Do my budgies and cockatiels feel bored or depressed with their life of captivity?

yellow budgiw wearing head phone and rollerblades
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Captivity is a relative term. I’m not relegated to my home but I still have to pay rent, go to work, pay taxes and perform all those duties that enable me to be a good neighbor and good citizen of the world.


If captivity is all that you know, is it really captivity? We have four budgies, all rescues. We don’t have the background on any of them but we’ve kept them flighted thus they don’t ever leave the cage.

They have a Fluval LED light on top of their cage on a timer which goes on the 7:20 every morning and turns off at 7:20 every evening (we do not change for daylight savings time so come summer it will be 8:20 to 8:20). 

When the light comes on in the morning I’m usually up and will uncover the cage to find that their day has already started.


Although we have one male and three females, Jam, one of the females seems to be an organizer of the flock.


When I watch them in their cage from my desk which is about 8 feet away she’s always giving some sort of direction.

She’s also best at what I call “helicoptering”. The cage is wide enough at 28 inches for them to do small flights but Jam just starts flapping keeping herself floating in the middle of the cage while shouting out orders like a drill sergeant.


“Toast, stay away I’m not interested in your shenanigans today I don’t want to have sex go do something else”.


“Eggs, go over to the back cage wall and keep trying to tug on that toy until you can rip it off”.


“Bacon, you’re looking better today but I want you to just stay there and watch all of us”.


“I’m going to land on the millet holder so I can be the first one to chow down on our millet breakfast“.


And so it goes. I call them my “singing flowers” they are always making fun little noises and really don’t seem to notice whatever noise we have on be it music or television or just conversation.

For reasons at many levels we just haven’t taken the time to start from the beginning, i.e. clipping their wings, flight training and socializing them but they are doing fine together.


It’s been more than a year now they’ve existed as a flock in their own little caged universe and I’ve interacted with a lot of birds – the budgies seem happy.


They always have a project that they’re working on be at destroying a wooden shelf, ripping the newest toy apart or taking turns enjoying a lettuce and water bath.


So perhaps at some point in the future we will pluck them out of the cage, clip their wings and begin to bring them into the family but until then they seem pretty happy to me.


We also have a solitary female Senegal, Peaches, who we rescued about a year and a half ago.


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.