I recently ran into a situation that I thought I would pass along to everyone. I received a call from a lady who recently rescued a pair of parakeets.
They live in an apartment and they noticed that the tenant in their building was moving out. In the hallway they had placed their cage with two birds in it. When they arrived home from work, the cage was still there next to the door, but nobody was around. After a few more hours, it got dark. The hallway was getting cold…..and the birds were still there. So they took the birds into their apartment and left a note on the door to let anyone know where to pick them up.
After two days it was obvious that the birds had been abandoned, and they accepted them into their home. But now what? They never had parakeets before. They talked to another bird owner who had Amazons and got some advice, but the pet store said everything they were told was wrong! They need to come to the store and get some supplies. Grit, seed, sprays, mite protectors, all sorts of stuff! So upon advice of their vet (they also owned a dog) I got the call for help.
The birds seemed to be in great shape and were singing and playing in their cage. So I just told them to watch the birds for any health issues and take care of them. But having never owned a bird before, they didn’t know where to start and I was amazed at the advice they were being given.
Forget the advice about grit (they don’t need it) and mite protectors (dangerous and not needed). The birds came with a little bowl of seed on the bottom, but they did not know what type of food they eat. What fruits and veggies are safe and most common to feed parakeets?
She was told to give them leafy greens, carrots, broccoli, and dandelions. No fruit! And they must be given ½ to 1 cup veggies every day, and only a few tablespoons of seed. Lots of gravel (parakeets need grit to digest food)…and put vitamins in their water. A cup of veggies? For a tiny parakeet???
She heard they need to take baths but will drown in even a tiny amount of water. How do you wash them? What seed is best? She was told that seeds bought from stores were not safe. And they have to be given “fly time” every day so they can exercise. Wouldn’t that be sort of dangerous?
All these questions just brings me back to earth. I’ve been working around birds so much that these questions just seem like they have obvious answers…..but to a new bird owner they are anything but obvious. So I spent the next few hours getting her educated on parakeets.
Parakeets are native of
The Association of Avian Veterinarians has studied this extensively, and came up with these recommendations. Half of the diet should consist of high-carb foods like breads, cooked rice, cooked beans and a good quality seed diet. Parakeets are very active and burn up energy at a huge rate. Like any athlete, a high carb diet is necessary to support that much activity. The other half consists of foods high in vitamin A. These are orange and yellow fruits and veggies such as carrots and yams, plus dark green leafy veggies like broccoli, dandelion greens and dark lettuce. They love apples and cherries, or other types of berries. I also recommend an occasional high-protein food such as cooked meats, eggs or even canned tuna. I get a lot of strange looks over this, especially when you add cooked chicken to the list.
Seed, as with any other birds, should never be the main diet. Parakeets fed on such a diet will not survive more then a few years. I also recommend a good quality pelleted diet, since the food can be left in the cage all the time. Parakeets do not sit and keep eating till they are full. They will nibble all day long. Fresh foods should be removed after a few hours, especially cooked foods. Again, would you eat food left out for 6 hours on the counter? Why would you expect your bird to do it?
I then went over the bathing issue. I think the people advising her were thinking about Finches, or Canaries, as they are known to have problems bathing in deep dishes. Parakeets love it! But try to use shallow bowls with about an inch of water. The pet stores have many dozens of models of bird baths to choose from. Also get yourself a spray bottle and gently mist the bird. Parakeets do enjoy being misted.
The question of millet was brought up, and if it should always be in the cage. She was told it contained some nutrients that were essential to their health, and without it they would die.
My kids tried to tell me that story…about ice cream. Sorry…it didn’t work with them either. Millet is a treat, and should be offered as that. Give the bird a small amount in the evenings only.
I was concerned about the advice to let the bird fly around the house for exercise. I always recommend birds wings be clipped. The bird can be let out of the house to exercise on the cage, or on the floor, and only while supervised. But letting those little guys have free flight is a disaster waiting to happen. There are simply too many dangers, and too many ways that they can fly out a window or follow you out the door.
>>I hope this information was as helpful to you as it was to my new bird rescuer. If you haven’t yet, I strongly recommend you to get hold of “The Easy Parrot System” to have knowledge of AT LEAST the basics of bird care. I go in detail into what type food you should give to your bird and just as important- what type of food that should NOT be given to birds: http://www.TheTameParrot.com/parrot-care/
[tags]parakeet care, parrot guide, bird training, parakeet care guide, parakeet training, parakeet diet, parrot diet, parakeet treats, how to care for a parakeet[/tags]