Perk #1: A bird that fits in your home
A parakeet, which is more properly called a budgie, can easily get enough exercise being out in a small room. The bird will love to fly around, just make sure to take the necessary steps to bird-proof your home. If you’d prefer, you can have a veterinarian, bird groomer or bird-owning friend show you how to trim you bird’s flight feathers to limit his mobility for a few months.
It’s easy to accommodate a roomy parakeet cage in most homes. A good -size cage is about a 1 ½-feet square, with ¼ inch or so bar spacing. That’s enough room for your bird to enjoy some flight, and safe enough so that it won’t get its head caught between the cage bars, which can lead to serious injury or worse.
Perk #2: Talking ability
Parakeets are capable of mimicking words and phrases. In fact, some can rival or surpass the vocabularies of much larger parrots, even those of “known” talkers like African greys, quakers and Amazon parrots. It is only the males that talk, so if you have a male budgie, make time to talk to him daily. Parakeet speech is fast and high-pitched, so listen carefully for his vocalizations. Speaking of vocalizations, both male and female parakeets chatter away cheerfully much of the time. Even if your parakeet doesn’t learn to speak your language, he or she is still good company.
Perk #3: Endless entertainment
Supply your parakeet with the right toys, and he will provide you with a show that’s better than anything on TV. Parakeets love to ring bells, explore hollow things, bonk their toys, toss items and talk to their mirror reflection. When offered chewable items, chances are your parakeet will demolish them. Adding machine tape, whole carrot or a palm frond, for example, will usually be left to shreds.
Perk #4: Social interaction
A hand-tamed parakeet will enjoy spending time with you, and might even prefer to sitting on your shoulder to snuggle up to you so you can scratch his head feathers. Also, almost everyone has known someone who owned a parakeet. Even in this age of online friends, it’s nice to have a topic of conversation that is interesting. A huge generation of baby boomers in the U.S. grew up with parakeets they obtained at a local dime store. Go ahead, mention that you have a pet bird, or ask if someone ever had one, and be ready for the deluge of stories. If you want to interact with proud parents or grandparents, keep a photo of your bird in your wallet. If you do interact with people online, there are communities of bird lovers online.
Perk #5: Better nutrition for both of you
This is only slightly tongue-in-cheek. If you take care of one of these small parrots properly, you’ll be spending more time in the produce section of the supermarket and will have more vegetables at home. Go ahead, make your parakeet a bite-size salad and then make yourself one! Your bird will also love healthy nibbles from your plate, so make what’s on your plate a healthy meal. Also, there are nutritionally balanced diets made specifically for parakeets to help your little parrot live a long, healthy life.
Perk #: A pint-size travel companion
A smaller size makes a parakeet an easier travel companion. Compared to other parrots, parakeets require a smaller carrier, and you can even place your little bird’s cage in the car for a weekend away or a visit to family. Of course, give those at your travel destination a heads up about your feathered travel companion so that he is fully welcome. The budget-travel chain Motel 6 is very accommodating to travelers with pets, and you might come to appreciate them. You might not want to take your budgie along for the ride during hot or cold weather extremes. If you have to leave your parakeet at home while you travel, you might have a better chance of finding a budgie-friendly pet sitter or friend to take your bird. Your parakeet’s comparably smaller cage and less-intimidating size also makes it easier for you to drop both your bird and his cage off at a friend or relative’s home if you need to leave town.
Perk #6: A colorful outlook
Our dog and cat companions see limited colors, but parakeets see all the colors we do plus a few in the UV spectrum. They enjoy colorful toys, colorful ladders and a colorful assortment of veggies to eat in their bowl.
Perk #7: Trick training
Parakeets are smart and can learn tricks fast. Being small doesn’t limit their trainability at all. Go ahead and teach your budgie to dunk balls in hoop and put rings on a peg. Your parakeet can also learn to fly to you, can learn to talk and can even be taught to do a somersault in your hand.
Parakeets as pets are a manageable size, entertaining, social, and talkative. Small enough to fit in your apartment and travel with you, parakeets can make great pets. You will enjoy watching them play and can share your interest with others offline and online.