Are you a “parakeet parent?” Read on for some tips and information to help take great care of your feathered friend!
Parakeets are seed eaters in the wild, so they can be fed a diet in captivity that mainly consists of many types of seeds, as found in Parakeet Seed Mixes, or pellets containing seeds.
Parakeets do well if given some vegetables and fruit along with their regular diet. These can include cooked or raw corn, peas, carrots, dark lettuces (not iceberg), beans, apples, raisins, and even some cooked pasta. Avoid avocado, asparagus, and anything sugary, salty, or greasy. Seed treats such as millet and treat sticks are great for parakeets! Not only do they give extra nutrition but can keep a bird busy for hours. Birds need a vitamin, mineral, and amino acid supplement added to their food every day.
Parakeets like a cage where they can flap their wings easily; the bigger the cage, the better for the bird. Parakeets should be kept in cages that have bars no more than 3/8ths of an inch wide. Luckily there are many colors and styles to choose from and can be matched to the area that it will be placed. One feed cup and one water cup are necessary for the cage along with perches, a tray on the bottom, and toys. Cage paper or bird litter is best to use in the tray. Never use colored newspaper, cedar shavings, or corncob bedding. Parakeets are not known to be excessively loud or destructive, making them good pets for apartments and condos.
Every day, scrub out the water dish with a light dishwashing detergent and rinse well. Birds eat their seed mix from the top, so take off the top layer of seed every day that has been eaten, and then add more new seed and mix thoroughly. Change seed completely every 2-3 days. The tray should be cleaned at least once a week or more often depending on cage size and the number of birds in the cage. Perches should also be cleaned off (washed if plastic, scraped if wooden) once a week or as needed. At least once a month, clean out the cage completely by washing the bars, base, tray, and all toys and accessories made of plastic or metal thoroughly.
Most parakeets rarely need nail or beak trims, but owners should keep an eye on these just in case. Birds can also be offered special perches made out of a material that can help keep the nails short, and the bill is usually kept trimmed by the bird chewing on the beak conditioner and cuttlebone. Wings need to be trimmed every 4-6 months or the bird will be able to fly. For bathing, lightly mist your pet with a plant mister or offer a birdbath at least three times a week. Only mist or offer a bath to your pet in the morning.
Parakeets are generally very hearty and healthy birds and can live up to 8-10 years. They do not need any type of vaccines but should be checked by a veterinarian right away if they show any signs of illness such as lethargy, discharges, a change in their feces, or lack of appetite. Their cage should be kept in an area that is free from all drafts. Place the cage away from any vents, windows, or doors.