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How To Care For Your Budgie Parakeet

Housing (Cages, Aviaries and Cleaning Tips)

Cage Specifications

  • Budgie parakeets are very active and playful and should have a large cage to allow ample room for toys and exercise. There is no such thing as a “too big” cage.
  • Get as wide a cage as you can afford (rather than tall) because birds are not helicopters; they fly sideways, NOT straight up an down.
  • Place the perches to allow your bird to fly back and forward across the longest part of the cage. Don’t put any perches or toys over the food and water dishes where poop will fall into them.
  • Budgies need a between-the-bars spacing of 1/2 inch (0.5″) or less.
  • The door should be as large as possible to allow easy access to take the bird in and out: at least 7″ wide by 7″ high — but larger is much better. Avoid “guillotine” style doors as they can slam shut and injure your bird.
  • Avoid round cages as these don’t provide very much usable space, plus they have bars that converge at the top that can pinch and damage toes!
  • Choose a wide cage with a flat roof as you’ll find that you can make better use of the space for hanging toys and perches.

Recommended Minimum Cage Sizes

  • Minimum size for 1 parakeet = 20″ long x 18″ deep x 18″ high (Volume = 6,480″ cubic inches)
  • Minimum size for 2 parakeets = 30″ long x 18″ deep x 18″ high (Volume = 9,720″ cubic inches)
  • Minimum size for 3 parakeets = 32″ long x 18″ deep x 20″ high (Volume = 11,520″ cubic inches)
  • Minimum size for 4 parakeets = 34″ long x 18″ deep x 25″ high (Volume = 15,300″ cubic inches)
  • Minimum size for 5 parakeets = 36″ long x 18″ deep x 30″ high (Volume = 19,440″ cubic inches)
  • Minimum size for 6 parakeets = 40″ long x 18″ deep x 32″ high (Volume = 23,040″ cubic inches)
  • For each additional parakeet, add at least 4,000″ cubic inches of volume (ie. for 7, the cage needs to be 27,040″ cubic inches or larger).

How do you figure out the volume in cubic inches? Multiply (in inches) the length x width x height.

Flight cage suitable for two budgie parakeets. Measures 30L x 18w x 18h. Available in black or white. Please refer to our budgie supplies page.

These are the ones I use for my breeding pairs — they are a perfect size for two budgie parakeets (with daily free-flight time in our bird room). Features of the cage include:

  • 30″ Length, 18″ Width, 18″ Height (Volume = 9,720″ cubic inches)
  • Bar Spacing: 3/8″
  • Color: White or Black
  • One large lift up door (8 1/2″ x 9″) and one small lift up door (2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″) in the front
  • Two half moon shaped, see through feeder cups with feeder doors (3″ x 4 1/2″) in the front
  • Two extra doors / breeder doors (3″x 4 1/2″) on the sides
  • Two wooden perches
  • Pull out sturdy plastic tray

Essentials to include in the cage or aviary

My birds love this basic set-up: A Wacky Wood perch hanging from the top on one side (I use plastic chain links to hang it), a Rope Twister on the other, and space between the two to allow for short flight. The stainless steel cups are placed so they are not under the perches. A cuttlebone hangs from the top (rear left). Rotate a variety of toys into the cage each week (not shown).

  • Perches: 2 or more of various sizes and materials to exercise your bird’s feet: natural wood branches from pesticide-free and non-toxic trees (e.g., Northern hardwoods, citrus, eucalyptus, Australian pine), tight-woven cotton or sisal rope, a swing. To keep nails from growing too long, make sure to include perches that the bird’s feet cover 3/4 or less around so their nails come into contact with the sides of the perch. Do NOT use sandpaper-covered perches because they can cause injuries to feet. Birds prefer to spend most of their time perched as high as they can in the cage, so try placing two up high; one on each side of the cage so they will get exercise flying back and forth between them.
  • 1 feed cup, 1 water cup, 1 veggies cup
  • 3 toys which are rotated with other toys every week (birds are intelligent and get bored of the same old toys)
  • A cuttlebone and a mineral block

Where to place the cage

The cage should be placed off the floor, against a solid wall, in an area that is well-lit. Locate the cage in an area where there is family activity because most Budgie Parakeets love attention, noise and commotion. But do allow your birds a quiet, dark place to get 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night (cover the cage with a fabric if necessary). DO NOT place the cage in direct sunlight or in the path of drafts from windows, heating or air conditioning vents. DO NOT put the cage in the kitchen because birds can be killed by harmful fumes like heated Teflon. Steer clear of rooms where people smoke, and where room fresheners or other toxic household fragrances or fumes are present.

Cage Cleaning Tips

Line the bottom of the cage with paper towels or newspaper. Don’t buy pelleted bedding, corn cob, or wood shavings because they an be ingested and/or grow mold. If the cage or aviary doesn’t have a bottom grill to keep birds off the bottom liner, be prepared to replace the liner paper daily to prevent dangerous food spoilage and ingestion. Fill a spray bottle with 1/3 vinegar and 2/3 water, and use this non-toxic mixture to thoroughly clean the cage once per week or more often as needed.

Homemade Furniture Style Aviaries

We converted a display case into this large, decorative indoor flight aviary. It measures 6′ long x 3′ high x 2′ deep and comfortably houses up to 15 parakeets.

Parakeet Cage Housing

This indoor aviary used to be a china hutch!

We provide our birds ample opportunity for exercise and flight. We retrofit large pieces of furniture and turn them into flight cages / indoor aviaries. These “birdie mansions” are placed near a window so our budgie parakeets enjoy plenty of natural light and a great view of the backyard. They have lots of room to fly from perch to perch and keep mentally and physically entertained. The glass doors offer easy access, unobstructed viewing, and keep feathers, dander, seeds and hulls contained.

NOTE: If you’d like to make a furniture style flight cage or indoor aviary as we have, please view our homemade bird aviary page for tips, ideas and photos.

Health and Safety

Most homes are full of things that can pose a serious threat to pet birds such as common household cleansers, fragrances, candles, fumes from hot Teflon and non-stick cookware, nail polish remover and hairspray. Fumes can be toxic — even deadly — to our feathered friends! We clean our entire house with only water, vinegar and baking soda — it’s very effective, inexpensive, and improves indoor air quality for birds and humans alike. Please review the following links for other ideas on how to keep your pet safe.

How to trim wing feathers

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Nutrition

Seed mixes are NOT a complete diet. One of the leading causes of early death in parakeets and other parrots is improper nutrition. Furthermore, “Avian veterinarians estimate that poor nourishment is the underlying cause of about 75 to 80 percent of the medical problems they see.” (source: Bird Talk April 2010). Because nutrition is so important, we’ve created an informative page that details exactly what budgie parakeets should eat (and what they shouldn’t).

Bathing

Bathing stimulates normal grooming behavior and decreases dust and dander. Offer your bird a bath or shower two or three times a week. Bathing can be accomplished by offering either a flat dish that your bird can step into and throw water on itself, or by spraying your bird with a light mist of lukewarm water from a clean spray bottle. Some birds like to roll around on wet, leafy greens.

Playtime Activities, Exercise and Toys

Budgies are active, curious and playful. Exercise and play are important activities for the physical well-being and psychological health of your pet bird. Give your Budgie access to a range of other places in the home. Accessories such as play stands, hanging bungees, swings, and window perches positioned in various places throughout your home can provide your bird with this environmental variety.

Watch out for toys that have “jingle” type bells on them because your bird can get its beak, feet, head, tongue or feathers stuck in the bell. If you get a rope toy, watch for fraying that can tangle around your bird’s feet and toes. Make sure toys do not contain any lead, zinc, lead and lead-based paints, or anything so small that they can break it off and swallow it.

Parakeet Playgym

This model has 3 levels plus 10 perches. All but two of the perches swivel 360 degrees to create a variety of configurations.

We make portable, table-top playgyms out of PVC pipe for our birds’ entertainment and exercise. The base of the gym is glued for stability but the rest of the gym (where the birds normally play) is just pushed firmly together to allow for adjustments, variations, and safety. Simply place the playgym on top of a clean layer of newspaper to catch droppings. Vet wrap is used for traction and zip ties are used to fasten toys into place. View more play gyms models and sizes — we make them for all sized birds and can accommodate custom orders!

More Budgie Parakeet Pages

Nutrition and Food Recommendations: Birds fed seed-only diets have a much shorter life span. We provide lists of healthy foods and show you how to grow your own sprouts.

Colors, Varieties, Mutations, Genetics: Budgie Parakeets come in a rainbow of colors. This page has beautiful photos with variety and mutation descriptions.

How To Care For Your Budgie Parakeet: What is the best cage and how should I set it up? How do I keep my budgie healthy and safe? What are the best toys and playtime activities? How do I trim their wing feathers?

FAQ (frequently asked questions): What is a budgie parakeet’s personality like? What are the differences between American parakeets and English budgies? How do you tell a male from a female? Should you keep one, two or more? How long do they live? Where did the species originate?

Training, Tricks, Talking: A step-by-step guide for finger-training, trust-building, and bonding. Watch informative and entertaining video demonstrations. Find out how many words they can learn to say.

Play gyms, Stands and Perches: How to make your own (or order a custom one from us).

Homemade Aviaries and Flight Cages: How to converted used furniture into large flight cages and beautiful indoor aviaries.

Parakeet Food and Supplies Market: We offer organic, homemade bird food plus other essential bird supplies.

Budgie Parakeet Breeder in Colorado: Our family raises, hand-feeds, trains and adores budgie parakeets! Learn more about our selective breeding program and view our gorgeous, tame birds.

Inside Our Aviary: See where our birds live — flight enclosures, breeding room, play gyms.

Our Flock of Budgie Parakeets: Take a peek at our gorgeous feathered friends. Lots of photos with color mutations listed!

Adorable Pictures of Our Hand-fed Babies: Come ooh and aahh over all the cuteness and watch them grow up!

Pre-Adoption Questionnaire: If you are interested in adopting one (or more) of our parakeets, please respond to these questions.

Budgie Baby Waiting List: I know how hard it is to wait when you’re excited but I promise you, the wait is worth it!

10 comments… add one

  • Lori

    I love your web-site. It is very informative. I just purchased two baby parakeets. one is for me and one for my special needs granddaughter. we are having a lot of fun with them. I only wish I would have found your web-site before I bought the birds. I bought one cage that I thought was big enough: 15 1/2 by 15 1/2 by 18; only to find it too small. A pet shop person told me 17 1/2 by 17 1/2 by 18 was fine so I purchased it. Now I feel the cage should be a little larger, but now i am into two cages. I hope the second cage works for them. They seem happy. I am very interested in your bird food and will probably be ordering it. Thanks for all the information. This is a good bonding experience for me and my granddaughter.

  • Kelly Miller

    Hi my name is Kelly and I have two kids. We are a homeschooling family with two parakeets. They have had three babies. The oldest chick will be 3 weeks this Friday. We would like to hand feed them but do not know how. Can you offer us any resources or help to learn?

    Thank you, The Millers from KS

  • kathy

    have a lot of birds myself and been giving them away because I want them to have good homes. I had a pair to have two sets this spring and now had to many. My question is if they are inside a inclosed area outside is this dangerous for the birds? I kept them all summer outside. I wonder if mosquitoes mite be a danger to them? They all seem to be healthy happy birds. Kathy

  • sharon

    Love your website. I made an aviary very similar to your china hutch model. Thank you for the wonderful ideas. Question: I’d like to made a mini bird bath for my aviary. Can I use terra cotta? Thank you for your time.

    Sharon

  • Jeff and Rebecca

    We have a budgie named “Budgie”. He surprised us by talking right away when he was three months old. We have always left his cage open. He is cautious but brave and almost cartoon like. He is now 2 years old and repeats words that we don’t even teach him. He quickly learned: “My name is Budgie bird. I’m a parakeet. Birrrrd to your mother. What’s up dude. I have a bird brain. Are you talking to me? I’m a rooster”. He says that in one saying all together. I’d say he knows more than 150 words. (he laughs at me too) He dances and rides a skateboard. I’ve had parakeets before but this guy is a super star! -Jeff

  • Nicole

    This site is really helpful to me!! My sister gave me my. Little blue English parakeet Marinda, and I always thought that she was under good care. What I was not aware of was that the pellet food ought from the store cut their lives down! That is very interesting, and I now feel that Marinda will be in even better care now that I can fill her bowl with lots of yummy greens and seeds! And another fact you might enjoy, Marinda LOVES Bach classical music! She is always tweeting along!
    Thanks again!
    Nicole age 14

  • Susan

    Hello,
    Where can I buy a cage for 3 budgies? Size as you recommend 32 x 18 x 20? Over the Internet. I have 2 parents and three one offspring. Thank you, Susan

  • Kayla

    I have a flight cage that measure 32 inches long 18 inches deep and 53 inches tall. My parakeets use that entire cage from top to bottom daily. How many parakeets could I have and they be happy? Thanks! : )

    • By volume, 7 maximum. However since the horizontal flight distance is what matters most, I’d keep a 4 parakeet limit.

  • mike f

    Thank you , very informative website. The parakeets were adopted by us because the previous owner decided he did not have the time to care for them properly . (too loud) Its hard not to love all of God’s creatures and they bring us much joy. Thank you for the informative videos. Keep up the good work.

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