Many people think that keeping budgies is very easy and unproblematic. But with the purchase of the delicate birds comes a large portion of responsibility towards the animals.
Of course, this responsibility does not only include cleaning the cage and the daily free flight. Nutrition is also an important part of enabling budgerigars to live healthy life.
In this article, you will find out how you can feed your darlings, which food you are allowed to eat and what you should not give the sweethearts.
What should a budgie’s diet consist of?
Even if many budgie owners are of the opinion that grain feed in particular is a large part of the bird’s diet and often does not require any other food, many other things are also important. Furthermore, fresh herbs and medicinal plants as well as possibly various means from the field of dietary supplements should not be missing. Fresh drinking water should also be made available every day.
The grain feed for budgies
Grain feed, which you can buy in different stores, is an important part of a healthy diet for budgies. There is now a large selection of products from different manufacturers.
The individual items are made up of changing ingredients, which should come particularly close to the natural diet of budgerigars. For this reason, it is not always easy to find the right varieties for your darlings. It is therefore important to pay attention to the composition of the types of feed in order to meet the individual needs of the animals.
Be careful not to overfeed your loved ones with the grain feed. So it is sufficient that you give your animals two teaspoons of seeds per bird. This feed ration is sufficient to give the budgerigar the strength it needs throughout the day. One teaspoon is about five grams. This may seem like very little at first, but if you feed too much there is a risk that you will overfeed your animals and they will become overweight. Because budgerigars are among the animals that like to eat out of boredom.
Budgerigars are so-called seed eaters or grain eaters, so grain feed always forms the basis of the diet for this bird species. As already mentioned, this feed should be composed of different ingredients. It is important that it is a balanced and fresh composition.
The typical composition of normal grain feed for budgerigars consists of 25% pointed or white seed, 25% white millet, approx. 45% other types of millet, including Japanese millet or plata millet, and 5% oat kernels.
This typical composition is a grain feed that can be used for animals that are not obese and can enjoy their free flight day after day. However, if the budgie is overweight, it is important to choose a feed mix that contains a lot of grass seed. For animals suffering from liver disease, it is important to choose a diet that also contains milk thistle seeds.
Good to know: Parakeet species tend to leave the pods of the various seeds in the bowl. If the feeding bowl is a very small version, this can quickly become a problem, because the individual pods would cover the grains that are still there. For this reason, it is important to check the feeding bowl regularly, at least twice a day, and to remove the pods. This way you can be sure that your birds do not go hungry.
Where to buy grain feed for budgies?
The different mixes for budgies are available in pre-packaged form from many stores. In addition, it is possible to buy various products online, because there is not only a larger selection, but usually also cheaper prices. In some pet shops it is even possible to put together the food yourself. However, it should be noted here that many people reach into these containers, which of course clearly speaks against them in terms of hygiene. In addition, you can never know exactly how long the different mixtures have been in the containers. Furthermore, it is a fact that this feed is not protected from dust and dirt and foreign objects often end up in the feed and are overlooked.
In principle, however, it is true that you can hardly do anything wrong when buying budgerigar food. It is only important to pay attention to the ingredients and to change the products from time to time so that your budgies get variety. Of course, you should also pay attention to the best-before date. In addition, it is possible that budgerigars react with diarrhea to a change in diet or do not tolerate certain types of food.
It is also important not to lose sight of the quality of the feed. Because it is clear that poor quality can also have an impact on the health of the birds. Make sure the food doesn’t smell musty. You also have to watch out for germs, vermin, mold and rot.
It is also possible to carry out a so-called freshness test. With this you can take a small amount of the food and then let it swell in a container with water for about 9 hours. You should then pour the water away and rinse the grain feed under running water.
The best way to do this is to use a tea strainer. After that, the grain feed must be spread out on a damp paper towel. Now it is placed in a warm place for about 24 hours. The seedlings should then be visible. If the feed is good, these can be seen in about 80% of the feed. However, if less than 50% is visible, it is advisable to change the grain feed due to insufficient quality.
Fresh food for budgies
Fresh food is also part of a healthy diet for budgies. This not only contains many important vitamins but also brings variety to the diet of your darlings. These include, for example, herbs and medicinal plants, branches of different trees, or fruit and vegetables.
However, it can often be difficult to get the birds used to eating fresh food. Unfortunately, the animals react with diarrhea. Other animals, on the other hand, may not even like fresh food. In both cases, it is important to stay on the ball. Slowly get your animals used to the fresh food and always be aware of the important role this food plays for your animals. However, it is important to wash the food thoroughly with warm water before feeding. Some types of feed must also be peeled off so that the bacteria and germs are not ingested by the animals. It is also important to make sure when buying that the fresh feed is a product that has not been sprayed.
When using fresh food, you should not use too many different types of vegetables or fruit. It is best if you do not feed the food in the cage, but at the playground, which your animals can use when flying freely. This awakens the birds’ instinct to play, for example. You can also garnish this delicious meal with grains.
Fruits and vegetables for your budgies
Fruit and vegetables are indispensable for the absorption of natural minerals, nutrients, trace elements, and vitamins. However, they should be fed with care, because the fructose content of some varieties should not be underestimated. The high proportion of fructose quickly leads to diarrhea or obesity in birds.
Animals suffering from the so-called megabacteriosis should avoid sugar altogether, as the sugar would support the growth of the fungi. It is important to always rinse the fruit and vegetables before giving them and to remove the pips or stones from the fruit.
It is always important to be aware that fruit and vegetables are perishable. For this reason, it is advisable that you always remove the leftovers quickly. This is particularly important in summer when temperatures are high, as they quickly form mold. So it’s best to feed the fruit and veg in the morning and clean up the leftovers in the afternoon.
Herbs and medicinal plants for your budgies
With different herbs or medicinal plants, you have the opportunity to give your budgerigars more variety in their food. Such a diet is particularly natural, because budgerigars also eat different herbs in their natural environment. In addition, the various plants also get a lot of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
You can collect herbs and medicinal plants in nature. However, you should not do this directly on the side of the road, as the respective plants are contaminated here by both dogs and cars. It is also possible to grow different plants, especially for the budgies to be on the safe side.
It is important that you clean the herbs thoroughly before giving them. Herbs that contain a lot of strong oil should only be offered in very small quantities, otherwise, digestive problems can occur. Plants such as basil, dill, water, sorrel, caraway, sage, thyme, and many others plants are particularly popular for feeding budgerigars.
Feed additives and minerals for your budgies
Some budgerigars depend on different feed additives and minerals in addition to the normal feed. In any case, this includes the so-called shell grit, which is present in high-quality bird sand. This is needed to be able to process the ingested food. Even if the shell grit is usually contained in the bird sand, it is still advisable to place a bowl of grit in the cage. However, this should be placed in such a way that the birds cannot contaminate it with droppings and other dirt. You should also make sure that there are always enough minerals available. The minerals support your birds in the formation of new plumage. Lime supply for budgerigars is also very important, so many birdkeepers like to use limestone or cuttlefish.
Snacks and treats for your budgie
In addition to the typical grain feed and fresh feed, you should of course also offer your pets one or two snacks or treats from time to time. The industry now offers numerous products in this regard, although caution is of course required when buying. So it is not uncommon for the different items to be unsuitable for feeding budgerigars. They contain too much honey and lots of bakery by-products.
However, this does not have to be the case, because rods and the like can be made quickly and easily at home. Foxtail millet is particularly popular with budgerigars. You can also use this as a reward and use it to create a basis of trust between you and your bird.
Your budgerigars must not eat this under any circumstances
Of course, there are also different things that your budgerigars must absolutely not eat. These are, for example, poisonous indoor plants, which you should urgently dispose of so as not to endanger your animals during their free flight. Below is a list of things that should not be ingested by your budgies:
- ice cubes;
- general sweets;
- treated salads;
- other animal feed;
- white cabbage;
- Savoy cabbage;
- leftovers from the table;
When feeding your budgerigars, it is important to ensure that it is a balanced and healthy diet. If you give your bird a healthy and species-appropriate diet, you hardly need to expect any follow-up costs, but can instead enjoy your healthy and active birds.