Parakeets are social birds who love to play. They crave interaction with other birds or humans, so if you bring home just one pet parakeet, you become his buddy. All kinds of fun stuff will intrigue him. Show him how to have fun, and soon he'll be following you everywhere.
Change Toys Often
Your budgie pal is always curious; an assortment of toys will let him climb, chew and explore. You can give him a toy that offers several activities, and show him how to spin the wheel, ring the bell, pull the strings, or hit objects and watch them swing. Introduce new toys carefully, so your budgie buddy isn't frightened. Change toys around every few weeks, so he doesn't get bored with one or get so used to it that he won't accept a new toy. If your parakeet likes to be out of his cage, buy or make a play area with lots of activities, and interact with him while he plays there.
Play with Paper
Chewing is a favorite budgie pastime. You can make paper toys for him yourself by rolling a piece of paper into a small ball. Put the ball on the bottom of your curious pal's cage, and give it a little push. When he hops down to investigate, hit it gently toward him. Wait for him to hit it back. If he decides to chew and tear the paper, surprise him the next time by putting a familiar treat inside. Change the treats he'll discover when he plays this game, so he'll be eager to tear the object apart to find what's inside. Just be sure the paper doesn't have ink or dye that he might ingest while he chews.
Talk and Sing
If you put time and patience into teaching, your male parakeet can learn to talk and sing. Speak to him frequently, repeating the same phrases slowly. Soon he'll imitate your intonation, and he may progress to saying the words. You may have to listen carefully, because his high-pitched or muffled mumblings will not be as clear as words spoken by a parrot. Say "food," "water" and "millet" when you replace them. Listen for him to try the same syllables as you perform each action. If he does, he may be trying to repeat the words. Sing or whistle a song repeatedly to him, and he may imitate that, too.
Step Right Up
To teach your parakeet to perch on your finger, first teach him to "step up" onto a perch. Once he's used to your hands in his cage, gradually move a perch and push it gently against his abdomen. As you do, say "up." It's a natural reaction for him to step up onto the perch. He may be afraid and flutter away at first, but keep trying. Once he steps willingly onto the perch each time, hold your finger on the perch so that he steps up onto it. Next, eliminate the perch and get him used to stepping up onto your finger. Then you can take him out of his cage to play. Soon he may take off flying to explore -- just be sure to "bird proof" the area so he doesn't eat something toxic or get hurt.
Barbara Bean-Mellinger is an award-winning writer in the Washington, DC area. She writes nationally for newspapers, magazines and websites on topics including careers, education, women, marketing, advertising and more. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Pittsburgh.