People often label budgies as ‘low maintenance’ pets, but this is not true. Generally, people think that all it takes to take care of a budgie is to put them in a cage, feed them seeds, give them water and clean their cage every once in a while. In reality, this is seen as poor husbandry. It takes so much more to properly take care of a budgie and give it a happy, healthy life. In this article, I will discuss some important aspects of budgie care to keep in mind if you consider getting a budgie.
Getting a budgie requires a lot of research
As stated in the intro of this article, taking care of a budgie is not as easy as some people make it seem. Their care can get quite complicated, so it requires you to do a lot of research to set yourself and your future budgie up for success. In addition to this, you also need to keep researching after you get your budgie. As our society learns new things to improve the care for our feathered friends, it’s important to keep up to date with those progressions so you can keep giving your budgie the best possible care.
Budgies need a suitable diet
Despite what many pet stores will tell you, an all-seed diet is not suitable for a budgie. Seeds are high in fat and low in nutrients. This will likely cause issues like Fatty Live Decease or nutrient deficiencies. Seeds can still be given in moderation, like during training sessions, but they should not be their main source of food. Instead, budgies need a variety of high-quality pellets, healthy vegetables, grains and sprouts.
Sadly, not all foods that are considered ‘healthy’ are safe for budgies. Take an avocado, for instance, a piece of avocado is highly toxic to budgies and can easily kill them. Therefore you need to research a proper diet extensively. You also need to think about the time it will cost you to prepare fresh vegetables for your budgie every day.
Then there is the issue that most budgies are used to getting an all-seed diet at the breeder or pet store they came from. This means you have to convert your budgie to a healthier diet, which can be very tricky. If you are not careful about this, your bird could starve itself to death rather than eat its new foods.
Budgies need a suitable cage
Getting the right cage for your budgie also requires some research. Sadly, most pet store cages don’t meet the minimum measurements for a suitable cage. They need a big flight cage so they can get enough exercise while being in there.
In addition, budgies also need suitable perches in their cage. The standard dowel perches that are usually included when buying a cage will not provide enough variety for their feet. Budgies need to be able to hold their feet in different positions to prevent arthritis from developing. A better alternative would be natural wooden perches as they are varied in thickness and shape.
Budgies need a lot of mental stimulation
Boredom and depression are common issues found in domesticated parrots like budgies because people often underestimate their need for mental stimulation. Budgies are incredibly intelligent and need to be challenged daily accordingly. If they don’t get their mental needs met, it will lead to unwanted behaviour such as excessive screaming, aggressiveness and/or feather plucking.
To properly stimulate a budgie mentally, you need to provide a wide variety of parrot toys. They need toys to shred, chew on and forage with. These are all-natural behaviours that budgies exhibit in the wild, so their needs also have to be met in captivity. This means you have to provide new toys and switch the contents of the cage around regularly.
Budgies need training
In addition to needing mental stimulance from toys, budgies also require a lot of mental stimulance through training. To achieve this, you need to train with them twice a day for 5 – 10 minutes each time. You can practice basic skills like recalling or stepping up, or you can teach them fun tricks like shaking hands or doing a spin. There are countless options when it comes to tricks to teach your budgie.
Budgies need time outside of their cage
To stay happy and healthy, budgies need time outside of their cage daily. This means you need to take time to bird-proof your house so they don’t get themselves into harmful situations. You also can’t have predatory pets roaming the house while your budgie is out of their cage. So having a dog or cat and meeting the needs of all pets is almost impossible to do.
Budgies are messy
On average, budgies poop every 15 – 20 minutes. This means that your living space will be covered in tiny poops every time your budgie is out of its cage. Luckily, budgie poops are odourless and tiny.
Then there is the mess they make from playing with their toys. Since budgies have a natural urge to destroy things as a form of playing, you will likely find small pieces of toys around their cage and spread across your living area.
They also like to chew on things they are not supposed to chew on. As I’m writing this, my budgie Sky tries to nibble on my (non-toxic) plants when I’m not watching her. They also love to chew holes in clothes, nibble holes in the couch and eat the mail.
Lastly, they molt twice a year. This means they lose their old feathers and grow in new ones. During this time, you will find tiny feathers in the weirdest places around your house.
With a budgie, you will have to vacuum at least twice a day to keep a clean house.
Hopefully, this article has given you some insights into what it takes to own a budgie. Although their upkeep can be frustrating at times, their big personalities make up for it if you spend time with them to get to know them. If you want to do more research on what it takes to own a budgie, please feel free to read some of the other articles you can find on this website.