11 Tips for Ultimate Budgie Care (Great for Beginners!)

Owning a budgie can be a fun and rewarding experience for anyone willing to put in the effort to properly care for their new feathered friend. It’s always important to do a little research before making the commitment to own a parakeet, as you want to make sure you’re able to provide the best possible home for them. The following tips will ensure you’re on the right track to raising a happy and healthy budgie whose company you’ll enjoy for many years to come!

1. Choose the right cage

Before even bringing your new budgie babe home, you should have a suitable cage all set up and ready to go. The most important factor when choosing the right cage, is that it provides adequate room for your budgie to walk around comfortably and fully flap or extend its wings. Don’t forget you’ll also be putting toys and accessories inside!

Getting the largest cage possible is ideal, though with a single budgie, the standard small bird cage size is fine.

Also, make sure the bar spacing is sufficient. Cages with bars no more than a half inch apart are recommended. You wouldn’t want them getting stuck between the bars or squeezing through to escape (and possible harm’s way!)

2. Designate a home base

Once you’ve chosen a cage, it’s time to find the perfect spot to place it. This is much more important than you might think. The place you choose should be somewhere permanent; having to relocate your bird’s cage often can upset them. Give them their own small area of the house or apartment they can be comfortable in.

Because they are temperature sensitive, you should keep them away from windows or drafty areas. Kitchens are no good either due to possible cleaning fumes and cooking smoke. They should be somewhere without a lot of movement or vibration to their cage that can disturb them.

Having small children or other pets that can pose a threat to your budgie is definitely something to keep in mind when designating a cage’s home base. It needs to be out of reach of tiny, groping hands and in a position where curious cats or dogs can’t get to it.

3. Keep a clean cage

Just like you’d keep your own house clean and free of mess (assuming you have no little ones, that is) it’s important to keep your budgie’s cage clean as well. You wouldn’t want to have to walk around on your own poop all day, would you? And parakeets generate a lot of droppings.

Make sure you have a liner in place at the bottom of the cage to catch any mess throughout the day. Most pet supply stores will sell cage liners, but you can also use newspaper to do the same job (black ink only, some colored inks may be toxic). It’s a good idea to remove and replace the liner every day.

You also want to keep your budgie’s food and water dishes clean as well as any toys and accessories they may have. All of these items can also fall prey to the “poop path” so you’ll want to remove and clean them on a regular basis. For dishes and plastic items, you can wash with hot, soapy water before drying thoroughly. Perches should be cleaned off as well (and replaced periodically).

4. Encourage their playful nature

Budgies are very playful creatures who require plenty of stimulation to keep them from getting bored. There is a huge variety of small bird toys available online and in stores, but it’s not necessary to break the bank in order to make your budgie happy. If it’s shiny and makes noise, they’re bound to love it, no matter the price!

Also, objects they’re able to hold and manipulate with their beaks and feet are good, just make sure you’re not giving them something with small parts that can easily break off and cause a choking hazard.

Try not to clutter their cage with too many toys at once; instead, keep a collection of different ones to rotate out every so often. This will not only keep the cage from being too “busy” (not a comfortable environment for your budgie) but the toys will seem like new to them every time!

5. Give them a friend (sort of)

Budgies are very social birds who love to chirp and chatter away with others. You may hear that it’s best to have companion budgies to keep them from getting lonely. However, I’ve found it’s best to keep them separate while young to help them bond with you. Otherwise, it’s likely they’ll only be interested in you as the source of their food and water instead of as their playmate and friend, since that need will be met by their fellow cage mates.

I recommend getting a mirror or two for their cage to help them feel less alone when you aren’t there. It might not be quite the same as having another live budgie for a friend, but it will help until their human friend (that’s you!) returns. Plus, it’s a lot of fun watching them go to town talking and chirping at their own reflection as if to another budgie!

6. Provide a healthy diet

Who wants to eat the same thing every single day? That would get old pretty fast. Budgies enjoy a little changeup from the typical bird seed now and then, so it’s important to include a variety of options in their diet.

Aside from things like millet sprays and clip-on treats, there are even certain fruits and vegetables that are suitable additions to their food intake, including the following:

Fruits

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Melons
  • Kiwis
  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • Oranges

Vegetables

  • Kale
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet Potato
  • Squash
  • Cooked corn and beans

Make sure you offer any fruits and vegetables in small, manageable chunks for your budgie to enjoy.

7. Talk to your budgie (and sing!)

Budgies are talkative, musical creatures. Talk to them as much as possible, especially if you want them to learn how to speak some words of their own. They can be wonderful mimics, picking up on words or phrases they may hear around the house. They are also good at learning to mimic whistles, so if you’re a whistler, whistle away!

Try to make a point also of playing music for your budgie to hear. It’s always fun to see them enjoying the music, bobbing their head as they dance to their favorite songs. Any kind of music is fine (except maybe the screaming, head splitting kind) so whatever you like, your budgie is sure to enjoy your taste for. I would recommend playing them something peaceful and serene occasionally as well, such as classical music or nature sounds.

8. Handle with care

Though budgies are some of the best pets to have, they aren’t exactly the soft and furry ‘cuddle-types.’ Not only are they small, but they’re very fragile, seeming to weigh nothing at all. Just hold one on your finger for the first time and you’ll see what I mean! Knowing how to hold and handle your budgie is a must.

Have a talk with others in your home about the proper way to handle the new household pet. Children especially should be reminded exactly how to handle and behave with such a small creature. The keyword is: GENTLE.

Remember, not only do you want to keep from hurting them, but you want to build trust with them too. Try not to make sudden movements and never grab at them. You want them to eventually feel safe and comfortable enough to hop on your finger themselves, which is the ideal way to hold them. It takes some time, but once you’ve earned their trust, they will be happy to perch on your finger.

9. Earn their trust

The most rewarding part of owning a budgie is the bond you form with them over time. Nothing’s better than seeing their excitement at you coming up to their cage, or flying right up to land on your shoulder (sometimes head!) when you let them out.  Budgies can be the sweetest, most interesting little companions, but first they must trust you.

After first bringing them home, wait a few days, then put your hand in the cage and don’t move it for a while. Not to touch them, but to prove you won’t hurt them. Do this every day until your budgie is used to you. That trust is essential. This may take some time and patience, so don’t be discouraged if they act panicky and fly all around the cage every time you put your hand in.

Talk to them daily, sing to them, whistle to them, play music for them. Try not to stress them in any way. Don’t ever get angry at them or yell at them. Budgies are quick to fear and this may ruin any chance of developing a strong, loving connection. You must prove to them your kind intentions, and eventually a bond will grow to last a lifetime!

10. Let ’em fly!

Budgies need exercise just like any other pet. No one likes to be cooped up in one space for too long (humans and animals alike) so it’s important to make exercise an integral part of your budgie’s health and well-being.

When you first bring them home, their wings may be clipped, so flying around isn’t an option yet. After about four to six weeks they should grow back out and then you can allow supervised flight.

Some people may suggest you keep a caged bird’s wings clipped, to prevent them from flying out an open door or window. However, I’ve always preferred to let them grow so they can do what they’re naturally made to do: fly! But this choice is up to you. If you do decide to let them out to fly, just remember to keep all windows and doors closed and any ceiling fans turned off. And of course, there should be no other pets around to hurt them (lookin’ at you, sneaky cats!)

11. Keep an eye out for any health concerns

Birds can get sick just like people, so it’s important to consistently check your budgie for any warning signs of illness. They can also be prone to disease and parasites. If you notice them scratching a lot, it may mean they have mites, a common parasite to birds. There are medicines sold to help with this and getting some kind of mite protector to hang on their cage is a good idea too.

Some other things that could point to potential health problems are: 

  • Increased lethargy
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Discharge from the eyes or beak
  • Fluffed up feathers
  • Excessive squawking
  • Plucking out feathers
  • Poor appetite
  • Abnormal droppings

Anytime you notice something that seems odd or out of their ordinary type of behavior, make sure to look into it. Annual visits to the vet are recommended.

Having a budgie brings a lot of responsibility as their life is literally in YOUR hands. From the moment you bring your new budgie home, it becomes your job to keep them safe, healthy and happy. With a lifespan of around 10 to 14 years, you want to make sure your budgie has the best quality of life possible for every one of them. Now with these 11 tips, you’re well on your way!

Enjoy your new feathered friend, and here’s to finding your budgie bliss!  

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