So you want a pet parakeet. These birds are lots of fun and make wonderful pets. But they do need some specific care.
Let’s explore what it takes to have a pet parakeet.
Even though the parakeet is a smaller species of bird, it will still need lots of room. For this reason, you will want to provide your new feathery friend with a large cage.
The cage should measure at least 18 x 24 x 24; however, the bigger the cage, the better when it comes to housing your pet parakeet.
Remember: Parakeets like to fly horizontally, so the cage should be longer, rather than tall. The cage should also be made out of stainless steel. Metals such as brass, zinc, or lead can be toxic to birds. The bars should also be horizontal so your bird can climb on them.
You will also need some other items to make your parakeet’s home great. These include;
- Cage lining – this can be copy paper or paper towels. Do not use newspaper as the ink tends to come off.
- Perches – these can be made from natural orchard wood. These include apple, plum, pear or cherry woods because they are safe for the bird to peak at. The perches should also be around 3/8” in diameter.
- A food dish
- A drip water bottle or water dish
- Parakeet food
- Toys – parakeets particularly enjoy having mirrors, bells, or ladders to climb up and down on.
How to Set Up a Parakeet Home
Before you bring home your parakeet, you have to get its home ready. Here’s how to set up a bird cage.
Step #1 – Step the cage up according to the instructions on the box.
Step #2 – line the bottom of the cage with paper.
Step #3 – Rinse the drip water bottle, then fill with fresh water. Hang on the side of the cage, so the drip portion is inside the cage and low enough for your bird to reach.
Step #4 – Rinse the food dish. Dry. Fill with bird seed. Place in the cage (not under the water bottle).
Step #5 – Add in any toys or natural wood perches you want to use. Make sure they are secure, so they don’t fall when your parakeet is climbing on them.
Step #6 – Place your bird’s cage away from drafts, and direct sunlight. Choose a place that is quiet and relaxing. We recommend placing your bird’s cage against a wall to help your new pet feel safe.
Note: Never place your bird’s cage in the kitchen. Some fumes from cooking oil and frying pan finishes can be toxic to birds.
Now that you have your parakeet’s home ready, it’s time to add the bird.
Bringing Home a Parakeet
After you have chosen your parakeet, the person at the store will put him in a small carrying box for you to take him home in.
When you get home, open the door of the cage. Carefully open the box and place it in the cage. Allow your bird to walk or fly out of the box and into his new home.
Remember: Your new friend will be very nervous, so allow him to investigate the cage and all his new stuff without being disturbed.
Your new buddy might want to rest for the first little while, so allow him or her the time to get used to his/her new home.
Socializing With Your Parakeet
Parakeets need company so be prepared to spend at least ninety minutes a day – though not necessarily all at once – chatting to your bird or interacting.
Note: Without regular and sufficient attention, parakeets will lose interest in human interaction.
A way to interact with your bird is to sing together, give it baths and if it seems to be rapidly dropping a mobile toy, pick it up. There is a chance it is trying to play a game with you.
Sometimes parakeets get lonely. A good way to get them happy again is to talk to them.
You can also train your parakeet to climb onto your finger. To do this, gently push your finger on their tummy and say, “Step up.” Repeat this action until your buddy knows the action.
It’s important that your parakeet gets time out of the cage. Although the bird can fly in the cage, it is a good idea to let the bird out once a day for free flight.
Before you do this, close windows and doors, extinguish candles and secure other dangerous objects like knives in the kitchen. You will also want to turn off all fans, and keep them off the floor around children and other pets, etc. The safer you can make the environment, the better.
Feeding Your Parakeet
Feed your parakeet prepared food mixes of both pellets and some seeds.
You can also give your bird fruits and veggies. These fresh nibbles include;
- Apples, pears, melon, kiwi, berries, grapes, and oranges.
- Green leafy vegetable, such as kale, dandelions leaves, romaine lettuce, spinach, and sprouted seeds.
Remember: to take out any uneaten fresh food after a couple of hours, so it doesn’t go bad.
Parakeets also need calcium. You can provide your bird with this important mineral through cuttlebones, hard-boiled eggs, and oyster shell grit.
Cleaning Your Parakeet’s Cage
Keeping your parakeet’s cage clean is very important. You will want to change the paper at the bottom of the cage every day.
Once a week you will also need to clean your bird’s cage thoroughly. To do this, you will have to relocate your feathery friend to a safe location – a big box with tall sides will work – be sure your bird can’t escape.
Once your pet is safe, take apart the cage. Throw away the old lining and any uneaten food, or chewed up toys.
Now mix light dish detergent and warm water in a bucket or a laundry tub. Scrub down the cage, the bottom, and all the plastic toys.
Allow the habitat to dry or use a towel to quicken the process.
Replace the paper on the bottom, the food, and water receptacles and all the toys and perches.
You’re now ready to put your bird back into his clean home.
Parakeets will sleep approximately ten hours a day, mostly at night, but they can nap during the day as well.
When your parakeet is asleep, try not to make too much noise, though music or the television at low volumes is still okay.
At night, parakeets like the security of being covered, so drape a towel or pillowcase over the cage.
Now that we’ve learned what it takes to have a pet parakeet, here are some fun facts about your new friend.
Fun Parakeet Facts
Did you know?
- Parakeets are also called budgies
- This is the most popular pet bird in the world
- Budgies can learn how to talk
- This fun bird comes in many different colors and patterns
- The budgie is native to Australia
- This bird can live up to 15 years!
Do you think a parakeet might be a good pet for you? Leave us a comment with your thoughts on these “feathery friends.”