Budgerigars, or Budgies as they are more commonly known, make lovely pets. They are sociable, intelligent and attractive birds. Budgies can live up to 15 years, so choosing one as a pet is a big commitment. They can be kept singularly, but prefer the company of their own species.
Budgies come in many colours and markings, including blue, green, grey, pied, spangle, opaline, yellow faces, lutino and albino.
Budgies can be housed indoors in a large wire cage. The cage should be big enough to allow the birds to fly. Budgies love to climb, so the cage should have some horizontal bars to encourage exercise. Budgies will need to be allowed out of their cage daily for exercise. Keep all windows and doors closed whilst exercising them.
Covering the cage as night with a cloth will encourage your Budgies to sleep. Budgies can be housed outdoors too in a suitable purpose-built aviary. Any cage should also have a bath for your birds. This can be fixed either to the outside of the cage or be a shallow bowl placed inside the cage. Budgies tend to enjoy being sprayed gently with tepid water.
Budgies can be kept alone, but prefer the company of their own species. They can be kept in pairs (hens with cocks) although if keeping just a few birds together, either should be fine. In larger aviaries, it is best to keep more hens than cocks, as the cock birds may fight over the hens.
In the wild, Budgies eat a vegetation diet consisting of grains and a wide range of seeds. A good quality Budgerigar mix will provide a good nutritional diet. Supplements such as cuttlefish acts as a further vitamin source and helps keep the beak worn down. Small pieces of fruit and vegetables may be offered as treats. Fresh drinking water should always be available.
There are foods which can be harmful to your Budgies: These include lettuce, avocado, lemon, potatoes, sweets, and drinks for human consumption.
Budgies are intelligent and need mental stimulation as well as physical stimulation. There should be plenty of toys in the cage to keep your Budgies amused. Budgies can also be trained to talk and mimic different sounds. A single bird will need more attention than a pair or group. Indoor Budgies should be exercised every day.
Budgies can become quite tame. It is vital that only one person handles them from an early age and you should start by getting the bird used to being stroked inside the cage. Use a small stick or perch and your hand to begin with. After a period of time, use your fingers instead of the stick. The process may take several weeks, but usually is successful. To pick up your Budgie, make sure your palm covers its back and wings, while your middle and index finger surround the budgie’s neck. BE VERY GENTLE! Budgies will peck you if they feel stressed. In an aviary, use a padded rim net and don’t try to catch a bird in mid flight, wait until the bird is perched safely.
Budgies are prone to scaly beak, which is a contagious condition that requires urgent treatment by a vet.
A healthy budgie should expect to enjoy a life expectancy of between 5-8 years.
Budgies can be mated from about a year old and will produce a clutch of 4-6 eggs in 18-21 days. Be sure you can find good homes for the babies before considering breeding from your budgies.