Acquired: Pet store,
Worked with pet (didn’t own)
Posted Nov 03, 2014
Part of my job includes taking care of the parakeets we have in store as if they were my own. I do bedding changes weekly, feed and water them daily, always keep an eye out on their health, and of course help any customers with getting one or questions they have on one.
While I do know quite a bit about keeping these birds and caring for them, unfortunately with the larger groups we have I am hindered on direct experience with a few things. Any training and talking, for example, are things I don't get adequate time to work on with them. Because they are in groups, it's also difficult for me to be able to socialize with just one or two as they tend to get wrapped up in each other's stress. So it can be difficult for me to gauge how friendly a specific bird will be once they warm up to someone. With all that being said, I feel I can still give a pretty accurate review to anyone thinking about having parakeets in their life.
Before buying a parakeet, you are going to want to consider a few things. They can live up to around 14 years, so you need to be prepared to take care of your bird for a while. You need to be able to get an adequate sized cage as well as make sure you have enough room for it to be in a suitable location. A suitable location would be an area where they can interact with the family, but in the corner of the room so they can still feel safe and secure, and near a window is preferable. You will either need to be able to spend a few hours a day with your parakeet or you will need to get two (even with two you will want to socialize with them daily). Parakeets naturally become dependent on a lifelong mate and if you have just one, you will have to be able to dedicate enough time for them to form a bond with you as their surrogate mate. If you don't think you have enough time for that you should really consider getting two, even if they are the same gender they will still be happier with the company and pair off.
Cleanliness is another thing that is slightly more difficult for me to gauge, because I am used to cleaning up cages of 10 or so parakeets, so they can be pretty messy. Having just a pair the cleaning wouldn't be too bad, however they are messier than finches or other small birds and would need full cleaning done at least every other week.
Parakeets are also on the louder side, but you can teach them to mimic words and phrases over time. They like to be whistled at and talked to.
For food, pelleted diets are usually more nutritious overall, but most birds in general don't like just pellets. It's best to get a good mix of pellets and seeds. Millet is something that you should try to keep in their cage at all times. It's a highly nutritious treat for them that encourages foraging. A well rounded diet would also include fresh fruits and veggies, like peeled apple and grated carrots.
You're also going to need cuttlebone or mineral stone for sharpening their beak and to promote healthy bones and feather growth. Water bottles are a good choice for parakeets as they are prone to making a water bowl into their bath, or they will just get it very dirty.
You are going to want a variety of toys. Parakeets really enjoy bells and mirrors. Mirrors are good for single birds, while they are lonely their reflection counts as a sort of imaginary company to them.
As far as friendliness goes, they will definitely develop trust in an owner if they are gradually warmed up to new experiences with them. They are a great companion bird.