Budgerigars, affectionately known as budgies, are a popular pet in the UK. These beautiful, small birds are often very friendly and sociable, and they can quickly become treasured members of the family. If you’re considering buying a budgerigar, or you’re looking for tips for keeping a pet budgie, this guide is packed with useful information.
Where to find pet budgies for sale
If you’ve decided that you want to buy a budgie, the next step is to find budgies for sale. There are various options available to you, including:
- Pet stores: some pet stores sell birds, including budgerigars. If you are shopping at a pet store, it’s always a good idea to spend some time looking around, talking to the shop assistants and finding out more about the different species. Look for stores that have spacious, clean aviaries, inspect the cages to make sure the birds look healthy and happy and opt for shops that display information, as well as prices.
- Bird breeders: buying from a breeder is often an effective means of ensuring you buy a healthy specimen, which has been well looked after from birth. Breeders tend to offer high-quality budgerigars, which are cared for in safe environments, and they often come from good stock. It’s usually possible to see the parents and other family members, and breeders can also offer advice and helpful information, which is brilliant for those who haven’t had budgies as pets before. You may find that prices are slightly higher if you buy from a breeder. You can find details of budgerigar breeders and access information about raising budgies on the Budgerigar Society website.
- Classified adverts: classified adverts are a very popular means of buying and selling budgies. Although there are advantages, most notably, speed, convenience and price, it is important to be careful when browsing adverts. Try to make sure you visit the seller and have a closer look at the bird before you buy and ask the seller questions to find out more before you agree to proceed.
Wherever you buy a budgie, it’s crucial to look for a healthy bird that is sociable and active with a clean beak, bright, vibrant plumage and the right number of toes.
How long do budgies live?
The budgie bird is a very popular pet, and it’s not hard to see why. Budgies are friendly and vivacious, and they’re often keen to spend time with their owners and get involved in family life. If you’re thinking about buying a budgie, it’s natural to wonder how long they will be with you for. The average budgie lifespan is around 10 years, but it is possible for budgerigars to live longer, and some live to 15 years old.
Types of budgie
There are lots of different types of budgies, and budgerigars display a beautiful array of colours and markings. The most common budgies are yellow and green and blue and white in colour. There are two main types of budgerigars that fall outside of the standard green and yellow and blue and white colourways. These are known as Opaline and Spangle budgies. Opaline budgerigars are usually pastel in colour, and they have less barring on the head, back and shoulders. The colour of the body matches the wing colours. Spangle budgies have a distinctive pattern on the wings and throat. In most cases, these budgies have black wing feathers, which are adorned with a coloured edge that matches the dominant body colour.
There are some types of budgies that are much rarer than others. Examples include the blackface, anthracite budgies and the Saddleback budgie.
Can budgies talk?
Many people automatically think about parrot species like African Greys when they hear about talking birds, but budgies also possess the ability to learn words and speak. You won’t always hear budgies talking, but some do like to engage in conversation or utter the odd word. You can encourage your pet budgie to talk to you by repeating words for them to copy or saying phrases over and over again. Some budgies are more eager to impress with their vocabulary than others, and some prefer certain voices to others. Many display a preference for the higher, softer tones of female voices, for example. Pet budgies may also be more likely to chat if they are handled and used to human contact, and they are exposed to conversation on a regular basis. If you’re keen to try and teach your budgie to talk, start with a small selection of sounds and simple words and see how you get on. If your pet is responsive, and they’re learning, you can add new words as they become more confident.
Most of us get excited about choosing a name for our pets. If you’re counting down the days until your new feathery friend joins the fold, here are some ideas to give you inspiration:
If you have more than one budgie, you might also want to take inspiration from famous couples or double acts, such as Little and Large, Bonnie and Clyde, George and Mildred, Romeo and Juliet, Thelma and Louise, Tom and Jerry or Mario and Luigi.
Budgie diet: What do budgies eat?
Budgies should have a varied diet, which contains all the nutrients they need to keep them in optimum health. You can buy pellets and seed mixes to form the basis of nutritious, filling meals and then add fresh fruit and vegetables to add flavour and make your budgie’s diet more interesting. Foods that budgies enjoy include carrots, apples, grapes and broccoli. You should wash fruit and vegetables before giving them to your budgies, but don’t peel them. Budgerigars do not have any teeth, so it’s important to add bird grit to meals to enable digestion and help the birds break down the food. Budgies should always have access to fresh, clean water too.
Tips for keeping budgies as pets
Budgies are small parrots, and they make wonderful pets for singles, couples or families. Budgerigars tend to be sociable, and they enjoy the company of others. Many people choose to buy at least two budgies, and it’s common to have a pair. If you are thinking of buying a budgie, it’s a good idea to prepare in advance. Here are some questions and answers to get you ready for life as a budgie owner:
- Where should you keep budgies? Budgies roam free in the wild, and they can cover large distances. If you’re planning to buy a budgie as a pet, it’s important to give them as much space as possible. Buy a cage or an aviary that provides sufficient space for your budgies to spread their wings. It’s best to avoid a tall, thin cage, as this won’t allow for much movement once the wings are open. As well as making sure you have lots of space for your budgies, it’s beneficial to choose a quiet spot in your home and to keep the cage out of direct sunlight and away from doors or windows that could cause a draught.
- Is it safe to introduce a budgie if you already have pets? There are households where cats, dogs and birds live in perfect harmony, but often, cats cannot resist the temptation to hunt birds, and their natural instinct is to chase them, which can be distressing. If you already have pets at home, think carefully about where to position your cage and make sure your birds are carefully supervised if you let them out.
- What should my budgie’s cage have inside? Before you buy a budgie, make sure your cage is ready. Cages should be spacious and light, and it’s also important to add accessories and features to promote good health. Birds should have access to a water supply, a bird bath to keep their feathers in pristine condition and at least one perch. Natural wood is the best option for a perch. It’s also beneficial for budgies to have toys or objects to keep them stimulated and entertained. Always make sure the toys you buy are zinc-free, as zinc can be toxic.
Budgie care basics
Every owner wants their pet to be as healthy and content as possible. To keep your budgie healthy, follow these simple steps:
- Keep your cage clean and choose a safe, secure spot in a warm room with access to natural light.
- Always ensure your budgie has plenty of water to drink
- Provide a water bath for washing and cleaning
- Keep stress to a minimum: supervise other pets and children and try to avoid making sudden, loud noises
- Spend time with your budgie and encourage socialisation and interaction
- Add toys to the cage to prevent boredom
- Let your budgie fly around when it’s safe to do so
- Provide company: budgies tend to prefer being around at least one other bird
- Seek advice if your budgie is under the weather. Budgies can deteriorate quickly if they are ill. Symptoms and signs to look out for include reduced appetite, loss of feathers and avoiding standing on one leg.
Budgies are very popular pets, and they have a huge amount to offer. If you’re interested in buying a budgie, do your research, look for healthy budgies for sale from reputable breeders and vendors and make sure you have sufficient space at home. Once you’ve welcomed your budgie to the family, interact with it, devote time and attention to it, keep the cage clean and provide a balanced, healthy diet and a supply of fresh water.