The Parakeet Rescue (A Detailed Parakeet Guide)

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 Australia, where there are lots of grasslands. They have no trouble at all foraging for foods, and eat fresh greens, fruits and berries, seeds. Captive birds are totally dependant on you to supply them with a fully nutritious assortment of foods.

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:

[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]

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13 responses to “The Parakeet Rescue (A Detailed Parakeet Guide)”

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  1. Dawna Berger says:

    About 16 months ago, I was given 2 parakeets that someone no longer wanted. They’ve been very happy and healthy and very much in love (always kissing) since I’ve had them. But, today was a very sad day, because I found one bird dead at the bottom of the cage. I really don’t know why the bird died, because I don’t use any products that would contaminate the air quality, nor any drafts. I give them fresh purified water everyday and feed them pellets, bird seed, millet, vitmamen C, organic apple, dried carrots/brocolli, millet and minute amount of vitamen C. I need to find another parakeet for my lonely bird. My friend told me how to identify male versus female, but what else do I look for when choosing a companion for my parakeet. I’m concerned about whether or not they’ll love or even like each other. I would also like to rescue a bird as oppose to supporting the breeders. Do you have any advice.

    Thank you.

  2. Sapphyre says:

    Hi Dawna

    Sorry about your loss.

    Parakeets have a normal lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Depending on the genetics of the bird.

    Parakeets are also a fragile bird and they can even have a sudden heart attack from a sudden slam of the door to a sonic boom.

    Without a necropsy to determine the cause of death.

    Your solo Parakeet should do fine with a new bird, but in the first few days your bird may squabble over its food or other belongings until it gets used to a new companion. Very young Parakeets under the age of 6 months will look identical in sex, the cere will be a lavender then after 6 months the cere will start to change color indicating the sex of the Parakeet.

    As for adopting a Parakeet check with your local animal shelters they may have some or know of someone who does.

    In the past year we have placed over 30 Parakeets that were rescued from a Pet store that had no idea how to care for them, so they just were watching the birds die off one by one until we stepped in and took a lot of the birds. To the store it was just a tax write off but at least we were able to bring them around to good health and find new homes for them.

    I wish you good luck in finding a new friend for your little Parakeet.


  3. Sara says:

    I need to find a new home for 2 parakeets, I believe a male and a female. Do to the health of my elderly parents the family can no longer take care of the birds.
    I live in North Louisiana and would deliver them within a reasonable area. Everything is free to whom ever would give them a good home. They are less than a year old, I have the papers from the pet store where purchased.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  4. says:

    I have four beautiful paraketts my wife was told she can not have them because of her serve asmatha,she is heart broken .she wants to keep them together or at least in pairs.we have a big cage they all fit together we are will to give to a person who wants to adopt.

  5. Angie says:

    Hello!, I’m looking for help as I’ve just rescued 3 parakeets from a neighbor who has neglected them for many months (moldy, filthy cage not cleaned, dirty water, seed only diet, 3 birds 1 small cage no toys and they have been pecking at each other) I am a new parakeet owner and was just getting to know my 1st bird for the past month when I was told that a neighbor was “getting rid of their birds because they wont shut up” so I investigated and found the above situation. I took the birds and have taken care of their immediate physical needs, but my own bird is very upset and since the other’s were attacking one another I took the most beat up one out and put her in my birds cage so she could escape the attacks. I know basic bird care but it’s the holidays and I really don’t know what’s best to do and stores/Humane society are shut down due to blizzard. So, wondering what advice anyone would give me to help with the situation! Keep in mind due to weather it will be at least 2 days before I can leave the house. THANKS!!

  6. Theo Shaw says:

    Does anyone have a complete list of protein foods ?:”*

  7. protein foods are great if you want to build muscles while doing saome bodybuilding routines’;.

  8. Lunch Bags  says:

    protein foods are needed badly during times of sickness and if you are working out heavily;’*

  9. WENDY KAY says:

    I have a parakeet that I bought five years ago that I am now finding out I am very allergic to. My doctor said I need to find a home for him. If you are interested please contact me. Thanks Wendy

  10. Anonymous says:

    I agree with some of this advice… But not all.
    First off, it is ESSENTIAL for your parakeet to have (preferrably daily) free flight! Not letting them do so will definitely shorten your keets life! Flying is an important excercise for them, even you decide to clip their wings (it isn’t necessary in most conditions) then you should take them out for excercise and interaction every day.
    It’s a no brainer to close windows… Right? And keep cats or dogs away while your bird is out. The birds should be supervised outside the cage at first. Also if they are in a new area or are in a more dangerous room. My birds have had their cage left open for eight years… they get unlimited free flight. They are very healthy and have never had problems. Parakeets should be let out sometimes even if their cage is large.
    One parakeet’s cage should measure at least 28” long by 24” wide by 36” tall. I hate seeing birds cramped into tiny cages- and then having that cage be their whole world.

    Second, unless you are training the bird or it gets plenty of excercise (FREE FLIGHT!), millet should only be fed a few times a week- not daily. It’s very fattening.

  11. Daniel Brannon says:

    I absolutely love parakeets. I had two die on me before, because it got too cold in the house one night, RIP Meadow Nov 2011, however since then i’ve been raising two other parakeets and taking absolutely no chances with their health. I would love to take care of more if you don’t want them anymore. I already have plenty of toys, however a bigger cage would be nice if you plan on giving more, or at least a separate cage that way they wouldnt be too cramped. If you have any parakeets or bird cages you’d like to get rid of give me a call at 352-507-6348.

  12. Sophia says:

    Hi sorry to hear about your bird the same has happened to my bird. His mate died the only thing is I got him so many mates but he has yet to like love or even just get along with one. But I do not think he wants a new mate. I have no clue why. but maybe it is the same for your bird