Parakeets are popular birds to keep as pets. They are small birds that come in a variety of colors. These cheerful little birds are fairly easy to care for and, thanks to their small size, they aren’t as messy as parrots. They also seem to be more disease resistant than other birds. If you think a parakeet might be the pet for you, here are some tips that will help you care for your new little friend.
Setting Up the Cage
If you are going to get just one parakeet, its cage should be at least 20x18x18. For two parakeets, go for a cage that is 30x18x18. To prevent your parakeet from getting its head stuck, don’t buy a cage that has wires spaced further than ½ inch apart.
Put at least three perches in the cage at different levels. If you can find, choose a different material for each one, too. You will also need two metal bowls that attach to the cage. One will be used for seeds, the other will be used for wet foods like fruits and veggies. You will also need to provide a water bottle made just for birds; don’t use a bowl because the water will get dirty too quickly.
You should also provide a cuttlebone for your parakeet to peck at and a mineral block for essential minerals like calcium. Choose a few bird toys to put in its cage, too. Lastly, line the bottom of your new parakeet’s cage with newspaper. Pine and cedar shaving are toxic to parakeets, so newspaper is best.
What to Feed Your Parakeet
The main portion of your parakeet’s diet should be pellets because they are formulated to provide optimum nutrition. You can also give about a teaspoon of seeds each day, but you will need to throw away the empty shells before refilling his dish.
Parakeets love fruits such as melons, grapes, apples, and oranges. Leafy greens are also a favorite and provide valuable nutrition. Fruits and veggies should make up about 10-15% of your parakeet’s diet. Be sure to clean your bird’s bowels daily with hot, soapy water. And, of course, your parakeet must have access to clean water at all times.
How to Handle Your New Parakeet
Start by talking gently to it and slowly placing your hand in the cage several times a day to get him used to you. Eventually, offer it some seed or another treat in the palm of your hand. Once he gets used to taking the treat, you can encourage him to perch on your finger by stroking his chest gently while he eats. Before taking him out of the cage, make sure he is totally comfortable with perching on your finger, and ensure that the room is completely safe in case he flies off.
Bathing and Sanitation
Most birds love to take a bath. Once or twice a week, offer your parakeet a bowl of warm water to bath in. Make sure the room is warm and draft free. The papers lining the cage should be changed every other day, especially after bath time. Wipe down the cage weekly with mild dish soap and water and clean the perches and toys at the same time.
Following these steps will help to ensure that your parakeet has a happy, healthy life. However, it’s also wise to get a book about parakeet care so you can learn as much as possible about taking care of your new little friend.