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Download and print out the "New Budgie Checklist"
(PDF document, requires Adobe Reader)
Click here to download the Microsoft Word document version
A complete list of everything you need for your new budgie, plus a guide to picking the right budgie for you!
What's a Budgie? And is there a difference between budgies and parakeets??
Many people know them as "parakeets," but their real name is "budgerigar". The word "budgerigar" comes from the aboriginal people of Australia, the budgie homeland. We like to use "budgie" as a shortened version of "budgerigar". In English, "budgerigar" or "budgie" is a more accurate name, because "parakeet" actually refers to a large group of small to medium sized parrot species. That's right, budgies are actually small parrots! Click here to see what other parakeet species are kept as pets. Since John Gould brought the first budgerigar back to England in 1840, budgies have become extremely popular pets throughout the globe. You can now find budgie lovers in just about any country you travel to!
|Budgie names from around the world:|
|English:||budgerigar, budgie, parakeet, keet||Spanish (Español):||periquito||Filipino (Tagalog):||maikling loro|
|French (français):||perruche ondulée||Hindi (India):||बजरीगर (bajarigar)||Chinese:||虎皮鹦鹉 (hǔ pí yīngwǔ)|
|Norwegian:||undulat||Polish:||papużka falista||Italian:||pappagallino ondulato|
|Russian:||волнистый попугайчик (volnistyĭ popugaĭchik)||Arabic:||الطائر الطيب||Korean:||잉꼬 (ingkko)|
|If you want to add to the list, let me know!|
Do budgies make good pets?
photo posted by conure6 on the Budgie Place Yahoo! Group
If you ask me, budgies make awesome pets! They are very active, playful birds, and they are incredibly intelligent. Some (but not all) budgies learn to talk, there are even budgies have a 100+ word vocabulary! Budgies can easily become finger tame while they are young with some diligent training, even if they were not hand fed as babies. Many owners of fully tamed budgies will swear that their budgie thinks it's a human! Even if a budgie is not tamed, they still make enjoyable pets. Their antics and singing will brighten up any room in your home. And budgies who are not finger tame still can become friendly towards you, and even still learn to talk.
It's important to keep in mind that if you have (or plan to get) only one budgie, it's imperative that you socialize with him or her every day. Budgies, as with all parrots, are flock birds, and it is important to their mental health to have interaction with others. If you tame your budgie, you can provide him (or her) with the social interaction he needs by spending time with him every day (even if he or she just hangs out with you while you do your homework or clean up around the house). If you don't have the time or inclination to tame your budgie, then you must plan on getting at least two budgies so that they can provide each other the social interaction they need to be happy and healthy.
There are some downsides to keeping budgies as pets that you should be aware of. You should know that budgies can be messy. Seeds and feathers tend to scatter around the cage, so you'll have to sweep or vacuum often. A cage skirt (available at pet stores) can help cut down on the mess. You also have to be diligent enough to make sure your budgie always has fresh food and water, and to make sure the cage bottom gets cleaned about once a week. Budgies can also be a bit noisy, although they are not quite as noisy as most parrots. Budgies spend several hours a day, especially mornings and evenings, chirping and singing and sometimes squawking. This is normal behavior, and most people enjoy the singing and chatter of budgies. However, if the noise does not appeal to you or may bother other people that you live with, you may need to consider closely where you put the cage or if a budgie is the right pet for you. Covering the cage at night will keep your budgies quiet from bed time until you wake them up in the morning, but the rest of the day is fair game for budgie banter.
I want a budgie that will be hand tame or talk...
Nathan and Buffy
Well then, make sure you read this section! The best way to get a budgie that will become hand tame is to buy a baby (about 3 months old) that has either been hand fed or handled as a chick. He or she will already be at least somewhat hand tame! You are most likely to find this from a breeder, and most likely not to find this at a pet store. If you cannot find a breeder in your area and you have to buy a budgie from a pet store, you are going to want to make sure that he or she is still young. See the Your Budgie's Age page to learn how to tell if a budgie is still young. The younger your new budgie, the greater the chances for him or her to become very hand tame and friendly. If you would like to try and teach your budgie to talk or whistle, then you will want to choose a male budgie. Generally only male budgies will learn to mimic humans, although there is no guarantee that your budgie will learn to talk, even if it's a male. It can be difficult to sex young budgies, so study the Your Budgie's Sex page carefully. When choosing your budgie from a bunch that is already somewhat tame, choose one that seems to have a good personality. Color preference should not be your first priority. A budgie that seems curious, playful, and does not seem to be scared of you will be a better choice than one who seems skittish or flighty when you approach the budgie cage at the store. You'll be able to make the best choice if you go to a store or breeder who lets you handle the budgies before you buy. You'll want to choose a budgie that is willing to stay on your hand or finger for even a short period of time. For guidelines on choosing a budgie, see my FAQ article on buying a new budgie.
If you do plan on taming your budgie, it is best to keep him or her alone and not get another budgie. This is because a budgie kept alone will be more inclined to bond to you instead of bonding to the other budgie (which is what will happen if you keep more than one budgie together). It is possible to tame a budgies who are kept together, but it is much more difficult and recommended only for experienced bird owners. Also, the chances of your budgie learning to talk will also be greatly diminished if kept with other budgies. You also will not want to put any toys with mirrors in the cage for the same reasons. Your budgie will actually think that the bird in the mirror is his friend! Once you have your budgie, see my "Taming and Talking" section for guidance on taming your pet budgie.
What do I need to get started?
Good SizeThe cage on the left is a little over 1 foot (30 cm) square, and is just big enough to provide enough space for one or two budgies. The cage on the right is about two feet wide, and a little over one foot deep and tall. It is a very good size for about three, maybe four, budgies. What is excellent about this cage is that it is wide, providing extra room in the right places. You will want to place cages like these on a stand or table, since your budgies will feel uncomfortable living close to the ground. (For birds, the taller the perching spot, the safer they feel.) And remember, the more budgies you want to keep in one cage, the bigger the cage needs to be. So if you want to keep 5 or more budgies in one cage, you will need one bigger than seen on the right.
Good, But Height May Be WastedThese cages are a good size for one to three budgies. However, these cages are taller than they are wide, and this may be a waste of money depending on your needs. Remember, when choosing a cage for your budgies, wider is better than taller. Your budgies will mostly stay in the higher half of the cage and won't make use of the extra space below. (For birds, the taller the perching spot, the safer they feel.) This could still be a good choice for you if you plan on placing the cage on the ground instead of on a table or stand.
Too SmallThese cages are just way too small! They are labeled as "9 inches long" and say they are for parakeets, but it would be inappropriate to confine a budgie or parakeet to a cage this size. I wouldn't even recommend keeping a canary or finch in a cage this small. If you have a budgie in a small cage like this, I strongly recommend you upgrade to a larger cage as soon as you are able to. These cages would only be good for temporary stays, such as transporting your budgie or separating a sick budgie from the flock.
What is involved in caring for a pet budgie?
Now that you know the basics of budgie care, check our Advanced Budgie Care page to learn about budgie and parakeet diet, important safety concerns, how to keep your budgie healthy, and what to do in case of illness or injury.
|For a printable version of this page, Click Here.|
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