A budgie’s cage should meet the needs of the bird that will call it home. Before you decide on which bird cage to purchase, ask yourself, "Am I buying this bird cage because it is the best cage for my parakeet or because I like the shape or color?”
Birds fly back and forth, not up and down like a helicopter, so a wide, horizontal bird cage is best. The cage should be large enough to accommodate bird toys and provide plenty of room to move around. Consider the ease of cleaning and accessibility, as well as the safety of the design of the bird cage. Avoid bird cages with spring-action closures. Your parakeet’s toes, beaks or wings can become trapped and result in injury or death.
Cage or aviary requirements for multiple budgies are a little different. Always buy a bird cage larger than you think you will need to prevent overcrowding. Crowded conditions can lead to several problems. Aggression is more likely to occur if the less dominant parakeets cannot escape from dominant parakeets. Injuries can be particularly pronounced when new birds are introduced into a flock that has already established a social order. Problems can arise in a community cage that is dominated by female budgies, and injuries from attacks can be fatal.
Each parakeet should have several inches of perch space. The bird cage or aviary should also have multiple food and water cups, to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to eat and drink if a handful of budgies rule the dishes. Ample perch space, again, guarantees each parakeet its own space. If the plan is for one large community cage, a couple of smaller cages are necessary for emergencies and to house a troublemaking budgie or two.
Your parakeet needs a cage that is at least 24 inches by 24 inches.
Measure the area where your parakeet will reside to get an idea of the size of cage the area will accommodate. This will keep you bringing home a bird cage only to find that it is too large for the space — or that you could have purchased a larger cage. The bird cage should be large enough to comfortably house the budgie and its toys. The budgie should have more than enough room to turn around without its tail touching any bars, cups or toys. A minimum cage size is 24 by 24 inches with 1/4-inch bar spacing so the budgie cannot fit its head through the bars.
Birds spend just about every minute of every day on their feet. Be sure to give your parakeet at least three perches, with at least one made of natural wood. Natural wood perches offer different shapes, sizes and textures for the comfort of the parakeet’s feet, and, these perches serve an added function because most budgies will chew and strip the bark from the branch. Picking up a couple of extra perches as replacements eliminates the need to scrub and disinfect perches. Simply replace them when they are soiled or worn. Natural perches should be made of a suitable, nontoxic wood, such as maple or apple.
A rope perch and a grooming perch are good secondary options. The natural perch should be the main one, and where your budgie will most likely prefer to sleep. Place it near the top of the cage. Many times, a small change in the location of a perch makes the difference in tail feather condition or the cleanliness of a food or water cup. To minimize droppings on perches, place perches so they do not cross over each other or under a swing.
Excerpt from the Popular Birds Series magabook Budgies with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Parakeets here.