The parakeet, or budgie, as it is sometimes called, is one of the most popular pet birds in the world. And it’s no wonder they’re so commonly kept as companions—they have a terrifically docile temperament and beautiful, colorful markings on their bright green feathers.
Because parakeets are the smallest of the parrot bird family, a lot of new budgie owners believe that their habitat, or cage, should or can be just as small as their bird. However, this is never the case, because parakeets are extremely active and need relatively large cages to allow room for exercise and playtime, as well as space for their sleeping and eating areas.
Parakeet Cage Size
For all parakeets, the rule of thumb is simply the larger, the better. For new budgie owners that face budget or economic constraints when it comes to their pets, it helps to know the minimum starting cage size. Though, all bird owners can definitely upgrade the size of their cage down the road, as no cage is ever too big for these playful birds.
A lot of new parakeet owners don’t know that the width of a parakeet cage is actually meant to be longer than the cage’s height. This is because these birds usually fly from side to side during play, not up and down. Unfortunately, this is the opposite of the cages used in many pet store chains, simply because those cages are meant to hold a larger number of parakeets for only a short, temporary amount of time. With a parakeet’s permanent habitat, though, lengthy, horizontal cages are always preferred.
The absolute smallest cage size that should be used for one single parakeet is at least 20 inches long from side to side, 18 inches high and 18 inches deep. This can accommodate most small- to medium-sized budgies, including all the popular pet breeds. However, breeds that exceed 12 inches in length from head to tail tip, such as the monk or Indian ringneck parakeet, will require an extra 10 inches of horizontal cage length, making their accommodations about 30 inches across, 18 inches high and 18 inches deep.
Although budgies can be kept as singles, they are happiest when kept in pairs, since they are social birds. For two parakeets, add 10 inches length to what a single bird would require and keep the height and depth the same. So, for a pair of parakeets, the permanent cage should be about 30 inches long, 18 inches high and 18 inches deep. For more than three budgies per cage, add an extra 10 inches to the cage length and at least eight extra inches to the cage depth per bird. However, for more than six parakeets per area, building an aviary with lots of room in an outdoor setting would be best.
Regardless of the cage size, it’s important to add lots of fun toys, perches and chew items to maximize playtime. A parakeet cage will also need food and water stations and nest areas, too, to keep parakeets of any age happy and healthy in their home.