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How To Choose a Right Budgie

How to Choose a Good Budgie
Now that you know a little more about the history of birdkeeping and about the parakeet, you'll need to know how to select the healthy, happy parakeet who is the right pet for you. You'll need to think about whether you want a single bird or a pair, and whether a male or a female is right for you.
How To Choose a Right Budgie
How To Choose a Right Budgie

Where Will You Get Your Parakeet:

There are several ways you can get a parakeet, including classified newspaper advertisements, bird shows and marts, and pet stores. Let's look at the pros and cons of each in detail.

Classified Ads:

Classified ads are usually placed by private parties who want to sell pet birds. If the advertiser offers young birds, it is likely to be a private breeder who wants to place a few birds in good homes.
 Baby parakeets have a series of stripes that cover their heads and necks (the stripes remain on the back of the birds' necks following the first molt). Young birds have small, slightly elongated spots on their face masks, while adults have large, round spots. Youngsters have large, dark eyes that give them particularly endearing looks, while adult birds have well-developed white irises. Baby parakeets may also have dark or slightly black beaks.
 Some breeders may also offer older birds for sale from time to time. These are most likely breeder birds who are too old to produce chicks but who are still good candidates for pet homes.
 Bird Shows and Marts Shows and marts offer bird breeders and bird buyers an opportunity to get together to share a love for birds. Bird shows can provide prospective bird owners with the chance to see many different types of birds all in one place (usually far more than many pet shops keep at a time), which can help you narrow your choices if you're undecided about which species to keep. At a bird mart, various species of birds and a wide variety of birdkeeping supplies are offered for sale, so you can go and shop to your heart's content.

Pet Stores:

Pet stores can be a good place to buy a parakeet, but you must do some checking first. You'll need to visit the store and make sure it's clean and well kept.
 Walk around a bit. Are the floors clean? Do the cages look and smell as if they're cleaned regularly? Do the animals in the cages appear alert, well fed, and healthy? Do the cages appear crowded or do the animals inside have some room to move around?
 Did someone greet you when you walked into the store? Is the store staff friendly? Remember that you will be visiting a pet store every week or two to buy food, toys, and other items for your parakeet, so choose a store with friendly, helpful people behind the counter.
 Find out what the staff does to keep their birds healthy. Do they ask you to wash your hands with a mild disinfectant before handling their birds or between birds? If they do, don't balk at the request. This is for the health of the birds and it indicates that the store is concerned about keeping its livestock healthy.
 Buying a healthy bird is much easier and more enjoyable than purchasing a pet with health problems, so look for a caring store and follow the rules. If something about the store, staff, or birds doesn't feel quite right, take your business elsewhere. If the store and its birds meet with your approval, then it's
time to get down to the all-important task of selecting your parakeet.

Choosing the Right Parakeet:

Look at the parakeets that are available. If possible, sit down and watch them for a while. Don't rush this important step. Do some seem bolder than the others?
Consider those first, because you want a curious, active, robust pet, rather than a shy animal who hides in a corner. Are other parakeets sitting off by themselves, seeming to sleep while their cagemates play? Reject any birds who seem too quiet or too sleepy, because these can be signs of illness. Remember that healthy birds spend their time doing three main things eating, playing, and sleeping in about equal amounts of time. If you notice that a bird seems to want only to sleep, for instance, reject that bird in favor of another whose routine seems more balanced.
 You may think saving a small, picked-upon parakeet from his cagemates seems like the right thing to do, but please resist this urge. You want a strong, healthy, spirited bird, rather than the “runt of the litter.” Although it sounds hard-hearted, automatically reject any birds who are being bullied, are timid, hide in a corner, or shy away from you. It will save you some heartache later.
 If possible, let your parakeet choose you. Many pet stores display their parakeets in colony situations on playgyms, or a breeder may bring out a clutch of babies for you to look at. If one bird waddles right up to you and wants to play, or if one comes over to check you out and just seems to want to come home with you, that's the bird for you!

Male or Female:

You may be asking, "Should I get a male or a female parakeet?" Although males may be slightly better talkers, I'd encourage you to get a young, healthy bird of either sex and enjoy. your companion for his or her full pet potential. If you have your heart set on an older bird, males generally have blue ceres (the bare patch of skin over the parakeet's beak), while females ceres are brownish. Don't try
this sexing test on a young bird, because cere color develops as a bird matures.

One or Two:

Another question you may have (especially if you have a busy schedule) is, "Should I get one bird or two"  Single parakeets generally make more affectionate pets, because you and your family become the bird's substitute "flock", But a pair of parakeets can be pretty entertaining as they encourage each other into all sorts of avian mischief. And if you are away from home all day every day, your two birds will keep each other company.

Signs of Good Health:
Here are some of the signs that a parakeet is healthy. Keep them in mind when you are selecting your pet:
* Bright eyes.
* A clean cere (the area above the bird's beak that covers his nares, or nostrils).
* Clean legs and vent.
* Smooth feathers.
* Upright posture.
* A full-chested appearance.
* Bird is actively moving around the cage.
* Good appetite.

One small drawback of owning two pet parakeets is that they may have a tendency to chase each other around the cage, playfully tugging on one another's tail feathers. Sometimes these feathers come out, leaving you with two considerably shorter parakeets until the next set of tail feathers grows in. If you have a pair of birds who suddenly become tailless, check the cage bottom for the feathers and watch your birds to see if they do, indeed, chase and pester each other. If so, you have nothing to worry about. If not, please alert your avian veterinarian to the problem and ask for further guidance.
 Two birds are also less likely to learn to talk, because they can chatter to each other in parakeet rather than learning the language of their substitute "flock".
 If you do not bring both birds home at the same time, there is a possibility of territorial behavior on the part of the original bird. This territorial behavior can include bullying the newcomer and keeping him away from food and water dishes to the point that the new bird cannot eat or drink.
 To avoid this problem, house the birds in separate cages and supervise all their interactions. Let the birds out together on a neutral playgym and watch how they act with one another. If they seem to get along, you can move their cages closer together so they can become accustomed to being close. Some birds will adjust to having other birds share their cages, while others prefer to remain alone in their cages with other birds nearby.
 By the same token, don't try to put a new parakeet into the cage of a bird you already own, and don't house parakeets with other small birds, such as finches, canaries, cockatiels, or lovebirds. Parakeets may bully finches and canaries, keeping them away from food and water bowls, while cockatiels and lovebirds may bully parakeets. To keep peace in your avian family, make sure every bird has his own
cage, food, and water bowls. Some parakeets will get along with other birds during supervised time on a playgym, while others do not work and play well with others and enjoy being the only pets out on the gym.

Bringing Your Parakeet Home:

Although you will probably want to start playing with your new parakeet the minute you bring him home, please resist this temptation. Your pet will need some time to adjust to his new environment, so be patient. Instead, spend the time talking quietly to your new pet, and use his name frequently while you're talking. Move slowly around your parakeet for the first few days to avoid startling him. You will be able to tell when your new pet has settled into his routine. By observation, you will soon recognize your parakeet's routine and know what is normal. You may also notice that your bird fluffs or shakes his feathers to greet you, or that he chirps a greeting when you uncover his cage in the morning. If your parakeet learns to talk, he may eventually greet you with a cheery "hello" or "good morning" as you uncover his cage.

Quarantine:

If you have other birds in your home, you will want to quarantine your parakeet for at least thirty days to ensure he doesn't have any diseases that your other birds could catch. To do this, keep your new parakeet as far away from your other birds as possible, preferably in a separate room. Feed your newly arrived parakeet after you feed your other birds, and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling or playing with your new pet. Quarantine is usually just a precautionary
measure, but you can't be too safe when your pets health is involved!

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