Like most birds, parakeets are beautiful, colorful, entertaining pets
that can make a wonderful addition to your family. Basic knowledge of parakeets and how to care for them properly will help ensure the health, safety, and happiness of your familyâ€™s newest pet.
To provide the best care for your parakeet, you must first understand the characteristics of most parakeets and what makes them such wonderful family pets. Parakeets come in many different colors, primarily green, blue, yellow, or a combination of these common colors. They are relatively small in size, but make up for it with their amazing personalities that will entertain your family for hours. Parakeets are notorious for their tame nature, gentleness, and playfulness. At the same time, parakeets are mostly quiet and are not destructive in most home environments, resulting in great family pets that do not require a lot of attention and that would fit in well in a small home or apartment setting. Perhaps the most popular characteristic of pet parakeets is their capability to learn a rather large vocabulary, in addition to beautiful and sometimes comical whistling.
Before bringing your parakeet home for the first time, it is important to purchase a cage that will provide adequate space and convenience for cleaning and maintenance. Parakeets require a cage where they can flap and stretch their wings with ease without touching their wings to the cage bars and move around the cage with little restriction on their movement. Because of this, choose a cage that is no less than 18 inches wide, 18 inches across and 24 inches tall. The cage bars should be no more than 3/8 of an inch wide to prevent the parakeet from getting its neck or beak stuck between the cage bars. It is important that your parakeet be able to climb around its cage for exercise, so make sure these bars are not vertical only. Look for cages that feature horizontal bars as well as vertical bars.
Also, be sure to purchase a cage that has a door opening large enough for you to reach inside and easily remove the parakeet from its cage. Most bird cages include a food cup, a water cup, and a plastic perch that hang inside the cage. If your cage does not include these items, you can easily purchase hanging food and water cups and plastic perches separately for your parakeet cage. You may also want to purchase a perch for your parakeet cage that is made of clean tree branches. This will help ensure your parakeet has healthy feet and claws and will prevent feet and joint problems later. Also, be sure to purchase litter or bedding specially made for birds for the bottom of your cage, or use shredded cage paper. Do not use colored newspaper, corn cob bedding, or shavings made out of cedar, as these can harm your parakeet. For your added convenience, you may want to look for cages that feature a removable bottom tray, which makes changing the bedding or litter much easier.
After bringing your new parakeet home, allow your parakeet to become accustomed to its new surroundings, and place it in its cage. While it is important to go about your daily activities so your new pet can observe and become accustomed to the everyday routine it will be living in, you should also keep noise level down to avoid scaring your parakeet. Loud noises, yelling, shouting, or loud music and television may frighten your new pet and cause added stress and anxiety.
To establish a routine of healthy eating and to ensure a happy, healthy parakeet for years to come, feet your parakeet a diet that consists primarily of seeds. The best and easiest way to accomplish this is to feed your bird a daily meal of a formulated seed mix made especially for parakeets. These seed mixes contain a variety of seeds and can commonly be found at most pet supply stores and supermarkets. Pellet seed mixes are also available for your parakeet. If you do not choose a specially-made seed mix that also contains a balanced diet complete with extra vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, it will be necessary to supplement your parakeetâ€™s seed diet with vitamin and mineral supplements, also available at most pet supply stores. You may also provide added vitamins and minerals by providing your parakeet frequent snacks of vegetables and fresh fruits, such as broccoli, carrots, peas, apples, grapes, oranges, peaches, strawberries, and many others. A cuttlebone will also be necessary to provide your parakeet with extra calcium. Fresh, clean water must also be available to your parakeet at all times.
To keep your parakeet happy and healthy, you must follow frequent grooming and hygiene routines. Empty your parakeet's water dish on a daily basis and wash with a mild detergent, making sure to rinse well. Supply your parakeet with fresh, clean water every day. Remove the top layer of your petâ€™s seed mix and add a new seed mix to the dish, making sure to mix well with the remaining seed mix. Every three to four days, empty the food dish completely and add all new seed mix for your parakeet. All bedding or litter should be emptied once a week and the tray should be cleaned thoroughly with a mild detergent. Dry the tray thoroughly and add new, fresh bedding or litter. In addition, all perches should be removed and cleaned to remove any soil once a week.
Lastly, empty the whole cage once a month and clean the entire cage by washing the cage bars, base, tray, and all metal and plastic accessories. To bathe your parakeet, offer your bird a birdbath in the morning hours to bath itself thoroughly two or three times a week. Also, you may spray your parakeet with water using a plant sprayer or mist bottle. Special wooden perches normally keep your parakeetâ€™s nails short, but your bird will occasionally require nail trims. Nail trimmers made especially for birds can be found at most pet supply stores and pet shops. You may also decide to keep your birdâ€™s wingâ€™s clipped, as this will not hurt your parakeet and will help keep your pet more manageable. Clipped wings will be replaced once your parakeet molts, so you will need to repeat the clipping process on a regular basis.
Daily observation of your parakeet will ensure your recognition of its normal behavior and will allow you to notice any illness or signs of deterioration in your parakeet. Parakeets naturally attempt to hide any signs of their illness for as long as they can, so when observing any abnormal behavior or signs of sickness, this could be an indication that your parakeet is in advanced stages of illness. Always be on the lookout for any abnormal droppings in your birdâ€™s cage, such as abnormal consistency or coloring, abnormal breathing patterns, molting or other feather abnormalities, bleeding, discharge from the eyes or beak, disorientation, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting or any change in normal activities such as talking, playing or interacting with members of your family. If you observe any of these symptoms or any other strange behaviors in your parakeet, take your parakeet to a veterinarian as soon as possible, preferably one that is experienced in bird care.
When parakeets are in good health, they love to play, exercise, and interact with their human owners. Not only does this keep your parakeet happy and in good spirits, but it is also an essential part of keeping them healthy. Learn how to properly handle your parakeet and get it accustomed to human handling. Parakeets are gentle, loving creatures that are readily adaptable to taming and handling, so expose your parakeet early to your touch and gentle handling.
Like most birds, parakeets require frequent and regular opportunities to be let out of their cages. Ideally, they need to exercise outside the cage on a daily basis, so when your parakeet is loose outside its cage, remember to close all windows and doors and keep all hazards out of the bird's exposure. Establish a routine with your parakeet every day and allow it to sit on top of its cage or interact with you and your family members at least one or two hours per day. When inside their cages, parakeets love to be active, so provide your pet with toys and various accessories to keep it active, healthy, and entertained.
When owning a parakeet, it is important to become familiar with the features and characteristics of these beautiful birds and gain knowledge of the best ways to care for them properly. Keeping your parakeet healthy, active, and well taken care of will not only create a happy parakeet but will also create a happy owner with a beloved pet that will enrich your life for years to come.