Choosing a Baby Budgie for a Pet. Some Information


Choosing a Baby Budgie for a Pet. Some Information

Buying from a breeder means you may have to wait until they are weaned, between 8 and 10 weeks after hatching. A young bird will have horizontal bar-markings across its entire head, including the crown. The frontal stripes disappear when the budgie moults for the first time, after three to four months.

There are a number of things to look out for if you want to take home a budgie.

Most breeders keep their birds in good conditions. If cages seem dirty, overcrowded, and lacking in sufficient food, water and toys, go elsewhere. The same rule applies to pet shops, a budgie that has a bad start in life may not thrive.

  • Ask the seller questions. Whether they’re a breeder or a member of staff in a shop, the person selling you the budgie should be knowledgeable. If they don’t, how can you trust that their budgies have been well looked after?  You could argue that there is a duty to ‘rescue’ birds that have not been given the best start in life; but ill health in a bird will commonly lead to its death.
  • Ask for a written guarantee of health for your new birdMany places will offer this as a matter of course. It should enable you to return the budgie and get a refund should the vet discover any health problem in the bird.
    • Choose a bird that looks healthyThings to look out for include:
      • Sociable behaviour. Healthy young budgies will be noisy, playful and alert. A quiet bird perched alone in a cage containing other birds will be ailing. It might be harder to make a judgement if the bird happens to be alone in a cage, but you’ll still be able to tell a lethargic, ailing bird from an alert, healthy one.
      • Lovely plumage. There should be no missing or messy feathers, and the bird should look sleek and shiny.
      • Quiet breathing. Budgies are musical chatterboxes, but the noise shouldn’t extend to their breathing. Listen to the budgie when it’s not vocalising – if there is a ‘wheeze’ or a ‘clicking’ sound, it might indicate respiratory problems.
      • Clean nostrils and beak. The nostrils should be clear, with no mucous or dried matter clogging them or stuck to the beak. If any nasty stuff is present, it means the bird has a respiratory problem, which is a common cause of death in budgies. It’s contagious too, so any bird sharing the same space may be infected.
      • A well-proportioned beak. If it’s crooked, rough looking or over sized, there are hidden health problems.
      • The right number of toes. There should be four on each foot, two pointing forwards and two pointing backwards. Watch the bird perching and climbing – it should excel at these things, and any sign of clumsiness or awkwardness could indicate a deformity or problem. Also, if the legs in general look swollen or more scaly than other budgies you have seen, it might indicate disease.
      • A clean vent (the vent, or cloaca, is the area from which the bird deposits its droppings). If it looks messy down below, it might be an indication of a health problem, or a poor diet which has weakened the bird.

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