Parakeets

a blue Parakeet on a perch inside of their cage

Parakeets are a type of small parrot that make wonderful family pets. They’re known for their bright colors, cheerful chirps, and playful personalities. Parakeets come in a variety of colors and sizes, making them an attractive choice for potential bird owners.

Parakeets are relatively easy to care for and can be kept in cages or aviaries. They need fresh food and water daily, as well as regular cage cleanings. Parakeets also need plenty of toys and perches to keep them entertained.

Parakeets are one of the most popular birds in the world today. They were originally native to South America, but now live throughout the world. Parakeets are a great addition to any family. They are not as intimidating as larger parrots and are easy to care for, which makes them a great option for families with kids.

Parakeets are generally very social animals, and it is very common for them to bond with one person in particular in your family, while still being friendly towards everyone else. 

They can be trained to do tricks and to talk, and are just as capable of talking like other parrots, Macaws and African Greys.

Parakeets are extremely social birds, and like to be with people. They are often found living in pairs, or in groups of three or more. They are highly intelligent, and can learn tricks fairly quickly. 

Parakeets are incredibly loyal companions. They enjoy spending time with their owners and will happily follow them around the house. Parakeets need lots of attention and interaction. If you don’t give them enough time, they will become bored and can become destructive. If you spend enough time with them, they will be some of the best pets you could ever hope for.

Parakeets are a popular choice for family pets, and it’s easy to see why. These small, colorful birds are full of personality and can provide hours of fun. If you’re considering adding a Parakeet to your home, this article will help you decide if they’re the right bird for you.

Parakeets are also relatively inexpensive, making them a great choice for families on a budget. They don’t need expensive veterinary care or grooming, and they don’t need a lot of space to live in.

When it comes to training your Parakeet, patience is key. They can be taught to talk and mimic sounds, but it takes time and dedication. With consistent training, your Parakeet will soon become an awesome member of your family.

Overall, Parakeets make wonderful family birds that are relatively easy to care for. They are social birds that love to interact with their owners and can be taught to talk and mimic sounds. With proper care and attention, Parakeets can bring years of joy to their family.

Information about Parakeets

  • Average Length: 6 to 8 inches
  • Colors: Yellow, Green, Purple, Blue and Cinnamon
  • Grooming Needs: Low
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: Yes
  • Good Pet: Yes
  • Safe with Children: With training yes
  • Good with Other Parakeets: Yes
  • Good with Other Pets: Good with small mammals, but not with rodents.
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes 
  • Training: Easy
  • Exercise Needs: High
  • Weight Gain: Normal
  • Health Concerns: Avian Gastric Yeast (AGY), Psittacosis, Scaly Mites, Lipomas (Tumors) and Goiters 
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 10 to 15 years

Physical Appearance of Parakeets

Parakeets are a name given to a large number of small to medium Parrots, and are generally known to have longer tail feathers. Outside of the United States Parakeets are commonly referred to as Budgies. All Parakeets have a slender body and are smaller than the larger parrot species. 

The common feature of Parakeets is that they all have long tails. Parakeets’ toes have an X-shaped layout, with two toes pointing front and two pointing back. They can rotate their head up to 180 degrees. 

Parakeets have light green and yellow feathers with black bars on their head, back and wings. It is the natural coloring of the Parakeets and all the other color variations are a result of years of captive breeding. They can have one of several colors like green, blue, purple, and cinnamon. The most common colors that pet Parakeets will have are different shades of yellow and green or blue. Green is the most common of the colors and blue is also very popular.

Young Parakeets have bar markings on their foreheads that fade away with age. Its pretty easy to tell the male and female Parakeets apart after they reach sexual maturity. The fleshy part around the beak (called cere) on the males will become bluish while the females will look tan.

Temperament of Parakeets

Parakeets are active, playful and social. Their small size along with their friendly and docile temperament makes them the most common bird kept as a pet in the United States. Around 25 percent of bird owners have some type of Parakeet in their home.

They are very easy to train and can mimic human speech pretty well. They make great pets for apartments because they’re not as loud as other Parrot species. First time bird owners also love them because they’re quieter than other birds.

2 green Parakeets on the ground looking for food

Because they are social birds, we recommend keeping them in pairs or a small flock. Housing them together with other birds will keep them happy because they’ll get enough social interaction.

Training Parakeets

Parakeets are one of the easiest birds to train. 

Young Parakeets who have been handled regularly and have been hand-fed will respond well to training. If you are getting an adult Parakeet ask the breeder or pet store owner about the bird’s history.

The first step to training them is to build trust. To build trust with them, spend the first few days watching and talking softly to your birds. Once they get used to their new home, you can offer them treats inside the cage and touch them gently with your hands. Initially some Parakeets may resist but eventually they will let you handle them. It is a good idea to reward them with millets as treats because Parakeets love them!

Once they get used to your touch, you can take them out of the cage. It’s a lot easier to train them in a quiet room because it will keep them from getting distracted.

You can train them to ‘step up’ and ‘step off’ your hands or perches. If you want you can also train them to speak. Start with a single word and repeat it until the Parakeet starts saying the word. Not all Parakeets are great talkers, if your birds are some that aren’t so good there isn’t much that can be done.

Training sessions should be kept to 10 minutes a day. Depending upon the personality of individual Parakeets it can take time to train them. The important thing is to be patient and consistent with your training.

3 Parakeets standing side by side on a perch

Their Compatibility with Children

Parakeets tend to get along well with children. Their friendly and playful personality makes them a perfect match for children. They’re small and have beaks that are not as powerful as those of other large parrots so there is less to worry about. 

Like with any other pet, children should be taught how to handle your birds correctly. Parakeets are small birds and can be injured easily if children don’t handle them properly. It’s always a good idea to have an adult supervise the interactions of children and birds to ensure there are no accidents. 

Avoid letting children younger than 5 play with your birds. Young children have weak immune systems that puts them at an increased risk of contracting an illness from your birds.

Best Habitat for Parakeets

Parakeets look small but they are active and need a large cage. For a single Parakeet, they’ll need a cage 20” L x 12” W x 18” T or larger. If you keep them in pairs or a small flock then a larger cage is needed. 

The cage bars shouldn’t be spaced more than ½ inch. The ½ inch spacing will keep your birds from escaping or sticking their heads between the bars and possibly getting stuck. Cages with horizontal bars can make it easier for your birds to climb and exercise, but most can climb with vertical bars. 

It’s important to have 2 to 3 different sized perches for your birds. Place the perches at different heights to let your Parakeets perch at different places in their cage. Natural wood perches are a good option because they are non-toxic and can be chewed. Having perches they can chew helps them wear down their beak naturally. Sandpaper perches aren’t a good idea because they can hurt your bird’s feet. 

Parakeets like to stay active while they’re awake. Your birds will appreciate having several toys inside their cage to play with. Chimes, balls, ropes, bells and ladders are all good toys for birds and will help keep them busy. Make sure the toys they are chew-safe and are not coated with toxic substances.

many Parakeets all in a tree together

For substrate, any type of paper like newspaper, white butcher paper or paper towels will work. All are easy to clean and and replace and make it easy to check your bird’s droppings for health issues.

Like most Parrots, your Parakeets’ beak will keep growing throughout their lives. Keeping a cuttlefish bone inside the cage will allow your Parakeets to trim their beaks and keep it in the perfect condition.

If your birds are eating anything wet like fruit they should have separate bowls for wet and dry food as well as a water bowl inside their cage.

Habitat Maintenance

Parakeets are low maintenance birds and will not be very messy like other Parrot species. Their cage still needs to be cleaned regularly to remove the mess they make with their food and to keep their cage from smelling.

The substrate should be spot cleaned every day. Any broken toys or cage parts should be removed and replaced with unbroken ones. Removing anything broken from their cage will keep your birds from getting injured.

The toys inside the cage should be rotated every week to make sure that your birds don’t get bored. The substrate should also be changed once a week.

A full deep cleaning should be done to their cage every other week. Make sure to remove your birds and all other cage parts before cleaning. Use only a pet-friendly disinfectant or a 3 percent bleach solution to clean the cage. Their cage and toys should be completely dry before placing your birds back inside the cage. 

2 Parakeets that look like they're kissing

The Attention a Parakeet Needs

Parakeets need a lot of attention, some can come from other birds, but most should come from their family. They are social birds and thrive on the attention of their family. Parakeets kept alone will need more playtime with their owners because they will see them as their companions. The best way to take care of Parakeets is to keep them in pairs or a small flock. Other birds will socialize with them and also reduce the time that their family needs to spend with them.

Your Parakeets should be given a few hours of playtime outside of their cage every day. If you have not clipped their wings, then their play area should be kept in a place that will prevent them from flying away.

Health Issues

The health issues that Parakeets can have are similar to those found in most parrot species. They can also have some unique diseases like Goiters and Tumors. Signs of an unhealthy bird are:

  • Fluffed feathers
  • Sneezing or nasal discharge
  • Less activity than usual
  • Less Preening
  • Change in shape or color of droppings.
  • Birds sitting on the floor for long

Health issues commonly found in Parakeets are:

Lipomas (Tumors)

These tumors appear as pale yellow enlargements under the skin. They are commonly found under the breastbone or in the ventral abdomen but they can also grow anywhere else in the body. Tumors can be caused by improper feeding habits, hypothyroidism or genetic factors. If you see any lumps or your bird getting fat, take them to a vet. Early diagnosis can help to treat the disease with nutritional therapy and exercise. If the disease is serious then surgery will be needed.

Goiters

Goiter is an abnormal enlargement of the bird’s thyroid gland. It can be caused by feeding Parakeets a seed-only diet. Seeds lack enough iodine content which is needed for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. The deficiency can result in the thyroid gland expanding to extract iodine from seeds. Signs of Goiters in birds include regurgitation, shrill voice or becoming overweight. Taking them to a vet will help to diagnose the disease. They will give iodine supplements and dietary changes that will help to treat the disease.

Avian Gastric Yeast (AGY)

The disease is caused by a yeast infection and affects the gastrointestinal tracts of the birds. The first sign of the disease is that the birds start losing weight even if they are eating normally. It is because the disease prevents the birds from digesting the food properly. You may also see the birds passing undigested food in their droppings. Take them to a vet to get them treated. They will give them drugs and also recommend dietary changes to cure your bird.

Psittacosis or Parrot Fever

Psittacosis is a common bacterial disease that infects parrot species. What makes this disease a cause of concern is that it can be transmitted to humans and other animals. Psittacosis is treatable in humans but if delayed can become serious.

The symptoms of this disease vary based on the strain of the virus but generally include what is mentioned as signs of an unhealthy bird above. Parakeets with any of these symptoms should be immediately quarantined from other birds. They should be taken to a vet at the earliest and diagnosed for the disease. A close watch should also be kept on other birds in the cage. You should remove any bird that displays the symptoms of the disease and have them checked with a vet.

Scaly Face or Scaly Leg Mites

Scaly Face or Scaly Legs are caused by a mite that is related to spiders and ticks. The mites will burrow on the beak or legs. The beaks of the bird can turn into a chalky color. Sometimes the beaks will become distorted or scaly lesions may form on the skin around the beak. Scaly Leg is a similar disease that affects the feet of the birds. The feet of the bird will become swollen or look overgrown.

The disease is highly contagious and can easily spread to other birds in the cage. So it is important to isolate a bird who has been diagnosed with Mites. The disease is treated using a topical liquid called Avimec and is applied to the affected region. The liquid is applied once a week, for 3 weeks. Depending upon the scale of the infection it can take up to 8 weeks for the birds to return to normal.

Bathing and Cleaning

a green Parakeet that's standing on a hand railing

The toys and perches kept inside their cage will help keep their beaks in shape which will help them preen their feathers. The most important part of Parakeet grooming is preening their feathers and they will do it themselves. 

They only need help with bathing. They’ll need a water bowl 2 to 3 times a week so that they can bathe. They can either bathe inside their cage or outside of it, whichever is easier to bathe them. The water bowl should be filled with filtered or chlorine-free water. The water should be lukewarm and without soap because soap can irritate their skin.  

Parakeets should be excited to jump into the water bowl. If your Parakeets are resistant to taking a bath, keep a few lettuce leaves inside the bowl to encourage them. 

Trim their nails once a month or when needed with a pet nail trimmer. Avoid trimming too far because you could cut the blood vessels in their nails. 

If you want to prevent your birds from flying then their feathers should also be trimmed. Only trim their feathers if you are confident and know how to do it correctly. The best way will be to take them to your vet or a professional bird groomer.

Feeding Parakeets

Parakeets are ground feeders in their natural habitats. They will search the forest floor for seeds, fruits and vegetables. Parakeets love to eat seeds but a seed only diet isn’t good for them because seeds contain low levels of nutrients that they need to stay healthy. Seeds should not make up more than 10 percent of their diet. 

a close up of a pile of bird seed

A high-quality pellet diet is what will give them the nutrients that they need. They can be fed a pellet-seed mix to encourage your Parakeets to feed on pellets.

Along with pellet-seed mix, they also need to be fed fruits and vegetables. Parakeets love fruits like apples, pears, berries, kiwi, grapes and oranges. They are a high source of vitamins. For vegetables, leafy greens like dandelion leaves, romaine lettuce, kale, spinach and sprouted seeds are all good for them. Cabbage, broccoli, carrots and beets are all good choices to feed them too. Wash the fruits and vegetables and chop them into small pieces before giving it to them.

They can also be fed occasional treats like pasta, cooked corn, honey, millets or small grasses.  Avoid giving them avocado, foods that have caffeine, chocolate, onion, garlic or high-sugar content because these are all toxic for birds.

Their cage should have a water bowl filled with clean drinking water at all times.

Related Questions:

What Birds can Parakeets be Housed with?

Parakeets are social birds who will do well with other birds. The best companion for a parakeet is another parakeet. The females are known to be more dominant than males. If you plan to keep more than one female, make sure the cage is large or you have an aviary. It will ensure your Parakeets have lots of space.
Avoid keeping the Canaries with your Parakeets because they may not get along.