Parakeets, or budgies, are intelligent birds that desire activity and need to play for optimal health. If you don't provide stimulation, they'll try to get into something -- which means trouble. You can purchase a parakeet playground to keep your budgie occupied, or you can make an inexpensive one at home.
Find a long piece of natural wood with several branches. It should be untreated and nontoxic to your parakeet.
Wash the branch in hot, soapy water with a scrub brush. Use a soap that is safe for parakeet cage cleaning, and rinse the branch thoroughly to remove any residue. Allow the branch to air-dry for several days in a warm spot.
Position the branch as a perch "gym," either between the slats in an extra parakeet cage, lodged at an angle in the habitat cage, or placed upright in a heavy plant container filled with potting soil and rocks. The branch must not wiggle or sway. You can fill a pot with quick-drying cement to hold the branch upright in a safe and permanent position. Make sure the cement has set before you move forward.
Hang pieces of rope from the branch in several places. Knot the rope tightly around the branch to keep your parakeet from easily pulling it off. Tie knots in the rope lengths to provide climbing holds for your parakeet to navigate.
Tie bells, tinker toys, beads or buttons to lengths of yarn or thinner string. Knot them firmly to the ropes and branch in various places to create curiosities for your parakeet to explore.
Place treats along the perch for your budgie to find and enjoy. These might be small pieces of fruits or veggies placed in various spots, or hanging in a foraging toy. You can make homemade foraging; simply place his favorite treats in a toilet paper tube, stuff the ends with clean toilet paper and hang the contraption over a branch for your parakeet to discover.
- Watch ropes and strings for signs of fraying and replace them as needed.
- Avoid branches with bug holes; these may contain eggs that could hatch. Allowing the branch to air-dry for several days helps to ensure no bugs hatch out of the wood.
Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."