Budgies - an Introduction

Budgies are beautiful birds that make nice pets. They require relatively less maintenance and therefore are ideal for beginners. These lovely birds are intelligent, extremely social and bond well with humans. With training they can be taught a variety of tricks.
The budgie or budgerigar is a native of Australia. They belong to the parrot family.. The scientific name of the budgie is Melopsittacus undulatus. The natural habitat of the budgie is arid, semi-desert. Budgies, like other members of the parrot family tend to live in large colonies. Their diet consists chiefly of seeds.

Buying your Budgies

Budgies can be bought from almost all pet shops. It is important to check that the shops maintain the birds in good and hygienic conditions. See that the birds are active and healthy. It is good to buy the birds in pairs as they will bond. Most pet shops will put your budgies in a box for the journey home. Ensure that the box has adequate means of ventilation.

Setting up the Bird Cage

A good cage for your budgies should be at least 18 x 18 x 20 inches. Wire cages would be ideal as the birds will be able to climb the sides. Alternatively, if you are using cages with metal bars, ensure that the bars are horizontal to enable climbing. Provide adequate perches for the budgies. Ensure that the cage provides enough space for the budgies to fly from one perch to another so that they can exercise their wings.

Budgies are very inquisitive and active creatures that require a lot of stimulation. Hence, it is good to provide toys such as plastic rings, small balls, etc for the birds to play with. The cages need to be kept away from direct sunlight. The cage must also have a removable litter tray to enable cleaning the cage without opening the cage.

Feeding and Diet

Budgies have a diet that consists mainly of seeds. You can occasionally treat your budgie to a meal of fresh fruits. However, certain foods such as avocado, lemon, and potato, chocolate can be harmful to your budgie. Besides their base diet of seeds and occasional fruits, budgies may require supplements of substances such as calcium to augment their dietary intake. This is particularly true of female budgies who need more calcium to form the egg shells. Cuttlebone, which is available at almost all pet stores is a good source of calcium.

Besides food, a permanent supply of clean drinking water should always be made available. It is recommended to replace the water every day as budgies sometimes tend to dirty the water.

Breeding

Budgies can be bred as soon as they attain sexual maturity at around 8 months. In budgies, it is possible to visually tell apart the sexes by the color of the ceres, located below the nostrils. The males have blue ceres while the females tend to have pink or brown ceres.

For the birds to mate, they must bond with each other. Bonding occurs when the birds start feeding and preening each other. The female budgie lays a clutch of about 4-5 eggs with an interval of a day between each egg. The female then sits on the eggs during the incubation period of around 18 days.

The chicks are born naked and blind. Both male and female birds share the responsibility of raising the chicks. The chicks grow fast and are completely covered by feathers by the end of one month after which they leave the nest.

Budgies are beautiful birds that are easy to care for. They are also highly social and are ideal for beginners. They bond well with people and are easily handled.

image courtesy: http://www.petsworld.co.uk/budgies.htm

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