If you've owned a pet bird at any point in time, you've probably owned a parakeet. One of the smallest birds in the parrot family, parakeets are the most popular pet bird in the United States. These little birds are often found in pet stores, homes, and even schools-- but do parakeets make good pets?
Fortunately, these birds have more to offer than just their colorful plumage. Parakeets make wonderful pets and are considered one of the best bird breeds for first-time bird owners. Easy to care for and sweet, these social
butterflies birds love to interact with both each other and their human friends.
While parakeets are fairly easy to care for compared to other exotic birds, they still have several special requirements that might make you less likely to bring one into your life. As always, make sure you're prepared to be a responsible pet owner before adopting any pet, including a parakeet.
Here's everything to know to help decide if a parakeet is the right pet for you.
Get to Know the Parakeet
Parakeet is a broad term for a variety of small to medium-sized parrot species with hooked noses and long tails. These birds are highly intelligent, easy to train, and most can learn to talk just like the larger parrot species. The most popular type of parakeet to keep as a pet is the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) or budgie. All parakeets are native to Australia, where they can still be found in large flocks in the wild. When kept in captivity, these birds have an average lifespan of six to twelve years, but they can live even longer with proper care.
Best Environment for Parakeets
A parakeet's immediate surroundings are crucial to its well-being. They need plenty of room to climb and fly, so purchase the largest cage you can fit in your house. Parakeets fly horizontally, so make sure you choose a cage with ample horizontal measurements.
Metals such as brass and zinc can be toxic to birds, so a stainless steel cage is the best and safest option for housing your pet bird. Parakeets like to climb, so it's important to choose a cage with horizontal bars.
How to Care for a Parakeet
Keeping your bird happy and healthy starts with a proper environment, but you'll also need to provide a perch and toys to keep them busy. Toys with mirrors, bells, and ladders will help keep your parakeet happy and stimulated. However, toys alone aren't enough. Parakeets are social creatures and need daily interaction, including plenty of time out of the cage--so be sure you can devote enough time and energy to your bird before adding one to the family.
Purchasing a pair of parakeets is also a popular option, as they will keep each other company. Just keep in mind that a pair of parakeets will be more likely to bond with each other, and less inclined to bond with you. If you interact with them regularly, though, you can become part of their flock.
These social birds make good pets and great companions for families!
What to Feed a Parakeet
Feeding your parakeet a high-quality diet is a must. A strictly seed diet is a big no-no, as seeds can breed dangerous bacteria over time and can endanger the bird's life. Instead, a parakeet diet should include pellets, mixed seeds, and a variety of fresh fruits and veggies. You will also need to provide your pet bird with a cuttlebone and mineral block, which offers calcium and other essential nutrients.
Like any pets, parakeets require regular veterinary care, so be sure you're willing and able to provide that before you buy one. They are are prone to tumors, mites, bacterial infections, and other conditions related to nutritional deficiencies. A good avian vet can help you avoid some of these common pitfalls and prolong your parakeet's life.
With safe, clean surroundings, daily interaction, a high-quality diet, and regular veterinary care, a parakeet can flourish in your home.
Do you live with a parakeet? Share your budgie (or budgies!) on the Wide Open Pets Facebook page!
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