What They Don’t Tell You About Parakeets at the Pet Store

what pet stores don't tell you about pet parakeets


Pets can make your life so much better. Even if you hate your job, even if your commute is long or school is getting you down, coming home to a friendly face makes your day amazing. Why should you consider a parakeet? Perhaps when you first thought of getting a pet, you think of the two most popular pets in the world: cats and dogs.

But what if you don't have time for all those walks that your dog needs? What if you live in an apartment and you're worried a cat will damage your stuff while you're away? Cats and dogs can be very expensive to feed, and that's not even including their veterinary bills! So what if... you could have a pet that was as fun as any cat or dog without all the extra work and expenses?

Here are the 5 Things You Need to Know About Parakeets:

They are as intelligent as dogs

Sometimes it's hard to believe that there is so much potential in one tiny little bird. Unlike dogs, who learn by associating a command with an action, parakeets are fantastic mimickers! That means by talking to your bird, or performing other repetitive actions in front of it, your parakeet can figure out new behaviors on its own. Scientific research has shown that dogs mainly rely on humans for problem solving.

When a dog tries to solve a difficult problem and fails, its next course of action is to beg the human for assistance. Tens of thousands of years of evolution have created a species that does not need to adapt because humans do all the work! In contrast, budgies are small, vulnerable and completely on their own without humans in the wild. Therefore they are very motivated to learn new things that will help them survive, and they'll do it all on their own.

It is not uncommon for a parakeet to learn to "step up" in only one 15 minute session!

Parakeets are interactive pets

Parrots are not like finches in that they can learn to love interaction from a member of another species. Finches are typically birds that are for show only. They are kept in cage with other finches and will sing and play so long as you don't disturb them. You can keep them for the entirety of their lives (5 years) and finches will be perfectly happy to continue ignoring you.

Parakeets are often cited as a beginner pet bird because they are so inquisitive. As soon as your budgie settles into its new home, it will begin exhibiting curiosity towards anything you do. Parakeets can learn their names so if you want to call only one of your parakeets to come you can! These birds can snuggle lovingly on your shoulder and know to comfort you when you are sad.

They are low maintenance compared to other pets

Want a dog? You have to walk it everyday. A cat? I hope you like cleaning out the litterbox. How about a hamster? Wood shavings everywhere and sharp teeth. Reptile? Expensive setup and needs live food.

How about a parakeet? They eat two tablespoons of seed per day. If a bag of high quality organic seed is $25 for 2 lbs, that equals three months worth of seed or $8 a month! Definitely less than the cost of netflix. Budgies are mostly hardy and do not get sick often. They clean themselves everyday but don't hack up furballs like cats. All their waste and mess stays near the cage, you can simply vacuum up the small area and that is all the maintenance they need besides your love and affection.

The neighbors won't complain

If you've been kept awake by a barking dog, you know what it's like. Parrots have a reputation for being loud, and an umbrella cockatoo's call can be earsplitting. You'd be surprised how loud parakeets can chirp in relation to their body size, but compared to a dog, they are very quiet. Dogs may bark at anything passing by your house because it is in their instincts.

Parakeets only chirp at two main times of day: the morning and evening. These are flock calls that inform the flock that it is either time to wake up or to roost. Budgies will also chirp at the sound of running water or a "contact call" from another parakeet.

Here is how loud budgies normally chirp:

You don't need to buy "parakeet" products at the pet store

Most pet stores will have a small section on bird supplies, definitely nothing compared to their dog and cat sections. The employees that work there may not be well versed in what birds need either. Some stores are selling things like sand perches or grit and teaching their customers that this is essential to their bird care kit.

Parakeets are birds that hull their seed before they eat it, so everything they eat is digestible. Unlike doves, who eat things whole, budgies do not need grit to "grind up their food". Giving your bird grit may cause injury to their organs and result in the death of your parakeet.

Sand/sandpaper perches are another dubious product. The manufacturer of these products claim that they will keep your bird's nails trimmed. Imagine if you walked on sandpaper with your bare feet. You would surely get some blisters! Same thing with your parakeets, they can suffer from a condition called "bumblefoot" that starts out with blisters and minor skin irritation. If not treated, this condition will eventually cause massive infection in the foot and your bird could lose use of the foot!

It is better to buy "natural" perches that are made from regular trees. These perches are good for birds because they simulate how parakeets naturally perch in the wild. Perches should have a natural bark covering so it won't be too rough on their feet, and be of uneven diameter across the perch. When a perch is of a uniform diameter, your parakeet puts pressure on the same spots every day as they perch. This irritation is what usually causes bumblefoot.

Just because a product is labeled "For Parakeets" does not mean it is safe or good for your bird. Click here for reviews about the best parakeet toys.


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