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Care & Feeding

Water: Budgies require clean, filtered (chlorine-free) water. Tap water contains chemicals, minerals, and chlorine that can cause serious health problems to budgies, so only filtered/de-chlorinated water should be given to your budgie. Water should also be changed on a daily basis at a minimum to avoid bacterial growth that can lead to illness. Fresh water should always be available to your budgie. Water dispensers should never be placed under perches to avoid contamination from feces.

Diet: In the wild, budgies forage for a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and grains. In the wild, a budgie would crave specific foods based on its nutritional needs. In captivity, achieving the correction nutritional balance can be tricky. It is recommended that the bulk of a budgie’s diet (60-70%) should come from pellets specifically formulated for Budgies, as this will ensure that the core nutritional needs are met. Seeds are a necessary component of your bird’s diet (10%), but they should not form the core. Seed mixes tend to have a number of problems: (1) stale contents, (2) nutritional inadequacy, (3) artificial colors, (4) components your budgie should not have or will not eat, (5) seed moths, (6) contamination, (7) mold, etc. Pellets do not eliminate these problems but are an improvement. More importantly, a primarily seed diet often leads to obesity, which is one of the primary reason most pet budgies die between 4-6 years old instead of living to be 15-20 years old. If seed mixes are your only option, ensure that the seed mix has at least 40 percent straight canary seed and is fresh. When you do buy seed mixes, it is a good idea to buy mixes of mostly canary seed, millet and oat groats in an air-tight container. You can freeze the mix overnight to kill seed moths after you bring it home. Over time, feeding a budgie only pellets may lead to nutritional deficiencies and health problems. Pellets alone, no matter how well formulated they are, will not maintain a healthy budgie. Fresh vegetables (particularly leafy greens) and fruits are also required for some required vitamins and minerals. These should form 20-30% of your budgie's diete. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers, and lettuce can even be made into budgie salads. Fruits and vegetables should be provided for a short time (e.g., 2-3 hours) and then any uneaten portions should be discarded. It may take time for your budgie to learn to eat new foods. Keep giving them to him, and eventually he/she will experiment. Some foods should never be provided to a budgie as they can lead to serious health problems or death:  avocado, fruit seeds/pits, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, uncooked beans, mushrooms, tomato leaves and stems, rhubarb, onions, garlic, and dairy. Spinach, chard or beet greens should be given no more than one leaf per week. Foods that are high in sugar or fat should not be given as treats. Food containers should never be placed under perches.

















Cuttle Bone and Mineral Block: Your budgie needs these items to obtain necessary calcium and other nutrients that he/she would have otherwise obtained in the wild. Your budgie will only use them on an as-needed basis, so ensure these are always present even if it seems like your bird has not touched them for a very long time. Eventually, he/she will need nutrients and will be drawn to them. If they are not present, your bird may become unhealthy, resulting in medical complications or death.

Captive Habitat Requirements: Budgie captive habitat must be of appropriate size, humidity, temperature, composition, and should also incorporate sufficient, safe free flight time.

Temperature: Budgies do best in temperatures ranging from 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. They should not be kept outdoors where temperatures are outside of that range. The budgie’s habitat should be free of drafts (e.g., not on the floor or right next to a drafty window/door).

Lighting: Budgies require light, but their habitat should not be in direct sunlight that cannot be escaped for prolonged periods.

Enclosure: Some pet stores and others have published that cages as small as 18”X13”X13” are sufficient for one budgie. In our opinion, that is far, far too small. Such a size would only conceivably be appropriate if the bird is provided with multiple, long, safe free-flight opportunities every day. Keep in mind that budgies are 7-8” inches long, so 18” is not much space for a bird that is designed to fly long distances much of the day. Budgies must be allowed enough space to at least make short flight spurts in its cage. Budgies in the wild fly for up to 250 miles per day in search of food and water in the Australian outback and average approximately 30 miles per day. Putting a budgie in a cage that small is akin to confining an avid runner who runs a marathon a day in a cell where he can only take a step or two in any direction. Budgies are designed for, and require, physical exertion to avoid health problems such as cardio-vascular disease from lack of exercise. Cardiac disease from lack of exercise is one of the leading causes of premature death among budgies precisely because these birds are not provided the necessary level of physical exercise to remain healthy.





Budgies will “put up with” a small cage better than some birds without feather plucking or other mental/physical illness. Many other birds will literally hurt themselves if confined in too small a space, but budgies are very resilient, probably due to their harsh natural habitat. Still, the fact that they are adaptable to a certain degree of abuse does not mean that we should knowingly abuse them. Ultimately the ideal habitat size depends on the amount and quality of other exercise opportunities such as free flight. We recommend a cage no smaller than 24X24X24 if a bird is given two free flights per day for 20 minutes, and no smaller than 36X36X36 if the bird is given only one free flight per day of at least 20 minutes. If the birds cannot be provided free flight, only a room or aviary would be sufficient to allow them a minimum level of healthy exercise. If you cannot provide safe free flight for your budgie, it is best to consider other pet options, as budgies need time out of their enclosures every day. If you plan on keeping more than one budgie, the minimum size stated above should be increased by approximately 50% for each additional bird. It is also important that metal bars should be spaced no greater than ½” apart so that the bird’s head or body does not become lodged in the bars.
























Cups: You will need a minimum of three cups/containers: one for water, one for pellet food, and one for fresh vegetables or fruits.

Perches: Perches should be approximately 3/8” in diameter, although it is best to provide perches with a variety of diameters to maintain healthy feet and avoid arthritis or other problems. Perches should be a minimum of 4” long. Perches can also consist of rope perches or other safe materials. It is best to use perches from a pet store as using branches from the outdoors may harbor and introduce pests, parasites, or bacteria to your habitat. However, you can cleanse a natural branch from outdoors by removing leaves, wiping it down with a diluted bleach solution of ¾ cup of bleach per 1 gallon of water and then bake the branch at 200 degrees Fahrenheit until dry. Make sure the branch is from a tree that will not be poisonous to your bird. Rather than list the many poisonous varieties, we suggest using a branch from a ash, aspen, beech, cottonwood, dogwood, elm, fir, spruce, or willow trees. Perches should be placed at different heights and distances and should still allow the bird some room to spread its wings and fly a bit inside its enclosure.


Flooring: The habitat should have a metal grate over the floor to prevent the bird from soiling itself in its droppings and separate the bird from the paper or substrate at the bottom of the cage.

Toys: Toys are an important part of any budgie enclosure. A budgie without toys will suffer emotionally, which can result in behavioral issues and/or health issues. Being highly intelligent, budgies thrive on toys that provide much-needed mental stimulation. Budgies tend to enjoy swings, bells, balls, or chew toys made for budgies (some chew toys for parrots are too hard for budgies to chew). Be sure that the toys are of the appropriate size. Budgie toys should be safe. Make sure that there are no toys (or other habitat components) that contain lead, zinc, lead-based paints or galvanized parts, as these materials could cause serious medical problems or death if ingested. Budgies will attempt to chew anything in their environment, so they will destroy the toys you purchase for them, which will need to be replaced.









Habitat Maintenance: Your budgie’s enclosure, perches, toys, cups and other equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected regularly (except mineral block and cuttlebone). Some people do this every month; others every year. We recommend more frequently than once a year. Use a 97% water/3% bleach solution or run the items through a dishwasher. Do not use other cleaning agents/products on your habitat articles or even around your bird, as inhalation or ingestion off from materials can cause harm or even death. Substrate or paper liner should be changed at least weekly. Rotate toys and rearrange perches regularly to provide mental stimulation. Food and water should always be available. Provide filtered/de-chlorinated water for bathing regularly (we recommend every 1-3 days). The water should be lukewarm.


Grooming: Some people elect to clip their budgie’s wings. Although that may be necessary for some individual birds who prove themselves unable to use judgment in flying in an enclosed area, we recommend against this practice as birds were meant to fly, and flying is the only way they can obtain appropriate exercise for physical and mental health. Nails should be trimmed as needed. We advise you to either have an experienced person or veterinarian perform this task as cutting too far into the nail (into the “quick” or blood vessel) can be very dangerous for a bird, who could bleed out very quickly. Occasionally, if your budgie doesn’t chew on enough things, his/her beak might also need to be trimmed. This should also be performed by a qualified professional or experienced person.


Interaction/Companionship: Budgies thrive on social interaction. Budgies are known for their mutual preening and other social interactions. In the wild, budgies form small flocks, but they can group together in flocks as large as 10,000 individuals, and there is no such thing as a “lone” budgie. A budgie is not like a snake or other solitary animal that can live alone for extended periods. They are, instead, closely related to “Lovebirds” who require constant companionship to be happy and healthy. Unless you desire and can provide a regular, nearly constant level of companionship to your budgie (e.g., you are retired and don’t travel much), you should consider getting at least two budgies so that they can provide companionship to each other. If you spend all day with your budgie, he/she will bond more deeply with you, so some pet owners prefer to keep only one budgie. However, if you have a regular job or other responsibilities that impede you from spending the bulk of your day with your budgie, the lonely bird, who would look to you to provide attention, will suffer emotionally. Even short periods alone (such as while you run errands) can cause severe levels of stress in budgies, during which time they may pluck feathers or otherwise hurt themselves out of stress. Please do not abuse these birds by keeping them alone for long periods of time. As a general rule, budgies should also not be mixed with other species of birds as this can often lead to fighting, injury, or even death of one or both of the birds. They thrive with their own species.


Flight Time: Budgies require free flight time every day. This should take place indoors in a securely enclosed space (as a bird outdoors will fly away). Windows should be covered by blinds or curtains to avoid the bird flying into the window pane, which can cause death. Hazards such as hot burners or pots, chemicals or poisons, shredders, electrical wires (that could be chewed), fans, other pets (e.g., cats, dogs, etc.), or other dangerous conditions should be removed. Placing a piece of fresh fruit or other healthy treat in the cage can help lure them back into their enclosure. Do not provide your bird with free flight time until he/she is acclimated to you and his/her new home (e.g., for the first month or so after arriving at a new home).

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