Buying a Parakeet
Parakeets are extremely smart and friendly. It always breaks my heart to see a parakeet stuffed into a cage, never let out, never interacted with. Parakeets are flock birds! They thrive on being cuddled, being nuzzled, having that physical interaction with their flock. And if there is only one parakeet in the cage, that flock is you!
If you have the option, buy a young hand-fed parakeet. These types of parakeets, which are more expensive at $49 in our local bird store, are best to buy because they are used to and trusting of humans. They've already learned to eat from human fingers and human hands, have perched atop them and have become comfortable with humans in general, including the human language. In other words, they already consider humans to be part of their flock.
Another reason to buy a young hand-fed pet parakeet is that you can teach it and mold it in your own way. You can teach it your words, phrases, and manners.
Determining Sex: The area around the nostrils is called the cere. You can use this as a way to distinguish between males and females. Mature females will have a brown to beige colored cere. Males will have a blue purplish cere.
Look for an active bird. You can tell the health of the parakeet by looking at their feathers, they should be smooth and sleek, and their feathers should only be fluffed up if they are sleeping. Look for kinks and bends in the tail feathers, they should be straight not at an angle. Its cere should be without crustiness and clean and its chest should be well rounded, not hollow. Check the eyes of the budgie, they should be bright and alert and they should breath with their beak closed. Also make sure the parakeet is free of any stains around the vent. The vent is the area around the anus of a budgie.
In most varieties, young budgies will have bars on their head all the way down to the cere. At about 3-4 months of age, a budgie will go through its first molt, and the top feathers on the head will be replaced and will no longer be striped.
|Bar-head (less than 4 months)||Clear Cap (4 months or older)|
|Compare the older bird on the left and the younger bird on the right.|
You can also determine your parakeet's age by its eyes. In most varieties,
young budgies' eyes will be all black. As they get older, the iris gradually
lightens to very light gray/brown. A budgie with a completely black eye is
probably under 4 months old. A budgie with a dark gray iris is probably 4-8
months old. A budgie with a light gray or brown iris is probably older than 8
All Black Eyes (0-4 months) Very Dark Gray Irises (4-6 months)
Medium Gray Irises (6-8 months) Light Irises (8 months or older)
Parakeets are playful and active and do well in large cages. Add a couple of wooden perches and maybe a bird swing along with your water and feed bowls. Even with a large cage, parakeets need a little time outside of the cage as well. Letting them out once in a while to stretch their wings or fly is a good idea. The exercise is very beneficial for your pet bird.
Buying a cage for your pet parakeet is probably the single most important gift you can give to it. A parakeet cage is your birds refuge, its sanctuary against danger, its safety net as well as it living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.
When buying a cage for your bird parakeet, anticipate spending $80-$100 unless you can find one on eBay or Craigslist.com at a cheaper price. Try to buy a rectangular cage, not a round or tear-shaped cage; your parakeet will feel safer that way. The cage must be spacious (at least 2 feet in all directions) with room for additional perches, toys, perhaps a tiny birdbath, a place for its cuttlebone, etc. If you have more than one parakeet, consider purchasing a larger cage. A good cage is zinc-free, lead-free, brass-free, copper-free, and has coated (preferably) white wires about 1/4 inch to at the most 1/2 apart. A detachable cage roof should cover only two-thirds of the width of the cage while the other one-third is permanently covered. Have horizontal bars because parakeets love to climb! A parakeet bird cage will always be packaged with a food tray and water tray. Don't place them directly over or under any perches.Try to have at least three perches with different diameters in your cage to promote healthy feet and prevent foot sores. Buy only high quality parakeet food- a good seed,pellet, and fruit and vegetable mix will do just fine.
bird cage in a room in the house that is most frequently occupied by
humans (though not the kitchen - because of fumes and hot unsafe
Remember that parakeets love to flock and be involved in social
activity. Keep them in the area of the house that has the most activity
but don't place the parakeet cage next to the television, stereo or
telephone. Loud and persistent noises will startle it and keep it on
Most parakeets love the sound of musical instruments and higher pitched (not loud) voices, mostly female. Parakeets are especially tuned to stringed instruments, flutes and the piano.
Parakeet toys are necessary to quench the bird's desire for curiosity.
Most parakeets enjoy climbing on the
walls around it, investigating it, and nibbling it.
Purchase at least four different parakeet toys. Some good ideas are to purchase ropes, bells, spinning things, small plastic objects, mirrors, and soft wood or papers that they can chew or shred. Budgies tend to like shiny things. They should enjoy pulling and yanking on these toys, climbing on them and nibbling on them. It would be good to purchase a wooden parakeet ladder toy where each end is nudged into wire openings on top of the bird cage. Make sure you switch out your toys out every once and a while so your parakeet won't get bored.
Parakeets need toys to keep their minds occupied; otherwise, they will go stir crazy. When parakeets are bored, they can over groom themselves and pluck feathers, which can cause problems.
that parakeets are like toddlers so you must make sure that there are
no dangerous edges or chemicals in your parakeet toys. Make sure to trim any frays or strings from toys so that budgies don't get their toes caught in them. While you're at
it, parakeet-proof your home. Make sure your parakeet cannot get stuck
behind refrigerators, in toilets, or be electrocuted.
Note that it's best to rid your house of non-stick cookware. If you ever accidentally leave one of these pots or pans on the stove and it runs dry, the odors put off from the cookware are fatal to parakeets. It's far safer to not have any in the house than to take that chance.
Above all, make sure all screens, doors, and windows are shut and that they cannot be opened by cats or other stray animals preying the neighborhood.