The Budgie: Tips on Keeping and Care

The budgie is a tireless “chatterbox” – in addition to its chirping contact sound, it has a sound spectrum between babbling, clicking, and clicking sounds and loud nagging. One thing is certain: if you bring the charming budgerigars into your house, you will always have open-minded “conversation partners”.

Why Do the Feathered Friends Like to Chatter So Much?

Budgies belong to the parrot family – and after all, they are considered to be very “talkative”. Budgies are the smallest species in their native Australia. In the western world, the lively little birds have not been known that long. It was not until the middle of the 19th century that they reached Europe from Down Under. Here they soon enjoyed great popularity as ornamental birds, which the parakeets owe primarily to their strikingly colored plumage and their funny demeanor. The Australian wild form is green, but the small parrots are now available in many different colors. Budgies kept as pets can live up to 15 years of age. They weigh between 25 and 40 grams and their head-to-tail length is around 18 centimeters.

What Does the Right Cage Look Like?

A budgie cage should have a minimum size of 150 x 60 x 100 (LxWxH) centimeters and not be the permanent place of residence for the birds. It is generally better to keep a small group in a large room aviary with additional free flight. It is best to choose untreated natural wooden branches as perches in the cage or the aviary. Their irregular structure enables foot exercises and helps to keep the claws short. In addition, the wood helps birds gnaw. Budgies like to bathe, which is why they gratefully accept a bathing house or a shallow bowl of water. The cage should be at eye level, calm, light, but not in full sun. You should definitely avoid drafts – budgies are very sensitive to this.

Which Accessories and Toys Does the Budgie Need?

Please make sure that limestone or a sepia bowl and a bowl of grit or grit-containing bird sand are always available as litter in the budgie home. The bird needs this for digestion and for grinding the beak. Drinking water must also be available at all times. For reasons of hygiene, we recommend using small tubes attached to the outside of the cage and changing the water every day. Budgies love swings and ropes to climb and hang around on. They also have a soft spot for anything that shines, rings, or moves. Making noise with a bell or lattice ball is a popular game. Mirrors or a plastic parakeet, on the other hand, have no place in a budgie cage. They believe a single bird has a partner, which only causes frustration.

Does My Budgie Need a Mate?

In the wild, the budgie wanders around in flocks of several dozen animals. The extremely sociable bird is unhappy as a solitary animal and develops abnormal behavior. It should be at least a pair of budgies, or even better: a small flock. Watching the birds interact with one another is amusing and fascinating. It is usually best to keep an even number of birds, with an equal number of roosters and hens in a mixed flock. Pure “groups of men” are more compatible with one another than a group of women – the women tend to be dominant. Determining the sex of a budgie is not that easy. The externally distinguishing feature is the color of the wax skin over the beak (roosters: blue, hens: brownish); with some shades of color, it behaves differently. If in doubt, ask an expert. Within the flock, the birds form firm pair relationships: the courtship behavior, persistent beaks, and alternate plumage care are magical to look at.

It Belongs on the Menu of Budgies

Budgies are grain-eaters. The basic food consists of mixtures of millet and seeds, with two teaspoons per bird per day. Millet in panicles is particularly popular. Grain mixtures that are offered on nibbling sticks or in pressed form should only be fed in moderation and only when the bird has had enough exercise. The bird can enjoy nibbling, but with adhesive additives such as honey, these delicacies are very high in calories. Fresh, natural branches of fruit trees, willows, and birches, on the other hand, are wonderfully suitable for nibbling! Budgies also like to eat some herbs, such as chickweed and dandelion. You also supplement the menu with fresh fruit. With a few exceptions such as citrus fruits, almost everything that the bird likes is allowed. The bird also loves vegetables (exception: types of cabbage, nightshade family, legumes, avocado. Please do not feed them!). Always give fresh green fodder and remove the remains shortly after feeding. Ideally, you let your budgie “work” for its food. Just hide it between straw or hay. That creates employment. Baked goods, sweets, potatoes, and dairy products are taboo for the bird. Since the curious animals examine everything, make sure that they cannot reach such food in the first place.

Free Flight!

In their homeland, flocks of parakeets roam large areas in search of food. Budgies are excellent short-haul fliers who can perform amazing flight maneuvers. You should give your budgies at least a few hours of free flight every day. Make sure that the room is safe from parakeets and that the bird cannot fall behind cupboards, collide with window panes, or poison itself on unpalatable houseplants. Particularly dangerous areas such as the kitchen and bathroom should be restricted areas for the bird. You have to take into account a certain loss of your furnishings: Budgies are incredibly curious. As cave breeders, they specialize in gnawing nest holes in trees with their hooked bills – they love to work with wood, wallpaper, and paper.

How Do I Teach Budgies to Speak?

Like other parrots, budgies have the ability to mimic sounds and even human voices. Real language talents who can manage a larger repertoire are rare, however. With a lot of patience and constant repetition, you can teach your budgie a few vocabularies. However, this requires real talent and concentration from the bird and should not be in the foreground. An animal that lives with conspecifics has more important things to do than deal with human language. Budgies that are kept in flocks tend to be less tame than those in a smaller group. If parakeets that are very tame and used to humans fly in the swarm, the shy animals often watch their behavior. The others can see from the tame role models that they can trust you.

Can I Breed My Budgies?

In Germany, parrot breeding is subject to approval, i.e. reserved for authorized, competent persons. In order not to unnecessarily awaken the breeding instinct of your budgies, you should not offer them any nesting aids. Eggs that the hen lays outside of a cave, it does not incubate.

Are Budgies Good as Pets for Children?

Budgies do not meet the needs of small children for a cuddly and touched animal. The animals react frightfully to sudden volume and movement so that free flight in children’s rooms is problematic. Also, the care activities such as the independent care of the animals can usually be carried out independently by children of primary school age at the earliest. The parents always bear the main responsibility here as well.

Buy Budgie

Budgies in many colors are available in pet shops and animal shelters. It is also advisable to look for a breeder with whom the young birds have already grown up with family members and are used to people.

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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