There are a lot of different bird species around the world and Australia and its offshore islands and territories have 898 recorded bird species as of 2014. Australian birds can be classified into six categories according to Wikipedia: Old endemics, Corvid Radiation, Eurasian Colonists, Recent Introductions, Migratory Shorebirds, and Seabirds.
But out of all the species, the Budgerigars or commonly known as Parakeet is my favorite. You also don’t need a license to keep them as a pet unlike some other native birds.
So when choosing your pet companion, any bird or a parrot, make sure that you are not violating the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
The Budgerigar (Melopsittacusundulatus) - aside from being known as the common parakeet or shell parakeet, it is popularly nicknamed the Budgie. It is a small, long-tailed, seed-eating parrot. They are naturally green and yellow with black, scalloped markings on the name, back and wings, but have been bred in captivity with colouring in blues, whites, yellows, greys and even with small crests.
They are one of the most popular parrot pets in the world because of their small stature, they are easiest to take care of, low cost or inexpensive, and the best of all, can mimic human speech, whistles, and sing.
When I first got Pickles, he’s a male Budgie – he has the distinctive blue cere at the top of his beak, I was so ecstatic and eager for him to learn speech as soon as possible. But, it was not as easy as I thought.
They don’t just learn it right away, but rather with a constant routine and training, Pickles was able to pick up a couple of speeches and sounds. He has the natural colours of yellow and green variety instead of the popular mutated breed of blues and whites.You may also like Breeding Budgies for some information about Budgies.
In the wild, Budgies would mostly rely on seeds, but I have learned that contrary to popular belief, letting them consume only seeds is not really good for small birds like a budgie because it can cause health problems.
My vet recommended a diet for Pickles that includes pellets, grains, green leafy vegetables, and fresh fruits. Budgies need to have enough nutrients to thrive.
Like I said, although seeds are their natural food, it is unhealthy if they only fill up on this. Local pet stores have pellets, and this is one of their staple diet. They normally contain a lot of nutrients.
Aside from these, they can be fed with fruits and green leafy vegetables. Apples, carrots, broccoli, and spinach can be your options. Pickles love it when they are diced, easier for him to pick. I once gave him a sliced apple and he did not touch it one bit.
Before going about feeding your budgies with any fruits or vegies, you have to take time and research or ask your vet which ones are toxic to them because not all will be a healthy diet for them.
For example, I always take out the apple seeds since it’s toxic and not good - also contains cyanide.
Others suggested feed my budgie grains including my vet but when I tried it for some reason, he didn’t like it. He much preferred his pellets, fruits and vegetables. He did not like the grains I mixed with some of his favorite fruits.
So, I did not force it on him, maybe he did not like the combination I made. I will try to make him some plain oats or barley next time and will see if he might like it or not.
One thing he also needs is a mineral block. I always have one available for him as it provides him minerals than any other source. He does not use it as often but when he does, it is readily available.
He does have a variety of food every day. Since he is small, he only requires a little at a time but I make sure that they are always fresh for him. The plan is for him to have a longer life-span and keeping him healthy and happy will pave the way for that.
They really are inexpensive to take care of and aside from their diet, you just need to make sure that their living experience does not hinder their instinct to fly but if you want to splurge, like me, I have prepared a tall bird cage, with bird perches, a drawbridge, and a small swing.
Over time, I am able to teach my bird to hop on my index finger and he can be out to our sun room. Kitchen is off-limits so the sun room is the best place he can have the freedom to fly.
Sometimes, when we leave his cage open, he’ll just go right back in, other times I will have to perch him on my index and bring him back to his cage.
I know some bird owners clip the wings of their pets but that is cruelty. It’s their natural instinct to fly so I make certain Pickles still has the freedom to explore from time to time.
He is an active little bird and I often interact with him especially when he is inside his cage. I also let him out with enough time to explore and stretch his wings.
Budgerigars are social animals and they require a stimulating environment through their toys and interaction with humans. Pickles get plenty of these even though his human interaction is mostly with me to whom he learned most of his chatter from.
Budgies are intelligent companion birds. If you are taking great care of their health, grooming, and environment, they can have longer life-spans. Some of them might out-live you and you have to make special arrangements for your pet if that is the case.
Pickles is a constant joy to me and I would be devastated if anything happens to him. He lowers my stress level and most probably my blood pressure. He is really good for my health so I make sure that I take care of him as well. See also: Birds Proper Hygiene
A single bird they say make a good companion because it will enjoy interacting with its owner. It’s like imprinting especially when you have it when it was young. So when you bring it home and greatly taking care of it, you’ll have several years of companionship.
If there are other birds sharing its home, most likely your budgie will bond with them instead of you. Like I said, budgies are intelligent, to be more successful in the speech and tricks department, you have a better chance of teaching the bird by itself.
The bird cage, perches, feeders (like this: Songbird Essentials SE974 Clear View Hopper Window Feeder -amazon) , and toys for Pickles are prepared to make him comfortable and not constricting. You can check some of them out from online store like aviariesdepot.com.au.
When I brought him home the first time, I already have a larger cage for him rather than the starter ones since it might not be good for him in the long run.
I am also working and get busy at times, so Pickles has a bit more space to play around and he might not mind some time alone so much.
Out of all his toys, from the rings to chew toys, he is much fond of the bells. He seems to enjoy the sound and it’s his most favored toy.
Tamed budgerigars can be taught to speak, whistle, and play with humans. Both genders can sing and can learn how to mimic sounds or words or do simple tricks.
However, they said that singing and mimicry are easier and pronounced in male budgies. They can easily acquire vocabularies especially for single budgies. They have the potential to be a chatterbox.
I was hoping from the time that I decided to get Pickles that I will teach him how to speak or mimic as soon as possible. It took a bit of time, mind you, but somehow, we got there.
Every morning, I will greet him with the constant, ‘Good morning, Pickles’ and ‘Hello’ then I would go about my morning routine.
This is the first speech he mimicked and boy was I surprised when he really spouted, ‘Good morning, Pickles’. I laughed so hard feeling ecstatic and I didn’t bother to correct him, just continued that routine every morning.
Eventually he started to mimic our doorbell, and at times, would fool us. At the start, he would make the sound when somebody is really using the doorbell but later on, he’ll just prank us.
I learned the staring contest when there’s a doorbell sound, he has a tell now, he’ll turn his head sideways if he’s fooling us. He really is fun to be around.
Aside from the doorbell, Hello, and Good morning Pickles, he can do whistles and I’d like to think he loves to dance.
When I turn on the music, usually the ones with a faster beat, he’ll start to bob his head and move his tiny feet. He’ll sometimes be atop his bridge and would move from side to side. He’ll do a couple of whistles and flap his wings a little. He is beautiful to look at.
Another word he constantly utters is ‘lunch time’. Any time of the day, if he wants to eat, he’ll say ‘lunch time’ loudly. He knows it’s feeding time, because when I serve his food, I’ll keep on repeating ‘lunch time’. He picked it up faster than anything I had taught him, most likely because it’s food conditioning.
I plan on teaching him more phrases and I’m pretty sure it will happen in the future. I just need to do it constantly so he can learn to mimic the sound. He is intelligent and is developing his personality. So with proper training and being able to socialize, in spite of its small stature, he is a great addition to my family.
Overtime I have come to recognize when Pickles is happy and wants some attention. It’s like he taught me a budgie language just like when I expected him to mimic some speech. Whenever he is whistling and humming some tunes, I know he is happy and cheerful and even playful.
When he gets a good meal and looks satisfied, he does some scratching. When there’s intense heat, he would lift his wings slightly apart, and I would know he needs some fresh air.
The most tell-tale sign that he is ecstatic is his constant chirp. He’s like a chatterbox when he would chirp and I will talk back to him for some friendly conversation.
Others informed me about budgie screams as well. From my experience, Pickles never really screamed or did the flapping of wings up and down as a sign of aggression or frustration.
So I most likely fulfilled or met his needs to keep him satisfied. He does vocalize a lot when he is a happy parakeet and it’s never in a screaming manner.
I also give him ample freedom time in the sun room to fly around, so he gets the exercise he needs and to also eliminate boredom.
For sure, any stimulating environment for any pets, will help lessen any feelings of loneliness and boredom that might lead to ill-health.
I would also know when he is sleepy and would eventually sleep, because he will be fluffed up and would sit very quietly.
So long as he doesn’t give out signs or postures that are not common to what he usually does, I don’t get alarmed.
Nevertheless, I have a number from his vet in case of emergencies. I take his general welfare seriously and I don’t make any sudden changes to his environment, play area, bird toys and most especially bird food without making sure it will not stress him out.
I take good care of Pickles every day and I don’t want him catching any sickness if I can help it. He gives me more relievers in my constant busy life and it’s a small effort from me to keep him happy.