Tips for Caring For a Parakeet

When caring for a parakeet, you'll need to follow some specific rules to raise a healthy, tame bird that is well socialized. Many people neglect to learn how to care for a parakeet, and end up with unhappy, nervous pet birds that refuse to be held and screech endlessly. For happy birds that will sit on your finger, learn to mimic sounds and live for up to 18 years, follow these parakeet care instructions:

Buy a Healthy Parakeet From a Breeder
If possible, buy your parakeet from a breeder instead of a pet store. Pet-store parakeets are more likely to be exposed to disease. They are less likely to have been handled regularly and may not be tamed.

Pet stores often sell older parakeets that they may try to pass off as babies. A breeder will give you a hatch certificate, telling you exactly how old your new pet bird is. You want to buy a young bird that's just weaned. For the best pet parakeet possible, seek out a breeder who will hand-feed a parakeet just for you; the extra money will pay off over the next 12 to 18 years as you enjoy a bird that likes being held and does not fear people.

Invest Time in Your Bird
From the very start, you need to handle your bird every day. Plan on investing one hour a day in your parakeet, broken into three 20-minute segments of time. Offer the bird millet and wait patiently for him to trust you. You may need to take turns with the other members of your family, holding the millet for the parakeet and allowing him to snack and get used to your voice and presence. Taming a bird takes time and patience, so prepare to invest, especially if you bought your parakeet from a pet shop or are the bird's second owner.

Keep the Bird Near People
Keep the cage somewhere near people, in the kitchen or living room. Move the cage from room to room if possible, allowing the bird to be near you as you work in your office or bedroom. Talk to the bird whenever possible. Invest in a play stand for your bird, and clip your bird's wings so it can be free on the play stand and explore near you. Keep your bird safe by remembering to always turn off ceiling fans and to keep doors closed so the bird cannot escape or get hurt during out-of-cage time.

Clean the Cage Often
Make sure you change the paper lining at the bottom of the cage daily. Wash food and water bowls daily. Scrub the cage bars weekly.

Feed Your Parakeet Well
Feed your budgie a diet of pellet food supplemented by seeds and small pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables. Always wash the food dish with soap and water after offering fresh fruit or vegetables to avoid illness.

Don't Buy a Second Parakeet
If you want your parakeet to bond with you, you'll need to resist buying a second parakeet as a companion. Once you introduce a second parakeet, the bird will lose interest in you. Instead, invest more time in a shy bird, aiming for two out-of-cage times a day in a safe, enclosed room complete with millet and a play stand.

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