I’m sure it’s a little jarring to read that post title on a blog that’s devoted to the joy of budgies! It’s true, however, that having budgies as pets is not for everyone. Hopefully this top ten reasons budgies make bad pets will help you decide if parakeets are the pet for you before you embark on budgie parenthood.
- Budgies can be LOUD and they do not have an “off” switch. Depending on the number in your flock and their individual personalities, some budgies are noisy all day. Need to have a meeting or want to watch a movie? They will compete with background noise no matter the volume. Like to sleep in on days off from work? Budgies are early risers and some will start flock-calling you before the sun is even up.
- Budgies are messy. You can get a seed catcher for your cage and cross your fingers but expect to vacuum or sweep around your cage area every day (more than once a day during molts). Messes get more extreme once you add in bath time and/or feeding wet foods like chop. Get ready for wiping wet food and the occasional budgie poop off the walls, which leads me to my next item;
- Budgies poop every 5-10 minutes. Sure, the poops are small and easy to clean up, especially once they dry, but when you’ve had a bird on your head and then run your fingers through your hair/a nice fresh poop that’s another matter entirely. They will poop everywhere they hang out. Larger parrots may be trained to poop only in certain spots, budgies should not be trained that way. Their systems work so fast it’s important for their health that they do not hold their waste.
- Budgie ownership is deceptively expensive. You might think the initial buy in is reasonable, with a pet store budgie coming in at around $20 and a small cage not much more. However, you will soon find out that the starter cage is cruelly small, and you must upgrade immediately. Then, you’ll discover that your budgie needs much more than the dowel and plastic perches that came with the cage, and in fact needs a wide variety of perches for optimal foot and mental health. They also need toys, toys get destroyed and must be replaced or are never loved and need to be rotated out for stimulation. Once that’s out of the way, you’re also probably going to end up wanting a Playstand or some other Playground for your budgies that is not their cage. They will also need different foods, supplements like cuttlebone, and potentially expensive veterinary care down the line for a host of common budgie illnesses.
- Budgies are flying toddlers with steel jaws. Depending on your budgie’s disposition, they might enjoy chewing up your blinds, wood trim around windows and doorways, your framed artwork, cabinetry, and anything else they can get their beaks into. A female budgie who is desperate for a suitable nest might even chew a hole through your wall. Some budgies are aggressive and may end up gnawing on your fingers to the point of drawing blood.
- Depending on your household, budgies will cause significant changes in how you live your life. Be prepared to give up the following: candles, diffusers, wax melts, sprayed scents, plug-ins, bleach, and a host of other products that potentially fill your cabinets. Also, check to see if your cookware is non-stick, if it is, it likely needs to be replaced.
- You will always need to have your guard up about open doors. Even if your budgie’s wings are clipped, they might end up accidentally flying out of an open door or window without a screen. You and everyone else in your household will have to be vigilant about making sure the budgies are never around an open window or door.
- Budgies are prey animals and may never be safe around other pets. You might think that your cat or dog has zero interest in your budgies, until one day you come home and find the cage knocked over. Obviously, your mileage may vary, but it’s happened to families with the best intentions and the most trust in their furry pets. Budgies also need to be protected from other pets like rats, guinea pigs and even other pet parrots like lovebirds.
- Budgies should not be left alone for more than a day and it will be harder to find adequate pet sitters or boarding options than it is for cats and dogs. The first time you must leave town can cause a panic to find someone you trust enough to come in your house once and day and water/feed your budgies without accidentally feeding them something toxic or deciding to “help” by cleaning up their cage with a harsh chemical.
- Budgies require your time. Sure – a large flock will probably amuse themselves and mostly interact with each other, but a single budgie will need your time every day. They are social creatures and need you to play with them. Quality time is spent through various enrichments, or just watching tv together, but it has to be pretty much every day. If your budgie lives in your bedroom and you are gone 12 hours a day at work or school, you may have a very sad pet indeed. If you don’t have time to hang most days of the week then budgies are probably not for you.
Well, there we have it. Ten things to consider strongly before you embark on budgie ownership, which is a commitment of 5-15 years, by the way, although I wouldn’t put a long lifespan on a list of cons!
Speaking of which, now that we’ve got the reasons budgies make bad pets out of the way, check out my post on reasons budgies make great pets as a counterpoint.