The budgie is an easy-care friend bundled up in a small parrot package. He comes in enough colors to paint a tropical daydream and greets most mornings cheerfully. However, he needs a few basics to thrive, may do best as a couple and does not take kindly to being ignored.
Commit to giving your budgie at least an hour of your attention and affection every day. Prevent him from spending lonely days in his cage by adopting two rather than one. These relatively inexpensive little parrots are flock birds and require interaction with other budgies to live the social life they crave.
Pick a cage that looks plenty big enough, and then buy the next size up so your budgies have plenty of room to stretch out those wings. Choose wide over tall so they can move horizontally when flying from one perch to another.
Buy extra perches if necessary, placing one in front of the food and water dishes and others to climb on at various angles and heights in the cage. Try angling a pesticide-free branch in the cage to give your feathered jewels their own tree to explore, but keep enough open space for flitting about.
Add toys for your budgies but not so many that they get overwhelmed -- probably two or three. Some love mirrors and others prefer nibbling at bells. Switch them out every several weeks to prevent boredom. Go for toys designed for budgies and made from nontoxic materials since they'll taste them all and tear some apart with those strong beaks. Check for broken toys daily and replace as needed to prevent injury.
Put their home in a bright spot where there's plenty of activity so they aren't without human contact for long stretches of time. Do not place the cage directly in front of a window because sudden changes in temperature or unrelenting sunshine can prove fatal. Keep them away from kitchens, bathrooms and other areas that might expose them to toxic fumes, including hairspray.
Feed your birds once to twice daily and keep the water dish clean and full. Budgies can starve to death within 48 hours and dehydrate even quicker. Buy a quality pellet mix or blend of seeds and grasses nutritionally balanced for budgies. Add snacks to the daily menu with small amounts of fresh fruits and berries, vegetables, millet and leafy greens.
Start taming your budgies by using every opportunity to get close to their cage. Chat with them as you serve breakfast and offer them snacks from your hand. Invite yourself into their home for increasingly prolonged periods to wipe off perches or fiddle with toys.
Once they stay put with your hand in the cage or -- even better -- hop over to investigate, increase the connection by holding out your finger and brushing it gently against a budgie's front toes. If he hops on, give him a gentle ride from one side of the cage to the other. Then repeat the whole process with your other budgie.
- Budgies are hugely popular pets that often get left behind when the novelty wears off so many shelters have a large population of healthy budgies longing for adoption.
- Taming will go much faster if your budgies come from a breeder who started the process with hand feeding.
- Always let your budgies make the first move when climbing onto your finger; forcing them on will put you back at step one.
- Never feed your budgie avocado because it contains persin, which is toxic for birds, and check with your vet for a complete list of potentially harmful foods or plants.
A medical writer since 1990 and successful home-based business owner for more than 14 years, Sandra King holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications. She uses her formal education, professional insight and extensive volunteer involvement to cover topics on health and fitness, pets, parenting for a lifetime, building healthy relationships, conquering business basics and developing career goals.