Acquired: Pet store
Posted Sep 12, 2013
I've tried owning several parakeets (budgies) over the years and the experience has yet to be a good one. The first parakeet I bought was from a local pet store and had no training. He would attempt to bite anyone who came near him, and we ended up taking him back after a few months of no change. I read books about training parakeets and parakeet behavior, thinking I could train him to react better to the family. At the time, my kids were still pretty young, so I just decided to take him back before anyone else got hurt.
A few years later, we bought three parakeets, thinking that it might be easier if we had more than one. That way, if they didn't interact with us, they wouldn't be lonely. After weeks of training, we finally got one of the three to "step up", but as soon as the other parakeets started calling to him, he would take flight and bite at us if we tried to approach him. After 6 months of working with the three of them separately, each would perch on our fingers for short periods of time.
The biggest drawback to owning our parakeets (aside from the occasional bite) was the noise they made. As soon as the sun was up, the three of them would squawk like there was no tomorrow, even with a sheet over their cage. If anyone was on the phone in the room with them, they would get louder than ever. Because my husband works from home, the parakeets were really disrupting his work (and phone calls).
As far as slinging feed around, they weren't as bad as some finches I've had, but they can still get pretty messy if you don't have a skirt around the bottom of the cage. My parakeets would never eat fresh fruit or vegetables, no matter how much I offered it to them.
All in all, I wouldn't recommend parakeets to anyone who has really young children. It would probably be worthwhile to buy one from a breeder, rather than a pet store, too, because breeders tend to hand train their birds and pet store do not. The downside to buying from a breeder is that the birds cost at least 4 times as much as they do at the pet store. If you have the time (a lot of time) to train a parakeet, I'm sure buying from a pet store would be fine.