Does anyone have experience with budgies?

FishFinatic77

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I really want to get a budgie, but I have never owned a bird (besides chickens), so I have lots of questions. Does anyone have any experience with budgies? @Colin_T, you keep birds, right?

-Can I keep a single budgie, or do I need to get two?
-How big does the enclosure have to be? Does it have to be bigger for two budgies?
-How loud are they? I don't want to put the cage in an area where they will disrupt sleep, etc.
-Are they very messy? Will they spread seed husks everywhere?
-Is there a way to clip their wings so that they can fly for short distances, but they cant escape through an open door? Or do I just have to be very careful when I take them out?
-Are there any health issues that budgies are prone to?
-Do budies have to be vaccinated against anything?
-Are the budgies at petco healthy, or should I go to a breeder?

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me!
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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I really want to get a budgie, but I have never owned a bird (besides chickens), so I have lots of questions. Does anyone have any experience with budgies? @Colin_T, you keep birds, right?

-Can I keep a single budgie, or do I need to get two?
-How big does the enclosure have to be? Does it have to be bigger for two budgies?
-How loud are they? I don't want to put the cage in an area where they will disrupt sleep, etc.
-Are they very messy? Will they spread seed husks everywhere?
-Is there a way to clip their wings so that they can fly for short distances, but they cant escape through an open door? Or do I just have to be very careful when I take them out?
-Are there any health issues that budgies are prone to?
-Do budies have to be vaccinated against anything?
-Are the budgies at petco healthy, or should I go to a breeder?

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me!
I keep parrots, and have had budgies before :)

If you want a tame pet budgie, you're better off getting a single bird, so it bonds with you. If you get too, it can be harder to tame as they're more interested in each other, especially if you get a male/female pair, than in you.

They chirp constantly, so not best as a bedroom pet.

Yes, seed husks will get everywhere, especially when they flap. There's no getting away from the fact that you'll have to hoover constantly to keep it in check.

No, you can't partially clip wings so they can only fly short distances, clipped wings mean they can't fly, and it's better to leave them unclipped and let them fly but keep doors and windows shut while they're out, since flying also exercises their heart muscles.

No vaccines needed.

You're more likely to get a healthy bird from a breeder than a pet supermarket.
 
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FishFinatic77

FishFinatic77

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Thank you for your reply!

If you want a tame pet budgie, you're better off getting a single bird, so it bonds with you. If you get too, it can be harder to tame as they're more interested in each other, especially if you get a male/female pair, than in you.

I'll probably get one, but get a big enough cage so that I can add a second if he gets too lonely.

They chirp constantly, so not best as a bedroom pet.

I figured that. :) I'll probably put the cage in the living room.

Yes, seed husks will get everywhere, especially when they flap. There's no getting away from the fact that you'll have to hoover constantly to keep it in check.

I can vacuum that up.

No, you can't partially clip wings so they can only fly short distances, clipped wings mean they can't fly, and it's better to leave them unclipped and let them fly but keep doors and windows shut while they're out, since flying also exercises their heart muscles.

I'll leave the wings intact then. I read somewhere that when you first get the bird you should clip the wings until they get used to you. Is that a good idea? I feel like that would stress the bird out too much.

No vaccines needed.

Great! Are there any sicknesses that they are prone too, or that I have to watch out for?

You're more likely to get a healthy bird from a breeder than a pet supermarket.

I thought so. What should I look for in a breeder that will tell me if the bird will be healthy?

Also, what about the diet? I'm reading a lot of conflicting information about what is best. What do you feed your budgies?
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Thank you for your reply!



I'll probably get one, but get a big enough cage so that I can add a second if he gets too lonely.



I figured that. :) I'll probably put the cage in the living room.



I can vacuum that up.



I'll leave the wings intact then. I read somewhere that when you first get the bird you should clip the wings until they get used to you. Is that a good idea? I feel like that would stress the bird out too much.



Great! Are there any sicknesses that they are prone too, or that I have to watch out for?



I thought so. What should I look for in a breeder that will tell me if the bird will be healthy?

Also, what about the diet? I'm reading a lot of conflicting information about what is best. What do you feed your budgies?
I'm not really up on diseases or illnesses, sorry!

Hmm, I don't like the thought of clipping to get them used to you, spending time talking to them, hand feeding them treats, sitting in the same room when they're out, teaching them to 'step up' on a perch - these kinds of things are what tame a bird. I'm not a fan of wing clipping at all, never clipped any of our birds. Clipping a birds wings feels akin to chopping the legs off a dog. Even though primary wing feathers grow back, there's something cruel about removing a birds ability to fly, even if it's temporary.

I don't keep budgies anymore, not my favourite bird, the constant chirping drives me nuts, and I once saw a female budgie kill another to steal her nesting spot - budgies can be mean! Also a note - when male budgies bite, they tend to bite and release. Females tend to bite and twist. Hurts a lot more! That's my and my parents experience anyway, and my folks were the aviaries and aquatics business for years.

Millet tends to be the bulk of budgie food, but there are other seeds they eat plenty of, most budgie mixes will contain what they need. They enjoy some fresh fruit and veg too.

Also consider whether a cockatiel might suit you more than a budgie! I really think cockatiels make better pets. Easier to tame, natural clowns, the vocalising isn't as annoying (to me anyway!) and not harder to keep than a budgie. I loved the pair of cockatiels we had when I was a kid. @NCaquatics has cockatiels as well.
 

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Never keep birds on their own. Budgies are social birds that normally live in flocks consisting of thousands so having one bird on its own is not good. Get 2 young birds and grow them up together. They can be tamed down easily but will keep each other company when you aren't home. If birds are left alone for long periods of time, they stress and often pluck feathers.

----------
They make a little bit of noise but they are quieter than chickens and don't screech like the larger parrots. Tame birds are usually quieter than aviary birds who like to chat with each other and in large groups can make a bit of noise. But a couple in a house won't make a lot of noise and you won't need to turn the tv up or anything like that.

----------
All birds should have a cage big enough to fly around and spread their wings. The minimum size cage for a couple of budgies would be 3 foot long x 2 foot wide x 2 foot high. They should also be let out each day to fly around the room for a bit and get some decent exercise. When you let them out to fly around a room, close the door and make sure the curtains are closed so they don't fly into the windows, and don't have anything toxic in the room because young birds chew on things.

If they aren't going to be let out of their cage each day, then their aviary should be at least 10 feet long x 6 ft wide and 6 ft high.

You should put some tree branches in their cage for them to chew on and climb around on. If you use Australian native plants like Eucalypts (gum trees), Bottlebrush (Callistemon), Grevilleas or fruit trees, you can get branches with flowers or seed pods and the birds can spend hours each day chewing them. The different diameter branches will also help their feet get some exercise.

Indoor birds should be put in their cage at night and covered with a sheet or towel to make it dark enough for them to sleep. They need a sleep routine too so cover their cage and turn the lights off at the same time each night. Regarding the light, cover the cage while the room light is on and leave the room light on for at least 30 minutes so the birds can see the perches and settle down for the night. In the morning turn the room light on or open the curtain 30 minutes before removing the cover on the cage.

Keep the bird cage away from windows or doors or anywhere cold drafts can blow on them. Birds have a small body mass and can lose heat in a short period of time. If birds get cold at night, they are more prone to diseases and can die.

Keep the birds away from cooking food (out of the kitchen), aerosols, perfumes, hair sprays, deodorants, cigarette smoke, paint fumes, etc. Anything that releases fumes into the air can kill the birds or at least make them really sick.

----------
You can trim the flight feathers on one wing to make it more difficult for the birds to fly but if you get young birds and tame them, they don't normally fly away unless they get startled and fly out the house.

----------
Budgies don't get vaccinated and the main health issues that affect them include:
1) intestinal worms and lice/ mites. treat the birds with ivermectin when you first get them and they should remain free of worms and other parasites if kept away from wild birds.
2) colds/ pneumonia from being exposed to cold air at night
3) psittacosis (parrot fever) but this is rare.

----------
Some budgies are messy and some are clean, it depends on the bird. If you have a seed bowl with a hood, they stop most of the seed being thrown around.

The birds should have a budgie mix and some blue ribbon canary mix (equal parts), clean water, mineral grit and cuttlebone at all times. They should get green feed each day and they will eat most fruits but not citrus, and green leafy veges are fine as long as they are clean and free of chemicals. They love green grass seeds and these can be grown in pots, just plant some budgie seed in pots and let it grow. When it develops the green seed heads, put them in the cage for the birds to eat.

----------
One of the members here got a couple of young budgies earlier this year. See following link.

----------
Also a note - when male budgies bite, they tend to bite and release. Females tend to bite and twist. Hurts a lot more! That's my and my parents experience anyway, and my folks were the aviaries and aquatics business for years.
All female parrots bite harder than males because the females sit in the nest and have to defend it from snakes, lizards and other things that might prey on the eggs or young birds. Tame birds don't bite hard but female aviary birds will draw blood if you grab them and they don't want you to. They won't rip your finger off and you won't need to visit a doctor but the females can bite hard.

This is how we used to sex young birds, catch them and hold them and if they nibble your hand they were male, if they latch on they were female.

----------
When you buy birds, look to see if they are fluffed up, this is bad and indicates an unwell bird. See if they have a clean bum, if there is poop on their butt or underside of the tail, they are sick. The birds should not be gasping, wheezing, panting or breathing unusually. Their tail should not be pulsing up and down, that's bad.

They shouldn't have any gunk around their eyes or stuff coming out of their nose, and they shouldn't be sneezing or coughing.

Check their feet and around the top of their beak for lumps or scaly patches, this is caused by a mite that can be treated with ivermectin.

Check the water container at the shop or breeder and make sure it is not under a perch and doesn't have poop in. Any breeder that keeps the water under perches or has dirty water in their cages, is not someone you want birds from.
 
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AdoraBelle Dearheart

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I thought so. What should I look for in a breeder that will tell me if the bird will be healthy?

Sorry, missed this question.

Urgh, this trickier in the time of covid. I used to look for hobbyists who knew what they were talking about, were selling that years youngsters, and sounded knowledgeable about colour mutations. Someone who was willing to show off their birdroom, and their birdroom/aviaries were clean and well kept, and they would talk at length about their birds! Someone like that is a passionate hobbyist, has healthy looking birds, and can show you the parents, the young from that year, and will offer you a choice from what they have.

Those birds are less likely to be exposed pests like rats and mice, not suffer breathing problems from poor conditions (birds have delicate respiratory systems, so you also need to eliminate using spray cleaners or air fresheners around the birds, nor scented candles/incense, anything like that, and teflon cooking pans should also never be used when you have birds, since they can give off fumes).

A passionate breeder like that is also less likely to inbreed or allow unhealthy birds to breed.

Like a passionate fish hobbyist who keeps good tanks and has healthy looking fish is likely to have better quality fish, same goes for birds.
:)
 

HoldenOn

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Woah. Keeping a bird sounds awesome. Don't most of them live a long time? I'd love to keep one, but it'd have to wait till I move out.
Don't mean to hijack sorry :)
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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If you want a tame pet budgie, you're better off getting a single bird, so it bonds with you. If you get too, it can be harder to tame as they're more interested in each other, especially if you get a male/female pair, than in you.
Never keep birds on their own. Budgies are social birds that normally live in flocks consisting of thousands so having one bird on its own is not good. Get 2 young birds and grow them up together. They can be tamed down easily but will keep each other company when you aren't home. If birds are left alone for long periods of time, they stress and often pluck feathers.

Take Colin's advice over mine here. Some of my knowledge is likely out of date, this was always the advice years ago, but it's been 20 years since I've kept budgies, I did keep them in pairs anyway, and it's more than 40 years since my parents were in the business too, and it is true that they're social creatures.
 

HoldenOn

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Oh jeez. I just realized these are parakeets. My family had 4 when I was 6. We had them for like 2 years before my dad opened the cage but forgot to close the door. Well, let's say we haven't seen them since :).
 

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I have kept budgies and parrots and bred cockatiels. If you get one make sure its a male if you want a pet. Fine in the bedroom as long as you cover the cage at night. They will quieten immediately when covered. As well as cuttlefish bone and grit have sandpaper sheets on the floor and perches. I'm sure they aren't called sandpaper but a pet shop will know what I mean. Otherwise you will need to clip their claws. Some of mine used to get dry beaks and feet, coconut oil works well for this.

I would trim the flight feathers (one side only) initially. Doesn't stop them from flying but they don't fly far because they are unbalanced. If there are kids in the house or windows/doors are regularly left open keep doing this. They won't find their way home if they get out. I also used to empty the seeds into little trays and put these back in the cage once they are growing.

All this applies to budgies and cockatiels.
 
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Retired Viking

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I had several Budgies and they are great pets. Mine would fly out of their cage when I came home and land on my shoulder and stay there for the rest of the night. I had both single ones and two at a time and they are very social and would "talk" to me or peck at my ear if I wasn't paying enough attention to them. That was back in the 80s-90s, have been thinking about have another one but my wife is not wild about it with 2 labs (bird dogs) she is right it probably would not work out.
 
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FishFinatic77

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Never keep birds on their own. Budgies are social birds that normally live in flocks consisting of thousands so having one bird on its own is not good. Get 2 young birds and grow them up together. They can be tamed down easily but will keep each other company when you aren't home. If birds are left alone for long periods of time, they stress and often pluck feathers.

----------
They make a little bit of noise but they are quieter than chickens and don't screech like the larger parrots. Tame birds are usually quieter than aviary birds who like to chat with each other and in large groups can make a bit of noise. But a couple in a house won't make a lot of noise and you won't need to turn the tv up or anything like that.

----------
All birds should have a cage big enough to fly around and spread their wings. The minimum size cage for a couple of budgies would be 3 foot long x 2 foot wide x 2 foot high. They should also be let out each day to fly around the room for a bit and get some decent exercise. When you let them out to fly around a room, close the door and make sure the curtains are closed so they don't fly into the windows, and don't have anything toxic in the room because young birds chew on things.

If they aren't going to be let out of their cage each day, then their aviary should be at least 10 feet long x 6 ft wide and 6 ft high.

You should put some tree branches in their cage for them to chew on and climb around on. If you use Australian native plants like Eucalypts (gum trees), Bottlebrush (Callistemon), Grevilleas or fruit trees, you can get branches with flowers or seed pods and the birds can spend hours each day chewing them. The different diameter branches will also help their foot get some exercise.

Indoor birds should be put in their cage at night and covered with a sheet or towel to make it dark enough for them to sleep. They need a sleep routine too so cover their cage and turn the lights off at the same time each night. Regarding the light, cover the cage while the room light is on and leave the room light on for at least 30 minutes so the birds can see the perches and settle down for the night. In the morning turn the room light on or open the curtain 30 minutes before removing the cover on the cage.

Keep the bird cage away from windows or doors or anywhere cold drafts can blow on them. Birds have a small body mass and can lose heat in a short period of time. If birds get cold at night, they are more prone to diseases and can die.

Keep the birds away from cooking food (out of the kitchen), aerosols, perfumes, hair sprays, deodorants, cigarette smoke, paint fumes, etc. Anything that releases fumes into the air can kill the birds or at least make them really sick.

----------
You can trim the flight feathers on one wing to make it more difficult for the birds to fly but if you get young birds and tame them, they don't normally fly away unless they get startled and fly out the house.

----------
Budgies don't get vaccinated and the main health issues that affect them include:
1) intestinal worms and lice/ mites. treat the birds with ivermectin when you first get them and they should remain free of worms and other parasites if kept from wild birds.
2) colds/ pneumonia from being exposed to cold air at night
3) psittacosis (parrot fever) but this is rare.

----------
Some budgies are messy and some are clean, it depends on the bird. If you have a seed bowl with a hood, they stop most of the seed being thrown around.

The birds should have a budgie mix and some blue ribbon canary mix (equal parts), clean water, mineral grit and cuttlebone at all times. They should get green feed each day and they will eat most fruits but not citrus, and green leafy veges are fine as long as they are clean and free of chemicals. They love green grass seeds and these can be grown in pots, just plant some budgie seed in pots and let it grow. When it develops the green seed heads, put them in the cage for the birds to eat.

----------
One of the members here got a couple of young budgies earlier this year. See following link.

----------

All female parrots bite harder than males because the females sit in the nest and have to defend it from snakes, lizards and other things that might prey on the eggs or young birds. Tame birds don't bite hard but female aviary birds will draw blood if you grab them and they don't want you to. They won't rip your finger off and you won't need to visit a doctor but the females can bite hard.

This is how we used to sex young birds, catch them and hold them and if they nibble your hand they were male, if they latch on they were female.

----------
When you buy birds, look to see if they are fluffed up, this is bad and indicates an unwell bird. See if they have a clean bum, if there is poop on their butt or underside of the tail, they are sick. The birds should not be gasping, wheezing, panting or breathing unusually.

They shouldn't have any gunk around their eyes or stuff coming out of their nose, and they shouldn't be sneezing or coughing.

Check their feet and around the top of their beak for lumps or scaly patches, this is caused by a mite that can be treated with ivermectin.

Check the water container at the shop or breeder and make sure it is not under a perch and doesn't have poop in. Any breeder that keeps the water under perches or has dirty water in their cages, is not someone you want birds from.

Thank you very much. This is really helpful.
Do you know if budgies could transmit any sicknesses to chickens? If yes, how do I prevent that from happening?
Also, would it be better to have 2 males, or a male and female?
 
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FishFinatic77

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Hmm, I don't like the thought of clipping to get them used to you, spending time talking to them, hand feeding them treats, sitting in the same room when they're out, teaching them to 'step up' on a perch - these kinds of things are what tame a bird. I'm not a fan of wing clipping at all, never clipped any of our birds. Clipping a birds wings feels akin to chopping the legs off a dog. Even though primary wing feathers grow back, there's something cruel about removing a birds ability to fly, even if it's temporary.

That's what I was thinking. Thanks!
 
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FishFinatic77

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Sorry, missed this question.

Urgh, this trickier in the time of covid. I used to look for hobbyists who knew what they were talking about, were selling that years youngsters, and sounded knowledgeable about colour mutations. Someone who was willing to show off their birdroom, and their birdroom/aviaries were clean and well kept, and they would talk at length about their birds! Someone like that is a passionate hobbyist, has healthy looking birds, and can show you the parents, the young from that year, and will offer you a choice from what they have.

Those birds are less likely to be exposed pests like rats and mice, not suffer breathing problems from poor conditions (birds have delicate respiratory systems, so you also need to eliminate using spray cleaners or air fresheners around the birds, nor scented candles/incense, anything like that, and teflon cooking pans should also never be used when you have birds, since they can give off fumes).

A passionate breeder like that is also less likely to inbreed or allow unhealthy birds to breed.

Like a passionate fish hobbyist who keeps good tanks and has healthy looking fish is likely to have better quality fish, same goes for birds.
:)

That makes sense. I'll see if I can find any breeders near me.
 

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