More people own Budgies than other types of pet birds. Budgies were introduced to European bird collectors in the 1840s from Australia, and their popularity continues to grow.
Budgies are similar to canaries in size, but the small birds have a big personality. Their charisma has ensured these birds remain a popular choice with pet owners. Furthermore, Budgies require little care. They’re an excellent option for first-time bird owners and others that don’t have a lot of spare time to spend caring for a pet.
How to Care for a Budgie
You don’t want your Budgie flying around your home. It’s dangerous for the bird, and they will leave a mess for you to clean up.
When you’re looking for a cage, find one with plenty of space. Budgies are active birds and need room to move around. Look for cages with multiple perches plus space for food and water bowls. You also want to toss in a few toys to keep your bird happy and occupied. One toy you don’t want to forget is a Budgie swing. Along with stationary perches, a swing will keep your Budgie entertained for hours.
Budgies are intelligent and curious birds, so take care when you’re selecting toys. Choose ones that are designed specifically for these small birds. A good tip to remember, if the toy isn’t safe for a toddler, it’s too dangerous to give to your Budgie.
Budgies exist primarily on seeds and grasses in the wild, and it’s the same in captivity. They eat unripe and ripe seeds equally, along with an occasional insect. Wild Budgies also eat bits of charcoal from trees after a fire. The charcoal helps the birds when they’re sick.
Tame Budgies follow the same diet, and you can find the ripe seeds at any pet store or online. You also want to supplement the seeds with bits of greens, vegetables, and fruit. A diet consisting mainly of seeds is fine in the wild.
The birds get plenty of exercise flying around. It’s different in captivity. You can end up with an unhealthy, overweight bird if you feed your Budgie a strict seed diet. Some veggies and fruits to add to your Budgie’s diet include:
- Carrots, including the leafy, green top
Make sure you slice any fruits and veggies into tiny pieces your bird can easily eat. You don’t want your pet to choke on a large piece of food.
You can also add nutrients by soaking seeds until they start to sprout. Mixing dried and sprouted seeds increases the number of amino acids your bird is getting in its diet. Amino acids are crucial for Budgies. It’s what they use to make the necessary proteins needed for health and strength.
Budgies also need animal proteins. It’s why they occasionally eat insects. Adding animal protein to their diet helps prevent the birds from overeating seeds. Budgies will continue eating until they have enough amino acids to produce the protein they need.
Water is the only liquid the birds drink in the wild and captivity. In nature, Budgies spend most of their time searching for food and water. You want to keep a fresh dish of water in the bird’s cage at all times.
Budgies Need Minerals
A diet consisting of seeds, fresh vegetables, and fruit is enough to meet most of your bird’s nutritional needs; but it will need something else to get enough minerals.
Also known as cuttlebone, you want to make it a permanent fixture in your Budgie’s cage. Most come with clips that attach to the side of the cage. The cuttlefish bone is an excellent source of calcium, a mineral your bird needs to thrive. Your Budgie will gradually peck away at the soft inner side to get to the nutrients.
A cuttlebone isn’t a true bone. It’s the husk released by the cuttlefish, a member of the cephalopod family. The husk floats to the water’s surface after the cuttlefish has died. Wild Budgies fly down to peck at the husk. Your tame bird will do the same thing inside its cage.
The calcium-rich cuttlebone is always fun for the birds to play with. They enjoy pecking away at things. It’s a form of entertainment. Cuttlefish bones are also durable.
If it gets dirty, wipe it down with a clean cloth and place it back in the cage. However, due to its porous nature, you want to throw away any cuttlefish bones if water or other liquid splashes on them.
Mold and bacteria can easily grow, potentially making your bird sick.
Does Your Budgie Need a Mineral Block
A cuttlefish bone is one way to ensure your Budgie is getting the minerals it needs, another option is to use a mineral block.
Mineral blocks work the same way as cuttlefish bones. You clip the block to the cage, preferably near a perch. Leave the block in the cage, even if your Budgie is ignoring it. The bird will nibble at it when he’s ready. Mineral blocks are not a food source; they’re a dietary supplement. Don’t be surprised if your bird ignores it for a few days at a time.
Any pet store that sells Budgies or has a section devoted to birds will have mineral blocks for sale. Most also come with convenient clips, which is one less thing you have to buy for your bird.
Not all mineral blocks contain the same ingredients, and you want to check before putting one in the bird’s cage. Avoid blocks with additives, preservatives, food coloring, and other artificial ingredients. Some mineral blocks contain charcoal, and this is okay for your bird. Budgies eat an occasional bite of charcoal in the wild, presumably to fight or prevent illness.
Make Homemade Mineral Blocks
It takes some time and several ingredients, but you can make mineral blocks at home for your Budgie. You’ll need a mix of ground-up shells like oysters, clams, and mussels.
When the shells are ground to a fine powder, you’ll add mineral grit, crushed chicken eggshells, cuttlefish bone, charcoal, and calcium power to bind the ingredients. Plaster of Paris works great for binding.
When the ingredients are mixed, add some water and stir everything together. You should have a thick paste, similar in consistency to wet cement. Pour the mixture into small cups — an egg carton works great. Close the container and let the mix dry.
Peel the plastic or Styrofoam off the sides of the blocks. A small paring knife will remove any trace of the container. When the mineral block is ready, hang it inside your Budgie’s cage.
It’s a good idea to go over your ingredients with an expert before feeding your homemade block to your bird.
Choose Your Clips Carefully
Most cuttlefish bones and mineral blocks come with Budgie-safe clips, but not all. If you need to buy a clip, make sure it’s non-toxic.
Most plastic clips are designed for use around food. If it’s safe to keep your snacks fresh, it’s probably okay to use them in the bird’s cage. Stay away from metal clips. Your Budgie can hurt its beak pecking at the clip.
Budgies are friendly birds with a lot of personality. They are intelligent, energetic, and require little care.
Give them a spacious cage, Budgie swing, and a few perches, and you have a happy bird.
It’s a little more complicated feeding a Budgie. Ripe and unripe seeds are a major part of their diet, but you do need to add some supplements to ensure your bird is getting enough minerals.
Whether you use a cuttlefish bone or mineral block, your Budgie will get the calcium and other minerals it needs. Just make sure the block only contains natural ingredients.