How do you select a healthy, happy parakeet?

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two parakeets kissing
 

Your article about the bird canopy was great and taught me a lot. Now I need to know exactly what kind of artificial greenery can be used which Maisie can’t eat and, possibly, poison herself and, 

 
My best friend wants to buy a parakeet and hopes I will help. How do you select a healthy, happy parakeet?

 
Thank you for the kind words about last weeks newsletter. To be clear when we talk about the “canopy” we’re talking about using bird toys and accessories to fill in negative space the upper one third of the cage.
 
These items present both foraging opportunities and serve as privacy barriers. We have seen bird people over the years use artificial plants in aviaries but usually with many of the smallest of birds like finches, canaries and parakeets. 
 
The artificial plants should be plastic making them easy to clean yet bushy. The bushiness allows birds to take refuge and to get a little privacy perhaps avoiding the pursuit of an overzealous mate to be.
 
Addressing the issue of selecting a happy healthy parakeet. I like to remind people that one of the best defenses nature gave birds is their ability to hide illness. It’s not uncommon to have a pet parakeet that just keels over dead one day for no apparent reason. The bird was sick but nobody could ever tell
 
In nature the display of illness is the display of weakness. Perhaps because of the overall fragility of birds nature gave them the ability to hide illness and not show weakness a wonderful survival trait.
 
Sorry I had to take you around the block for this but the point is that it’s very difficult to simply look at a bird and tell that’s healthy or not. Whether you go to a pet shop or breeding facility it’s most likely parakeets will be displayed in a small flock.
 
What you want to look for are those that are the most active and inquisitive and if you’re real lucky if one jumps on your hand or finger take it home immediately.
 
Mitch Rezman
Windy City Parrot