Frequently Asked Questions
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The scientific name is Melopsittacus undalatus. Budgie is recognised across the world as the normal name for this little parakeet.
Budgerigar is an attempt at a conversion of an Australian Aborigine phrase. When asked by a European explorer the name of the little birds that lived in huge flocks, the reply sounds like budgerigar to Western ears. It really means something like tasty snack! It was easy to hunt the birds by throwing a boomerang into the flock.
So there is no difference!
Budgies are native to Australia where they appear often in huge flocks. The main colour in the wild is: Light Green.
Budgies are friendly, easy to train, might learn to talk (although not that clearly), and are flock animals. They either need a human around most of the time or some budgie mates in an aviary.
No not at all, the only smell could be a very dirty cage or uneaten food in the cage.
Sure, you could be allergic to budgies. People can be allergic to newsprint, peanuts, Styrofoam, you name it. Only you know what you are allergic to. But most people aren't allergic to budgies but they do have some feather dust.
As far as diseases go, it's not like your budgie is roaming the woods to "catch something". You could ALWAYS take any new pet to a vet to get a check-up and make sure it starts out healthy. But if a vet says it is healthy, the chance of it mysteriously catching something while it sits in a room in your house is slim to none. And since you live in that house too, chances are you are the one who gave that disease to your pet! Just joking!
Budgies have fascinating personalities that make them excellent pets. They are extremely playful and curious, and they love to explore.
They have a strong flock mentality, which means that they are happiest when they are among other budgies.
Male budgies usually have a blue cere. Females have either a whitish brown (non- breeding) cere, tan cere, or brown cere.
The cere is the area above the beak of the budgie containing the nostrils.
On the male side there are some exceptions to the rule: Albinos, Lutinos and Recessive Pied cocks, for example, have a fleshy pink colour cere.
Budgies come in a wide range of colours and colour combinations. More than a hundred would not be an exaggeration.
The Light Green is the natural, wild colour. In captivity, where predators are not a concern, colour has no bearing on health or disposition.
It's a myth that the Albinos and Lutinos (all white and all yellow, both with red eyes) are blind or suffer from extremely diminished vision.
Some of the other popular colours are Blue, and the several forms of Pied.
Wild-type budgies are one of the simplest parakeets to breed. The bigger exhibition budgies may pose more of a challenge due to size, feather length and other considerations. However, because they don’t take long to mature (from 9 months to a year) and to be breeding ready well worth a try.
Not really, provided one obtained the pet young enough normally soon after it left the nest and can eat on its own. It all depends on you providing the time and effort.
No not at all. They are so easy to tame and very rewarding depending on the effort you are prepared to put in.
Good question and normally based on the feeling that the one budgie would get lonely on its own. Getting a young budgie will as they are easier to tame, is the best as previously stated. The budgie will then see you as its family and a mate would distract from that. If you get more than one I suggest you get 2 males because they are less likely to fight and most people confirm they talk more readily than females. It actually makes sense as the male does all the courting!
A budgie has an average life of 5 to 8 years, but if take care of properly they can live 10 years or even longer.
A pet budgie can learn a vast vocabulary of words and phrases. A male budgerigar is more inclined to speak than a female budgie.
Some pet budgie owners might not even realize that their budgie is repeating words or phrases because a budgie tends to have a very low, quick voice that might be mistaken for chatter.
When teaching your pet budgie, a word or phrase, speak slowly and clearly and keep an ear out for these words and phrases when you hear your budgie chattering away.
Budgies are primarily vegetarians, although they often eat insects in the wild. In captivity, there are many ways to provide a budgie with a balanced diet. To be extra safe, however, you should always keep a mineral block in your budgie’s cage. It will make up for anything that his regular diet may be lacking.
- Vegetables - Budgies enjoy a wide range of different vegetables including carrots, cucumbers, squashes, turnips, beetroot, corn on the cob, cauliflower and spinach.
- Grains - In the wild, budgies thrive off grass seeds. In captivity, grains like oats, whole rice, wild rice, white and jap millet and plain canary are all excellent options.
- Hazardous Foods - You should never give your budgie banana, avocado or chocolate, for example.
A budgie will normally preen his feathers daily, keeping them clean and free of dust. So you might see your budgie sliding his feathers through his beak, nibbling at his feathers, scratching his head with his claws, and fluffing up. This is all normal behaviour.
If you find your budgie is actually “yanking out” feathers repeatedly (or yanking out one of his flock mate's feathers) it's time to talk to a vet.
Just look at the beak, hooked, and you should realize it is designed to chew. In the wild they use the beaks to excavate nest sites for example.
Budgies' beaks are always growing. To keep them from becoming overgrown, these birds enjoy shredding things up and chewing on things.
Pet budgies seem to do everything fast, from the way they talk, to the way they flitter about. If you are trying to hand-tame your pet budgie (e.g. getting it to perch on your finger), a proper pet bird wing-feather trim can make your bird training sessions much easier. You won’t have to chase after a flying pet budgie, and you won’t have to worry about your budgie crashing into a window or wall and injuring itself. Have an experienced person demonstrate the proper technique for a wing-feather trim, including how to gently and safely hold your pet budgie for grooming, before attempting it yourself. Performing a wing-feather trim will be more manageable if you have someone to assist you; for example, one person holds, while the other trims your pet budgie's wing feathers. A proper wing-feather trim should allow the budgie to glide safely to the ground, as opposed to landing hard.
There are no known hybrids of the Budgie. It is the only (monotypic) member of its genus.
Refrigerating bird seed will also prevent or control seed moths. The moths and their caterpillars cause the birds no harm. The insects are definitely unsightly. In large numbers, the bugs ruin the seed.
Mineral grit must always be available. Grit provides calcium, salt, iodine, trace minerals and, in the bird's crop, grinds the seed to ensure proper digestion.
A cuttlebone should be placed in every cage. Cuttlebone is the internal skeletal structure of the cuttlefish, a relative of the squid. If the birds just waste the cuttlebone, use one of the harder mineral blocks instead (iodine block).
No they don’t but change the water every day or every alternative day provide they have not messed in it. Whatever water you drink, tap or spring, will be fine for a budgie.
Vitamins or medicine can be placed in the water. Exactly follow the printed directions.
All dishes should be washed as often as necessary.
Budgies typically need between 10 and 12 hours of sleep per day. They'll do most of this at night, but budgies also tend to take naps during the day. When you put your budgies to sleep, consider covering the cage with a blanket (not too thick - you don't want to inhibit air circulation). Covering their cage can give them a sense of security and prevent them from reacting to shadows or lights from a car for example.
They do this to give their feet a rest. They'll often do this while resting or sleeping. It's perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.
Budgies usually bite because they are afraid, or because they are trying to exercise their dominance over you. It is best to try to ignore the biting (even if it really hurts!). If that doesn't work, you can try getting your budgie to repeatedly "step up" from finger to finger several times in a row following a bite. When they realize that this is what will happen every time they bite, they may actually stop. If your budgie is scared and biting, it is best to give your budgie some more space. Spend lots of time next to your budgie (without touching them) as this can help them to develop more trust in you.
It also has a lot to do with the age of the bird. Starting with a pet budgie very young normally means a very placid and non-biting bird.
Budgies do not have a regular breeding or moulting season. In their Australian outback native stamping ground, they commence breeding whenever the rains bring about a growth of vegetation.
In captivity, budgies will breed best in the Spring and early Summer.
If the nests boxes are then removed, they will go into a heavy moult. Keeping the birds on a seasonal schedule is a good idea. This allows the Fancier the ability to plan ahead. Being in a regular cycle gives the bird's system a good pace at which to work.
The eggs hatch in eighteen days from the time the hen starts sitting. This is important to understand. Hens don’t normally have incubation temperature by the first egg. She may not sit until several eggs have been produced. So sometimes first baby will only appear at about 20 days.
Five eggs are average but larger clutches are not uncommon. The hen incubates the eggs and handles most of the initial feeding chores.
Protein supplement foods MUST be provided during nesting and the moult for optimum health. Many different nesting foods are on the market. Cooked chicken egg serves the purpose. If you've a number of birds, place a whole hard boiled chicken egg, shell and all, in the food processor or blender. The bits of egg shell are a great source of calcium.
Sometimes the cock will kill or abuse the chicks as soon as they come out of the nest. If ANY HINT of trouble is observed, remove the young, if they are eating on their own, or remove the father. The hen should be capable of completing the job.
Budgerigars can be bred as flocks in flights. The only good reason to do this is to save labour. Feed will be wasted. Less young per pair will be produced.
In a flight make sure that the number of males and females is exactly equal. Extra males are a waste. Un-paired hens will raid the nests of the breeding birds. Use twenty-five percent extra nest boxes, for the budgie hens always squabble over nests.
These are social birds. A single pair will very rarely breed. Four pairs, in the same room, are the minimum for successful breeding. There are many exceptions to this rule, but if you really want to raise budgies, start off with a number of pairs.
Mites are a terrible affliction of Budgies. Infestations can be prevented and controlled by spraying the bird, the cage, and the area surrounding it with a commercially available product.
If the beak itself starts to look flakey, the cere starts to get a "spongy" look, or a male budgie's cere begins to turn brown, stronger measures are required. Also called scaly face.
Mites can be eliminated by using commercially available products. Left untreated, the beak will begin to grow in a horrible, twisted shape. Death from starvation is possible.
A young Budgerigar has a smooth cere, black stripes (except for the light coloured types) on the forehead (giving the term "bar-head" for an immature budgie), and a completely black eye.
Within six months, the forehead is white or yellow and the eye has a white iris in most instances. Some varieties, such a recessive pied do not have an iris.
The male's cere remains smooth. The hen's cere darkens in colour and becomes crusty and flakey in appearance, not to be confused with a mite infestation. This is a normal sign of sexual maturity and can be used to differentiate the genders in Albinos and Lutinos, where cere colour is no help.
Budgies are normally ready to breed by nine months to a year. Hens as young as five months old producing healthy nests have been seen but not encouraged.
After a bird has moulted it’s not easy to establish its age other than in instances when it has been rung with a closed coded ring and the details such as date of birth have been recorded.
The babies should be "closed rung" so that records can be kept. If you wish to show your birds, you will have to use rings issued by AWEBSA. The young are banded before they develop pin feathers. Then, the toes are still pliable and can be manipulated and pulled through the ring. In a few days, the toes grow and the bones harden. After this time, the ring will neither go on or off.
Rings act as means of identification of the breeder and can clearly date birds.
Budgies that never seem to grow its flight or tail feathers might have "French Moult". In severe cases they may even loose body feathers.
Such birds would not survive in the wild due to natural predators and should under no circumstances be used for breeding.
No cure for French Moult affected birds exists.