Your Budgie
(Melopsittacus undulatus)

Budgies are part of the group of birds known as hook bills (Psittacines).   They are parakeets originating from Australia and they have become the most popular pet bird due to their intelligent and inquisitive nature and their comical antics. They come in all shades now, blues, greens, lilacs, yellows etc although green is their original colour.
Ideally your budgie should be a young budgie, between 6—12 weeks old, so it gets to know you well, also budgies must be young to learn to talk.  A young budgie has a very dark iris and bars on the top of their head.  Their cere (at the top of their beak) starts off bluish or pinkish in colour but will change as it grows. The cock bird develops a blue cere and the hen a brown colour. This may change with some of the albino and lutino varieties but is correct for most common colours. Budgies are mature from around six months old.
They have adapted well to life in a cage but remember your cage should be as large as you can afford and have space for - there's no such thing as a cage that’s too big! Remember the size of Australia!
You want your bird to be able to fly from perch to perch and be able to exercise fully with his toys. The perches should be made of wood - ideally disinfected natural fruit tree branches or willow- which are of varying thickness to help keep his feet in good order.
Although most cages are today supplied with plastic perches these are not the best for your bird.
Perches should be placed at various heights within the cage but not over food dishes as these can become contaminated with droppings. Your bird will usually roost on the highest perch at night.
Your cage should be positioned in a draught free place, not in direct sunshine which, in the summer months, could become overheated, especially through glass.
You want your budgie to become part of the family so have the cage where there’s comings and goings to let the bird interact with you........I must say though it does become annoying when you’re trying to watch TV and the budgie starts competing with it!!!
Bird droppings should be cleaned out daily to avoid contamination and once a week the cage should be cleaned thoroughly using a disinfectant such as ‘Avisafe’ which kills fungi and bacteria which may develop out of sight.
Spend time daily with your bird, talking to him as often as possible. Some budgies are renowned for their mimicking abilities and are extremely funny.
Every day refresh his seed. Remember seeds are enclosed in husks which your bird doesn’t eat and sometimes these empty husks lie on top of fresh seed which your bird can’t get. Make sure you blow these husks off so he can get his seed.
All seed only diets are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals so the seed you buy should have added vitamins and minerals or, if you buy loose seed you should supplement his diet daily with a vitamin. We recommend the Bird Care Company vitamins which contain everything your bird requires.
Fresh water should be provided every day along with small amounts of fruit and greens. You don’t want to give them too much greenery as they can become unwell with diarrhea. They often enjoy small pieces of toast, boiled egg and things like that. The foods to avoid are avocado pear, chocolate, alcohol and milk.
Birds require a certain amount of grit in their diet which helps their digestion. This can be supplied mixed into the seed or in a separate dish or even on the floor of the cage. Birds also require calcium and they can get some from a cuttle fish bone which they can eat safely but remember some of them just love to break it up so it lies on the bottom of their cage and the cage doesn't need calcium ! The cuttlefish can also helps keep their beak in order and stops it growing to long.  However, if you are breeding budgies or have a hen (who is still capable of producing non fertile eggs) do not presume that they are getting enough calcium in their cuttle fish but add some to their water once or twice a week; again the Bird Care Company come to the rescue with ’Calcicet’.    It is very sad to lose a bird that is eggbound because she does not have enough calcium supplementing what she loses making the egg shell.
An iodine block is also a good idea, but again, a common problem in budgies is an iodine deficiency so if you don't want to take a chance get that good quality vitamin supplement, a pinch every day, and there is plenty of iodine incorporated in that with everything else needed to make sure your budgie keeps healthy.
The point of giving your bird a healthy diet is that you want your bird to grow and develop healthily and live a long life. Often poor diets lead to overweight and unwell birds which don’t live as long as they should and they develop various problems in latter stages of their shortened life.
Once you get your bird home he may well be a bit afraid and quiet for a short time. This is perfectly normal and usually doesn’t last any time.
Gently talk to your bird so he understands you are no threat. Remember your bird has been used to lots of other birds and may feel a bit strange being on his own or with only one other bird. Budgies are very gregarious creatures and live in large flocks. They want to socialise and will happily make do with you instead of other birds if that's all they’ve got!!
Your budgie will appreciate various toys and perches in his cage. They loves mirrors and will constantly chatter to the other budgie in the mirror. Ladders are a good toy as they help to give them some exercise by climbing.
At night you may choose to cover your bird. This is a personal choice and not always necessary. However, if your bird is noisy in the evening when your watching TV you may well want to cover him and let him get to bed before you go. Covering cages was a must in years gone by when the houses were fairly draughty and got very much colder at nights. Today with most house heated better this is not such a demand.
Letting them out their cage is again a personal choice but one that is recommended. Once you are comfortable with your bird and him with you open the cage door and see what happens .....obviously make sure the windows and doors are closed. Always keep and eye on what's happening; at first he’ll probably fly onto the curtain rail and refuse to come down but be patient its all new to him so let him get used to it.
Once they’re accustomed to being out their cage they usually get into all sorts of mischief as they explore. They will often play with small balls and wheeled toys on your floor, rolling and playing with things constantly.
They also become fearless of other household inhabitants and you should always supervise other animals and young children when the bird is out and about.
Your bird will moult his feathers once or twice a year. This is nothing to worry about but you should make sure his new feathers get the chance to grow in strong and healthy by making sure he has a good quality vitamin in his diet.......again we’re back those important vitamins, very, very important.
The Bird Care Company manufacture a product called ‘Feather Up’ which is designed to help these new feathers grow in strong and healthy.
Budgies usually love to have a bath and appreciate one at least two or three times a week. Even if they don’t like a bath you should spray him with hot water from a spray a couple of times a week, this helps to keep feather dust down and the feathers in good condition. The addition of something like ‘Plume Spray’ brings out the colour as well as keeping him free of any mites.
Budgies are fairly hardy creatures and if they have a good diet and plenty of exercise should live around 5 -12 years but occasionally a bird can become unwell and it is up to you to be aware of what is ‘normal’ for your bird so that anything unusual is noticed immediately. Some problems can be corrected quickly and easily

Fur’n’Feathers can supply the name of a recommended Avian vet if required.
The main thing to remember is an unwell bird can go downhill very quickly and it is very important to keep them warm, around 82 degrees. This helps them fight a problem and sometimes is the only remedy needed. In any event do not hesitate to ask us for any advice we can give.
Above all enjoy your budgie and, properly looked after, will become part of the household for years so that you’ll wonder how you ever managed without him.



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