Are you considering getting a pet parakeet and wondering if they make good pets? The short answer is an absolute yes! Parakeets make delightful pets, but they also require a responsible owner. These sweet, friendly birds are relatively easy to care for, making them an appropriate choice for first-time pet owners,especially for the first time parakeet owners..
However, parakeets aren’t as laidback as goldfish. A first-time owner will find that they require to be showered with plenty of love and attention to thrive.
In the wild, they feast on the seeds of dry grasses and ripening wheat. Grain farmers consider them pests given their voracious appetites, but the rest of the world appreciates them for their beauty and playful mannerisms.
What Are Parakeets?
The word “parakeet” refers to one of many small to medium-sized species of parrot. The name is derived from the French word for parrot: perroquet. In American-English, “parakeet” usually refers to the Melopsittacus undulates, commonly known as the budgerigar, or “budgie” for short.
Budgerigars (referred to as parakeets from here on) are native to Australia, where they live in scrublands, grasslands, and woodlands. They form nomadic flocks that migrate from site to site, searching for food and water as environmental conditions change.
Parakeets’ colorful plumage and their ability to mimic speech have made them desired household pets globally. They reign as the third most popular pet in the world, after domesticated dogs and cats. They are intelligent and form strong bonds with their owner if acquired when young and given adequate attention. A parakeet can live for up to 15 years with proper care, although most have a lifespan of 7-10 years.
Pet Store Parakeets
If you are thinking of owning a parakeet, you can purchase one inexpensively at almost any large chain pet store. There you’ll typically find a large cage full of chattering birds waiting to find a new home. However, parakeets found in chain pet stores may not be as accustomed to people.
In some cases, they could be traumatized by the frequent intrusions into their cages. Some of these scary situations may occur when customers select a flock member to be fished out with a hand-held net. Since pet store birds lack consistent human attention, they are often challenging to tame.
If you decide to go with a pet store parakeet, it is crucial to observe the bird you are interested in and watch out for hidden illness indications. You will want to choose a parakeet that shows signs of activity, such as frequent grooming, eating, singing, and interaction with other birds and toys.
Getting Your Parakeet From a Breeder
Although pet store parakeets are inexpensive, it’s best to acquire your bird from a breeder specializing in parakeets. A breeder may offer parakeets with a wider variety of colors than the green and yellow plumage associated with the species. They will have most likely handled the birds from a very young age so that they are acclimated to human touch and are easier to bond with as pets.
A parakeet who sits lethargically on their perch and does not show interest in other cage members is likely unhealthy. Any bird sitting at the bottom of their enclosure for long periods is usually unwell.
How to Raise Parakeets?
What a Pet Parakeet Needs to Thrive
Parakeets are very intelligent and require an enriched environment to be happy and healthy. One of the first things to consider when getting a parakeet is the cage – usually, the larger it is, the better for your bird. Parakeets fly horizontally, and it is in their nature to use their wings to move from one point to another.
Even when caged, they will still want to exercise their wings and move about their enclosed environment. Therefore, it’s vital to get a cage large enough for them to fly from perch to perch with plenty of headroom to spare. As is expected, a pair of parakeets will require more room than a single bird as they chase each other around their cage during play sessions.
Surprisingly, these birds can also be territorial and prefer to have separate areas to settle into at night when they roost. A cage with ample space will allow them to spread out when they need to. It will also prevent them from colliding with each other or items within the cage as they fly.
Preparing Your Home for Your Parakeet
When considering a pet parakeet, make sure that your home has enough space for an appropriately sized cage. You will also want to place it in your home’s low traffic area, well above the ground and away from any other pets that you may have.
It would be best to position the cage in an environment insulated from extreme cold or heat and away from any area where fumes may collect, such as a garage. Avoid placing their cage near the kitchen as the Teflon that lines cookware produces fumes that are usually toxic to birds when heated.
In addition to having a proper living environment, parakeets require a balanced diet and a daily freshwater supply. Small birdseed and pellet feed should form the bulk of their diet. Most breeders recommend a serving of two fresh tablespoons per day.
Filling up their food bowl with a large amount of seed blend will encourage them to pick out only the seeds they like while leaving the others uneaten. This action is similar to how a picky child might abandon the veggies on their plate. Administering smaller portions of food on a day-to-day basis ensures they are hungry enough to finish their meals and get a balanced diet.
Parakeets enjoy leafy greens and fruits such as apples, bananas, and melons, which you can give weekly. It would be best if you fed them on greens every other day, and it should constitute about 20% of their diet. They also love spray millet as a delicious treat. It is considered junk food that you shouldn’t offer more often than once or twice a month.
Taming Your Parakeet
Providing the bare essentials such as food, water, and shelter are only part of a parakeet owner’s responsibilities. A truly happy parakeet will need to stay busy and get the attention they crave as social animals. For this reason, people often get parakeets in pairs. This is great for owners who spend a lot of time away from home or cannot consistently devote adequate time each day with their bird.
If you can spend each day with your pet parakeet, they will consider you as one of their flock and form a strong bond with you. With gentleness and patience, it is possible to tame a parakeet. You can teach them to mimic your speech, permit handling them outside of their cage, and even listen to simple commands like sitting on your finger or perching on your shoulder.
Tame parakeets like to be near their owner and will not fly away in distress when they leave their enclosure’s safety. However, it is much easier to tame a single bird rather than a pair. Pairs of parakeets tend to mostly bond with each other and are likely to view their owner as an outsider.
Parakeets are also curious little creatures that love to play with their toys. You can find plenty of toy options at any pet supply store. To keep them occupied and entertained, make sure that you include tactile bird toys around the cage in several stations.
Parakeets are especially fond of toys that contain a ringing bell and will comically try to extract the bell’s clapper or swing it around violently to make it ring. Including items like rope ladders, hanging trinkets, vanity mirrors, and different perches will ensure that they are always entertained. You should also attach a cuttlebone to their cage for them to chew on and prevent beak overgrowth.
Things to Avoid When Getting a Parakeet
If you’ve wondered whether a parakeet is an appropriate pet for you, it is critical to consider your environment. Parakeets are fragile animals and do not do well in noisy or chaotic settings. Having other pets that can frighten them or small children who might mishandle the bird are reasons to reconsider getting one.
You’ll also need to create an environment free from hazards like open doors or ceiling fans. You should also avoid putting them in rooms that are poorly ventilated. Parakeets need consistency, much like any other pet, and do best when their owner keeps a consistent schedule when feeding and playing with them. This reduces anxiety and allows them to anticipate an owner’s behavior and establish trust over time.
Final: Are Parakeets Good Pets?
Taming parakeets requires gentleness and patience as they acclimate to their new environment, especially if you purchased them from a pet store. If you are confident that you can provide a safe and loving environment for a new feathered family member, then a pet parakeet is an excellent choice. Their comical antics, intelligence, and sweet demeanor will have you falling head over heels.