Petco Parakeets: 9 Things to Know Before You Buy

Parakeets make great pet birds. They are small, pretty, and come in a variety of colors. I didn’t know much about purchasing a parakeet, and I wanted to learn more. Here is what I found about buying a Parakeet from one of the most popular pet stores, Petco.

9 things to know before buying a Parakeet at Petco:

  1. The age of the Parakeets at Petco range from under 4 months old to over 1 year old.
  2. Parakeets at Petco do not come trained.
  3. Parakeets at Petco live in a cage with a lot of other Parakeets, so adjusting them to live alone may take a while.
  4. Parakeets at Petco tend to be cheaper than from a private breeder.
  5. Parakeets need a lot of room so a large enclosure and bird toys need to be purchased along with the bird.
  6. Parakeets need a clean environment to live in.
  7. Petco only sells certain breeds of Parakeets.
  8. Parakeets need more than just bird seed for food.
  9. Parakeets usually make better pets when they are the only bird.

Buying a parakeet can be intimidating especially if you’ve never owned one before. If you are interested in learning more on all these topics keep reading.

1.The Age of Parakeets at Petco Ranges

Many times when people go in to buy any type of pet, they want them the youngest they can get them. The younger an animal, the easier it is to get adjusted to a new environment. But, unlike dogs and cats, its a little more difficult to tell the age of a Parakeet.

Parakeets at Petco can come in as young as earlier than 4 months old, and usually stay there until they are purchased or die, so how can you tell if the parakeet you are getting is brand new, or older.

While it is almost impossible to determine the exact age of your Parakeet if no one kept track, there are a couple things you can look at to determine the approximate age of the Parakeet.

First, you can look at the forehead.

The first thing you can do when determining the age of a Parakeet is to look at the stripes or bands patterned on the forehead and all the way down it’s neck. When a parakeet is first hatched it has stripes across it’s forehead. At about 4 months the parakeet molts for the time, losing many of its feathers, after this happens the Parakeet no longer has the bands on it’s forehead.

Parakeets with the stripes on its forehead are 4 months old or less, while parakeets who do not have the stripes on their forehead are older than that.

The next thing to look at is the shade of their eyes.

When parakeets are first hatched they have completely black eyes. Making it difficult to distinguish between their iris and their pupil. The older they get, the lighter their eyes will get.

Parakeets who have light colored eyes are most likely older than eight months, while parakeets with dark or black eyes are under 8 months. The lighter the shade, the older they tend to be.

Another thing to look for is the band on their leg.

Sometimes the birds from Petco will have a band on their leg when you buy them. If the band says ABS on it this means they were registered with the American Budgerigar Society. The band acts as a birth certificate, and the color of the band will tell you when the bird was born.

YearColor of Band
2019Black
2018Red
2017Dark Blue
2016Orange
2015Violet
2014Pastel Green
2013Black
2012Red
2011Dark Blue

For more information on colored bands go to abs1.org

Last but not least, take them to a veterinarian.

If you still aren’t exactly sure on the age of your Parakeet, take them to the vet. When your vet does a check up on your bird, they should be able to tell you the approximate age of your feathered friend.

2. Parakeets at Petco Do Not Come Trained

This is a big question among Parakeet buyers, do Parakeets at Petco come trained? The answer to that is no they do not.

The Parakeets from Petco are purchased from a breeder, and put into stores. None of the Parakeets are handled or trained before going onto the floor. If you are looking for a pre-trained Parakeet, then Petco isn’t the place for you.

Training your Parakeet to be a pet by being held, not to bite, or even tricks may take a few weeks, especially since they are used to living in a small cage with a lot of other Parakeets.

Here are a few training tips when dealing with a new Parakeet.

  • Give them time to adjust. They are most likely going to be stressed, and a little scared when they get to their new home because it is unfamiliar. Give them a few days to just get used to this new environment and relax before you try to handle them.
  • Start spending time with your Parakeet. Bring them treats, sit outside their cage and show them that they can trust you.
  • Don’t try to rush training, or get frustrated when they don’t love you right away. It takes time.

3. Parakeets from Petco May Take a While to Adjust

As we’ve discussed in previous sections, your Parakeet is going to take a little while to adjust to their new home, and that’s okay. Parakeets can live up to 18 years, there is no rush when they first move to their new home.

The conditions that Parakeets live in at Petco aren’t necessarily the best for a bird. They are kept in cramped cages with up to 15 other Parakeets. They have to share everything including food and toys. They are also constantly being watched, barked at, and rattled. They are in loud, high-stress environments.

When you take a Parakeet home they may still be scared, stressed, and defensive. They will be confused on where they are and where everything else went. It will also take a while for them to get used to an owner, as they are not used to being handled by people, or having time spent with them.

This is why it is best to try and buy your Parakeet as young as possible. The younger they are the easier it will be to get them adjusted to a new environment. They will be more likely to trust people quicker, and disband their defensive tendencies.

Don’t be worried if your bird doesn’t automatically trust you or love you, as a bond takes time with a new Parakeet. They just need time, and the ability to realize what is going on.

4. Parakeets at Petco are Cheaper

Parakeets at Petco are much cheaper than buying from a private breeder. At Petco, they only sell very common breeds of Parakeets and don’t put much time into making sure they have the best Parakeets. While private breeders have a wide selection of parakeet species, that are personally bred with much more consideration and quality.

What this means is that Parakeets at Petco are going to be cheaper. While you may not have as many options or information about breeding from Petco, you will save a pretty penny.

The Price of Parakeets at Petco is $21.99, while private breeders can range anywhere from $50 to a couple hundred dollars.

5. Parakeets Need Extra Accessories

Even though Parakeets are cheaper at Petco, they are not the only thing you have to buy. Especially if you have never had a parakeet before, and are starting from ground zero, it is going to be quite expensive to make sure your new parakeet is happy.

First thing you need is a large enclosure.

As much as you may want it to, you cannot have your Parakeet just fly around your house. They could escape, get injured, and destroy your things. So the first and most important thing you need to get is a large enclosure.

Parakeets need a lot of room to fly around and be happy, so the bigger the better. Petco sells these enclosures right in the store, so you can get everything the same day. You can also get a cage cover for night time to make the cage dark, but a blanket works just as well.

These cages cost about $40 at Petco but don’t be afraid to find one you like more at a different store or even on Amazon. I’ve linked the cages from Petco here, and a comparable one on Amazon here.

Another thing you need is Bird Toys.

Parakeets spend a lot of time alone in their cage which can get very boring, especially if they are the only bird. Bird toys are a great way of keeping your Parakeet happy and occupied throughout the day. Get them toys that they can climb, tear up, or peck at.

Make sure the toys you buy are made for small birds and don’t have anything they could potentially get stuck in, cut on, or choke on.

Petco carries a variety of toys for your Parakeet as well which you can buy. A Petco employee should be able to help you with what toys are best for your bird, and which toys are not suitable for your bird.

6. Parakeets Need a Clean Environment

Parakeets need a clean living environment. They spend most of their time in a cage, which can get dirty very quickly. A Parakeet that has to live in filth is more likely to get sick, which is why it is important to keep it’s living space nice and clean.

Some measures to take to ensure that your bird’s cage stays clean is to first, have an absorbent layer on the floor of the cage. This can be made of wood chip shavings (linked here), or even just newspaper. This will prevent puddles around their cage that they walk in, and spread around the cage. This can easily be changed once a week, to keep the cage fresh.

Another that needs to be kept clean is their water. Not only do they drink their water, they also bathe in it. This makes it get dirtier much quicker. They should have clean, fresh water everyday. This means chaning their water at least once or twice a day, or more as you see fit.

7. Petco Only Sells Certain Breeds of Parakeets

There are over 30 species of Parakeets that have been discovered. One thing that is important to realize is that Petco only sells 3 breeds of Parakeets.

These breeds include the Blue Parakeet, The Green Parakeet, and the Fancy Parakeet.

The Blue Parakeet has a white head, and a light blue body. They have black bands or stripes on their head going all the way down their neck. They also have black accents on their wings and tail.

The Green Parakeet is very similar looking to the Blue parakeet, but instead of white and blue, it is green and yellow. The Green Parakeet has a yellow head and a lime green body. They have black/dark brown bands or stripes on their head going all the way down their neck.

They also have black/dark brown accents on their wings and tail. These accents are darker than those of the Blue Parakeet.

The Fancy Parakeets come in both white and blue, and yellow. They are more of a solid color and lack the dark accents that the Green and Blue Parakeets have. They still have light grey bands on their head and neck but they are much less prominent.

8. Parakeets Have a Specific Diet

Parakeets have a specific diet. While they can technically just live off of bird seed, it is not as healthy for them. They need a variety of diffent foods.

First thing, they do need bird seed. This should be the staple of their diet and can be purchased right at Petco. They should be fed about 2 tablespoons of bird feed a day. This can be adjusted depending on if your bird is a little bit bigger, or a little bit smaller than average, consult your vet if you are worried about the portion of food.

They also need fresh fruits, and vegetables. This can be given to them as a mid day treat or scattered in with their regular bird food. This will give them variety and help them stay healthy, by giving them needed vitamins and help to meet nutritional requirements.

Below is a list of fruits and vegetables that are ideal for your Parakeet, that they will enjoy:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Melon
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Squash

They can also eat and will enjoy other fruits and vegetables. They are not just confined to eating what is listed.

9. Parakeets Make Better Pets When They Live Alone

While Parakeets can live with other Parakeets just fine, they make better pets when they are the only bird.

When Parakeets are the only bird they think of you as a member of their flock and are able to create a better bond with you. It’s not impossible to create a bond with more than one parakeet, it will just be more difficult because you aren’t all they have.

Being alone will teach them to be nicer, and better around not just you, but other humans as well.

Related Questions

How long do Parakeets live? In captivity, Parakeets have an average life span of 7 to 10 years as long as they are in a healthy environment with good care. If cared for very well they have even been known to live up to 15 to 18 years. In the wild they usually live up to 20 years.

How many types of Parakeets are there? There over 30 known species of Parakeets originating from Australia and New Zealand. Most average pet stores in the United States only sell about 3 to 5 species.

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