Parakeets Are Easy to Care For if You Follow These Tips
Parakeets make for fun and entertaining pets, without requiring a lot of maintenance or cost. Given the proper care, parakeets can live as long as 10 to 14 years--nearly as long as cats and dogs. The folowing ten tips will give you the information you need to raise happy, healthy birds!
1. Parakeets Like Company
If you have a single bird, a mirror is practically a must. A lone parakeet will enjoy your company, but a mirror helps them feel less alone when you are not around. You can also buy bird stand-ins from pet stores to give your keet company, but that seems rather silly to me. Consider getting a second bird for ideal level of companionship for your parakeet. However, you may want to keep multiple birds separate when they are young so they will learn to bond with humans rather than just other birds.
2. Be Sure to Vary the Food
Plain old bird seed gets old fast. Pet stores and most supermarkets sell a range of birdie treats, from clip-on treat sticks to millet sprays to birdie biscuits. You can also give your birds small pieces of fruit as a special treat.
3. Parakeets Love Toys
Parakeets are playful creatures. And there are many toy options you can get for your bird, from rings to swings to bells and beads. Parakeets are drawn to shiny things, things that make noise, and objects they can move around with their beaks or feet. Just take care that any toy you give your parakeet does not have small parts which can come off and become a choking hazard. Don't over-clutter the cage, either, but rotate through several different toys for variety.
4. Earn Their Trust
With parakeets, trust may take months to build. They will likely be very shy when you first bring them home, but their personalities will emerge within a few weeks. Build trust by placing your finger in front of your bird. Do this every day until it gets the courage to hop on. After a few days of this, try coaxing your bird by gently nudging your finger against its lower chest. With patience, you will build trust in this way. Do not worry if your bird is slow to trust you. Eventually it will be climbing all over you. Just remember the next tip:
5. Never Grab Your Parakeet
To a small bird, few things are more terrifying than an open hand reaching in and grabbing it against its will. Trust between bird and human can evaporate quickly if you grab the little guy. Your parakeet might frustrate you in the beginning by refusing to sit on your finger. But resist the urge to grap. I've found it very helpful to buy a cage with a top that detaches--this allows you to easily let your birds out without grabbing and pulling them through the cage door.
6. Parakeets Love to Sing
In fact they can be quite loud! They will chirp, sing, and squawk on their own, but they love to sing along to music or even your own singing. If you're not vocally-gifted, try playing some music near your birds and see how they react. If you are away all day, consider leaving the radio on for them at a moderate volume.
7. Make Sure They Get Exercise
There is only so much exercise your parakeet can get inside of its cage. It should be taken out regularly to run and fly around. Rooms with hardwood or linoleum floors afford the easiest clean-up. Be sure all doors and windows are shut and curtains closed (birds may fly into windows and injure themselves).
8. Keep a Clean Cage
Parakeet droppings come along at an impressive rate--once every 12 minutes, give or take. I find that taking the cage outside and spraying it down with the hose is the easiest way to get it clean--remove any perches and toys first, of course. Then make sure each perch is scrubbed free of droppings. A clean environment means healthy birds.
9. Get the Right Perches
Cages usually come with a couple boring perches. These should be replaced because they don't meet your bird's needs. Bird feet don't get a proper work-out unless perches vary in diameter. You can buy natural tree branch perches or plastic perches that have fat and thin spots. Perches with a sandpaper finish are also good for parakeets.
10. Keep Your Parakeets in a Bird-Safe Area
Parakeets don't fare well as temperatures drop below 70 degrees. It is very important to keep their cage away from drafts, either from a window or an air conditioner. Also, the kitchen is not a good place to keep your birds--cleaners and cooking fumes are not good for them, and be sure not to place their cage on top of the refrigerator as the vibrations will disturb them.
All in all, parakeets make great pets. They won't cost you a lot of money nor do they require a lot of your time. Just follow the simple steps above for caring for your parakeet and it will live a long and healthful life. These beautiful little additions to your family will bring you joy each day and all they will ask for in return is a little love and caring. *New* I've added a parakeet frequently asked questions page with further information on parakeets.
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