- budgie or parakeet - what is the difference?
- budgie health / budgie illness - is my budgie sick ?
- budgie lifespan - how long will my budgie live for ?
- budgie sexing - is my budgie male or female ?
- budgie care - what is the best budgie food ?
- budgie health - are fruit and vegetables necessary ?
- budgies care - what budgie food can I not feed ?
- budgie cage - what is the best budgie cage ?
- budgie care - how much exercise for my budgie ?
- breeding budgies - what age for budgie breeding ?
1) budgie or parakeet - what is the difference?
The term 'parakeet' is almost a catch-all name given to many smaller parrot species, usually slim birds with long pointed tails.
The name 'budgie' or 'budgerigar' comes from Australia where budgies live in the wild.
The budgie does have alternative names given to it such as shell parakeet and warbling grass parakeet, hence people calling them budgies and parakeets. A lot depends on which part of the world you live in. In the USA a budgie is often referred to as a parakeet.
2) budgie illness / budgie health - is my budgie sick ?
In the wild if budgies let their guard down and show they are unwell they will become the victims of predators. Therefore it is natural for budgies to conceal their illness as long as possible.
By observing your budgie daily you will learn its normal behavior and anything out of the ordinary should draw your attention. If your budgie looks ill it normally means it is really sick and can deteriorate extremely quickly.
When you detect any of the following signs of illness you should take your budgie to an avian vet as soon as possible - try to visit a vet experienced with birds so a correct diagnosis can be given.
Signs of illness to watch out for:
3) budgie lifespan - how long will my budgie live for ?
The average lifespan of a budgie is 8 to 10 years. It is not unusual for a budgie to live to 14 years of age and the occasional budgie makes it to 20! To insure your budgie has a long and happy life provide:
4) budgie sexing - is my budgie male or female ?
You need to look at your budgie's "cere". The "cere" is the area above the beak and surrounding the nostrils.
With adult budgies if the cere is bright blue the budgie is a male and if the cere is brown the budgie is a female. When a female is in breeding condition her cere will be dark brown and may become rough and crusty.
The above applies for most adult budgies except some color varieties such as albinos, fallows, lutinos and recessive pieds.
With young budgies the ceres of both sexes are the same colour, a purplish shade, so it is difficult to decipher their sex until they have been through their first molt at three to four months of age. Only then will the adult color show.
To the experienced eye the sex of a young budgie may be differentiated. The cere on a young male budgie tends to be more notable than a young female's in that it is fuller and brighter. It takes on a pinkish shade whereas a female's will have a bluish shade.
Another tip is that a young female tends to be more aggressive and bites harder than a young male.
5) budgie care - what is the best budgie food ?
Give your bird a good-quality budgie seed mix. These are readily available at pet suppliers and supermarkets. Insure the mixes do not contain an abundance of hulled oats as these are fattening, and do not buy the seed in bulk - you are best to purchase small fresh packets.
Alternatively, you can offer your budgie a pelleted diet.
Your budgie's diet must be supplemented with fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis - refer to the fruit and vegetables question below.
Budgies enjoy spray millet and seed treats such as honey bells or sticks. However, these are fattening and should be offered occasionally as treats only. Pet budgies can become overweight very easily so I recommend offering spray millet once a week if your budgie is fairly active, or if not, only once a fortnight. Seed treats are best given at two monthly intervals.
Fresh drinking water is required daily. Also make available cuttlebone, and calcium, iodine and mineral blocks. Vitamin supplements in the drinking water once a week or fortnight are a good idea, although do not leave these in the water for long as bacteria grows very quickly. Some people prefer to sprinkle powdered vitamins onto the seed or moist food, eg apple pieces or spinach. Either way, be sure to follow the product's directions with regard to dosage amount and frequency.
6) budgie health - are fruit and vegetables necessary ?
Try the following:
FRUIT: apple, grape, guava, kiwi fruit, mango, melon, nectarine, orange, peach, pear, pomegranate, plum, strawberry, tangerine, watermelon
VEGETABLES: bok choy, broccoli, carrot (chopped or grated), celery, chard, lettuce (but small amounts of lettuce and not too often as not a lot of goodness), peas, silverbeet, spinach, sweetcorn, watercress, zucchini
Favorites with budgies tend to be apple, carrot, silverbeet, spinach, sweetcorn.
Note that the fruit and vegetables should be provided:
Some budgies will not take to fruit and vegetables straight away. Persevere as it can take up to a year before your budgie will eat them. Fruit and vegetables are an essential part of your budgie's diet so offer them washed and fresh each day - do not give up!
7) budgies care - what budgie food can I not feed ?
Also avoid asparagus, aubergine or eggplant, cabbage, caffeine (tea and coffee), junk food, milk and cream, raw potato, and rhubarb (including the leaves).
Please just use your common sense when it comes to feeding your budgie. Many plants and food items are unsafe, so if you have any doubt, do not offer it to your budgie.
8) budgie cage - what is the best budgie cage ?
In my opinion, the minimum cage requirement for one budgie is:
Note: The cage base is in addition to these measurements.
Some extra tips:
when considering cage size remember to take into account the
to enable your budgie to climb around its cage and get some
a plastic removable tray at the bottom of the cage makes
9) budgie care - how much exercise for my budgie ?
Regardless of your budgie cage size please remember that in order to remain healthy and happy your budgie will require regular time out of its cage. It needs to exercise, so let your budgie out for a fly as often as possible - at least three times a week, but preferably daily. Insure all windows and doors are closed, and any hazards are out of the way.
Once you have established a routine allow your budgie time out on a daily basis - even if it just sits out on top of its cage for a while. The minimum time out should be one hour per day, but ideally your budgie should be able to come and go as it pleases, within reason, and depending on your home environment.
Do not keep your budgie locked up in its cage day in and day out.
10) breeding budgies - what age for budgie breeding ?