Zen And The Art Of Budgerigar Maintenance

blue and white budgie eating on a plate with dry cereal
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They instinctively suspect anything but another bird of their own species to possibly bring harm.

A constant feedback touch point we get is “my bird won’t play with his new toy”, “my bird is freaked out because I changed a couple of things in its cage”, “my won’t touch any new food I offer her”.

Remember the birds life, change can take time. The flip side of that is the more change you offer your bird the more easily your bird will except change.

Peaches eats anything we offer. Often from a broken open bag in deliveries. Even something like Goldenfeast Colossal parrot food, which we mixed with Higgins Safflower Gold and Hagen Tropimix.

I simply pull out the large nuts that she cannot crack and crack them so little goes to waste other than what she throws out.

Even though she does not like them, I leave in the dried chili peppers and cinnamon sticks from the Safflower Gold mix just to give her something more to do, ie “pick them out” which is a subtle form of foraging and enrichment.

The 4 budgies split a millet spray four ways every other day. When introducing canned vegetables, we smother them in millet seed which looked as though the mixture remained untouched over the day.

No millet sprays were served although we did leave their basic seed which is currently Higgins Vita Parakeet, which we top with Kaylor of Colorado dried mixed vegetables (those always get eaten totally) switching off with Higgins egg food. The little buggers will not starve.

The one downside here is we are often vacuuming. Anyone who serves millet sprays to their birds know what I mean.

With that introduction, let’s check into the way back machine Video and see what I had to say seven years ago.

Begin original article

When we refer to parakeets we’re actually talking about the “Budgerigar.” The word comes from the aborigines of Australia, the Parakeet homeland. They’re closely related to lorikeets.

Budgies are small, seed eating birds and wild Budgies are found throughout parts of Australia.

They’ve been around an estimated 5,000,000 years and although they’re naturally green and yellow with black markings, you’ll now find them in blues, yellows, greys and some even have small crests.  

They’re popular pets as they are inexpensive to buy and to maintain. And although many young people start with a pet parakeet early in life, we don’t hear about longevity much.

I’m reminded of a local bird club meeting I attended several years ago. Dr. Karen Becker was one of the guest speakers. She told the story of doing intake on a new patient, a Budgie. The woman who brought in the Budgie in was older, late seventies, early eighties I recall.

When asked how old the Parakeet was, the woman responded 26 years old. Not seeing a lot of double decade Budgies, the first question Dr. Becker had, “how are you so sure of the age”?

The woman promptly took out a receipt from the (manila folder she carried in) from F.W. Woolworths. She had paid $5.00 for the bird, twenty six years earlier. 

woolworth parakeet ad wp Zen And The Art Of Budgerigar Maintenance

When asked what the woman attributed the long life of the bird, her answer was “we’ve shared a cup of decaffeinated green tea every morning since I brought him home”. (We’ll reserve a discussion about tea and pet bird care in another article) 

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He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.