So, you’ve had your parakeet for a while, he’s pretty much tamed up and is one of your best pals. Now that the hard work is done you might be wondering how much time your budgie should have out of the cage every day. The answer depends on your schedule and your budgie.
If your budgie is still on the edge of being new then the answer is how much time can you devote? For the first several months when we had Toby as a solo parakeet she couldn’t be out of the cage without supervision. She would come out and immediately look to us to entertain her. If she didn’t have our attention there was no telling where she would end up or what she’d get into. Now mind you, my house is small, but it’s still pretty darn easy to lose a parakeet in any nook or cranny.
I do not recommend having a parakeet out unsupervised that you don’t know extremely well. And I do mean even for you to run and change over a load of laundry.
Under those limitations, if you can devote two hours a day to hanging out with your parakeet I think that’s great. That’s enough time for them to stretch their wings, socialize, and hopefully tire themselves out a bit.
But please don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make that every day. Sometimes you’re going to have to work late and you get home just in time for dinner. Other times your human family will have needs that take precedence. Stuff happens that is totally out of your control and you will miss days. So, please make sure your budgie(s) have a nice large Flight Cage and all of the toys and perches that make up a varied life.
Budgie time out of the cage for an established flock can be different. Now that we’ve had Toby, Kelly and Kevin for several years we know their behavior patterns pretty well. Also, having three budgies means they keep themselves fairly well occupied. If someone wants to really get into trouble (like trying to eat framed artwork or the blinds) inevitably another parakeet will come over and ruin their fun.
Over time we have adjusted things in the house that we know are problem areas. Like putting decals on windows and covering enticing gaps.
My flock of three is usually out of their cages for about 2-3 hours on a weekday (as soon as I get home from work I let them out) and anywhere from 4 hours to the entire day on a weekend. As long as we’re going to be home I open up the cages as soon as I get up and typically put them to bed around 7pm.
Now mind you they are at their leisure to head back to their cages at any time, and they do typically go home for a lengthy afternoon nap. Otherwise they are usually on one of their window perches, on a play gym, or, yes, getting into nonsense.
The other key piece is that they typically like to hang out where they can see the whole flock, and that includes humans. So, if I go into my office space to work at least a couple of them will follow me and hang out on the play gym there.
For budgie(s) that you know well and have established patterns of behavior relaxing your vigilance a bit regarding supervision is natural. Check in every so often and be aware of any suspicious sounds (or the lack of sound, which is always MOST suspicious!). In any case, make sure your budgie always has easy access to food and water. Unless you are limiting their access to the cage for taming or training purposes they should also be able to choose to go home and take a break.
Ultimately I feel like a good guideline is that your budgie should have time out of the cage for about two hours a day. But, we must acknowledge that this absolutely won’t work every day. There will be days that you’re able to let them out for 15 minutes and days that are missed entirely. That’s okay, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about a random missed day or two. There will be enough days that they are out for 2+ hours that more than balance out the short days.