With their cheery chatter and multicolored feathers, parakeets make great house pets, especially for first-time bird parents. Parakeets are friendly and social little birds that enjoy interaction with other parakeets and their human buddies. Although they are comparatively easy to care for, they do have unique requirements.
- Buy an appropriate cage. You will need to get a large enough cage to accommodate your new companion. 20 x 18 x 18 if you have one parakeet, 30 x 18 x 18 if you will be getting two.
- Get at least three perches. Your little bird will need to perch on various types of materials. Consider getting natural or man-made materials, and avoid perches that come with sand.
- Put two metal food bowls in the cage. Keep wet (or moist) foods such as fruits and vegetables separate from dry foods like pellets and seeds, so two bowls are essential. Make sure these bowls are made of a non-porous material that is easy to clean and sanitize.
- Add a water bottle built for birds. While most bird owners use a regular bowl of water, the water quickly becomes polluted with dropped food particles, feathers, and other droppings and would need to be replaced several times a day. Installing a water bottle will keep the water clean and safe.
- Get a mineral block or cuttlebone. When your bird pecks at a cuttlebone, it provides healthy minerals that he needs to remain in good health. A mineral block supplies calcium and other minerals. Adding one each in the cage will keep him satisfied and healthy.
- Get playthings for your parakeet. Parakeets are curious little birds and need some games to be happy. Consider getting some chew toys, puzzle toys, and foraging toys. Do not get toys with strings – you don’t want him to get tangled up in them.
- Set shredded or whole newspapers at the bottom of the cage. Whole sheets have the benefit of being rolled up easily and can be removed when needed. On the other hand, shredded paper absorbs odor better. Change daily or every two days.
What Can Parakeets Eat?
- Use pellets as the backbone of your bird’s diet. These pellets contain the right micro and macronutrients that your parakeet needs to remain healthy.
- Supply seeds in small amounts. Seeds are a fattening meal for your bird, so don’t give him more than a teaspoon or two a day.
- Put fresh fruits and vegetables on the menu. Parakeets enjoy fruits like kiwi, melon, pears, apples, oranges, and grapes. Greens like spinach, kale, cabbage, and parsley are also an essential part of your pet’s intake. These foods should make up 10-15% of your bird’s diet.
- Supply clean water at all times.
How to Handle Your Parakeet
- Talk to him frequently. Have him get used to the sound of your voice. Since talking to him will encourage him to repeat what you say, be mindful of the words you use.
- Begin placing a treat (seeds) on your hand. He might or might not take the treat the first time around, but he will start getting familiar with the tradition as some time goes by.
- Gently pat your parakeet’s chest. Once he is comfortable around you, use one finger to rub his chest gently. This will encourage him to hop on your finger and use it as a perch. You can combine this with some commands such as “hop-on” or “step-up” to train him to land on your finger.
How to Clean Your Parakeet
- The room the parakeet is in should be warm without any fans. This will prevent him from getting cold.
- Every two to three days, supply a shallow receptacle of lukewarm water so that he can bathe himself.
- Put a towel under the cage to absorb any dripping water that splatters out.
- Let your parakeet bathe himself by dabbling and playing in the birdbath. He might do this for just a minute or two. Let him play but keep a close eye on him.
- If your parakeet is not interested in taking a bath and hasn’t done so in a few days, you can always use a spray bottle. Fill the spray bottle with warm water and spray the water on your bird’s body. Avoid spattering water in his face.
- No need to dry him with a towel or dryer. Just let him flap around in the cage and shake his feathers to dry off.
- Replace the wet newspaper and clean the floor with a towel. Once you’ve done that, replace the newspaper.
How to Keep Your Parakeet Happy and Healthy
- Buy a book on parakeet care. Learn more on how to care for your bird and how you can keep him happy and healthy.
- Pay attention to what your parakeet is eating. He should have a healthy appetite, notably in the morning. A sudden loss of appetite is one of the earliest symptoms of an underlying illness. So, if he refuses to eat, call your veterinarian.
- Check his feet. Parakeets can sometimes get infections on their feet, so be sure that there are no crusty or raw areas. Furthermore, his claws should not be too long.
- Make sure he’s keeping himself clean. If your bird is looking dirty and you notice that he has not been cleaning himself in a few days, that could be a sign of illness.
- Make a note of his activity levels. Parakeets tend to be more active during the day and rest at night, but there will be times where he naps during the day or might be a little more active at night. If your parakeet is not active during the day at all, there may be something wrong with him.
Parakeets are usually cheerful, call for less maintenance than some of the other pet birds, and aren’t as prone to catching illnesses as different types of birds. If you are contemplating getting a pet parakeet or a couple, be sure to read all about them to get them the care they need.