Practical Pet Pages
Is a budgie (parakeet) the right pet for you? Are you a budgie person?
This page is an introduction to what budgies are like and the pros and cons of keeping one or two in the house. Also see the Stories section to get the feel of what life can be like with a real budgie, and the Good Books page because it is good to read all you can.
-- all for a few pounds or dollars!
- Better life expectancy than small mammals
- Real personality
- Beautiful to look at
- Playful lively and funny
- Interesting behaviours -- particularly if you have two together
- Cheerful song cheers you up
- Love music and noise
- Some learn to talk
- No puddles on the carpet
- Don't need brushing or walking
- Cheap and easy to feed
- No dental problems
- Probably the easiest of pet birds
- Can often be kept in flats where larger pets are not permitted
Budgies need to fly. They love flying, and have a right to enjoy flight daily within your home. This really isn't difficult, and will be covered on another page. Keeping them continuously caged, or clipping the wings to disable them, are cruel options which should never be resorted to. If you are afraid of birds flying near you, or really cringe at the thought of a pet zooming through the air and landing on your pictures -- or on your head -- then consider a four-legged pet, or fish, instead. However, it is easy enough to make a room safe for a bird, and to train it to go home to its cage for itself. Contrary to popular assumption, pet budgies do not need to be caught and no athleticism is required. If you are disabled, a bit of help would be a welcome thing in the first weeks, while you are training your new pet. After that, you should be OK.
Like most pets, budgies are not for those who are always out or busy. Proper arrangements for their care need to be made before you can go on holiday/vacation, and if you are unlucky, you may be faced with a sizeable vet's bill at some time.
- Most are not cuddly
- Not for the very house proud
- Not for people who are afraid of birds in flight
- Not for those who are serious about listening to music or TV
in peace and quiet!
- You will need to get rid of any non-stick pans
- Birds are harder to understand than mammals
Some homes are unsuitable for letting a budgie out. You need a room which does not open directly to the outside world. For instance, if you intend to keep the bird in your living room, it should open onto a hallway, or have double doors such as a porch or vestibule, with enough space between so that both doors don't get opened at the same time. An all-in-one living room and kitchen is not an impossible environment in which to keep and exercise a budgie, but it makes safety a bit of a challenge. You would need to carefully observe quite a list of routine precautions in this sort of room.
Hot Climate Note
If you are lucky enough to live in a hot climate, it may be impractical to shut windows and stop ceiling fans so as to let your bird out safely, so think this through.
A little more on the Cons
Not Cuddly: Well, some are almost cuddly, but they are not for the person who really wants lots of physical contact. The budgie is, for the most part, a hands off pet. To put it another way, they are about half way between dogs and fish in this regard. -- Dogs demand lots of stroking and patting; fish live in a different element and can't be touched. A friendly budgie will touch you -- will come to you when in the mood -- but will be less keen on you touching him. Few want you to hold or caress them. Budgies have an independent character, which is actually one of their assets.
Not for the very house-proud: seed husks and feathers will scatter, and you will probably need to vacuum the cage area daily -- but it will still be untidy! Two budgies make twice as much mess as one.
Competition with TV and Music: budgies have volume controls as well, you know! Turn the TV up, and your bird will match your adjustment! Two budgies make at least twice as much noise as one.
Need to stop using non-stick pans, and other pieces of kitchen equipment with a similar coating: many pet birds have died, in a matter of minutes, when non-stick pans have boiled dry, or got very hot. The special coating gives off a vapour when it reaches a high temperature, and this is very toxic to birds . If you are going to keep any kind of birds -- anywhere in the house, even upstairs -- you will need to replace all non-stick equipment with uncoated.
Harder to understand than mammals: budgies seem to understand our body language instinctively, but we have to work at reading their moods and emotions. In some ways, they are more different from us than our fellow mammals, and this is why extra effort may be needed to learn to understand them.