Parakeets, also known as budgerigars, are related to parrots and can make great family pets. Their beautiful colors, unique personalities and high intelligence have made them a well-loved animal and pet.
Their care and living needs are quite simple with some research and preparation. Parakeets can live for up to 20 years when kept in good health and treated well. With such a long lifespan, it’s important to remember that a pet is a lifetime commitment and should be taken very seriously.
What Do You Need to Take Care of a Parakeet?
The ideal cage should be 14 inches long, 16 inches high and 17 inches wide, making it longer rather than taller. The parakeet should have enough space in its cage to stretch its wings fully and fly around. Square-topped cages are preferred rather than round or decorative cages, as these birds fly horizontally. Cages should not be in direct sunlight, direct line of drafts or air conditioning, as these birds are sensitive to temperature changes.
Perches are another important factor in any cage. Any perch should be the correct size for the bird’s feet or it might not be able to grip it. There should also be different types and textures of perches within the cage. Ensure that perches are not placed over sources of food or water to prevent droppings from falling into them.
Toys such as bells, ropes and ladders can be added to further increase stimulation.
Parakeets don’t necessarily need a bird bath in their cage, but if you decide to add one, it needs to be cleaned out regularly. Alternatively, you can use misting bird bath spray bottles to help your bird stay clean.
The diet of a parakeet can vary day to day, although it needs to be fed no less than every 24 hours or risk illness because of its fast metabolism.
Offer your parakeet fresh pellets or seeds every day. Some parakeets have a habit of only eating the top layer of pellets in their food bowl. If this is the case, refresh the pellets more often throughout the day to ensure it is eating enough food.
Parakeets can also have dark green and yellow vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes. Fresh fruit should be given in reserve, as too much sugar can harm them. Remove uneaten, fresh food after 2–3 hours to prevent the parakeet from eating spoiled food.
A cuttlebone or mineral block can be added to their cage to give them additional supplements and help trim their beaks.
If their droppings become runny, they may be receiving too much water intake from fresh food, so decrease the amount offered. Cages should be cleaned once a week to prevent droppings from building up, which encourage bacteria growth.
It is extremely critical that parakeets receive fresh water daily and that their water dish be kept clean. They are sensitive to water-born bacteria that can cause illness and even death when not treated. Make sure you use only bird safe cleaning sprays when washing out bowls and cages.
Keeping parakeets healthy is an important step to ensure they live full and happy lives. In addition to being sensitive to temperature changes and bacteria, be mindful of other potential changes in their health. If your parakeet begins to pluck its own feathers, it may be bored, sick or stressed. Contact your local, small animal veterinarian to get detailed guidance and care.
Take good care of your parakeet and they will love you their whole life.