budgie FAQ

Budgie FAQ – commonly asked budgie questions

Q. What size cage does a budgie require?
A. The best answer here is to get the largest cage you can afford and keep in mind that most budgies prefer a cage that is longer than it is tall because of the way they fly. Also, bar spacing of 1/2 inch is key, anything larger and you can run the risk of budgie escape or injury. A cage size of 20 inches long, 18 inches deep and 18 inches wide is the minimum for a single budgie while a pair should have no less than 30 inches long, but the same depth and height.

Q. How long do budgies live?
A. Budgies can live anywhere from 2 years to 15 years depending on diet and quality of care. A good average is 6 years. Many budgies also die prematurely in home accidents such as attack by other household pets and injury from common dangers such as windows and mirrors.

Q. What’s the best material to put at the bottom of the cage?
A. Many budgie owners use newspaper (black and white pages only), paper towels or craft paper at the bottom of the cage. Home Keet Home thinks all of these options are good as they allow you to monitor the quality of your budgie’s poop. In our house we use cut-to-size liners from Amazon. This is totally a convenience item versus a necessity but it makes our lives easier!

Q. Will my budgie learn to talk?
A. Maybe, although generally not without a lot of effort on your part. Also boys are more likely to talk than girls. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it is easier to teach a single budgie to talk rather than a pair or more.

Q. How much sleep do budgies need?
A. Budgies need 10-12 hours or sleep per night. Some can get by on less by supplementing with naps during the day, but they really should have at least 10 hours of dark per night.

Q. What temperature should a house be for budgies?
A. Budgies will typically adjust pretty well to a wide range of temperatures. Budgies that live in outdoor areas can even tolerate temperatures in the 40 degree Fahrenheit range as long as there is a source of heat and they are not exposed to wind. In the home, a suggested range would be 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure they are not to cold or too hot. Of great importance is avoiding drafts, which are very dangerous to budgie health.

Q. What’s the best diet for a budgie?
A. This is a hotly contested issue. Many budgie parents believe that pellets offer complete nutrition and any other base diet is a recipe for disaster. We disagree, feeling that natural seed is a better base diet than processed food. Home Keet Home is not a veterinarian and does not substitute consulting your vet, but we think that going close to natural diet makes sense. We free feed a quality seed mix and some pellets mixed in as a base diet and then offer vegetables and fruits daily.

Q. Should I get one budgie or two?
A. This is a tough one. Budgies are flock birds and feel safer in groups, but if you are home a lot and want to bond closely with your budgie then it’s easies to do so with one. I think that starting with one is fine and then use your judgement to let you know if your new friend is lonely or scared.

Q. How can you tell the sex of a budgie?
A. The best way to tell the sex of a budgie is its cere (above the beak). In mature budgies a female will have a chalk white, pale blue, or tan – dark brown cere depending on breeding condition. Males will have a solid pink or very dark vibrant cere. There is some variation on this based on coloring, and juvenile budgies are different as well. The important thing is to do your own research instead of listening to a pet store employee, they are frequently either totally misinformed or may want you to believe that the budgie in question in a boy which is a frequently preferred sex for a pet budgie.

Q. How can I tell if a budgie is young?
A. A young budgie has bars down the top of its head meeting up with the tip of it’s cere. These are referred to as “baby bars”. They also have fully black eyes with no sign of an iris. This can also vary by color mutation but with a standard blue or green budgie they are very reliable markers.

Q. Should I clip my budgies wings?
A. For my household the answer is no. We feel that budgies are built to fly and should be able to have free flight in the home for at least 2 hours per day (typically more). But, we were willing to totally bird-proof our home and take tons of precautions for their safety. If your circumstances differ you might consider either confining your birds to a single room for free flight or clipping them. Some budgies may need to be continue to be clipped if they never learned to fly as babies and are unable to learn as adults. Many budgie owners report that it is easier to tame a clipped bird and then let the wings grow out. Fortunately clipping is not generally a permanent situation, the clipped feathers will fall out upon molting and grow back restoring full flight. We do recommend that clipping be done by a professional, or at the very least that you learn how to clip your birds from a professional before attempting at home.

Q. What gear does a budgie need?
A. A budgie needs lots of stuff for basic health as well as enrichment. Some basics are cage, food and water bowls, variety of perches, toys etc. Check out our post on start-up budgie costs for a comprehensive list.

Q. I have never seen my budgie drink, is he okay?
A. Budgies are prey birds and drinking puts them in a very vulnerable position. Until your budgie is totally comfortable in your home you probably will not catch him drinking. Instead he will wait until he’s alone and feels safe to take the chance. Access to clean water is very important to budgie health, and it’s vitally important that you do not give them distilled water.

Q. My budgie won’t bathe, what do I do?
A. There are many different ways that budgies bathe. Not all budgies will take to a single kind of bath. Perseverance is the key here, and you can always resort to lightly misting them if they are seriously water averse.

Q. My parakeet is losing tons of feathers, what’s happening?
A. Unless your budgie has a feather disorder , he is molting, which is a very normal process by which a budgie sheds old feathers and replaces them with new. Molting occurs two times a year or more and can be triggered by changing seasons.

Q. My budgie’s cage came with plastic perches, do I need any other perches?
A. Absolutely. Please provide a wide variety of natural wood perches as well as those made of other materials. Perches should have varying widths to encourage foot health. We don’t recommend keeping any of those plastic perches.

20 thoughts on “Budgie FAQ – commonly asked budgie questions”

  1. My female budgie is acting weird
    I diy’d a cage for my budgies in which a corner slab is there she goes and sits there
    And she doesnt seems to be sick at all
    Please help, is she trying to nest?

    1. Yes, she probably regards the flat surface as a suitable nest. If it’s possible to remove it I would recommend it.

  2. Hey, noticed that my budgie has s having split tail feathers ,why is it happening?
    Is its something to br concerned of?

    1. Is is possible your budgie is damaging his feathers on the cage bars or a toy? Mine have gotten them out of whack sticking them through the cage bars on occasion.

      Not too much to worry about in my experience, at worst they will lose the split feathers during their next molt and the feathers that come in should be in the correct alignment.

  3. Hello,I had bought a budgie yesterday. It seems it is less than 3 months old.. It can’t even walk and fly properly.. This budgie of mine has his lover beak overlapping the the upper one. But he can feed himself properly. Can beak grow as normal? Or would it remain same? Can I use this budgie as a breeder if it is female? Please help. TIA

    1. Hi Aditi,

      First off all, thanks for reaching out, as a disclaimer I am not a veterinarian or otherwise qualified to provide you with medical advice about your budgie.

      A misaligned beak may indicate serious underlying medical conditions. If you are able to, please take your budgie to a veterinarian.

      If not, are you able to consult with the person or shop who sold the budgie to you? What have they suggested about these issues? Why did they sell you a budgie that sounds like it is not fully fledged and able to walk and fly?

      Just on the facts presented here I would not recommend this budgie as a breeder once it reaches maturity.

      Thank you and best of luck, I hope your new pet will be okay.

  4. Hey, so I bought a 2 budgies about a week ago, and I’ve been spending alot of time around there cage and trying to get them use to me, but everytime I am close to the cage they back away or start flying frantically. I don’t know how to earn there trust?

    1. Hi Autumn, I’m so sorry for the delay in my response, my work has had me flat out lately!

      How are things going now? It can take months to get untamed budgies used to human presence. At the two week mark I am sure that they were still concerned you might be a predator who was gearing up to eat them.

      Patience is the total key for breaking down those walls with a budgie. Hope you and your new friends are doing well!

  5. I keep my budgies outside in a big cage they are very happy. I’ve been trying to tame one and I’ve got one to perch on my finger. I want to take only him inside my house to interact and train him a bit more as theres more room and no other budgies.

    So how should I move him from outside to inside my house. Shall I just gently hold him (cup him in my hands) and carry him inside and let him go in my room or is there a better way of getting him??

    Please help

    1. Can I ask how old the budgie is and whether he’s ever been anywhere other than your outdoor aviary? Also is he fully flighted or are his wings clipped?

      If he’s never been in a house before he’s pretty likely to totally freak out (unless he’s a naturally really relaxed fellow!), so make sure that all the windows are covered and mirrors as well. In the likelihood that he panics and flies around really fast you want to minimize his chances of getting hurt.

      Is the end goal to move him into the house permanently?

      Regardless of ultimate intent, I think your plan of gently holding him to move him into the house is good, but getting him back out of the house may prove more of a challenge…if he’s in a bigger space and potentially scared he might be harder to catch than from a cage.

      Best of luck, whatever you decide to do, please keep me posted!

  6. My budgies are not giving eggs why? More than 1year has passed. I have 5 budgies they were mating in last month but not get result.answer plz

    1. There are many reasons that your budgies may not be laying eggs. The first I can think of is that they may be less inclined in a group of 5 rather than bonded pairs.

      Additionally, do you have a good set up for the females to nest? Clean and prepared nest boxes and a nice clean environment overall?

      Third, they just may not have made a love match and may not want to breed. Budgies can mate (as you know!) without laying eggs. They choose whether to reproduce or not, and the conditions have to be just right.

      Good luck!

  7. My budgies are not giving eggs? 1 and half year had passed. I have 5 budgies. Last 2month before they were mating but I didn’t get any result. Plz reply .and one question is that I have one budgie with pink colour cere is it make or female?

    1. Hi Nehan!

      The budgie with the pink color cere is a boy.

      There are many reasons that your budgie’s may not be laying eggs. The first I can think of is that they may be less inclined in a group of 5 rather than bonded pairs.

      Additionally, do you have a good set up for the females to nest? Clean and prepared nest boxes and a nice clean environment overall?

      Third, they just may not have made a love match and may not want to breed. Budgies can mate (as you know!) without laying eggs. They choose whether to reproduce or not, and the conditions have to be just right.

      Good luck!

  8. Good morning, we have 2new babies, can we clean the nest, they are about 2-3 weeks old, will the mother reject them afterwards.

    1. Hi there! Unfortunately I don’t know much about breeding, I’ve never had my parakeets breed or done much research on it.

      I do know that budgies don’t have much by way of sense of smell and the mother will not reject the babies just because they have been handled by humans. But I don’t know how she’ll feel about the nest being cleaned.

      Best of luck!

  9. Hi so my budgies layed eggs a month ago and they weren’t futile (it’s there first ever clutch so not worried) but I wanted to know of there was a specific amount of time I’m supposed to not allow them into the nest box before letting them breed and use it again? I don’t want her to get egg bound from laying eggs to much

    1. Hi there, unfortunately I am not able to assist much with anything regarding breeding as I have no experience with it. I’ve done everything possible to avoid it myself, since there are so many budgies already needing homes in my country.

      I do know that the females need extra calcium while laying, so if you’re providing cuttle bone, crushed egg shell, or another supplement that will help her regardless of the frequency of laying.

      Best of luck to you, sorry I’m not more help.

  10. Hii i have brought 2 new budgies a month before . now one budgie is 4 months and other is 5 months. i wanted to know that will they lay eggs now . should i provide nest nowitself.

    1. They are too young yet to breed. Please don’t provide a nest until they are at least one year old. If you provide the nest now it can be very bad for the health of your young hen, she needs to be mature before breeding.

Leave a Reply