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Top 10 Pet Budgie/Parakeet Questions Answered

Have a question about your pet budgie/parakeet? Check our FAQ for answers!

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Budgies
Budgerigars (budgies/parakeets) are native to Australia. Their natural color is green, but there are many budgie color mutations.
1) Is a budgie a parrot?
Yes. Budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) have the characteristic features of a parrot: a curved hookbill and zygodactyl feet (two toes pointing forward and two pointing backward). With good care, budgies can live up to 15 years.

2) What do I feed my pet budgie?
A good pet budgie diet includes a teaspoon of bird seed along with a formulated pet budgie diet (pellets) and sprouted seed, supplemented by healthy vegetables and healthy table foods, such as whole-wheat bread, pasta, plain mashed sweet potato, green leafy vegetables and small bits of fruit. Budgies especially love a millet-spray treat.

3) Can a pet budgie talk?
A pet budgie can learn a vast vocabulary of words and phrases. A male budgerigar is more inclined to speak than a female budgie. Some pet budgie owners might not even realize that their budgie is repeating words or phrases because a pet parakeet tends to have a very low, quick voice that might be mistaken for chatter. When teaching your pet budgie a word or phrase, speak slowly and clearly and keep an ear out for these words and phrases when you hear your parakeet chattering away.

Want an example of a budgie talking? Check out this video!

4) What type of bird cage should I get for my pet budgie?
Pet budgies are quite active, so your budgie needs a spacious bird cage. Opt for a bird cage that is at least 24 inches wide by 24 inches tall with ½- to 1-inch bar spacing. Look for bird cages that are easy to clean and maintain, (e.g. the cage has a pull-out tray, food and water dishes that are accessible from outside the pet bird cage). Your pet budgie needs more than just a bird cage though. Your pet parakeet needs a variety of perching options (wooden perches, rope perches, etc) that are appropriately sized for your budgie’s feet, as well as plenty of bird toys, a pet bird playgym and more.

5) Is my pet budgie male or female?
In normal (i.e. color most found in the wild) green budgerigars, male budgies have a blue cere (the area right above the nostrils), and females have ceres that range from white, tan to brown. Color mutations in budgies can affect the male’s typical blue cere color, such as the albino, lutino or fallow budgerigars. Some juvenile (young) parakeets might also have a light-colored cere. Bird aviculturists point out behavioral differences between male budgies and female budgies. Male pet budgies are more inclined to talk, and female budgies have a reputation for being a bit more "bossy.”

6) Which makes the better pet bird: a male budgie or female budgie?
Both male budgies and female budgies can make great pet birds. Typically, male budgies are better talkers than female budgies. With a female budgie, be aware of potential parrot health issues, such as chronic egg laying and egg binding.

7) Should I get one budgie or two?
If you are considering a pet budgie, experts recommend getting one budgie so it bonds only with you; however, many owners get two budgies so the birds have each other when the rest of the flock (aka you) is out. Either way, work with your budgies individually to establish a bond.

8)What is the difference between a parakeet and a budgie?
A "parakeet” is a very general term for a parrot with a slender body and a long tail. That said, while a budgie is a parakeet, a parakeet isn’t necessarily a budgie. While labeled as "parakeets” in most pet stores, "budgie” is short for budgerigar, which is the species’ true name. 

English budgie
The English budgie is a parakeet that has been bred to be larger with distinct features.
9) Should I trim my budgie’s wing feathers?
Pet budgies seem to do everything fast, from the way they talk, to the way they flitter about. If you are trying to hand-tame your pet parakeet (e.g. getting it to perch on your finger), a proper pet bird wing-feather trim can make your bird training sessions much easier. You won’t have to chase after a flying pet budgie, and you won’t have to worry about your parakeet crashing into a window or wall and injuring itself. Have a professional bird groomer or your avian (bird) veterinarian demonstrate the proper technique for a wing-feather trim, including how to gently and safely hold your pet budgie for grooming, before attempting it yourself. Performing a wing-feather trim will be more manageable if you have someone to assist you; for example, one person holds your pet parakeet, while the other trims your pet budgie's wing feathers. A proper wing-feather trim should allow the budgerigar to glide safely to the ground, as opposed to landing hard. You can allow your pet budgie’s wing feathers to grow back to full length once your parakeet is hand-tamed, but be aware that a fully flighted pet budgie can be lost through an open door or window. A fully flighted budgie can drown if it falls into a water source, such as an open toilet or pot of water. Take extra precautions to keep your pet budgie safe from indoor hazards.

10) Isn’t there a really big budgie?
Correct! There is a larger type of budgie, known as the English budgie, which is larger than a standard budgie, or American parakeet (those typically available in pet stores and similar in size to wild budgies). English budgies are also referred to as show-type budgies because they are often bred to be shown and judged on their appearance at bird shows and exhibitions. English budgies have puffy head feathers, which gives them a more intense look. Both the English budgie and the American parakeet are the same bird; one is just bred to be larger. They are both budgies and parakeets, or specifically, budgerigars.

Want to learn more about budgies? Check out these articles!

Train Your Parakeet
Top 10 Pet Budgie/Parakeet Vet Questions & Answers
Keeping A Pair of Pet Budgies/Parakeets

Conure FAQ
Conure FAQ

Cockatiel FAQ
 Cockatiel FAQ

African Grey FAQ
 
African Grey FAQ
Cockatoo FAQ
Cockatoo FAQ
Macaw FAQ
Macaw FAQ


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Posted: April 24, 2013, 11:30 a.m. PDT

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Top 10 Pet Budgie/Parakeet Questions Answered

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Reader Comments
There is no such thing as an "American Budgie". The smaller version is actually the original AUSTRALIAN Budgerigar. Nice try on the attempt to claim our native bird as one of your own!
Kiera, International
Posted: 10/5/2013 5:14:12 PM
When trying to teach a parakeet to talk, "slowly and clearly" are important, absolutely, but may I also suggest *animatedly* and *excitedly*? I have an excellent talker (Disco the Parakeet - he's not quite 3 years old and says about 80 phrases), and I think sounding interesting to him has been a key component of our success. We also make it as fun as possible - the training is all part of play time. (I also would bet it's very much a genetic thing - we give him most of the credit, believe me.)
Judy, Rochester, NY
Posted: 4/24/2013 2:31:07 PM
Comment below... I meant clipping can cause balance issues in budgies!
Moina, london
Posted: 4/8/2013 4:07:08 PM
I do not agree with clipping a budgies wing feathers. I have a tame budgie whom I bought from a pet shop. I have had him for 4 years now and he is a total sweetheart. When he first came home, he was wild and afraid, he did not trust me. Eventually with 4 months of patience and sweet talking and getting him to eat spinach off my hands (He doesn't like millet!! Odd!) he eventually came closer and closer. Soon I started to train him with step up etc I found that by not clipping my poor budgies wings, he was more confident. Clipping a budgies wing basically means you have cut off flight... now flight is their defence, like run is for us. If you were put in a position to be forced to walk say on a tight rope and you could not run away and had to do something, surely you would be uncomfortable and perhaps afraid and less trusting towards the person making you do it, whereas if you were able to run away, surely you could be more confident knowing you can run away anytime. Yes it may take a little longer to train your budgie as your budgie may become distracting of other things and thus flys away BUT it will ensure your budgie that it is safe, it can fly if danger comes and it will trust you more. Clipping wings can cause balance wings too. Please join a budgie forum and an avian vet to know more as I can guarantee, most budgie owners will agree with me as well as vets. :D
Moina, London
Posted: 4/8/2013 4:03:00 PM
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