Here are some frequently asked questions.
How Long do Parakeets Sleep?
Parakeets need a solid 10-12 hours of sleep a day. The bulk of this is at night, when you should put a cover on the cage so they feel safe. In nature, they would tuck into a hole in a tree and be surrounded by bark. They also take naps during the day. These naps range from 15 to 45 minutes. Sometimes they just close their eyes. Sometimes they raise one foot (like a flamingo) to give it some rest. Sometimes they tuck their head on their back wing to give their neck a rest.
Do Parakeets Pee?
Actually, parakeets do NOT really pee. When they have to go, they make little round poops that are gray on the outside and white in the center. They're small and odorless, and you just change the cage paper weekly to remove them.
When Parakeets have to go to the bathroom, they create a little round 'poop' that is gray on the outside and white on the center. These hold both the liquid and solid wastes in sort of a pudding-like consistency. It's only 1/4" across or less, very small. These are semi-moist and dry very quickly. They don't really smell at all and just gather on the bottom of the cage, on your newspaper or cage lining that you put at the bottom to collect these.
Once a week or so you need to throw away that old paper and put in some new paper. That keeps your parakeet's world clean and free from disease or trouble.
A healthy parakeet's poop will be semi-firm and they will poop several times a day. If your parakeet doesn't poop at all for an entire day, talk to a vet to try to figure out what could be wrong. If your parakeet's poops are extremely watery and don't hold that circle shape, talk to a vet too. Sometimes if your parakeet gorges on fresh lettuce and such the poop can get SLIGHTLY watery and green, which is normal. But a stool that's too watery can also be a sign of illness.
How Often Do Parakeets Poop?
They poop about every 10-20 minutes.
Many people are curious if parakeets smell. It's sort of like asking if dogs smell. You can have a dog that is kept clean and has pretty much no odor at all. You can also have a dog that is never washed, that rolls around in the mud all day, and that has an INCREDIBLE stench. It is all up to you.
In general, parakeets do not smell at all! They are very clean creatures. If you give them a bathtub, they will gladly take baths every day. They preen themselves constantly. They don't go outside and in the mud. They don't really "get dirty". They eat dried seeds and fresh fruits and veggies. They don't have bad breath. They are some of the cleanest animals out there.
How about does a parakeet cage smell? Well, it does if you don't clean it. Parakeet droppings are very tiny and are small, dry circles. They really don't smell at all. Still, if you let those poops pile up for months, they would start to stink. If you clean the cage properly, there won't be a smell associated with them. You want to keep the cage clean, for regular sanitary issues!
Their food is usually dried pellets or seed. Those have no odor at all. You also feed the parakeets fresh fruits and veggies. I suppose those smell like fresh fruits and veggies. If you let these foods rot though, then yes, they will smell. But when budgies are done eating, you take it away. So the fruits and vegetables only have (a nice) aroma while they're being eaten. Parakeets are really not eating smelly foods.
So in general, a parakeet is a very odor free pet, if cared for properly!
What is Parakeet Eyesight Like?
Parakeets were not prey-eating animals. They didn't have to hunt down mice and rats. They mostly ate seeds, greens, small insects, other tiny items. So while hearing and smell and taste really weren't high on the importance chart for parakeets. Parakeets have very low levels of hearing - they didn't need to hear mice scampering in the grasses to eat them. They didn't really have taste buds - it didn't matter how yummy a stalk of millet was. But they DID need very good eyesight. When they were flying in giant flocks of 2,000 or 3,000 birds over an Australian plain, they needed to be able to spot that nice area of grasses with fresh seeds. Eyesight was critical to parakeets, for them to survive.
Parakeet eyesight is even more powerful than that of humans. Us humans have a variety of senses - we have a lot of taste buds to see if something is sweet or sour, bitter or tart. But parakeets didn't go around eating rotten meat or other iffy substances. To them, taste wasn't that critical. It came down to sight. They had to see things, and they had to see FRESH things.
What is cool about a parakeet's eyesight is not only is it very sharp - but it is very useful. When we humans look at a parakeet's feathers, we just see blue or green or yellow. When a parakeet looks at another parakeet, they see into the ultraviolet spectrum. That is, they see if that parakeet has been out in a lot of sunlight recently. A parakeet's face feathers are fluorescent when they are out in a lot of sunshine. That is a sign of a healthy parakeet. Parakeets can see that in each others' faces, in the fluorescence of the face feathers.
Budgies can even tell if food is fresh. If you try to feed a parakeet old veggies, the parakeet will be very smart and refuse them. A parakeet's eyesight can see into the spectrum to see if vegetables and fruits are fresh or old. This was of course of critical importance to a parakeet's survival. They mostly ate fruits and vegetables. If something was rotten, they wanted to know that BEFORE they ate it. It wasn't about smell or taste. It was about looking at it. They can look at a food item and know right there that it's fresh.
When you feed our parakeet fruits and veggies, give them the very freshest that you get! Wilted lettuce and moldy carrots will not appeal to your parakeets!
What is Parakeet Hearing Like?
Hearing is done by the vibration of parts of your ear. The measurement of sound is done in Hertz, or Hz. This measures how low or high a tone is. It has nothing to do with decibels - which is a measure of how loud or soft a tone is.
Human beings are typically able to hear from a low note of 64hz up to a high note of 23,000hz. But how about parakeets? Well first, most birds in general don't need to have a wide range of hearing. Owls are an exception - they need sharp eyesight and sharp hearing. Owls can hear up to 12,000hz. But that is high in general for birds. Parakeets can only hear from around 200-8,500hz. They need to hear enough to know when a predator is coming - but they don't use sound to hunt down prey.
What are Parakeet Sounds and Vocalizations Like?
Parakeets are VERY smart creatures and are used to living in gigantic flocks with thousands of members. They would use a variety of calls and chirps to stay in contact with each other, to warn of danger, to track down their children, and much more. These same noises and chirps are used when they are pets in your cage!
Note that while other parrots can be VERY loud - parakeets are NOT extremely loud. If you neglect them they may cry out for attention, but if you take good care of them, they will be peaceful and happy!
The most common sound heard by most good parakeet owners is the contented warble. Parakeets do this while they are falling asleep, while they are listening to music, hanging out on your shoulder, or preening themselves. This is sort of like a cat purring.
Parakeets love music and will sing along with songs as best they can by tweeting merrily. They won't normally just spontaneously do this if it's quiet, but if there's music playing they'll add in their own voices. Note that if you leave your parakeets alone you should leave some music playing to keep them company. In the wild, there was always noise. If there was NOT noise it was a sign that there was a predator lurking around. So to leave your parakeets in a dead silent area is going to give them a lot of stress.
Most parakeet owners say that the "ack-ack" sound is a form of parakeet talk. It's sort of a parakeet's way of saying "Ha ha!" or "Look at this!" or "I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!"
ARK! ARK! ARK!
Where "ack-ack-ack" is a light, cheery cry that usually involves the parakeet bobbing its head up and down in sheer abandon, there's a separate cry that it makes when it is extremely annoyed and angry. Ark, ark, ark is a, "STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!" call.
High Pitched Yelp
This is a cry of distress.
You can teach your parakeet to talk if you're patient and your parakeet is interested in learning. Male parakeets are easier to teach than females, and young parakeets that were hand raised are the easiest to teach. Don't worry if your parakeet doesn't learn to talk, not all do. Your parakeet will still be able to communicate to you in its own warbles and tweets.
Parakeets are very smart and love making interesting sounds. So parakeets learn to make noises like cell phones ringing, trucks backing up, or whatever other sounds they hear in their environment.
What Temperature Range do Budgies Need?
Wild parakeets live in the central area of Australia - in hot, dry deserts. Summertime temperatures get into the mid to high 90's. The budgies hide in the trees during the day, and try to stay cool. In the winter they migrate to stay in a warm zone, usually not below 68-70F. In a cage, since they are "trapped" at the temperature you set your room at and cannot escape to a warmer or cooler spot, make sure to keep the temperatures in the middle to around 70-80F. Always have water available so they can cool down, and if there is sunlight or light shining into the cage, always have a shady spot where they can retreat to.
How do Parakeets Stretch?
After a period of inactivity, you'll probably notice your budgie stretching. Usually a budgie first stretches out the leg and wing of one side, then the other. Then he'll usually lift both wings up without extending them to complete the stretch. If he's really stiff he may repeat the process. Sometimes a budgie will do a little exercise after stretching.
Exercising - Especially in the morning after just waking up, you may notice your budgie getting some exercise. Budgies do this by vigorously flapping their wings while hanging onto a perch. It's part of a morning routine to get the blood flowing.
What is the Band Around My Parakeet's Leg?
Some budgies have a band around one of its legs (usually the left). If you look closely, you can see some numbers and letters. This is an ID band. If the band is blank with no letters or numbers, it is a "family band" and won't tell you anything about the bird.
Family Band: Also called a split band, it is a colored plastic band that is split on one side so it can be placed or removed on a bird at any age. They are generally used by breeders to keep track of family lines.
Reading an ID Band: One set of letters is the company who issued the band. The next set of numbers and letters is the breeder's number and/or initials. It is the next part will tell you how old your budgie is. It is the year the bird was hatched in. Usually the last two digits of the year are displayed. The next set of numbers is the serial or pedigree number of the bird. For example, if this number reads 50, then this bird is the 50th parakeet hatched that year to that breeder.
ID band color: An easier (but less reliable and isn't always the case) way to tell what year the bird was born in is to look at what color the band is. Different colors represent different years and will tell you how many years old your bird is. However, different organizations which issue ID bands may use different colors than other organizations for the same year.
The ID band is on the on the parakeet's left leg.
(The band on the right leg is a "family band." It has no markings.)
|The ID band for this parakeet is on the right leg.|
What Common Plants are Toxic to Parakeets?
There are many plants that are poisonous to parakeets. Here are just some:
Amaryllis - all parts are toxic
Apricot - pits, leaves, and bark are toxic
Apple - seeds, leaves, and bark are toxic
Arum Lily - all parts are toxic
Autumn Crocus - all parts are toxic
Azalea - all parts are toxic
Belladonna - all parts are toxic
Bittersweet - all parts are toxic
Blue Bonnet - all parts are toxic
Boston Ivy - all parts are toxic
Boxwood - all parts are toxic
Bracken Fern - all parts are toxic
Burdock - all parts are toxic
Buttercup - all parts are toxic
Daffodil - all parts are toxic
Daphne - all parts are toxic
Elderberry - roots, leaves, stems, and bark are toxic
English Ivy - all parts are toxic
Hemlock - all parts are toxic
Hemp - all parts are toxic
Holly - berries and leaves are toxic
Honey Locust - all parts are toxic
Hydrangea - all parts are toxic
Iris - all parts are toxic
Jasmine - all parts are toxic
Juniper - all parts are toxic
Laurels - all parts are toxic
Milkweed - all parts are toxic
Mistletoe - all parts are toxic Morning Glory - seeds are toxic
Mushrooms - all parts are toxic
Narcissus - all parts are toxic Nettle - all parts are toxic
Oak - all parts are toxic
Poison Hemlock - all parts are toxic
Poison Ivy - all parts are toxic
Poison Oak - all parts are toxic
Poinsettia - all parts are toxic
Poppy - all parts are toxic
Primrose - all parts are toxic
Ragwort - all parts are toxic
Red Maple - all parts are toxic
Sage - all parts are toxic
Tobacco - all parts are toxic
Tomato - stems and leaves are toxic
Tulip - all parts are toxic
Yew - all parts are toxic
What are Some Good Parakeet Names?
Parakeet names are very important! Budgies are very intelligent and should be able to recognize and respond to a name. Try not to call your bird various names all the time, as this may confuse it. Some people choose names depending on their bird's color or personality, so my list might not be very helpful. Here are a few great parakeet names:
Angel, Avery, Bagel, Bubbles, Berry, Bud, Buddy, Bob, Basil, Beaker, Bell, Bert, Bill, Bingo, Bitsy, Blitz, Blueberry, Breezy, Bullet, Butter, Chirpy, Casper, Chitter, Cheerios, Cherry, Chester, Chick, Chico, Cinnamon, Cody, Crystal, Caramel, Cuddles, Cream, Daisy, Dandy, Dove, Dotty, Forrest, Flitter, Feathers, Flick, Flower, Flurry, Forte, Gem, Gertrude, Honey, Holly, Hope, Hooter, Honker, Ivy, Ivory, Indigo, Inky, Itsy, Iago, Jay, Jazz, Kiki, Kiwi, Leaf, Lemon, Lime, Lexi, Lilly, Lucky, Luna, Mac, Mango, Marigold, Melody, Merlin, Millet, Mo, Nacho, Oats, Olive, Otto, Peach, Peanut, Pepsi, Pearl, Perky, Perry, Petal, Pete, Pickles, Pippin, Pluto, Polly, Puffin, Ruffles, Rudy, Raven, Red, Rex, Rico, Robin, Rose, Rainbow, Stripes, Star, Sandy, Sam, Sasha, Sid, Silly, Simon, Smokey, Soda, Sparky, Speckles, Spice, Sprite, Spots, Storm, Sky, Sapphire, Squawkers, Squirt, Stella, Sugar, Sushi, Taco, Taffy, Tang, Teal, Tickles, Tooter, Tweetie,Twitter, Tucker, Torch, Vanilla, Velvet, Violet, Winky, Wren, Zazu, Zip.
What are the Signs of a Happy Bird?
A happy parakeet spends a great deal of time preening, stretching its wings and legs, chattering and playing with toys.
A contented budgie grinds its beak before falling asleep.
A confident parakeet wipes its beak on its perch and may tap a greeting on the cage, perch, food dishes or other hard object.
Why Does My Parakeet Regurgitate?
When budgies regurgitate to a human, it's a sign of affection towards that person. Note that they also might regurgitate to its favorite toy or mirror. Regurgitation isn't just about love, it's also about parenting. The male regurgitates food to its mate and to its young. A lot of the times, parakeets regurgitate to a mirror. Take a mirror away if a parakeet regurgitates excessively to it.
Too much regurgitating could mean a health problem so consult a vet if you're not sure.
Try to avoid stroking a female on the back, because that's what a male would do to stimulate breeding activity.
Where Should I Pet My Parakeet?
As always, each parakeet is different. Some parakeets liked to be petted at a certain place of their body or on no place at all. New un-tamed parakeets or ones from the local pet store (that are not familiar and comfortable with hands) may not wanted to be petted for days, weeks, or even several months. It depends on your constant kindness and interaction. You must build up a bond of trust.
Most hand-fed parakeets from breeders who have spent their whole life with humans will probably love to be cuddled or petted. Just make sure your parakeet is comfortable around you before you try to pet it.
I've heard that some parakeets like to petted under the chin, around the neck, around the cheek patch, and even the upper chest. I wouldn't recommend touching the tail or wings, as this may arouse nervousness or fright. Try to pet in a circular motion, not in a straight downwards stroke- parakeets tend to like their feathers sort of ruffled up.
Watch especially for when your parakeet is getting in new feathers - their bodies and heads are VERY itchy around now! They will love it if you gently scratch at their heads for them, or nuzzle them underneath their beaks.
How Do I Know When My Parakeet is Molting/Getting New Feathers?
Parakeets grow new feathers pretty constantly. So it is normal to see feathers fall out occasionally as new ones grow in. They also go through seasonal molts, just like dogs and cats do. So when springtime comes around, it's normal for a parakeet to shed its old feathers and start growing in lots of fresh, new ones. Of course they don't go COMPLETELY featherless during this.
In the photo below, you can see the little rolled up new feathers poking out of its head. They look like thin scrolls of rolled up paper. They will soon unroll and look like fresh, lovely feathers. Parakeets get VERY itchy during this phase and it's hard for them to scratch their own heads. They have no hands! So you might see your parakeet rubbing its head on the cage bars or even want you to scratch its head for it.
If your parakeet KEEPS losing feathers over a long period of time, or actually loses enough feathers to show skin, call a vet.
In this image, the parakeet is molting. Note that it LOOKS sort of icky, but really it isn't. On its head, you can see the rolled up brand new feathers as they are growing in. Once a feather fully grows in, it unfurls and looks like a normal feather.
What is Parakeet Preening Like?
The most important part of a parakeet's body is its wings. In its native Australian grasslands, the wings allowed a parakeet to escape from predators and find food. The parakeet spends time every day caring for its wings, preening them and keeping them clean.
A parakeet loves to take a bath to keep its wings very clean. But even beyond bath-time, a parakeet will preen its wings, keeping them in good working order. This involves ruffling through the feathers with his beak, sliding the longer feathers through his beak, scratching at his head with his claws, and fluffing out his feathers to shake out any dust.
This picture is of a parakeet trying to preen its chest feathers.
Note that if a parakeet starts actually YANKING out feathers, this is a sign of stress. You might notice strange white lines or even holes in the feathers on your bird. Your parakeet should not be deliberately pulling out feathers, either from his own body or from those of his flock-mates. While feathers do naturally molt and get replaced automatically, if your parakeet is yanking out numerous feathers it's time to talk to a vet.
What is Parakeet Bathing About?
Many bird owners don't realize how much birds love to take baths. Baths are important not only for the bird's sunny disposition, but also for their health.
Birds in the wild naturally take baths in puddles or by the edges of water areas. They enjoy this a great bit, splashing around in the water, and it helps keep their feathers clean.
You should give your bird this same opportunity. Find a bathtub that is large enough to hold your bird, but shallow enough that its head is still above water when it stands in it. At least once a week, fill the bath with lukewarm (NOT hot or cold) water, and put the bath somewhere that the bird feels safe getting into.
Many birds will immediately hop into the bath, while others might need time to get used to the tub. They'll open their feathers wide to get water underneath, and splash around. When they're done, be sure they have a warm, non-breezy place to dry off.
NEVER make water a punishment for a bird - don't spray or mist them when you wish to punish them. A bird should relish playing in water, drinking water, and enjoying water.
What's Some Advice for Getting Back a Budgie that Escaped Outside?
It's every bird owner's nightmare. You made sure your budgie was finger-trained. You made sure your budgie was only let out when all doors and windows were closed. You were very careful about letting everyone in the house know that the budgie was out and loose. You took your ownership responsibility very serious and protected your little pet.
But then SOMETHING happened. Now your budgie is out in the cold, cruel world and doesn't know what to do. How do you get your budgie to return to you?
It is REALLY important that you get your budgie to return home to you. Parakeets are not equipped to handle the outside world. There are many predators out in the world that eat budgies. Their bodies aren't meant to handle the hot heats and frigid night that most of the world has. There aren't foods for them to easily eat just lying around. Parakeets domesticated pets that need an owner to care for them.
Your budgie knows its cage is a place of safety, a place that provides shelter, food, drink and love. So the most important thing to do is put the budgie's cage out in the middle of the lawn, maybe up on a table so it is easy to see. Fill it with food and water and leave the door open. Then put a chair nearby and start calling to your budgie. If you can't sit there for long, make a looping tape of your voice and play it.
Birds naturally fly high when they are scared, and can easily get disoriented in a strange place. Your bird may be high up in the treetops a half mile away, frightened and with no idea of how to get "home". The bird will hear your voice and fly towards it. When the bird sees its cage, it will be happy and fly down to it, to safety.
If you try this for a week and your budgie hasn't returned, then sadly, it probably has fallen victim to the harsh laws of nature. I would get another budgie - but be sure to take VERY GOOD CARE of this one! A budgie is a living creature that can live 15 years or more. Budgies can talk, they can fall in love with humans, they can be loyal companions. All they ask for in return is that you care well for them and keep them safe. Never giving them an opportunity to escape is one of your most important tasks!
How do I Travel or Go on Vacation With My Parakeet?
There are many situations that will require a parakeet to travel with you. It could be that you're moving to a new house or apartment. Maybe you have a summer home you go to for many months. Parakeets travel each time they go to the vet's office. Here is advice on the variety of situations you might face.
To Take or Not To Take the Parakeet
Of course, some situations require the parakeet to travel, if the whole family is moving or if the parakeet is going to a vet. But if you're just going away for a few days, it's wiser to leave the parakeet at home (or leave it with a trustworthy sitter). Moving in a car or other vehicle in a cage is inherently dangerous for a parakeet - sudden stops or turns can throw them within their cage. There are no parakeet seat belts, even if you do seat belt the whole cage to the seat. Parakeets can stay home alone for up to a few days as long as you fill their cage up with seed and clean water, and play some soft music for them to listen to. It's better all around, during the short trips, that the parakeet just stay put and is comfortable.
Travel by Car (If it's a must!)
You need to have a small, travel cage for your parakeet - not the large one that has lots of room within it (where they parakeet can be thrown around all over the cage). You don't want ANY toys in the cage that might hit and hurt the parakeet. No swings, either. This travel cage should be as small as possible with one perch to sit on, and a small holder for food and water. That lets the parakeet stay fed, but minimizes the chances of injury. Have a towel to put over the cage to keep out drafts and hot sun depending on the time of year (and also for your bird's sense of security). Make sure you pre-warm or pre-cool the car to a reasonable temperature before the budgie is moved into it, and go quickly through the outside air if it's not a gentle temperature.
I highly recommend twist-tying shut the door of the cage, just in case. The last thing you want to happen is have your parakeet escape while you're moving from one place to another. It's hard enough for a parakeet to find their way home when they escape FROM home.
Try to seat belt the cage into place as much as possible. Sure, it's nice to think you will hold the cage - but in an accident you can't control what your arms do. You want the parakeet's cage to be as secure as possible so it does not become a flying projectile - injuring the parakeet or others.
Even if you're somehow stressed out, try to keep things quiet and calm. Your stress will agitate the parakeet and make it really nervous about what is going on. Your bird looks to you for guidance and stability. Talk to it in quiet, even tones and let it know everything will be OK soon. Parakeets are very smart and learn to settle in to new locations very quickly, as long as they are reassured by their "flock-mate" (that should be you) that everything is OK.
Travel by Train / Bus
Many of the same guidelines apply for train and bus travel. Ask in advance with the transit company if there are any rules regarding parakeets. Most will say that the parakeet is fine as long as they stay on your lap. Unfortunately most buses and trains do not have seat belts, but you just do the best you can.
Travel by Airplane
You will usually need to go to your vet in advance of the trip and get a health certificate, saying the bird is fully checked up and healthy. Then you'll need to pay a fee to the airline for the pet transfer. Again, make sure there is just a small cage with nothing in it but food and water, and check on the water every once in a while to make sure it hasn't all spilled out.
Remember, if you can, don't travel with your parakeet. This can be both stressful to your bird and to you.
What is the Lifespan of a Parakeet?
With proper nutrition and veterinary care, the parakeet life span can exceed 15 years, possibly 20!
Why Do My Parakeets Sometimes "Kiss"?
The "kissing" is actually seed-sharing- it's how mother parakeets take care of their babies and how partners feed each other.
Other really good sites made by me: