Caring for your Budgerigar
Budgerigars are friendly, cheerful companions for all age groups, and are particularly suitable for flats and other situations where a larger pet may not be practicable. Keeping any type of bird requires a great deal of patience. People are usually divided on the rights and wrongs of keeping birds in cages, but cared for properly, captive bred birds have a much longer life span and a great deal less stress than their wild counterparts. No one likes to see a bird in a cage that looks too small and imagine that they never get to spread their wings and fly. Birds are highly intelligent animals and, just the same as any other pet, need handling, exercise, contact, play, stimulation and a proper diet.
Housing - Cages
It is quite often easy to think that caged birds do not have big enough cages. Unfortunately this is sometimes the case, but you also have to remember that by nature birds do tend to like enclosed spaces to call home: cliff overhangs, small caves and roof spaces. So long as they have regular flying time out of their cage, a smaller cage will make them feel safe and secure. Toys, swings, ladders, seed sticks and mineral supplements, such as cuttle fish, will all help to keep your bird busy and alleviate boredom whilst in their cage.
However, where room permits, a roomy cage is advisable, preferably one with horizontal bars. This will allow your budgie to exercise his natural ability to climb around the cage. The budgie should be housed in an environment free from draughts and kept at an even temperature. Do not position the cage in front of a window or where the budgie can be interfered with. Sandsheets or cage bird sand should be placed in the bottom of the cage and replaced regularly.
Before introducing your budgie to his new home, fill the water and feed pots and sprinkle a little extra seed on the floor to ensure that he has enough to eat until he finds the seed pot. Gently open one end of the carry box and let your budgie walk into his new home. If he does not settle readily give him some extra protection by draping a cloth around three sides and the top of the cage, gradually removing it as he settles down. Leave him to adjust quietly. You should cover up the cage at night only if the room temperature is likely to fall.
Housing - AviariesKeeping birds in aviaries tends to be more of a hobby, if you have a good size aviary you can keep many different species together, but there is still a pecking order and you must keep a watchful eye for bullying. Keeping birds in this way replicates conditions faced in the wild to a degree, and as a result aviary birds have more stress than well-kept single or paired caged birds and, therefore, tend not to live as long.
FeedingTo be happy and healthy, display their plumage at its best and delight us with their lively singing, birds need a diet to suit their specific requirements. It is also a very important means of stimulation, as birds like to play with food.
A good quality budgie mixture should be available from your pet shop. Check the seed dish daily, removing empty husks and refilling if necessary. Millet sprays may be given as a treat, but do not overfeed (they can be fattening!). Honey bells and seed bars may also be provided periodically. Grit helps digestion and should always be available. Cuttlefish is a good source of calcium. A mineral block will provide essential minerals and trace elements. Fresh thoroughly washed green food may be given, such as chick weed and dandelion.
Your budgie will appreciate special toys to play with. These should be introduced gradually, starting with a ladder, then adding other toys later. Donít forget that a mirror may prevent your budgie from talking. Do not over crowd the cage.
Properly cared for your budgie will live a long and happy life.
You can use a suitable fine mist water sprayer to ensure that the feathers are kept fit and clean. Some budgies enjoy a bath, but not all.
Draughts cause colds. The bird will be listless, with feathers fluffed up and apparently wheezing. Keep him warm. Do not bath. Treat with remedies from your pet shop or consult your vet.
This is commonly caused by an excess of green food, mouldy or contaminated food. Treat with remedies from your pet shop or consult your vet.
Usually red mite, this is a parasite which feeds on the birdís blood, causing itching and loss of weight. It is easy to destroy them by using a suitable spray.
Beaks and Toenails
Should these become overgrown, you will need to get expert help from the vet or the breeder where you purchased your budgie.
The cage, perches and food and water pots must be cleaned regularly.