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Budgie FAQ Resource


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#1 Kevin

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 09:30 AM

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1. Are Keets the same as Budgies? What's an English Parakeet? Somebody at the bird club said that my birds are Budgerigars, not Parakeets. Are they correct?

Let's start with terminology. The Keet, American Parakeet, Shell Parakeet, English Parakeet, Budgie, and Budgerigar, are all the same species The scientific name is Melopsittacus undulatus. Bird experts prefer that these birds not be called parakeets, for there are a large number of other parakeets found in Australia, South America, and the Indian Sub-Continent. "Parakeet" is simply a common term for a small parrot-type bird with a long tail. In the United States, the term "Budgie" is thought to refer only to the English exhibition or show Keet. In Great Britain, "Budgie" is used to refer to any Keet. "Budgerigar" is an attempt at a transliteration of an Australian Aborigine phrase. When asked by a European explorer the name of the little birds that lived in huge flocks, the reply sounded like "Budgerigar" to Western ears. It really means something like, "tasty snack"! It was easy to hunt the birds by throwing a boomerang into the flock.

2. How many different colors of Keets are there? Are Albinos and Lutinos blind?

Budgerigars come in a wide range of colors. The Light Green is the natural, wild color. In captivity, where predators are not a concern, color has no bearing on health or disposition. It's a myth that the Albinos and Lutinos (all white and all yellow, both with red eyes) are blind or suffer from extremely diminished vision. I've kept both in walk in walk-in cages with lots of other Keets. Some of the other popular colors are Blue, and the several forms of Pied (splashed-colored). There is also a Crested mutation of the feathers of the head. These birds seem to possess the same Beatle hair-do as the Gloster Canary, though the genetics are completely different.

3. What is a Show Parakeet?

The Show Parakeet is nearly twice the size of the more common, wild type bird. Quite a bit of this apparent bulk is really due to just bigger feathers. The head, even in proportion, is much larger in the exhibition birds. The difference is completely due to selection by Fanciers, just as in dogs, pigeons, or any other domestic animal. Raising Budgerigars for show is especially popular in the United States, Germany, and, of course, England. The British so dominate this sport that the show birds are very often all called "English Budgerigars", no matter where they are!

4. Can Keets be crossed with other birds? Are their other species of Budgies?
There are no known hybrids of the Budgie. It is the only (monotypic) member of its genus.

5. What is a basic Budgie diet?

Keets all require the same care, whether pets, breeders, or show stock. Budgerigars are basically seed eaters. The basic diet consists of Millet Seed and Canary Seed. Spray Millet is a greatly loved treat. You can give the birds as much as you care to buy; spray millet is expensive. Hulled oats (groats) are another favorite, though, because of the high fat content, should be fed sparingly.

6. Some expensive brands of bird seed claim to be vitamin enriched. Are they worth the extra money?

Various "treat" and protein supplement foods are commercially available. These items are important when the birds are breeding. To truly enrich seed in vitamins, it must be soaked in an oil. Vitamin powder coatings are a waste, for the vitamins all fall off when the bird hulls the seed kernel. Be particularly skeptical of "colored seeds." Many of these simply contain food dye! You can vitamin-fortify the seed yourself by mixing one teaspoon of wheat germ oil and one teaspoon of cod liver oil with ten pounds of seed. Let it soak over night. . For fewer birds, adjust the amount accordingly. Since an average parakeet eats roughly one-third of an ounce of food a day, eight pounds will last one bird a year. (A healthy Keet normally consumes an amount of food equal to one-quarter of its own body weight In a cold environment, very likely more will be required.) A batch of oil enriched seed should be completely used in less than a week or refrigerated.

The fat soluble Vitamins, those found in Cod liver oil and wheat germ oil, can be toxic in high levels. Don't be tempted to increase the dosage. Too much of these supplements will give you very dead birds, not very healthy ones.

7. Grubs and moths are growing in the bird seed. How can this be prevented?

Refrigerating bird seed will also prevent or control seed moths. The moths and their caterpillars cause the birds no harm. The insects are definitely unsightly. In large numbers, the bugs ruin the seed.

8. Are pellets necessary?

Pellets, though an interesting item in the diet of the larger parrots, are really of very limited use in Budgie nutrition. You can try them out, if you wish. If your Keets don't like the processed food, it's not as if they are dropping out of High School, or using drugs! There's lots of things to be concerned about in life; Keets disliking pellets ain't one of them.

9. The pet shop has a whole aisle full of seed bells, biscuit, fruit sticks, etc? Are these any good?

Seed bells, seed sticks, fruit sticks, egg biscuits, et cetera are all fine as treats. All this stuff is a little pricey and is not required for good health. Keets do appreciate these treats.

10. Should Keets get people food?

Small amounts of cooked chicken egg, apple, pear, cantaloupe, leafy greens, whole wheat bread, and corn bread are very good for Budgies. Really, anything that you eat yourself, with the exceptions of chocolate and avocado, can be offered to Keets. A different fresh food should be fed every day.

11. What does grit do?

After raising thousands of Parakeets, talking to hundreds of breeders, and reading hundreds of books and magazines my opinion is that Mineral grit must always be available. Grit provides calcium, salt, iodine, trace minerals and, in the bird's crop, grinds the seed to ensure proper digestion. Some say that only Poultry need grit. Others think that grit is the cause of impacted crops. I think that this is like calling bridges the cause of suicides, because some poor soul jumps off one! Every seed eating bird that I ever cared for was allowed access to grit.

12. What is cuttlebone? My bird just shreds the cuttlebone. Is there anything else that I can use?

A cuttlebone should be placed in every cage. Cuttlebone is the internal skeletal structure of the cuttlefish, a relative of the squid. If the birds just waste the cuttlebone, use one of the harder mineral blocks instead.

13. Do Keets need special water?

Change the water every day. Whatever water you drink, tap or spring, will be fine for a Keet. Vitamins can be placed in the water. Exactly follow the printed directions. All dishes should be washed as often as necessary.

14. What kind of cage is required?

If your getting one or two birds as pets, most any cage that you like will be OK. A minimum is 12" by 10" by 10" for one or two Budgies. The bigger the cage, the happier your guys will be and the more fun that you will have watching them play. DO NOT get a wicker or bamboo cage. The Keets will quickly chew their way out.

15. Should I let the bird out of the cage for exercise?

The cage is your bird's home. Unless the Keet is tame, don't let it out of its cage. Mirrors, windows, fans, open flames, cats, dogs, and open doors are all death traps to a free flying Budgie.

16. What is used to cover the bottom of the cage?


Special paper sold in pet shops can be used on the cage bottom. Corn cob bedding must be changed frequently, for it can quickly become moldy. Newspaper really works very well. A large scale operation can just scrape the droppings from the uncovered metal pans.

#2 Kevin

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 09:31 AM

17. What sort of cage is used to breed Keets? What is a nest box?

If you wish to breed Keets, get a special breeding cage and nest box. The breeding cage has a little trap door so that the nest box can be attached to the cage.

In the wild, Budgies nest in holes in trees. In captivity, these birds use nest boxes, generally constructed of wood. Unless you own a lumber yard, you are better off buying the nest box.

Keets don't build a nest like Canaries, Finches, Robins, or Pigeons.

Breeding cages can be constructed out of one inch by one half inch welded wire mesh, bent and fastened with "J" clips.

I liked to use a cage 24" by 18" square, with the nest box on the front. One pair of birds was kept per cage. The birds lived their whole lives in the cage. No flights were used. Breeding was started/stopped by installing/removing the nest box. I found it very stressful to the Keets to move them in and out of the flights. The security of a "home" cage resulted in much better breeding results.

Half-inch by half-inch "baluster" board makes the best perch material. If you've got to use dowel wood, run a hacks saw down it, as the smooth wood is very uncomfortable to the bird's feet. Perches can be cleaned with a solution of pine oil and bleach in very hot water. This is good for the nest boxes, too. Dry in the sun.

Pine shavings are very good inside the nest box. It's said that cedar shavings are poisonous, but I've never observed any bad effects on either the breeding pair or chicks.

18. Do Keets breed better as a flock in a large walk-in cage (a flight)?


Budgerigars can be bred as flocks in flights. The only good reason to do this is to save labor. Feed will be wasted. Less young per pair will be produced. In a flight make sure that the number of males and females is exactly equal. Extra males are a waste. Un-paired hens will raid the nests of the breeding birds. Use twenty-five percent extra nest boxes, for the Keet hens always squabble over nests.

These are social birds. A single pair will very rarely breed. Four pairs, in the same room, are the minimum for successful breeding. There are many exceptions to this rule, but if you really want to raise Keets, start off with a number of pairs.

19. How do I tell the difference between male and female Keets?


With Budgerigars, the males are playful, foolish and care-free while the hens tend to be serious, grumpy and moody - just like in people! (This is meant to be amusing, but there IS a definite difference in the disposition of the male and female budgerigars.) You can distinguish the males, for the cere, that fleshy area over the beak, around the nostrils is bright blue in the boys. If it's ANY other color, the bird is a hen. In the light colored Keets, particularly Albinos and Lutinos, the Ceres in both cocks and hens are pink. When you have a breeding pair, you may never witness any interaction between the two birds. The male will do acrobatics about the cage. The hen will sit in one spot and grumble and nag to herself. This is normal for Ma and Pa Keet!

20. What is the natural Keet breeding season?

Budgerigars do not have a regular breeding or molting season. In their Australian outback native haunts, they commence breeding whenever the rains bring about a growth of vegetation. In captivity, Keets will breed best in the Spring and early Summer. If the nests boxes are then removed, they will go into a heavy molt. Keeping the birds on a seasonal schedule is a good idea. This allows the Fancier the ability to plan ahead. Being in a regular cycle gives the bird's system a good pace at which to work.

21. How long does it take for the eggs to hatch?

The eggs hatch in eighteen days from the time the hen starts sitting. She may not sit until several, or all the eggs are produced. Five eggs is average. The hen incubates the eggs and handles most of the feeding chores.

22. What is banding?

The babies should be "closed-banded" so that records can be kept. If you wish to show your birds, you will have to use bands issued by the American Budgerigar Society, or some other official organization. The young are banded before they develop pin feathers. Then, the toes are still pliable and can be manipulated and pulled through the ring. In a few days, the toes grow and the bones harden. After this time, the ring will neither go on or off.

23. Are any special foods required for nesting and rearing the young?

Protein supplement foods MUST be provided during nesting and the molt for optimum health. Many different nesting foods are on the market. Cooked chicken egg serves the purpose. If you've a number of birds, place a whole hard boiled chicken egg, shell and all, in the food processor or blender. The bits of egg shell are a great source of calcium.

24. What should I do if the father abuses his young?

Sometimes the cock will kill or abuse the chicks as soon as they come out of the nest. If ANY HINT of trouble is observed, remove the young, if they are eating on their own, or remove the father.


25. How can I tell the age of a Keet?


A young Budgerigar has a smooth cere, black stripes (except for the light colored types) on the forehead (giving the term "bar-head" for a immature Keet), and a completely black eye. Within six months, the forehead is white or yellow and the eye has a white iris. The male's cere remains smooth. The hen's darkens in color and becomes crusty and flakey in appearance, not to be confused with a mite infestation. This is a normal sign of sexual maturity and can be used to differentiate the genders in Albinos and Lutinos, where cere color is no help.

Keets are ready to breed by nine months. I've seen hens as young as five months old produce healthy nests.

26. How long do Keets live?

Budgerigars have short life spans. Seven years is very old for the average bird. The show birds rarely reach five. This is for the males. Breeding hens don't live this long.

27. What is the best temperature for these birds?

Sixty-five to eighty degrees Fahrenheit is a good temperature for Keets. They can adjust to anything from freezing to one hundred degrees. Don't subject them to extremes, unless that's how you live yourself. As the thermometer goes over eighty, mist the birds with a fine spray of cool tap water, as often as possible.

28. How do I give a Keet a bath?

Keets like to bathe. You DO NOT restrain and scrub a Budgie, like you do a dog. A small pan of water is placed in the cage. The bird will perform its ablutions by splashing about. Be ready to clean the cage afterwards.

#3 Kevin

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 09:31 AM

29. Does the quality and quantity of light make a difference?

Budgies, like all pet birds, must have a regular schedule. The birds should wake up and go to sleep with the sun. Covering the cage at night is a good way to ensure proper rest. If the Keets are in a dark area, set up full spectrum lights. These florescent bulbs, sold in pet shops, mimic the sun's rays in a healthful manner.

30. Can Keets be tamed and trained to talk like the large parrots?

Budgerigars can be tame pets and can be taught to talk. You must get a male baby right out of the nest. Be prepared to watch that he is eating on his own. PARAKEETS ARE SOCIAL BIRDS! If you plan to train a baby parakeet, realize that somebody should almost always be home, or the bird will sorely feel the lack of companionship. The young Keet, desiring a friend, will naturally accept your advances. You can teach him to talk by repeating a single word over and over. "Hello" is a good start. Most birds in pet shops will be too old to train. If the bird has a white or yellow forehead, not black stripes, it is WAY past taming age.

If you do not wish to put the time into training a Keet, if somebody is not always home, or if you can not obtain a very young bird, you can still enjoy the pleasure of Budgies. In this case, get at least two birds. Try to get either two males, or a male and a female. Two hens will just sit at either end of the cage glaring at each other. With a friendly, little group, the antics of the birds and the cheerful chirping will never cease to amuse and entertain.

If you at first acquired a single Keet and now want to get a buddy for the bird, don't immediately put the new bird in the same cage. Imagine coming home to find a stranger plopped down in front of the TV! Put the new guy in a separate cage, right next to the original bird. When you see them playing through the bars , then they can be placed together.

31. Does my bird need a toy?

Budgerigars enjoy toys. Bells, wheels, and chew toys are best. Avoid mirrors and plastic birds, for these items distract the birds. Mirrors will turn male Keets into (literally) the spitting image of Narcissus.

32. My bird's beak is starting to grow crooked. Somebody tells me that it is mites. What do I do about it?

Mites are a terrible affliction of Budgies. Infestations can be prevented and controlled by spraying the bird, the cage, and the area surrounding it with a .05% pyrethrin solution. If the beak itself starts to look flakey, the cere starts to get a "spongy" look, or a male Keet's cere begins to turn brown, stronger measures are required. Mites can be eliminated by the application of IVERMECTIN, under the directions of a veterinarian. Left untreated, the beak will begin to grow in a horrible, twisted shape. Death from starvation is possible.

33. Can my family or my other pets catch any diseases from Keets?

Budgerigars, like many other species of birds, can carry Psittacosis, which can be fatal to people, and Coccidiosis, a protozoan parasite that can also attack people, cats, and dogs. Psittacosis, "Parrot Fever", has many symptoms. Coccidiosis shows up mostly as foul, wet droppings.

34. What is French Molt?

Keets that never seem to grow in flight or tail feathers, might have "French Molt", which can infect many other species of birds, particularly Cockatoos, with dire results. If disease is suspected, DO consult a veterinarian.

35. What is egg binding?


If you expect the hen to lay an egg and you see her on the bottom of the cage in obvious distress or exhaustion, she probably has egg binding. The bird will die within a few hours without help. The best course of action is to seek a veterinarian's help. I've gently felt the outside of the afflicted hens abdomen and been able to propel the lodged egg through the vent. But I have no medical training, so can not tell you to do the same thing. DO NOT HOLD THE HEN OVER A POT OF BOILING WATER! DO NOT ATTEMPT AN OLIVE OIL ENEMA! I've seen both of these idiocies offered as serious advice in published works.

Egg binding can be caused by a lack of calcium, so be sure that a mineral grit and cuttlebone is available at all times. Vitamins are needed for calcium to be utilized by the bird's system, so be sure that all aspects of nutrition are correct.

#4 BirdBrainNana

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 03:05 PM

Wow great info. However, my keet, Jasper, will not bath. The dirty bird. I put a dish of water in his cage and he just poops in it. What's a mother to do?
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#5 lovesbudgies

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 03:17 PM

I agree with some of the info but not all, the cage size should be 20x20x20 for one budgie, and an all seed diet is not good for budgies, they should have some seeds but pellets and fresh veggies and fruit are allot better for a budgie then just all seeds.
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#6 lucky clover

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 03:55 AM

Thank you for all this info! Being a new "Keet Mommy" anything I can find out to help in the care of my two little guys is welcome!

Edited by lucky clover, 10 March 2009 - 04:04 AM.


#7 KGWatkins

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 01:40 AM

Birdbrainnana, have you tried putting a small mirror under the water in the bathing pan? If the budgie can see the mirror image in the pan, he'll go down to investigate, finding another budgie in the water and apparently not freaked out (as he probably won't be) he may decide to jump in.
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#8 Emmilyy

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 01:42 AM

Hmmm. i just read through alot of this and i have to say, some of it is good info, but there is alot that i think could be improved.
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#9 KGWatkins

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 02:26 AM

I actually agree, I do not think that any hookbill needs gravel AT ALL, because the gravel does the job that a beak does for soft billed birds, chickens eat whole seeds and they can't digest it like that, so gravel is neccessary, for hookbills it's redundant and dangerous, gravel has many many points and edges, just like any broken shard of rock, rolling around in the soft gullet of a budgie it's bound to be tearing at it and that's no good.

Also, budgies don't just eat seeds in the wild, they eat all manner of fruit, veg, leaves, bugs and seeds in a FEW WEEKS IN THE FALL, seeds aren't available to them until the fruit is dying off, so they don't eat "mainly seed" they need a well rounded diet.
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#10 Emmilyy

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 11:32 AM

Also, i dont like the part about not letting your bird out if its cage if its not tame.. by untame budgies used to be allowd out all the time and they LOVED it.

Maybe its just old old info..
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#11 KGWatkins

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 03:39 PM

Maybe, I didn't notice that part, Skye's not "tame" yet, but she's cage aggressive and territorial, there's no way TO tame her inside the cage, outside of the cage she calms down pretty quick and I can work with her. Even for UNTAME birds you should be covering windows, turning off fans, covering water etc, that stuff can happen to any bird, the only difference in a tame and not tame one is you have to chase down an untamed one, they "do" most of the same stuff as a tame one.
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#12 Johnni Gade

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 09:31 PM

Great info. Thx
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#13 CourtneyC

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 05:06 AM

This is a good beginner's FAQ but a lot of this information is rather dated, so I'd like to take some time to correct some of it. I hope this does not offend the original poster but I speak from extensive experience and research.

5. What is a basic Budgie diet?

Keets all require the same care, whether pets, breeders, or show stock. Budgerigars are basically seed eaters. The basic diet consists of Millet Seed and Canary Seed. Spray Millet is a greatly loved treat. You can give the birds as much as you care to buy; spray millet is expensive. Hulled oats (groats) are another favorite, though, because of the high fat content, should be fed sparingly.


What's described here is an extremely basic diet, but by no means a good one. It is a common misconception that in the wild, budgies eat a dry seed mix as they often do in captivity. Actually, budgies eat a variety of grasses in the wild, occasionally ripened wheat or other crops, as well as sprouted or germinated seeds from the ground. Sprouted/germinated seeds are incredibly different from dry seed mixes: the sprouting process makes the seeds infinitely more nutritious and lower in fat than dry seeds. Dry seeds are an okay base diet for budgies but really they should not comprise of the majority of the diet. Also keep in mind that in the wild, a budgie's diet changes with every season. A dry seed mix is not only nutritionally poor but also does not provide even close to the kind of variation that a healthy budgie requires.

A good, rather than a basic budgie diet, would consist of the following: a base diet of sprouted seeds and legumes and some high quality, fortified pellets, plenty of fresh vegetables and smaller amounts of fruits, cooked foods like grain mixes with vegetables or legumes as well, and supplements such as egg foods or herb mixes.

Also, it is not true that pet birds and breeder birds have the same nutritional requirements. Breeding birds require not only more food but also higher amounts of calcium, vitamin D, protein, and fat to be able to sustain the extreme stress of breeding. A pet bird on a breeding birds' diet year round would most definitely become obese.

8. Are pellets necessary?

Pellets, though an interesting item in the diet of the larger parrots, are really of very limited use in Budgie nutrition. You can try them out, if you wish. If your Keets don't like the processed food, it's not as if they are dropping out of High School, or using drugs! There's lots of things to be concerned about in life; Keets disliking pellets ain't one of them.


It is highly debated whether pellets are necessary, but in my opinion and extensive research, pellets are a positive addition to a budgie's diet. The number one cause of death in budgies is poor nutrition and/or obesity, and pellets are one way to ensure that your budgie is getting a fortified diet with all of the vitamins and trace minerals it requires. That being said, not all pellets are created equally, so please choose wisely. Many pellet brands will also claim that pellets should make up 90% of the diet-- this should not be taken seriously as NOTHING should make up 90% of any bird's diet. Pellets are good in moderation.

Budgies are notoriously picky about converting to pellets so it may take time, but the conversion process is very valuable and worth doing.

9. The pet shop has a whole aisle full of seed bells, biscuit, fruit sticks, etc? Are these any good?

Seed bells, seed sticks, fruit sticks, egg biscuits, et cetera are all fine as treats. All this stuff is a little pricey and is not required for good health. Keets do appreciate these treats.


For the most part, no. These items are loaded with honey, other sugars, and preservatives-- that's why budgies love them. But they are not good for them at all. I would only use them very sparingly as treats or for training purposes, but they should never be left in the cage freely or offered on a regular basis.

11. What does grit do?

After raising thousands of Parakeets, talking to hundreds of breeders, and reading hundreds of books and magazines my opinion is that Mineral grit must always be available. Grit provides calcium, salt, iodine, trace minerals and, in the bird's crop, grinds the seed to ensure proper digestion. Some say that only Poultry need grit. Others think that grit is the cause of impacted crops. I think that this is like calling bridges the cause of suicides, because some poor soul jumps off one! Every seed eating bird that I ever cared for was allowed access to grit.


Again, this is rather dated information-- whereas 10 or 20 years ago, this was the prevailing thought, it has been proved by very much research on budgerigars and other seed-hulling birds to be incorrect. First of all, there are two types of grit: soluble and insoluble. Most commonly in stores and as discussed, "grit" refers to the insoluble kind (gravel). This grit is for birds such as finches, pigeons, and other birds that do not hull their seeds. Budgies, however, most definitely do hull their seeds and therefore do not need grit to break down hulls. This is most definitely a cause of crop impaction in several birds-- this is a proven fact.

However, there is also soluble grit, such as oyster shell grit. This grit is soluble and is safe to offer in small amounts, especially to breeding birds.

14. What kind of cage is required?

If your getting one or two birds as pets, most any cage that you like will be OK. A minimum is 12" by 10" by 10" for one or two Budgies. The bigger the cage, the happier your guys will be and the more fun that you will have watching them play. DO NOT get a wicker or bamboo cage. The Keets will quickly chew their way out.


I cringed when I read this. This is absolutely too small for one, let alone two budgies. Budgies are extremely active birds and need the absolute largest cage you can afford to buy-- but at the minimum, a cage of 18" x 18" x 18" for ONE bird, and 30" x 18" x 18" for two. The tiny 12" x 10" x 10" are just cruel and absolutely no budgie could thrive in such a cage nor get even close to the amount of exercise and wing-flapping/stretching space it needs. The ONLY occasion on which a smaller cage than the recommended sizes would be okay is if they are let out for the majority of the day for free flight and use the small cage as a sleeping cage at night. But please do not stick your budgies in those tiny plastic cages so commonly sold at pet stores, it is incredibly cruel.

15. Should I let the bird out of the cage for exercise?

The cage is your bird's home. Unless the Keet is tame, don't let it out of its cage. Mirrors, windows, fans, open flames, cats, dogs, and open doors are all death traps to a free flying Budgie.


Yes, there are many dangers for budgies in homes, but it is easy enough to bird-proof a room, and if you care for your budgie and want him or her to be healthy, you will let it out of its cage for free flight. Budgies are very prone to obesity and need time to fly daily. Obviously keep it away from the kitchen, from rooms with candles or open sources of water, other pets, and open windows, but a budgie needs flight time and cannot be kept in a tiny space for its whole life. In the wild, budgies have been known to fly up to 2 miles just foraging for food. Imagine being under house arrest for your whole life. It doesn't sound fun, does it? Don't do it to your budgie.
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#14 CourtneyC

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 05:06 AM

16. What is used to cover the bottom of the cage?

Special paper sold in pet shops can be used on the cage bottom. Corn cob bedding must be changed frequently, for it can quickly become moldy. Newspaper really works very well. A large scale operation can just scrape the droppings from the uncovered metal pans.


Actually, the best option for budgies is newspaper. Not only is is usually free, convenient, and readily available, but it is also the best for allowing you to carefully inspect your birds' droppings, which is vital to being able to evaluate and monitor health. The paper sold in pet shops is usually just a rip-off. Corn cob should NEVER be used as it is simply a breeding ground for bacteria, as are walnut shells. Cedar shavings are also not appropriate for budgies as their scent can be toxic. Bird "sand" should not be used either as it can cause crop impaction. And finally, cage "carpets" or "bird lawns" are horrible products and should never be used under any circumstances-- they rub the birds' feet raw and cause sores and other foot problems.

18. Do Keets breed better as a flock in a large walk-in cage (a flight)?

Budgerigars can be bred as flocks in flights. The only good reason to do this is to save labor. Feed will be wasted. Less young per pair will be produced. In a flight make sure that the number of males and females is exactly equal. Extra males are a waste. Un-paired hens will raid the nests of the breeding birds. Use twenty-five percent extra nest boxes, for the Keet hens always squabble over nests.

These are social birds. A single pair will very rarely breed. Four pairs, in the same room, are the minimum for successful breeding. There are many exceptions to this rule, but if you really want to raise Keets, start off with a number of pairs.


Budgies should never be colony bred. This is an extremely dangerous and risky thing to do. Breeding budgie pairs should each have their own separate breeding cage that other birds cannot enter. A hen will attack and often kill any other bird that comes near her nest, and hens that are not breeding will often go into other nests just to destroy the eggs. It is a very sad but true fact.

And yes, budgies are social birds that tend to enter into breeding condition faster when they are kept in the same room as other budgies, but in my experience and from several breeders I know, a single pair of budgies will also breed just fine if they are brought into condition properly.

26. How long do Keets live?

Budgerigars have short life spans. Seven years is very old for the average bird. The show birds rarely reach five. This is for the males. Breeding hens don't live this long.


Perhaps if you keep your budgie in a 12" x 10" x 10" cage and feed it an all-seed diet with treat sticks and seed bells, it will have short life span. But if you give it a spacious cage with plenty of free flight time and a healthy and varied diet full of fresh and sprouted foods, your budgie will live much longer than 5-7 years. In my experience, healthy budgies will live up to 15 years, and on average 10 to 12 years.

Show birds, if bred correctly and not inbred or line bred, can also live a long, healthy, life, typically 8-10 years.

Breeding hens, if bred correctly only between the ages of 12/18 months and 3 years, will live just as long as any other budgie, on average 10 to 12 years.



Finally, one thing that was not mentioned was quarantine. Like any bird, new budgies should be quarantined in a separate cage in a separate room for a minimum of 30 days, but safer yet would be 45 to 60 days. Please do not immediately introduce new birds as the chance of spreading disease and illness is extremely high.
CourtneyC, Bird Lover, Breeder, and Certified Avian Specialist.

#15 Monica

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 05:25 AM

OMG Courtney!!! You mentioned grit!!!! (crosses fingers)




LOL! JK of course! But I do find your posts quite in line with my own thinking! I'm still unsure myself as to whether grit, of any kind, is harmful in small quantities fed sparingly. I'm not a breeder, and I have heard of issues with colony breeding, but birds in the wild do "colony breed" - although granted, there many be several yards, if not miles, between the individual nests. They aren't crammed up in a cage with nestboxes less than a foot away from eachother.



I mostly just scanned all the info. Good work! And indeed, the information (not written by Kevin himeslf) is indeed out-dated! Still, why not introduce yourself and your birds?


Welcome to BB!
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#16 CourtneyC

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 05:38 AM

OMG Courtney!!! You mentioned grit!!!! (crosses fingers)




LOL! JK of course! But I do find your posts quite in line with my own thinking! I'm still unsure myself as to whether grit, of any kind, is harmful in small quantities fed sparingly. I'm not a breeder, and I have heard of issues with colony breeding, but birds in the wild do "colony breed" - although granted, there many be several yards, if not miles, between the individual nests. They aren't crammed up in a cage with nestboxes less than a foot away from eachother.



I mostly just scanned all the info. Good work! And indeed, the information (not written by Kevin himeslf) is indeed out-dated! Still, why not introduce yourself and your birds?


Welcome to BB!


Thank you for the welcome. I am slowly making my way over to the Introductions thread, I will make it there soon!

As for colony breeding, you're right, in the wild, this would be considered "colony breeding"-- but they would be very far apart from each other. Even the largest budgie aviary is probably no bigger than a large shed, and physical contact is so much more likely. Any curious budgie, male or female, that wanders near a brooding hen's nest is liable to be attacked, and in somebody's aviary, this is highly likely simply due to the limited space.
CourtneyC, Bird Lover, Breeder, and Certified Avian Specialist.

#17 Emmilyy

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 03:56 PM

I'm glad you added all your info. I read this awhile ago and didn't really agree with any of it at all. I was going to say it shouldn't be a sticky - its just giving new bird owners bad information, but with your added info its great :)
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#18 emmablue

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 04:31 AM

Great info all around. I am remembering childhood budgie lore as I work with my pair, Sir Chirps and Lady Claudette (or is it Jean-Claud? another month should clear up the confused cere-color question!) and the part about soluble grit is interesting. Is egg-shell essentially the same as ground oyster shell? I have been religiously offering my budgies a little bit of sand in their cage and now I will stop doing that!

I agree about the small cage size. They definitely need more space, even if they get outside of it every day. They are very active birds.

#19 CourtneyC

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 05:10 AM

Great info all around. I am remembering childhood budgie lore as I work with my pair, Sir Chirps and Lady Claudette (or is it Jean-Claud? another month should clear up the confused cere-color question!) and the part about soluble grit is interesting. Is egg-shell essentially the same as ground oyster shell? I have been religiously offering my budgies a little bit of sand in their cage and now I will stop doing that!

I agree about the small cage size. They definitely need more space, even if they get outside of it every day. They are very active birds.


Hmm, I should probably add that there are some people that are vehemently against oyster shell grit because they believe that since it comes from the ocean and the ocean is very well polluted, that oyster shell grit would contain a lot of these pollutants. But I've never seen any of these claims backed up with any evidence, nor have I heard any stories of oyster shell grit causing problems. I've used it with no issues whatsoever, but I do prefer egg shells just because I err on the side of caution. I also find them preferable because I don't have to buy them since I eat eggs myself and I feel good about being able to use something I'd normally throw away. As far as their actual calcium content, though, I must admit I don't quite know but I will look into it and get back to you. But good idea with getting rid of the bird sand. I actually have personally met three birds that had crop impaction due to bird sand and have read about many more cases.
CourtneyC, Bird Lover, Breeder, and Certified Avian Specialist.




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