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Choosing a budgie

If you have decided to add budgies to your family, it is common to head straight for the nearest pet shop and pick the colors you like the best. There is a better way.


First, if you have decided that you want budgies as companions, please remember is that you should only purchase a bird from a responsible breeder. Birds found in pet shops have nearly always either been captured from the wild or bred in a commercial breeding facility. The practice of wild capture is harmful to the wild population/ecosystem as well as severely traumatizing to the captured bird. It is estimated that 9 out of 10 wild-caught birds die before even being sold. Commercial breeding operations (like pet shops) also tend to be abusive to their birds, confining them to small cages, failing to provide adequate care, etc. Neither option is something that should be encouraged. Thus, we recommend that you take the ethical high ground and search local papers or the internet for a local breeder and ensure that the breeder’s facility is a healthy and happy place for the birds.




















When you visit a breeder, don’t feel ashamed to ask to see a breeder’s cages and birds. If the breeder refuses to allow you to inspect the breeding facility, you should assume that the birds are not appropriately cared for. If you find the birds are cramped, dirty, or unhealthy, you should assume that you are purchasing an unhealthy bird that could die after you bring it home and that purchasing from such a breeder ensures that more birds are abused by that person. Please buy responsibly and remember that you vote with your wallet on such issues and purchasing from an abusive breeder or pet store ensures further abuse, making you a part of the abuse.

The second main consideration is to only purchase healthy birds. Only purchase a budgie that appears healthy, curious, and playful. Avoid any bird that appears unhealthy or afraid. See the "Health" tab for more information on budgie health. 


The third consideration is how tame the budgie is. The best pets are ones that are not afraid to approach you. Ideally, if you are a first-time budgie owner, you should ask to handle the bird before purchasing. The budgie you purchase should be willing to sit on your hand or finger for at least a few seconds, indicating that it has established trust with people, although it is not yet trained. This will make training substantially easier (see Taming & Training). Even if you simply want to add budgies to your home because you enjoy their appearance and cheerful voices, you should still seek out tame birds. You will need to maintain tame birds to facilitate free flight time, examination in the case of health issues or injury and you might find that you do want to interact more with your birds in time. It is easiest to start with a bird that has been raised by a breeder who either hand-fed or otherwise handled the birds regularly as they were growing up. This will establish an important first step in training of developing trust in a human and reducing fear of hands. We recommend above only buying a bird that is at least someone tame but if you want to interact a lot with your bird, this becomes even more important, and you might wish to focus on finding a breeder who hand-feeds the young birds to establish a closer bond. Additionally, a younger bird is easier to tame and train than an older bird who has already established habits. 





















Third, if you wish for your birds to learn to mimic songs or words, it is best to purchase males, as they are more inclined to sing and mimic than a female. Keep in mind, however, that it is impossible to discern the sex of a male budgie until it reaches a year old. Therefore, if speaking ability is the most important feature of a pet for you, then you may wish to wait to purchase an older male to ensure you have procured the right sex. This can be tricky as quality breeders do not hold onto birds for this long as a general rule. You might want to focus your efforts on rescuing a male budgie or talk to a breeder about your desire and see if something can be worked out. Please also keep in mind that no male budgie is guaranteed to talk either. You should only purchase a budgie if you are sure you want a budgie for a pet, even if it does not learn to talk.


Fourth, as a general rule, we highly recommend purchasing two budgies. Many websites and other sources recommend that you starve your budgie from a much-needed social connection with its own kind in order to force your budgie to bond with you instead. An attention-starved budgie will also look to mirrors or toys to try to attach or obtain mental stimulation, so some websites even recommend not placing such items in a budgie’s cage to further abuse the bird and force it to pay attention to you. In our opinion, this is a terrible abuse, tantamount to adopting a child and then refusing to allow the child to leave your home or have any toys so that your child can only form a relationship with you. It is effective, but it is abusive and ethically wrong if you consider budgies to be living beings with feelings. Although some dogs or other pets may actually prefer their human caretaker to another dog, budgies will always have a need to bond with their own kind. Moreover, budgies are highly social creatures, dependent on constant companionship. When they do not have a companion immediately with them, they become stressed and fearful. Even leaving for a short time to go get groceries or run errands can be very stressful for a lone budgie who is hardwired to never leave the flock. For this reason, we only recommend keeping only one budgie for a person who can and wants to spend most of his/her day with a budgie one-on-one, such as a retired person who does not travel and whose primary passion in life is his/her budgie. Otherwise, it is abusive to keep one budgie alone. 

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