New to budgies!
Posted 01 March 2012 - 04:09 PM
I have been around for a few months on birdboard regarding my own conures and Amazon, but now I am seeking any input on caring for budgies!
My uncle went out on a whim this past weekend and bought my grandmother two parakeets from the pet store (PetsMart unfortunately). I went over on Monday to meet them, and they looked healthy, probably around 6 months old (the bars on their head do not go all the way up to their forehead/cere any more).
My uncle brought them in the tiniest cage imaginable..really I would only use it as a travel carrier for one budgie. So I ordered this cage online for them:http://www.amazon.co...x_ya_os_product
I'm pretty sure the size is ok, I read on here that 1/2" bar spacing is the max for budgies..and it's a fairly wide cage so hopefully they will appreciate the space. I also ordered a mess of toys and various perches so we don't have to use the factory dowel perches that come with the cage.
I guess my biggest question is about their diet; they've been eating bad seed from the pet store. I went out and bought a fine pellet mix, a healthier seed mix, Roudybush soak & feed (my guys love it), and am making sprouts. My concern though is that my grandmother will be unable to get them to eat anything healthy since she is elderly and not as observant as me. I can really only stop by once a week to check in on them and her.
Is one method better than another, in terms of getting them to try new things, that will be simple for my grandmother to follow? I know some people recommend taking out the unhealthy stuff for a few hours in the morning and at night, and only offering the good stuff. I'm not sure my grandmother would remember to do this though...I also don't know how useful mixing in the good stuff with the seed will be, if they just pick around it.
Charlie the Blue Crown Conure - a paralyzed rescue bird
Posted 01 March 2012 - 04:52 PM
Getting the budgies to eat sprouted seeds over dry seeds would be great! And they don't need to eat more than 50% pellets anyway so it shouldn't be too big of a concern to getting them to eat healthier, as long as they at least begin to explore their foods sooner, or later.
Cage size is great, though! Best to keep in the metal grate or else they might learn to escape out of the bottom! And I bet they'll love all the extra space!
Posted 19 April 2012 - 07:57 AM
To start Monica gave great advice, I would only add that our parakeet (rescued from the dollar table in petco) threw a fit spilling her food everywhere when we tried to introduce her to pellets. We were able to convert her to a 1:1 ratio of pellet and seed by using a coffee grinder, "magic bullet" or even a blender to grind the pellets into a fine powder. We mixed the powder into her seed to get her accustomed to the taste, and began introducing larger grain "grounds" to her and she treats her food equally now. Also like Monica suggested use different dishes or feeding stations to better your chances. I will use a quote from another post in budgie section that is very well written. Of course nothing is perfect and you will definately have to adapt your birds according to their own needs.
I would start by introducing a few fresh veggies. My cockatiels and budgies do not really eat fruit at all but they love veggies. I would start hanging a piece of fresh leafy greens in the cage every day. My budgies really love baby bok choy and kale. You can try collard greens too. Look for darker green leafy veggies, not the lime green ones. Just keep putting a tempting leaf in every day and they should start munching on it. Pick a good location to put it in, one where there are a few perches nearby so they can access it easily without having to sit right next to each other to eat. If a few weeks pass and they still haven't touched it try a different location. You can put more than one piece of course and sometimes I weave pieces of kale in between their bars, especially in spots they spend a lot of time in.
At the same time you can also start introducing veggies mixed in with their seeds. I would suggest you get a bag of organic frozen mixed veggies. The regular peas, carrots, corn, string bean mix is the one I would use. Defrost a small portion of the veggies and mix them in with the seeds. Mash everything together with a spoon so the seeds get some veggie juice on them. I found that my budgies took to the corn immediately. They would eat all the seeds and all the corn and then scream angrily while smashing their food bowl into the bars of the cage. When they realized this wasn't motivating me to add more seeds and corn to their bowl they eventually gave up and started eating the rest of the veggies too. This did not happen quickly though! Budgies are the most stubborn creatures on the planet. Don't give up.
An excellent way to get them to start eating other things is by offering quinoa as well. It looks a lot like millet so they may take to it quickly. It is very healthy and very easy to prepare. I would cook up a little quinoa and add some millet and mixed veggies to it. The millet will get them to try it.
Other things to consider:
- It's a good idea to make sure there are two bowls in the cage if your budgies don't want to share. At first Romeo refused to share food with Juliet so I had two or three food bowls in and they would play musical bowls. Now they are fine and share one bowl.
- Like I said, budgies are stubborn little monsters. Make sure they don't starve themselves to death! What I did was give them a special breakfast every morning that had their seeds and the mashed veggies mixed in. I only put a small amount of seeds so they quickly finished them. There was nothing else to eat but veggies so they could either not eat anything or eat what I gave them. I let them sit there and think about it for an hour or two every morning. After a while I would remove the seeds and veggies and give them enough food to last however long I was gone. Then when I got home I gave them veggies. They would get so angry! They would scold me and smash the bowl. I would just leave the veggies there and maybe sprinkle a tiny bit of seeds on top to drive them mad. They would get the torture of having veggies as the only option for another hour or two and then get a meal of something they liked. After a while they figured out if they ate all the veggies as well I was very likely to give them some seeds as a reward.
- An important part of this process is not giving them too much food or too little. You definitely don't want to starve them or even limit their rations. I think it is cruel and I cannot stand training methods that include food deprivation. I love eating and don't believe my animals should suffer like that. Giving them too much food will not motivate them to try the new stuff though. Obviously you should do this on days where you know you will be home at a certain time.
- Start small and work up from there. Leafy greens and frozen mixed veggies are very commonly accepted. Other foods may take much longer. Don't overwhelm your birds and start offering tons of different things in all shapes and sizes.
- It may take a long time. It took my guys a long time to come around. They still get angry from time to time if I give them something new. Every single time I make a fruit salad for the birds Romeo and Juliet refuse to even try it. Absolutely refuse. At least Squeaky and Iggy come down to take a bite before rejecting it. It took all four (Squeaky, Iggy, Romeo, and Juliet since it was before I had Malachite) of them months and months before they would even consider trying Volkman's Soak And Simmer. Even after trying it they hated it and it took months after that before they would actually consent to eat it. Once they finally decided they liked it I bought some red palm oil and added it in. They hated red palm oil and went on strike. Now they gobble up Soak And Simmer with red palm oil and it is one of their favorite meals.
- Pretend this is normal. Get them into the habit of eating what is in their bowl first thing in the morning. When Romeo and Juliet did their screaming/cup bashing act I would come over and look in the food bowl to "see what they had". Then I would tell them that's perfectly normal, that's what breakfast is. I wish I had recorded their outraged expressions. Once they realized I was well aware of what I had given them and wasn't regretting it they grudgingly gave in. After a while. They have an amazing amount of will power but I am much more stubborn than they are.
Okay. That was a very long post. I hope it helps somewhat. I didn't discuss pellets because that would make my post much longer. I will gloss over it quickly though. The only pellet brands I would consider feeding are Harrison's, Totally Organic Pellets, and Goldenfeast Golden'Obles. My budgies love Harrison's Adult Lifetime Fine. It is the only pellet they really love. They refused to eat Totally Organic Pellets for a very long time but now they like them. They also refused to eat Golden'Obles for a long time. I would not use Golden'Obles as a large part of the diet due to the molasses in them but they are really fun pellets. Have you tried Harrison's for your budgies yet? I was able to pick up a small sample bag in a local bird store and that's how I discovered the brand and discovered how much Romeo and Juliet (and everyone else) liked them. I think if you contact the company they should be able to help you to get a sample bag. Like I said, my guys love Adult Lifetime Fine. They will not touch the High Potency no matter what the size is. In fact none of my birds will eat High Potency, not even Iggy.
Good luck. If you want I will post a few pictures of some of the meals my birds like the best.
Posted 06 September 2012 - 09:21 AM
also, i was wondering if you're grandmother will be able to give them out of cage time everyday. the flight cage you're getting them is rather generous considering what most will have for their budgies but letting them to really stretch their wings outside is essential i feel.
i hope you and your grandmother enjoy your new friend .
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