Budgies are intelligent and curious. They want to live with their own kind, have space around them, and also have something to do. However, this is not always offered to them.
“These highly social swarming animals are still kept alone, although you should know better nowadays,” says Lea Schmitz from an animal rights activist. “Why are they denied a social partner with whom they can fly, scream and eat, cuddle, clean and argue with each other?”
This is also the opinion of the “Veterinary Association for Animal Welfare” (TVT). Even intensive occupation on the part of the keeper cannot replace a conspecific.
Socializing Budgies: the Chemistry Has to Be Right
In the wild, budgies live together in groups of ten to 50 animals, which in turn can form huge swarms. Under the care of humans, they need at least one comrade of their kind, preferably one they like. Because, like with humans, the chemistry between parakeets is not always right.
It therefore also takes luck when the Zweck-WG becomes friendship or even a couple relationship. Otherwise, the best-case scenario is that the two budgies just live side by side. “In the worst case, there can be constant friction and disputes,” explain the “Budgie Friends Germany” (VWFD) on their website.
It is, therefore, more advisable to stay in a group. This increases the chance that every parakeet has at least one good buddy. “An even number of budgerigars should be kept and the gender ratio between roosters and hens should be balanced,” recommends Lea Schmitz from the “Tierschutzbund”. While pure male groups are usually unproblematic, female parakeets can get caught in the springs.
The Ability to Fly Free is Important for Budgies
There is another must-have in keeping budgies: free flight. The animals love to fly and need a sufficiently large space so that they can cover at least a few meters at a time.
An aviary in a bird-safe room is ideal, from which the parakeets can flutter in and out as they please. If this is not possible, the animals must be allowed to fly for at least a few hours a day.
“Unfortunately, keeping them in cages that are far too small is widespread, as this massively restricts the animals’ ability to move,” says Schmitz. This is true of many commercially available cage models. There are still round cages that are in violation of animal welfare and in which the birds cannot orientate themselves. “Spacious aviaries are the minimum standard.”
The “TVT” recommends an aviary of at least 1.5 by 0.6 meters for one to three couples, it should be at least one meter high.
New Birds Need Time to Get Used to Before They Move In
If a new bird comes into the group, you should first keep it in its own cage in the same room with the other birds. After a period of getting used to it, you can let it fly with the others. “The new roommate will join the other animals very quickly and move into their aviary”, says Schmitz.
The average budgie needs around ten grams of grain a day to feed. “It is fed in robust and easy-to-clean bowls made of stainless steel or clay,” recommends Schmitz. A sepia bowl or limestone provides calcium.
In addition, the animals should be given fresh greens and fruit every day, but the latter only in moderation. Ideally, keepers place this fresh food in such a way that the birds have to work for it. So they are busy and moving.