Whether you’ve already got a budgie, or are considering getting one as a pet, you may be wondering how to best care for your feathered friend.
Budgies are traditionally wild animals, so they may encounter issues when kept in captivity – that’s why you should learn as much as possible about their natural environment, so that you can mimic it as best as possible and maximise their health whilst they are in your care.
There are obviously advantages to captivity – the budgie won’t need to worry about dehydration or starvation, but there are also disadvantages. Understanding their origins can help you, the owner, to know what to look out for and how to prevent any problems.
Budgies originated in Australia. This country has a range of habitats, from deserts to rain forests, and budgies primarily live in grassland areas. They are nomadic, which means they can travel to new areas everyday in search of food and water, and are able to fly hundreds of kilometres a day. They live in flocks that can vary in size from a few birds to huge masses of hundreds of thousands. Budgies will breed prolifically, producing three clutches of up to seven or eight chicks – four tends to be the average. In times when the Australian outback is in drought, budgies will stop breeding due to the soaring temperatures of 49 degrees C.
As noted, budgies live in mostly grassland areas – this means that their diet comprises mostly of seeds, shoots and other plant matter. They commonly eat a variety of grasses, from Mitchell grass, spinifex grasses, wild oats, canary grass amongst others. Budgies eat the seeds of these grasses in different forms, from green unripe seeds to fully ripe dry seeds. They have access to a range of trees that provide them with leaves, buds, fruit and bark to chew on, and they will eat the occasional insect too! They will drink water from wherever they can find it, and live a highly energetic life, mostly flying all day looking for food and water. This foraging behaviour keeps their minds healthy, too.
What to Feed Your Budgies
The aim when feeding budgies is to emulate their natural diet, as much as possible. This is easily done by having a supply of good quality seeds, a mineral supplement block, a regular supply of fruit and greens, and some treats!
The seeds make up the most of a budgies diet, so ensure you have that stocked all day – and don’t forget the water, as dry, shop-bought seeds don’t contain any of the water fresh, wet seeds do in the wild! Fresh fruit and greens should also be provided.
Budgie pellets are formulated to provide your budgie with everything they need, but are less popular nowadays than before. Unless a bird has been raised on pellets, it’s best to stick to fresh, natural foods.
A good way to keep your budgie occupied is to devise a feeding system that relies on foraging – this will imitate their natural life, and mean you have to buy fewer toys!
Exercise and Housing
As discussed, budgies are nomadic travellers by nature – they usually fly a long way every day. They should be kept in as big an aviary as possible to satisfy their curious, energetic natures. The aviary should be fully furnished with safe perches, feed areas, water bowls and some toys which will allow them to play.
“Avoid anything obviously unsafe, and anything that your budgie could catch a foot, nail or beak on, and avoid anything that is poisonous – budgies will try to taste everything!” Explains Sama Lynch, a blogger at Draftbeyond and Researchpapersuk.
Budgies are very social animals. If you have more than one, you will notice that they feed together, and as in the wild they are never alone, they are very good at living communally and getting along together.
It’s best to have more than one budgie, seeing as you probably won’t be around all the time to provide your budgie with the companionship they need. If you are only able to have one, try to tame them so they can be let out of their cage – otherwise they face a miserable life alone without any friends. Tame budgies can be super friendly and funny to have around, racing around the room, climbing all over you and chewing the pages of anything they can find!
Andrew J. Best is marketing specialist, teacher at Luckyassignments.com and Gumessays.com. He enjoys reading and writing on different aspects of management, business, finance and marketing. He helps clients optimize costs and increase revenue of their business, so works with staff.