Budgie Diet: Feed From Millet to Herbs and Vegetables

The small, nimble budgies from Australia have been popular pets since the mid-19th century. Today they represent the numerically strongest group of parrot birds in this country. Fortunately, the keeping conditions for the cheeky, sociable guys have changed fundamentally in the last few decades: Responsible bird keepers prepare their little crooks a species-appropriate living environment. This of course includes a balanced and species-appropriate budgie diet. It is best to offer your parakeets a varied menu.

Naturally Seed Eater

Budgies are food specialists. Their beak is adapted to cracking and peeling off seeds that they look for in nature near the ground. Typical budgie food is the seeds of ground cover and rather lower plants. The millet mixes that make up commercial budgie feed are actually not part of the natural food spectrum, but birds like to eat them and are physiologically a suitable substitute.

The Little Spoon of Grains: How Much Food Does a Budgie Need?

Movement keeps you fit: If your budgies are in a swarm in a large aviary with extensive free flight, they will eat exactly as much as they need. In birds whose mobility is restricted, you should increase the amount of green fodder. Underutilized parakeets often start to eat out of boredom and become too fat in the process. But the instincts of their wild ancestors also favor obesity in the budgie: Since the food supply can sometimes become scarce under the barren conditions of the Australian habitats, budgies in the wild eat as much as they can to compensate for subsequent periods of hunger. If the pet budgie has an oversupply of food in front of him, he will also eat when he is actually already full. The recommended daily ration for a budgie is 1.5 level teaspoons of the grain mixture and should not be exceeded. Supplement the grain feed with green fodder at will.

Please note that millet and crackers with grains are practically sweets for parakeets: Reserve the popular millet as a very special treat, for example for bird dressing, and give nibble sticks and the like no more than once a week (with correspondingly reduced feed).

What’s in the Grain Feed?

Grain mixtures are not to be regarded as complete feed in the case of a species-appropriate budgie diet. For the health of the birds, it is essential to supplement the seeds with fresh feed in order to ensure a comprehensive supply of nutrients. However, grain feed is the most important component.

Components of a typical budgie mix:

  • Different types of millet (red, yellow, and black millet, Japanese millet, silver millet, cob millet, manna millet);
  • Grains: oats, barley, einkorn, spelled, paddy rice;
  • Gloss (alternative name: Canary seed);
  • Seeds: niger seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, hemp, flax, quinoa, amaranth;
  • Grass seeds.

When purchasing a feed mix, take a look at the list of ingredients. A good feed contains as varied a mixture as possible of millet, other grains, and seeds. By the way: Budgie food is best stored in a dry, cool, and dark place in a well-closing container, such as a metal coffee can. Never buy too large a supply – under unfavorable conditions such as increased humidity, grain mixtures can easily spoil. To test the freshness of a newly purchased mixture, do a germination test: sprinkle a few grains on a piece of kitchen towel and keep it moist. After two days at the latest, germs should show up on the fresh feed.

Fresh Food: Budgie Diet With Fruit and Green Fodder

Not only the vitamins are a decisive argument for the daily fresh feed. The birds also cover part of their water needs with greenery and fruit. Budgies are very conservative. Food that they do not know is often not touched and viewed suspiciously at first. Don’t be confused: sooner or later the first bird will examine the green fodder and find it tasty so that the rest of the flock will follow suit. Note that green fodder can only be left in the cage for a short time – i.e. when it is completely fresh – and must be renewed regularly.

Suitable green fodder for budgies:

  • Green fodder: All common culinary herbs, although varieties with essential oil (basil, oregano) should be served in smaller quantities. From the garden: dandelions, chickweed, daisies, young nettles, and many more.
  • Vegetables: cucumber, organic lettuce, pumpkin, paprika, spinach, radish, radish, tomato, fennel, eggplant, fresh beetroot, zucchini. By the way, budgies have a lot of fun with carrots. They can be gnawed and rasped wonderfully. Enough vegetables land in the beak and provide the bird with important ballast and nutrients.
  • Fruit: hard and firm types of fruit such as apple, pear, nectarine, apricot, melon, pomegranate; all berries (including grapes) as well as fresh (!) figs, plums, and related fruits (plums, mirabelle plums). Many budgies also like very mild citrus fruits (mandarins), but the membrane around the segments must first be removed. Be careful with soft fruits such as bananas: under unfavorable circumstances, the pulp can clog the small nostrils. Abundant fruit in moderation – fructose also has calories.

Green fodder must always be served fresh and at room temperature. For hygienic reasons, take all leftovers out of the accommodation after a few hours. If you use clamps to attach the fresh food, they must be cleaned as well as the bowls after use. Dried fruit residues are a breeding ground for the smallest mold pores. In addition, fruits and vegetables should always be peeled or washed thoroughly to remove pesticide residues or wax coatings.

Seasonal Dishes: What Should I Watch Out for Depending on the Season?

Fresh feed plays an even greater role in the hot summer months than in the winter months. The budgies have a higher fluid requirement, which you can supplement with juicy fresh foods such as melons and cucumber. In addition, there is a much larger selection of fruits available during the summer, so you can offer your birds a lot of variety. However, hygiene is important when it comes to warmth. It is best to eat several smaller fruit and vegetable portions several times a day and remove the leftovers immediately before they spoil. Also, fill the water bowl fresh several times a day.

Prohibited Fruits: That Doesn’t Belong in the Budgie Bowl

Some human digestible foods can harm your budgie and should be kept away from them.

The most important taboo foods for budgies are:

  • Citrus fruits (exception: mandarins) – too high an acidity;
  • Passion fruit, maracuja – also too acidic;
  • Dates, Sharon fruit, khaki – too many tannins;
  • Dried fruits like dates and figs – too much sugar;
  • Types of cabbage – can cause gas and digestive problems;
  • Avocados – far too greasy, and certain parts of the plant are also poisonous to birds;
  • Mushrooms, asparagus, onions – also not digestible for birds.

Human foods such as fatty, salted, sweetened foods, cheese, fish, meat, and of course alcohol are also completely unsuitable for the budgie diet.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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