Parakeets are popular and sought after companion birds in the United States. These attractive little birds are hardy and playful and with patience, can be taught to speak. Although parakeets can be housed in large outdoor aviaries, most enthusiasts prefer to keep their birds indoors, where they can enjoy the parakeet's company and train it easier.
The cage for your parakeet should be as spacious as possible. A cage that is 16-by 16-by-16 inches should be considered the minimum size for a single parakeet, the size of a budgie. Parakeets do not typically fly upward, so long and wide cages are preferred over tall ones, provided the bird's head does not touch the top of the cage. The parakeet's tail should also not touch the cage floor. These active little birds enjoy climbing and horizontal bars are preferable to vertical ones. Bars should also not be spaced more than -inch apart, or the parakeet may get its head stuck. Cages must not be made of zinc, which is toxic to birds, particularly to parakeets, which sometimes bite the bars of their cage. Gates that open sideways are better than guillotine gates, as these may injure the parakeet.
Food and water dishes must always be available and kept clean. Parakeets enjoy bathing and should be provided with a bath bowl. These inquisitive members of the parrot family readily play with toys and are fascinated by their own image in a mirror. A metal bird's mirror and assorted toys are always welcome in the parakeet's cage. The parakeet should be offered at least two perches placed at opposite ends of the cage. Grit-covered paper sheets can be placed on the bottom of the cage. These commercially available cage liners keep the parakeet's nails short, as the bird walks on them. They are easily removed and disposed of when the cage floor becomes too dirty.
Parakeets require a high-quality budgie seed mix as their staple diet. This seed mix must be supplemented daily with vegetables and fruit. Parakeets enjoy a wide variety of both fruit and vegetables, but avocado pear is highly toxic to them. It is important to provide the parakeet with a mineral block, both to keep its beak in trim and to provide trace elements. Parakeets will also enjoy nibbling on cuttlebone and will readily accept grit when it is offered. Grit helps to mechanically break down seeds and is required for optimal digestion in parrots and their relatives. Parakeets must always be provided with clean and cool drinking water and a liquid, avian multivitamin can be added to this drinking water.
Wing, Beak and Nail Trimming
The wings of parakeets are trimmed to prevent them from escaping, once they have been allowed out of their cage for exercise. Wing trimming will also help during training, as the parakeet is less independent and more focused on the owner and its lessons. Parakeets may need both their nails and beak to be trimmed periodically. Many owners are capable of cutting their bird's nails, but a parakeet's beak should be trimmed by a veterinarian.