Find out everything you need to know about how to care for a budgie, including advice on grooming, nutrition and routine.
Budgies are one of the most popular winged companions available and for good reason. If you need some guidance on how to care for yours, here are our tips for keeping them happy and healthy.
Is a budgie the right pet for me?
Bringing a budgie home is a serious commitment. The average lifespan of a budgie is 10 years, so it’s important to know that you’re making the right choice. Here are the key things you need to think about before buying one:
- Do you have appropriate housing for your budgie?
- Can you provide a safe environment for it?
- Can you provide daily supervised time outside of the cage for your budgie?
- Are you aware that birds can be vocal and have you checked this is acceptable to your family and neighbours?
What’s the best home for my budgie?
Your budgie’s cage or aviary should give them room to spread their wings – they love to stretch out. Because of this, we recommend a rectangular cage. To help them develop sleep routines and a sense of security, we recommend using a cage cover, which will help to avoid ‘night fright’ and stop them chirping early in the morning. They are active and inquisitive birds, so they need a variety of toys to hold their attention and fend off boredom. Your budgie’s home should include lots of perches, swings and interactive elements to stimulate their senses. Budgies also love mirrored surfaces and shreddable toys.
Placing their aviary in the main part of the home will help them feel included in the action. Hanging the cage can be a good way to house them in busy areas without them getting in the way. Just be sure that their cage doesn’t sit in a draught.
What should I feed my budgie?
A high-quality pellet specifically formulated for budgies should make up 70 per cent of your pet’s diet. Budgies also like to eat the insides of seeds and will leave the husk behind, so be sure that their bowl is not filled with empty husks. They love feeding on a long branch of millet spray, which comes in a couple of different varieties, but make sure this is kept as a treat as it’s high in fat. Treats should only make up 10 per cent of their diet. The rest of their diet should consist of fresh fruit and vegies, including:
- apples (no pips)
- brussels sprouts
- dandelion leaves and flowers
- pears (no pips)
Never feed your budgie chocolate, lettuce, avocado, rhubarb, alcohol, fruit seeds or caffeine as they can make your pet very sick. If your budgie hasn’t eaten the fruit or vegetables in 24 hours, make sure you remove it and replace with fresh food.
How much water does my budgie need?
A budgie needs chlorine-free water changed daily. They may like to bathe in water dishes, so it’s important to check that their water bowl is full and fresh often. Don’t place your budgie’s water bowl underneath their perch as they can contaminate it.
Which supplements should I give my budgie?
Budgies need a few different supplements to keep them healthy. When they’re moulting or stressed, it’s good to give them Ornithon, which is rich in vitamins and minerals. A mineral/iodine block will keep their beaks in top shape and add nutrients to their diet. A piece of cuttlefish is great for their beak and will also boost their calcium levels. Grit will aid their digestion, so it’s a necessary part of their diet.
How can I keep track of my budgie’s health?
Keeping a close eye on the various supplements and vitamins your budgie needs is the first step towards ensuring good health. But there are key things to look out for to identify an unwell bird.
Your budgie will be in good health when it:
- is active, alert and sociable
- has dry nostrils and bright eyes
- has a normal-looking beak, legs and feet
- eats and drinks regularly
- has smooth and well-groomed feathers
However, the warning signs for an unhealthy budgie are when it:
- sits on the floor of the cage or on a low perch
- wheezes or coughs
- has eye or nasal discharge
- has fluffed, plucked or dirty feathers
- has diarrhoea or discoloured faeces
- has red or swollen eyes
- favours one foot
- has white scales around the eyes, beak, legs or feet
- has lost its appetite
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should contact your local Greencross Vets clinic immediately. You will also need to worm your budgie. Talk to your local Greencross Vets about the best one for your pet, but using a syrup that is added to their water works well for most birds. Your budgie may contract mites or lice, so your best bet is to have a treatment powder ready. You local Greencross Vets will also advise on the best one for your pet.
How often should I clean my budgie’s cage?
When you buy your budgie’s home, you should also pick up cage liners and a cleaning pad. The cage liners will sit at the bottom of the cage and make it easy to keep the cage clean. We recommend replacing them daily to keep the cage in good condition. The cleaning pad will be helpful when you want to scrub down the outside and get rid of any dried faeces. This should be a weekly job.
How much exercise does my budgie need?
Budgies need exercise outside of their cage on a daily basis. For the first couple of times, you need to cover windows and mirrors, as budgies can’t see glass. If you have other pets, it’s good to keep them outside or in another room so you don’t stress your budgie. Training treats will be the best way to lure your budgie back to their cage.
What do I need to know about budgie grooming?
Budgies stay quite clean and most enjoy using a bird bath that you can clip onto the opening of their cage. You can also use a grooming spray if they aren’t keen on staying clean. They moult twice a year and this can be quite a miserable time for your pet as it takes a lot of energy to replace feathers. It can take six to eight weeks and you’ll want to give them a vitamin supplement at this time.
Please remember that pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems should talk to their doctor before buying a budgie. And always wash your hands before and after handling your pet.
Come speak to one of our friendly Petbarn team members to find out more, and shop instore or online to see our great range of products for your budgie.