Is a Parakeet Right For You?

If you have never owned a bird before, you may want to take a look at the parakeet. This little bird can be found in almost any pet store at a very reasonable price, which makes it a great choice for someone with a tight budget who is looking for a pet. Cages and toys are also much more economical for parakeets than they are for larger birds.

Despite its small size, the parakeet can make a wonderful, entertaining pet. Although it does not have the ability to mimic voices like an African grey, this little bird is an exceptional talker and has an excellent memory. There have been reports of parakeets with vocabularies of over 400 words and phrases.

The parakeet’s playful nature makes it an ideal companion for someone who is homebound. These birds are almost constantly in motion when they are awake and will chatter most of that time.

There are actually two different types of parakeets. The American parakeet is much more active and is smaller than its cousin, the English Budgerigar. American parakeets also are much more prolific, so are easier to find. However, English budgies can still be wonderful pets, especially if you can find a young bird.

Just be aware that these birds are more prone to health problems than American budgies, because they have really been inbred over the years as breeders tried to develop an overstuffed look in their show birds.

Since the parakeet has been domesticated for over 150 years, it is no surprise that there are quite a few different colors and patterns to choose from. You can find yellow, lutino, green, blue, violet, white and albino budgies. You can also find pied or spangled birds. Crested parakeets are definitely a conversation starter, since the long, shaggy feathers growing around their heads are definitely unusual looking.

While parakeet seed is certainly popular with these little birds, you’ll need to feed your bird a varied diet to keep it happy and healthy. Pellets, fruits and vegetables are all good additions to your bird’s food bowl. Whole grain cereal or pieces of whole grain bread are also a good choice.

However, even a healthy, well cared for parakeet with a varied diet does not live as long as many of the larger parrots. Parakeets usually live for eight to ten years, although some of them have been known to live into their teens.

Pet stores often sell extremely small parakeet cages and several supplies as a kit for first time parakeet owners. If you can afford to shop for a larger cage, your active little bird will be much more content. Since parakeets are so curious and energetic, you’ll need to be sure you provide plenty of toys for your bird.

Parakeets are especially fond of swings, Olympic rings and balls. Although they like mirrors, it isn’t a good idea to provide one for your bird, because it will bond to its reflection instead of becoming to you.

So, if you want a colorful, playful little bird, then the parakeet may be the perfect pet for you. Just don’t be surprised if you have such a hard time choosing one color that you end up with three or four of these little charmers instead.