Want a Parrot? Get a Budgie!

It is illegal to own a wild parrot in Belize.
Populations are decreasing at an alarming rate through habitat destruction as well as pressure from the pet trade. Parrots are not domesticated, and whilst many would argue that parrots can be fabulous pets in the right hands, those parrots that are caged within their natural environment (like Belize) are quite simply wild birds in a cage. They are subject to the natural triggers of seasons, sights and sounds and are continually frustrated by their wild counterparts flying loose around them all of the time.
For those that want to be bird owners in Belize we strongly recommend the 'budgie' or Australian Parakeet.
Reasons to adopt a Budgie:

They are Smart Budgies are members of the parrot family and like parrots they are extremely intelligent. They talk really well and can learn a wide range of tricks. Their intelligence makes them rewarding pets to have in the home and they provide hours of entertainment. Check out Disco the Parakeet if you don't believe us!

They are Pretty  Naturally, budgies only came in a single variety, but thanks to selective breeding there are now many colour variations.

They are Affordable. They are around $40Bz each from the markets, and appropriate caging for them is widely available at Reimers Feedmill stores throughout the country. 

They are easy to feed: Budgies can exist almost completely on seeds and grains so it doesn’t cost a lot to feed them. You can also pick fresh grasses for them for free! 

They are active Provided they receive plenty of stimulation they tend to be extremely active. They are flock birds and if you have at least two they will chatter away to each other all day!

Great Companions Budgerigars make wonderful companions. Each bird has his own distinct personality and there’s never a dull moment with a budgie and he is sure to become a valued member of the family.

Friendship As long as you keep their cage clean and provide plenty of food, water, toys and attention he will be your friend until the end.

General information
  • They are a small parrot, a type of parakeet

  • Average length: 7 inches

  • Ave weight: 1.1-1.4 ounces

  • Ave wingspan: 10-14 inches

  • They are playful, curious and love to explore.

  • Happiest when with other budgies

  • They need to be stimulated to stay happy and healthy in captivity. They are happiest in pairs or flocks of pairs. Single males tend to talk the most, multiple females without males may fight.

Diet
  • Budgerigars are primarily vegetarians, although they often eat insects in the wild.

    • Vegetables - Budgies enjoy a wide range of vegetables including carrots, cucumbers, squashes, yams, turnips, zucchinis, tomatoes, cauliflowers and romaine lettuce.

    • Grains - In the wild, budgerigars thrive off of grass seeds. In captivity, grains like couscous, barley, flax, oats, quinoa, wholegrain pastas, whole rice, wild rice and millet are all excellent options.

    • Legumes and Nuts - From time to time give your budgie fresh nuts and legumes; such as pinto beans, kidney beans, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and almonds.

  • Always keep a mineral block in your budgie’s cage because it will make up for anything that his regular diet lacks.

  • Hazardous Foods – Never give your budgie lima beans, navy bean sprouts, cabbage, lemons, potatoes, grapefruit, plums, rhubarb, onions, chocolate, garlic, or any food containing lactose.

Enclosure
  • Budgies are active: the bigger the cage, the better.

  • At least 40" long, 20" deep, and 32" tall.

  • Branches and rope for perches

  • Wood to chew on to keep their beak trim.

  • Toys like mirrors and swings are great for budgies.

  • Cover the bottom of the cage with newspaper for easy cleaning and clean it every few days

  • Make sure there is always fresh water and seeds

  • Include a mineral block .

Tricks and Training
  • Hand Taming – Your budgie has to be comfortable with your hand, the worst thing you can do is shove your hand into his cage and grab him. Put your hand close to get him used to its presence. Over several sessions, gradually move your hand closer and closer to your budgie until he is happy with you.

  • Jump onto Your Finger – This is a neat trick and the best way to accomplish it is by offering treats. Place your finger against the base of his chest and offer him treat with your other hand. When he jumps on your finger give him the treat. Eventually he will jump right onto your finger when you place it against his chest.

  • Whistlng – This is a precursor to mimicking words. Start with two or three simple whistles in a row many times, birds get the hang of it and are then able to whistle more complex tunes.

  • Mimicking – Budgies mimic human speech. Choose a simple word or phrase like “pretty boy” and repeat it as often as possible. Eventually he might surprise you and say it back.

Health
  • It’s important to look for common signs of ill health. An excessive loss of feathers, encrusted feet, mites in feathers around the beak and nose, a crusty nose, overgrown or under-grown beak, spiky head feathers, runny droppings and open-mouth breathing are all signs that something isn’t right. 

    • Bumblefoot - Inflammation or infection on the bottom of the foot due to incorrect perching. Can be fatal

    • Scaly Face and Scaly Legs - A parasitic infection of mites that cause the buildup of scales on or around a bird’s legs, vent, eyes and beak. It needs to be treated with Ivermectin

    • Feather Plucking - Sign of loneliness or boredom, new toys or friend usually alleviates it.

    • Goiter - Lack of iodine in his diet can enlarge the thyroid gland. This affects a bird’s voice.

Fun facts
  • They enjoy mid-day naps that last 15-45 minutes.

  • They have been in captivity since the 1850’s

  • They are native to Australia

  • They usually stick with one partner for life and show affection by preening and feeding one another.

  •  Female budgies can lay eggs without partners, but they are unfertilized and don’t hatch.

  • A female budgie's cere becomes crusty and brown when she’s ready to lay eggs.

  • They don’t build nests; females lay their eggs inside trees, logs and posts.

  • Colour Vision - Humans have trichromatic vision; our eyes have three cone cell types and we can’t see in the UV spectrum. Budgies have tetrachromatic vision; their eyes have four cone cell types and they can see colours in the UV spectrum, which they take full advantage of when mating and foraging.

CONTACT

Belize Bird Rescue Avian Rehabilitation Centre & Sanctuary

Rock Farm, Roaring Creek

PO Box 219 Belmopan

Cayo District, Belize

Tel: (+501) 610 0400

email: belizebirdrescue@gmail.com

Founders: Nikki Buxton & Jerry Larder

Non-profit organisation number 13777

NGO registration number 144/2015

Registered Office:

Rock Farm, Roaring Creek, Cayo District, Belize

© 2004 - 2018 Belize Bird Rescue All Rights Reserved

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