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Geno 01-25-2017 03:38 PM

What Happened To Gravel On Cage Bottom?
OK, I had a budgie for a dozen years about 25 years ago. When he died there was no replacing him...didn't want another.

Well, Santa gave me a gift certificate to a pet store so I got myself another budgie two weeks ago. Used my old cage and toys and had some unused boxes of "Hartz Parakeet Gravel and Grit." Well, that stuff is now running out. I went to a number of pet stores...and no one sells that anymore. They just sell rolls of gravel paper. Because of the unusual shape of the cage I don't want that paper.

Why is gravel no longer used? If it still is used, where the heck can I find it? Any substitutes I can use?


JRS 01-25-2017 03:56 PM

Hi Geno & welcome to talkbudgies!

A lot has changed in 25 years with regards to what is considered to be current good practice for budgie owners.

Grit is no longer considered necessary and could potentially cause problems with crop impaction for birds that over eat it - that product is still available online along with many other unnecessary and potentially dangerous products.

I'm new to budgie keeping and this site has been a wonderful resource in educating me. I'm sure more experienced members will be along soon to point you to useful initial pages, in the meantime, you can use the search box For the forum to get started!

FaeryBee 01-25-2017 04:30 PM

Hi! :welcome: to Talk Budgies

Neither grit nor sandpaper are a recommended for use with your budgie. Grit isn't necessary as budgies hull their seeds before eating them. Sandpaper/gravel paper is too rough for budgies tender feet. Using newspaper, butcher paper or craft paper for the cage bottom is a much better option. :)

As JRS mentioned, there have been many changes with regard to what are considered to be best practices in budgie care in the last couple decades.

Please take the time to read through the Site Guidelines, all of the How To Guides, the FAQs, the Budgie Articles and the stickies located at the top of each section of the forum.

You'll find most of your basic questions about budgies and caring for them will have been answered after you've read through all of them.

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Glad you decided to join us and looking forward to seeing you around the forums.


StarlingWings 01-25-2017 07:28 PM

Hi there and :welcome: to the forums!

It's great to have you with us, and congratulations on you new budgie ;)

You've come to the best place to learn even more of the best practices for caring for budges!

Already, you have been given some great advice. Be sure to read through the links provided to ensure you're up to date on the best budgie care, and if you have any questions afterwards, don't hesitate to ask as we'd love to help. :D

Hope to see you around, and to meet your new little friend soon! :wave:

Geno 01-25-2017 10:00 PM

Thanks for the replies.

It has been 25 years since I've had a little budgie. Odd, there have been changes in how we care for our birds. Gravel no more? Sandpaper covers on perches no more? What are we raising here? Should I buy my little guy a helmet for when he sits on his swing?

My little budgie from years ago lived a great, productive life. Gravel, sandpaper on perches, he drank water from the faucet. I even let him fly outside!

I appreciate your help. I'll look into these new ways to care for my little guy.

But newspaper on the bottom of the cage? Yech. The sand/gravel looked so nice, easy to clean, and did the job.

StarlingWings 01-25-2017 11:40 PM

You're very welcome, and I hope you continue to find the forums helpful.

As research into bird care has increased, we have been made aware of numerous things.

Parrots (which include budgies), as hookbills, husk their seeds and therefore have no need of grit or gravel to eat like some other birds do. In fact, if they do ingest any grit or sand, it has been proven to erode away at the crop and gizzard, causing inflammation, infection, and discomfort.

Additionally, the sandpaper covering on the perch covers has been found to conclusively contribute to a painful condition called bumble foot, where the bird's feet erupt in pressure sores. This is caused by the wearing away of the delicate foot skin by the abrasive sand.

If a bird chews on the sandpaper as well, the glue as well as the sand can be harmful.

These things are valid health concerns that if not addressed can cause your budgie much discomfort! As birds become more popular as pets, veterinarians are always looking for better ways to take care of our avian friends.

As for drinking out of the faucet, there's no problem with that ;)

I will say that you should never, ever take your budgie outside without a cage. It doesn't matter if you've done it before and been lucky with not having your bird blown away, spooked, attacked, etc. Budgies are very small, and usually unsuited to living in the wild should they get lost. Additionally, even if they are the most loyal of creatures, they cannot control if they are swept off by a gust of wind or snatched up in an instant by a hawk.

We aren't trying to tell you that you need to go to extreme lengths to care for your budgie. This is simply the best way to care for your bird and ensure that the chance of health problems or injury is minimized; isn't that the least you could do for a little creature who trusts you to care for him or her?

I'm glad to hear you'll be taking this new information into account when caring for your little one!

Feel free to start with these links!

RavensGryf 01-25-2017 11:59 PM

Hi Geno :welcome:

A lot has definitely changed in the past couple decades in regard to keeping pet birds. As StarlingWings pointed out, research has come a long way. 'Better', more efficient, and safer methods have been implemented. There are now many more specialists in Avian medicine, who know much more about birds and their healthcare than they did decades ago. Also, with everyone on the internet nowadays it's much easier to spread the word to bird owners throughout the world as to the best practices for keeping our little feathered friends healthy and happy.

Taking a look through our Articles section, and Stickies threads at the top of each major forum section would be a great place to start learning about updated care for diet, housing, and all aspects of budgie care. Good luck with your new little friend :).

FaeryBee 01-26-2017 05:50 AM

You've been given excellent advice.
Please be sure you review the information in the following links as well:

20 Things You Must Know About Nutrition

SusanBudgies 01-26-2017 07:46 AM

:welcome: to TalkBudgies and welcome back to budgie ownership!

My avian vet offers several helpful handouts here: BIRD Clinic Handouts - Bird Vet

Therm 01-26-2017 02:13 PM

Geno, like you, my Father had budgies for years and years and when I first got my first bird in 2015, before joining this forum, we had sandpaper perches etc.
When I first joined, I was swamped by all the information that had changed and started to work to correct things that now had been seen to be harmful to my birds.

My Dad has kept budgies his whole life, on and off and even though he was certain that what he knew about grit and sandpaper perches, when I talked to him about it and he thought about it, he came round to the idea.
I'm sure the more you research into these things, the more you'll understand why these ways are best for your new budgie friend. Certain things from the past are great to keep- and some just need to be forgotten about and finding news ways to adapt.

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