Two wild parakeets perched and preening each other in a tree. Photo by David Selbert from Pexels.com Watercolor by Kathy LaFollett.

How to Care for Parakeets

How to Care for Parakeets

Long tail parrot. Parakeet, the name, derives from the French language. Spin it around and you've got long tail parrot. It's not their fault they are small. They are not aware of their smallness. A parakeet, or Budgerigar if you like, takes no time comparing themselves to another bird. They are huge. Huge in heart, talent, love, opinion, noise, adamancy, and personality. If you put the weight of a parakeet personality on a scale it would equal a macaw. Make no mistake, parakeets are full on, fully invested, one hundred percent plus five percent extra, parrot.

Your first step in caring for a parakeet is treating them as a two-pound macaw. They will relish that respect.

Like cockatiels, parakeet are Australian birds. Gems of color splashing their bright hue against blue sky. Huge flocks hovering between land and clouds determined to celebrate their entirety. There are large wild flocks of parakeets in South Florida, on the wing, and establishing themselves as urban color splash. This alone tells us, like all the other wild parrots in South Florida and unusual urban settings, parrots are flexible to a fault. They can adapt and respond with intelligent modifications. Keep an eye on your parakeet, they're looking for ways to infiltrate your breakfast and that room you won't let them in.

Their size is their undoing in the human world. They have little to no tolerances for toxins. Febreze kills more parakeets than ceiling fans and cats. If you have parrots, large or small, stop using plug in deodorizers and stop anything Febreze. In fact, laundry detergent scented with Febreze is problematic. Freshening your parrot house with chemicals is lethal. Instead, try the realtor tricks. Steep coffee, orange peel, lemon peel, mint leaf, rose petals, or cinnamon in a 2-quart slow cooker. Here's some fantastic Simmering Potpourri Recipes

Now that we've cleared the air, what do parakeets need?

  • A parakeet needs another like gender parakeet. Parakeets need one or more of themself. They are the flockiest of the flocking parrots. And no, having more than one will NOT negatively affect the relationship you hope to have with your bird. Only you can negatively affect that.
  • A parakeet family needs the largest cage you can afford to provide with bar gauge space appropriate build. Bar spacing should be less than half an inch.
  • Swings. Parakeets are fidgety, singing, energized birds that prefer to move. Moving is important to them. Always moving.
  • Foraging toys made of natural materials, woods, grasses, sponge, and plants.
  • Multiple water bowls. For multiple parakeet uses such as bathing, drinking, soaking, dunking, kicking, and flinging.
  • Healthy foods presented in ground foraging ways. Like cockatiels, parakeets forage in the grasses and grounds. Create a glass pie plate foraging bowl, set it on the bottom of their cage on top of a close tight looped towel for footing comfort. Fill it with hay and grasses, your favorite veggie, fruit, and total parakeet mixes. They'll relish doing what they were born to do, hunt and forage for lunch.
  • Fresh filtered water. Skip the tap water. Tap water is no longer trustworthy for any being. Filter pitchers or refrigerator filtered water are best. Bottled water can get tricky. In as much as you don't know how long that water has been in that plastic. And you don't know the heat cycles it's endured on trucks.
  • Perches of varying materials, widths, and sizes. Humans have different shoes for our healthy feet. Our birds need just as many varying perches.
  • Cuttlebone for calcium. Parakeets love their cuttlebone.
When you bring parakeets home, you bring parrots home. I've curated a Parakeet Food and Cage Collection and you might find these articles on cages and communication helpful as well. A parakeet's only difference to a large size parrot is their patience. You'll need to move just a bit slower and be just a bit more patient with a parakeet. Afterall, when you are literally small, there isn't much room for mistakes in the wild.
Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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