First recorded in 1805, the budgerigar, more commonly referred to simply as the budgie, is thought to be the third most popular pet in the world – and for good reason. These lively little birds have many of the lovable characteristics of parrots, but in a smaller package, making them ideal as pets for just about anyone as they require less space and less food, but as with all pet birds, thrive on loads of attention. Available in a wide range of colors and varieties, budgies are very intelligent, are easily tamed and can even be trained to talk.
Originating from Australia, where they are still found in the wild, budgies have a preference for grassland areas where they feed mainly on seeds. They are by nature sociable birds and in the wild they live in flocks of varying sizes. They breed according to the availability of food and in times of plenty may produce clutches of seven to eight chicks, while when drought conditions strike (as they are prone to do in the outback of Australia), budgies will not breed at all as they conserve resources for the existing flock.
Wild budgies have light green bodies and yellow heads, with yellow and black rippled stripes from their foreheads down their wings. They have long blue tails and dark purple cheek patches. Selective breeding over the years has produced a wide variety of colors, body shapes and sizes in pet budgies. The hobby of ‘showing’ budgies has led to the breeding of birds with physical traits that are considered desirable by judges, but are far different from the original Australian wild budgie that has survived in often harsh conditions for millions of years.
Pet budgies are happiest and healthiest when they have a diet as close to that of their ancestors as possible, so a variety of good quality seeds is essential. These should include a high percentage of a variety of millet seed, canary seed and a small amount of whole oats. There are commercial mixes made specifically for budgies, or you can mix your own. Make sure that the seed mix you offer your canary is free from dust and mold. To boost the immune system of your budgie, try sprouting some of the seed. This will also be a good indicator of whether the seed you are using is fresh. Soak some seed overnight in water, tip it into a sieve and leave it there until a white tip starts emerging (24-48 hours). At this stage you can mix this in with some dry seed and give it to your budgie. Remove the remaining mix at the end of the day, as it could make your bird ill if left for too long.
Budgies also need some fresh fruit and veggies. They are fond of chickweed, which is very nutritious, and they enjoy dandelion, carrots, broccoli, apples and a variety of other fresh foods. It should go without saying that all fresh foods should be free of pesticides and other toxins, such as car exhaust fumes, so don’t buy from roadside vendors. It is also a good idea to provide them with a cuttlefish, which they will use as and when they need it. If you feed your pet budgie a well-rounded diet as described, with seeds as its mainstay, it should not need additional vitamin supplements.
Budgies are extremely popular little birds, having been around for decades. They come in many different colors; including green, white, blue, yellow, and mixtures of different colors. Although they are small, they should be fed at least two different kinds of fruits every day, three different kinds of vegetables, and a mixture of pellets and seeds. Budgies are relatively good talkers, and over a long period of time can learn a number of words.
Although many people do not know it, there are two different kinds of budgies. They are not different species; they are the first parrot to particularly have ‘breeds’. The more common of the two is the American budgie; more commonly known as a parakeet. These little birds are commonly seen in pet shops and are extremely popular, especially with breeders and first-time bird owners. They usually live around 15 to 20 years – not including birds with diseases or injuries.
English budgies are a bit larger than American budgies and are bred for bird shows, rather than as pets. However, this does not mean they make bad pets; they are still nice birds. However, they have a shorter lifespan, and usually live around seven years.
Although their names do not suggest it, budgies are actually from Australia. They are ground feeders and mainly eat grasses and seeds. However, this does not mean they need a seed-based diet in captivity – they do not fly for miles as wild budgies would, so the fat from the seeds would build up quickly.
They have complex emotions like larger parrots and need to be treated with respect. Budgies cannot be taught tricks with negative reinforcement and need to always be treated kindly. They are still capable of biting, as sweet as they may be, and cannot be squeezed.
Budgies are easy to find at shelters and pet shops, even breeders. If you take interest in one of these special pets, make sure you are able to take care of them properly. If you are, and you think they are the right pet for you, invest in a large cage, a good pelleted diet, perches and toys. If you have decided, good luck on your new bird!
Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.
The Texas Bird Breeders Annual Fall Show and Fair is an anticipated event for all bird breeders, as it gives them the opportunity to show off their best birds, and win a few prizes. Held on the 7th of November 2009, the show is organized by the Texas Bird Breeders and Fanciers Association, and there will be a variety of birds, vendors and exhibits to look forward to. Some of the birds on display include Budgerigars, Cockatiels, Softbills, Finches, Lovebirds and a few different parrot species.
Information and details about the show is available on the Texas Bird Breeders and Fanciers Association website, at http://www.texasbirdbreeders.org .
Date: 7 November 2009
Venue: Mayborn Convention Centre
Country: United States of America
The Budgerigar Society of Pakistan has been working tirelessly to promote budgies and educate the public in regard to birds. The Grand Bird Show 2009 is yet another initiative to reach out to the community. As World Animal Day is being celebrated on 4 October 2009, the society is using the opportunity to showcase some of the prized budgies in the country and to assist bird owners by offering pet inspections free of charge.
This annual competition for both cockatiels and budgerigars is a popular event with the top breeders and owners of Pakistan and everyone is welcome to attend this colorful event. More information in regard to the Budgerigar Society of Pakistan and its events is available on the website at www.GrandBirdShow.com.
Date: 4 October 2009
Venue: Avari Hotel
Up until 1840, most Europeans were familiar with the green parakeets that first arrived from Australia in 1770. It was John Gould soon introduced a new group of pet birds when be brought budgies (Melopsittacus undulates) back to England. From here, the race was on to breed some of the most colorful budgies, or budgerigars, and in 1870 a yellow budgie with red eyes was bred, even though this colour variant did not survive. Today, there are more than two hundred and fifty color variants to choose from.