We, humans, love to spend time outside when the sun is shining and the temperature is nice. But just like us, our little friends like sunshine and adventure too. Many bird owners would love to share this happiness with their budgies but are afraid of losing them. And rightfully so! Aside from your own fears, going outside for the first time can cause fear for your bird too.
In this article I will break down the process of getting your bird ready to go outside with you, and what to look out for when you are outside.
'Safety measures' that are NOT SAFE
When taking your budgie outside, doing it safely is of the utmost importance. There are multiple ways to take your bird outside with you, but not all of them are as great as they might seem at first glance.
Wing clipping, for example, is often used as a way to take your bird outside without it flying away. However, this is NOT a safe method to ensure your bird won’t fly off. Without their full primary flight feathers, they might not be able to gain altitude on their own, but they can still soar the skies if they get carried by a gust of wind. If an unexpected breeze comes along it can take your budgie into a high tree. Since they don’t have their primary flight feathers they won’t be able to come down on their own. Even if the weather is seemingly wind still, it’s not worth the risk of losing your bird when there are other ways to take them outside safely. Many people have lost their budgies and other pet parrots this way, please don’t become one of them.
Another example of a method that looks like a good idea but is actually harmful to your budgie, is using a bird harness. Although this is a great way to take bigger birds like cockatiels, African greys or even macaws outside, it’s strongly discouraged when it comes to budgies. Due to their small bodies, the harness will easily outweigh them. This causes them to be unable to fly at the end of the leash, as well as cause significant stress on their body. Aside from that, harness training is very time and energy-consuming, and due to a budgies skittish nature, they won’t take as well to it as bigger birds. A harness might ensure your budgie can’t get lost outside, but in the end, it will do more harm than good.
The right way to take your budgie on a walk
If you want to take your budgie on a walk, the best way to take them is in a travel carrier or special bird backpack. If you choose to use a carrier, you can just pick any small cage from the pet store to use for this. Since your bird will only be in it for the duration of your walk, it doesn’t have to be a huge cage. As long as it’s big enough to put one or two perches in, and your bird can stretch, it’s big enough for a short walk. If you want to use a bird backpack, please inspect the backpack closely before using it. Check if there are no holes in the fabric and look if all the seams are stitched shut. Since a budgie is such a small and curious creature, they can (and will!) squeeze themselves through the tiniest hole to go explore and be lost forever. Another important thing when it comes to bird backpacks is to avoid the ones with clear plastic windows in them. Even though it looks fun and your bird can look at their surroundings, the downside is that the temperature inside the backpack quickly rises to an unbearable height. This can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion and even death for your feathered friend. When picking a bird backpack, make sure it’s properly ventilated.
Taking your bird to your garden, porch or balcony
If you want to take your budgie outside just to hang out with you while you relax, the best way to do so is by taking them outside in their main cage. If you can carry their cage outside, that’s great! My budgies’ cage even has wheels on the bottom, so I can easily roll it to the backyard, despite its size. If your cage is too big to carry and doesn’t have wheels, it doesn’t mean you can’t take your bird outside with you. You can still use a travel carrier or bird backpack and put it next to you. Please keep in mind that your budgie shouldn’t be in there the entire day due to the small size of the cage.
There are several things to watch out for when your budgie is outside. Even if they’re in their cage, they are still at risk of some outside dangers. The most obvious one is predatory animals of course. Although the neighbours’ cat might be the sweetest thing ever, that won’t stop him from lashing out to your budgie due to their instincts. If your budgie is sitting too close to the cage bars it could get hurt from a cat’s claws or a predatory birds’ beak.
Another lesser-known danger that is also related to other animals, is the toxicity of mammal saliva. Always stay close to your birds’ cage. It might look cute if a curious neighbourhood dog tries to lick your budgie, but their saliva contains a toxin that is deadly to birds.
Speaking of toxins, keep your little friend away from plants! Budgies explore the world around them with their beaks, so they might take a nibble from a leaf that’s sticking into their cage. There are some exceptions, but most plants are toxic to birds. Just keep them at least an arm’s length away from potentially harmful greens to protect them from their own curiosity.
Of course, you should always keep the outside temperature in mind as well. Budgies can easily get too cold due to their small bodies. You also don’t want to put them in the burning sun in the middle of summer with the risk of dehydration.
Hopefully, you now know what you need to know to safely take your little budgie outside. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your bird owning friends so they can learn about these safety precautions as well! If you want to learn more about budgie care and training, check out one of my other articles down below.