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Author: Simon Blake
Published: September 20, 2005
Article Source: Simon Blake - Expert Author

Birds can make wonderful pets and companions and there are many different birds to choose from.
Two of the most popular are cockatiels and budgies.
Cockatiels and budgies make wonderful pets that only require simple daily care.
They don't take up a lot of space, they eat small amounts of food, and they don't require a daily walk outside.
They love being around people and often want out of their cages just so they can be closer to you.
Some even learn to talk.

You're not alone in considering a pet bird.
In fact, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA), birds are the 3rd most popular pet behind cats and dogs.

It all sounds great doesn't it?

Slow down a little bit, before you rush out to buy a cockatiel or a budgie

Take some time to think about whether or not you are ready for a bird companion.

There are a few things for you to consider before you decide if you're ready for the responsibilities that comes with budgies and cockatiels.

Do yourself a favor and don't buy a parakeet or cockatiel until you ask yourself the following questions:

Do I have enough patience for a bird?
Cockatiels and budgies are social animals and they like attention. You should give them at least a half an hour of attention a day to keep them happy.
Edit to Add: Budgies are noisy.

Budgies can be VERY noisy and the sound is not always pleasing to everyone.
Keep this in mind if you live in an apartment or there are other members of your family to consider.
And, the more budgies you have - the greater the noise.

In addition, spending 2 or 3 hours time with your birds is more realistic in my opinion. [FaeryBee]

Am I a neat freak?
All birds (not just cockatiels and parakeets) can be fairly messy. You're probably going to have some feathers and bird seed to pick up around the cage.
Edit to add: There is no "probably" here.

Budgies are messy and some more so than others.
Young budgies like to play in their food and kick seeds all over the room.
Some budgies like to throw their food out of their cages.

Keep this in mind so it doesn't come as a surprise to you when it happens. [FaeryBee]

Can I care for my bird properly?
You're taking the right first step by looking for information about birds. It's important for you to know all of your cockatiel's or budgie's needs before you bring him or her home.
Don't make the mistake of assuming that since you already have a dog, cat or some other pet, that you know how to take care of a bird.
Birds have very different needs than other pets. I'm afraid it's a little more complicated than sticking your bird in a cage and giving it water and birdseed.
Edit to Add: If you have other animals, you need to ensure your budgie will be in a secured room away from them -- especially if you have cats.

It only takes one quick second for tragedy to occur, no matter how sweet, loving, kind and gentle your dog or cat may be. We have too many "emergency" posts where owners "other pets" have attacked their budgies.
Keep in mind there are MANY household dangers to your budgie that you are going to need to be aware of and you may have to change quite a few things to keep your bird safe and healthy. [FaeryBee]

Do I have room in my house for a bird cage and other 'bird accessories"?
You need to think about where you're going to place the cage in your house before you walk in the door with it. And remember, the bigger the bird, the bigger the cage.
(Be sure to study the do's and don't of cage placement. There are places in your house that are very dangerous for your bird.)
Edit to Add: No matter the size of the bird, the bigger the cage the better!
For a budgie the bar spacing should NEVER be more than 1/2" [FaeryBee]

Do I have the time to give my bird what it needs?
In addition to the time you should spend with your bird giving him or her attention, you should spend some time preparing meals for your bird. A proper diet for a healthy cockatiel or parakeet includes fresh vegetables and fruits - not just seeds.
Edit to add: Please refer to the information in this link: A Healthy Diet for your Budgie [FaeryBee]

Exactly what type of bird (and how many) do I want?
Decide whether you want a female or a male bird.
Maybe you would like to have a pair of birds so that you can breed them - sometime in the future

Edit to Add: You should never consider breeding until you have a very good background in basic budgie care and have done EXTENSIVE research
Additionally, budgies are healthier and happier if they are NOT bred. We highly recommend getting two of the same gender if you want two budgies [FaeryBee]

A heartfelt plea to forum members new and old
Tips For Discouraging Breeding
Before You Ever Consider Breeding Your Budgies
Guidance for Breeding Advice Threads

Am I ready for a long-term commitment?
As I said above, it's not unusual for cockatiels to live 15-20 years and parakeets can live 12-14 years.
Getting a pet bird is a long-term commitment.
Please don't get a cockatiel or a budgie thinking that you're going to "try it for a while".
There are already too many birds in rescue and adoption centers.
Edit to add:parakeet When you bring a bird into your home, you are accepting the responsibility for its health and well being.

This includes Avian Veterinarian care when necessary.
Please consider all costs associated with owning a budgie before deciding to adopt [FaeryBee]

Be Prepared for Veterinary Care Expense

Pet birds can bring a lot of fun and happiness into your home.
If you don't know what to expect before you bring one home, you may be in for a surprise.
However, if you've gone through the checklist above and decided that you're ready for a new feathered family member, then congratulations!
Get ready for a long, loving and happy relationship.

Before you bring a budgie into your home and heart:

There are many things to take into consideration before getting a budgie.

Do you really want another pet

1. If you decide to get another budgie in the future, please be sure to observe quarantine for the new budgie.
Quarantine means housing the new bird in a different cage in a different room than the current bird (as far away from the room the current bird is in as possible) for a period of 35-45 days.
Budgies mask symptoms when they are ill. Symptoms may not show up for over two weeks.
Often you will not even realize your bird is not well. Many budgie illnesses are airborne which is why you need to quarantine your new bird in a completely different room.

Quarantine your new bird!
Yes - Quarantine IS necessary

It is also a good idea to always take a new budgie in to see an Avian Vet for a "well-birdie" check-up.
This allows you to develop a good relationship with the vet and the vet can establish a baseline for your bird in case of any future illnesses or injuries.
If there are no Avian Vets in your area, then finding an Exotic Pet Veterinarian who has experience in dealing with small birds is the next best option.
2. Introducing the new bird to the current bird

Introducing Two Budgies

3. Flock Dynamics
Differences and Dynamics in Flocks
Your Harmonious Flock

4. Where do you plan to get the new bird?
If the time comes when you decide to get your budgie a friend, I highly recommend considering getting a bird of the same gender from either a bird rescue organization or a shelter.
These budgies need a good, safe and loving forever home.
Why you should buy from a Reputable/Ethical Breeder rather than a Big Box Pet Store

5. Vet Expense and Housing
Do you have the time, finances, etc to devote to another bird?
Are you ready, willing and able to house the new budgie separately on a permanent basis if it does not get along with your current bird after quarantine?
Be Prepared for Veterinary Expense
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