Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder)
Posted Oct 25, 2015
I once owned a bird named Sierra Sky. He was a budgerigar parakeet and the first bird I ever owned. (yes, this was also a dictionary name) I gave him to a friend a couple years ago because I moved but the two years I had him have stuck with me for some time because he was not the easiest pet I have had in my long history of pet ownership. To be honest he cost me a lot of sleepless nights with his loud racket and many exasperated training sessions where he seemed more interested in eating millet than practicing any of the tricks I hopelessly tried to teach him.
For you bird lovers out there I have a few suggestions if you are thinking about training your own parakeet from the ground up or have perhaps already begun that challenge. Congrats! Start with some research; you will be surprised how many helpful books you can find at your local library about parakeet training. YouTube videos were also a great help for me in gaining a basic understanding of how to get started. The most important thing that I learned with Sierra Sky was consistency. For example, when I was trying to teach him how to do the “ladder” trick by climbing up my fingers I had to repeat it every day the same way in order for it to stick. He didn’t do well with a changing schedule or if I would have to postpone working with him for a couple days because of work.
Also just as a head up, be prepared for a mess! Flying husks, droppings, spilled water. Either put the cage in a good spot or be prepared for daily cleaning. On the plus side he loved to have whistling contests with me and would perch on my shoulder to eat treats. A very chipper and amusing pal. If you want tasty treat ideas that will make your parakeet do pretty much anything for you buy fresh millet. Sierra Sky would go absolutely crazy for it! Also, buy some mirrors they seem to love talking to themselves for countless hours. :)
Parakeets are a high maintenance animal: They need to be handled regularly and their cages cleaned often. Plus, you need to be patient.
Be aware that they need more than seeds to maintain a healthy diet!
Watch out for poisonous foods like tomato stems, apple seeds, and almonds.
They love to talk so if you want to quiet them down for the night covering their cage with a light blanket is a good “bedtime” hint.
Having cuttlebone available is important for them to take care of their beaks…otherwise they will grow too long.
Have fun! They are very energetic and friendly birds who love to socialize.