Basic Budgie Care

How to look after your feathered friend...

budgie toys.jpg

Before you buy a budgie

There is a lot you need to get and consider BEFORE you buy a budgie... A lot of which was information that was never made available or clear to me when I bought my first two budgies from a pet shop.


What you will need

  • Bird cage (The minimum dimensions for a cage are 20” long x 12” deep by 18” high, however the bigger the better!)

  • Remember, budgies fly horizontally, not up and down so your cage needs to be long and wide, not high!

  • Ideally wooden perches (one may be sanded but do not use many of them as they can hurt their feet) ideally perches should be of various sizes (widths) to ensure your bird uses different part of his/her feet to prevent any sores. Plastic perches can hurt the budgies feet.

  • For the same reason I would not suggest using sanded sheets to layer the bottom of the cage, although bird sand is fine. You can also use easibed (which I use in my nest boxes and aviaries) or many people use newspaper.

  • Swings aren’t a must, but I am yet to find a budgie who doesn’t enjoy a good swing!

  • Plenty of toys! Budgies are very playful creatures and enjoy a variety of toys- make sure you do not use any with string or rope, even if they say it is for budgies/birds, as they can ingest it or even get stuck in it which can cause a fatality which I sadly learnt the hard way.

  • A good quality bird seed

  • Millet sprays

  • Access to fresh water

  • Cuttlefish

  • Mineral block

It is also handy to have a small first aid kit handy for your new friend. A selection of guardian angel and calcivet (which are good to give your bird a health boost if looking under the weather). It is also advisable to have hibiscrub on hand for any minor grazes. If it is deep, then I would suggest going to see your vet.

Image by Shiro Yamamoto

Setting up your budgie's home

Something that I was not informed of positioning of the budgie’s cage.
It needs to be somewhere non draughty as budgies can control their body temperatures in heat or cold, but not in drafts. This is because when the lights go out, a budgie cannot see so no matter where they are, even in a draught, they will not move. I found this one out the hard way sadly.
Although we think that placing them directly in front of a window is lovely for them, in fact it can be one of the worse places due to the likely hood of draughts as well as the sun shining in through the windows in the summer as the birds cannot move away from this if in their cage.
Another ‘no-no’ is to place budgies in a kitchen. Steam can cause them distress, and the fumes from burnt food or cookware such as Teflon can be fatal.
Sprays in general are bad for budgies, so no air spray, hair spray, deodorant, perfume, etc should be sprayed near them as this can be lethal to a budgie's small airways.
You don’t want your budgie to be on his/her own in a room with no company at all, but you do not want to place them somewhere like a hallway that has busy traffic walking past all the time as this can un-settle them!

Image by JESHOOTS.COM

Daily care

The basic cage care includes daily cleaning of the water and food dishes. Plain newspaper is fine on the bottom of the cage; be sure to change paper daily to prevent the spread of disease and illness. Do not use cat litter on the bottom of any cage, since birds can eat this and die. Other alternatives can be bird sand which contains oyster shells which the budgies can pick at. We do not suggest sand paper unless you have a grill on top- but then it becomes very expensive for what is essentially paper anyway! Sand paper is very rough on their feet and can cause sores. We personally use easibed (a dust extracted woodchip) and find that the budgies love rolling in it and snoozing in it! Especially the babies! Weekly you should clean and disinfect the cage. With warm soapy water, wash and completely dry the perches and toys whenever they become soiled.