perches. Insert perches of different diameters for healthy feet.
The perches should be of various diameters for optimal foot health. Try to provide at least three different perches on three different levels. Wood perches are better than plastic perches. Parakeets enjoy chewing and can ingest some of the plastic. One of these perches can be a swing. Keep the swing and perches away from the food and water dishes. You want to keep the bird from eliminating in his food or water because bacteria are going to form and the bird will become ill.
Provide your parakeet with plenty of parakeet safe toys. Birds are intelligent animals and require mental stimulation. Rotate his toys frequently to provide variety.
Place a cuttlebone inside the cage. A cuttlebone is the skeleton of a cuttlefish. The cuttlebone provides calcium as well as keeping his beak worn down. A mineral block should also be made available.
Nutrition - Parakeet Food
The parakeet is vegetarian. He enjoys seeds, greens, and fruits. He should not eat dairy products. Parakeets or budgies cannot live on seed alone. They will meet an early demise. Any commercial food you feed your budgerigar should be additive free.
Many seed mixes are available for parakeets commercially. Provide protein to the diet using a small amount of wheat germ or cod liver oil. Contrary to many budgie owners is that parakeets do not need protein. They in fact do need protein.
No chocolate, avocado, caffeine, asparagus, rhubarb, or potato skin.
Provide your parakeet with fresh greens. Remove the greens from the cage after an hour or so to avoid spoilage. He will enjoy fresh grass. He will also enjoy and greatly benefit from seeds that have been sprouted. Small amounts of fruits can be offered. Many healthy foods that you eat can be offered to a parakeet. Always provide your parakeet with plenty of fresh filtered water.
Grit is not necessary and could in fact be harmful. Donít use cage liners that have sand nor perches with sand.
The parakeet/budgie article continues here with much more important information!
Budgies - Parakeet
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Budgerigars (Complete Pet Owner's Manual) Learn all you can about an animal/pet hopefully before you purchase or acquire the pet. Here is an excellent book about the budgie.