The starting point for all budgie tricks is trust, and the key to success is treats! Once a budgie has been hand-tamed and is happy to perch on your finger outside the cage, you can take it a step further and introduce some fun challenges. Make sure you have a sprig of millet or your pet’s favourite vegetable snack handy!
Snakes and Ladders
For this, you need a small raised platform, with a ladder leading on one side and a slide on the other.
The ‘ladder’ part of the trick is simple: place the budgie at the foot of the ladder, and offer the treat at the top. As the bird climbs up, use a command such as ‘Up the ladder!’ After a while, you will be able to place the budgie further from the foot of the ladder.
For the ‘snakes’ part of the trick, the budgie will scoot down the slide, and once again the millet or other treat is the key. Place it at the foot of the slide, and be patient. It’s very likely that, being such a smart bird, the budgie will fly to the treat without using the slide. If this happens, hide the treat, and start again.
The budgie will soon realise that the slide is the key to the treat. Once the bird is on the slide, say ‘Down the snake!’ You can then extend the ladder and the ‘snake’, if you wish.
If you put a table tennis ball in your budgie’s cage, the bird will soon be playing with it, ‘dribbling’ the ball with its beak. Outside the cage, this can be turned into a human-versus-budgie football game. Gently roll the ball towards the budgie, and the bird will instinctively ‘save’ the ball. Include a goal mouth, and your budgie is transformed into a goalkeeper.
Set up another goal mouth a metre away from the budgie, and see if the budgie manages to score a goal as it taps the ball forward with its beak. Once the ball is between the goalposts, say something like ‘Goal!’, and offer a treat. The bird will soon learn to hone its beak-dribbling skills in order to score those treats!
The Great Escape
The aim here is to get your budgie to negotiate a short tunnel. It won’t be tunnelling its way to freedom, though, just to a tasty treat!
To begin with, use a piece of cardboard with a large hole cut into it, or a large plastic ring. Call the budgie, offering a treat on the other side of the hole. As the bird hops through, speak your chosen command words – something like ‘Let’s tunnel!’ Once the trick is going well, swap the hole for small sections of plastic or cardboard pipe, with a narrower hole/tunnel as time passes. Eventually, you will be able to call your budgie to make his Great Escape through something with the thickness and length of a kitchen towel tube.
This one takes a little time to get right, but once again the budgie’s intelligence wins through in the end. The goal here is to teach your bird to pick up an object, bring it to you, and drop it into your hand.
To begin with, get the budgie to perch on your hand, and offer a shiny object such as a button or paperclip. When the budgie takes it in its beak, say ‘Fetch!’ When it drops the object, say ‘Drop it!’, and if it lands in your hand, offer a treat.
Once this has been mastered, place the object away from your hand, and say ‘Fetch!’ when the budgie picks it up. Bring your hand close, ready to catch the object when it falls. Over time, this will develop into a routine in which the budgie picks up an object, runs back with it, and places it in your hand for a treat.
The thing that all these tricks have in common is that the budgie will love performing them. If they don’t want to take part, they won’t, simple as that. This means there’s no pressure, no forcing the issue. It’s just fun all the way, for budgie and owner alike. Trust and treats – that’s the key!
This entry was posted in Budgies
The budgie is the world’s most popular pet bird. When the first specimens were brought to Europe from Australia in the 1840s they were an instant hit. The reasons for their popularity are clear to anyone who has spent time in the company of these wonderful little birds. They are pocket-sized parrots, with all the personality of their bigger cousins – clever, colourful, and with the seemingly magical ability to learn human words… sometimes!
1. Budgies don’t require much
Budgerigars are also easy to look after, and being small birds they have modest appetites, so they’re an inexpensive addition to the home. Their diet is based on seed, and as long as you source a good mix, without added colours or chemicals, the birds will thrive. They will also enjoy some fresh greens and other vegetables, but only in small quantities.
This reflects the birds diet in the wilds of Australia. They gather in large feeding flocks and seek out grass seeds. Most of these are fresh, of course, and in captivity the seed should be as fresh as possible too.
In terms of equipment, a good cage and basic accessories are all you need. You can give them simple things to play with, too, like ping-pong balls and bells. All very cheap, and incredibly cheerful.
2. Budgies Have Fantastic Personalities
Beautiful as a pet canary or finch may be, you can’t train them beyond the basic perching-on-a-finger level. Budgies, however, can take on board an amazing variety of skills, from coming to your hand when you call, to negotiating tunnels, skateboarding, and manoeuvring a ball around obstacles.
The key to these skills lies in bonding with your budgie. It’s more than simply taming – it’s a human and bird friendship, the kind of connection you can only form with an intelligent animal. Budgies are not alone in this, of course – the whole parrot family is renowned for its grey matter. But in a bird as small as a budgie, intelligence appears even more remarkable.
3. Budgies Can Talk To You!
Budgies talk, pretty much all day, with various moods that you soon come to recognise. Not all the ‘talking’ consists of recognisable words – in fact many, if not most birds, never master human words. But it doesn’t really matter. It’s great fun if your bird takes on board a few words and phrases, but even without them budgie sounds are a source of great pleasure.
Female budgies are less inclined to speak than males. Of these, around half may pick up human words. They have more chance of learning if you start teaching them in their first nine months. Some require lots of time and effort, while others seem to soak up words with relative ease. Talk-time tends to be after a good feed or a spot of exercise. The budgie will settle on his favourite perch and begin to chatter. The bubbling, clicking, whistling babble of speech sounds voice-like even when there are no human words in the mix. It’s a lovely, soothing backdrop to the day.
4. Budgies Don’t Like Vets!
In other words, budgerigars are generally very healthy and robust birds. As long as they have a super-healthy diet and a clean environment (cages should be spruced-up once a fortnight), they will be strangers to the vet.
Budgies also let you know on those rare occasions when they’re not feeling well. They will stop chattering non-stop, will sleep during the day, and will look sad and ‘droopy’ on their perch. Because, of course, there are potential illnesses, as there are with any animal. Give them a daily visual check – if they’re looking as happy and chirpy as usual, all is well. If you have any doubts, run through our checklist of possible problems, and have a word with a vet. Chances are they will never have met your budgie before!
5. Budgies Come in Endless Colour Patterns
Although there are just three basic colour combinations – green and yellow, blue and white, or a mixture of these – the variety of patterns within this mix is incredible. In some birds the white dominates, with other colours bursting through like flowers in a snowy meadow. Some birds have striking primary colours, while others have pastels, sometimes fading to just a hint of translucent colour. There are all-yellow budgies, all-white ones, birds patterned in just greys and blacks, and, of course, classic green and yellow budgies looking exactly like their Australian wild cousins.
Whichever variety of budgie you bring home, you are guaranteed a bird packed with enough personality to fill a dozen birds twice its size. And this will be a long-lasting friendship, as a healthy and well fed budgie can live up to 15 years. Enjoy your time together!
This entry was posted in Budgies
It’s a dusty business being a pet bird, in a world of sawdust, seed husks and the dry atmosphere of the great indoors. The dust gets lodged at the base of the feathers, and the skin starts to get itchy. This is why most birds absolutely love taking a wet bath.
This doesn’t apply to all species, though. Every chicken keeper know how much their hens love a good dust bath – making things drier and dustier than ever. You may also notice wild birds such as blackbirds and sparrows dust-bathing too.
Many birds happily mix and match these two different bathing techniques. But in general, it is thought that the preference for one method over the other depends on where the birds originate. Land-based birds with access to water tend to bathe in it; while those in more arid habitats favour dust-bathing. The dust helps maintain the correct oil balance on the bird’s feathers, and also deters parasites such as lice.
When a bird mixes and matches, it is both cleaning itself (with the water) and then de-lousing (with the dust).
During hot weather, budgies may take a dip several times a day, given the chance. Their bath can be fixed inside the cage, or can simply be a shallow bowl on the ground outside the cage. Keeping the bath external to the cage helps keep things dry and tidy. There’s a lot of flapping and splashing involved in bathing if you’re all hot and bothered and covered in feathers!
The bath serves at least three purposes. It helps the birds get clean; it helps them cool off; and it provides a lot of fun. Some birds can’t get enough of it; and yet some owners report that their bird baths are never used. This lack of appeal is a bit of a mystery. Given the chance, most budgies relish the chance to splash around, and will use their drinking water as a mini-bath, if possible. Some, however, never get the bath bug. This is probably due to early exposure – if a bird hasn’t been given the opportunity to enjoy a soak during its first nine months, it may never acquire the taste.
An unbathed bird isn’t a problem – the budgie will still preen and ruffle its feathers to clean itself of dust, and it certainly won’t become smelly.
Budgies – most of them – also enjoy what is known as a ‘bird shower’: bunches of edible greens and herbs freshly dipped in water. These act like a budgie carwash, and the bird will enjoy rubbing and rolling in the moisture before shaking itself dry – and probably taking a bite or two from the shower to round things off!
Everything that applies to budgie baths applies to finch baths too. Always make sure the ‘bath tub’ is secure – either fixed to the cage, or broad-bottomed so that it cannot be tipped over. Finches tend to be a bit nervous, and a wobbly bath will shake their confidence.
Some species, notably the canary, also love a spray-shower. Tepid-to-lukewarm water in a mister-spray is their version of a luxury spa session. Once your bird is hand-tamed, introduce the spray and see how the finch reacts. If it becomes scared, don’t continue, but try again later. In 90% of cases, your pet will come to love this form of pampering.
Like budgies, most larger parrots enjoy the opportunity to bathe. The water is thought to fulfil several different purposes, from cleaning the feathers and softening up dried-on dirt for easier removal, to assisting moulting and helping the respiratory system.
Many parrots enjoy the spray-mist shower too, and some of the large species even acquire the taste for joining their owners in the shower room! This is not without its hazards, though. Parrots’ respiratory systems are sensitive to chemicals found in tap water, such as chlorine and fluorine. If your parrot is to be your shower companion, you will need to fit a shower filter that removes these chemicals
A wide dish is a more conventional bath for a parrot, though. The birds will use the dish for drinking as well as bathing, but that’s fine.
General Bird Bath Rules
Whatever type of birds you keep, their bath will become dirty very quickly, and the water will need replacing at least once a day. Many owners impose bath time on their birds, only introducing the water at certain times. In smaller cage set ups this is the best method, as it avoids everything getting very wet very quickly, and staying that way.
In a larger aviary, the bath is usually installed as a permanent cage feature. It’s always interesting to see which of the birds become ‘bath addicts’, and which ones prefer a quick preen-and-shake, no water required!
Whatever your set up, always make sure the water is at room (or ambient air) temperature. Allow cold tap water to cool first – a bird that takes a cold dip may suffer shock to the system and become ill.
Above all, bath time is fun – both for the bird, and as a spectator sport!
This entry was posted in Budgies
What do you need from a bird cage?
The main thing is to give your budgies and finches a space in which they can happily do what a bird has to do – eat, sleep, fly, perch, and chill out.
So, your check list might read something like this:
- Full flying access to the entire cage
- Fantastic feeding station
- Lots of perches and usable ‘corners’ for taking time out
- Easy access to and from the cage
- Fantastic design that makes it a standout feature in the room.
And that pretty much summarises the new Geo – the first great leap forward in cage design for 100 years.
The Geo Bird Cage for Budgies, Finches and Canaries
Until the arrival of the Geo, bird cages hadn’t changed much since the early 20th century.
But why did we need another innovation in cage design, you may ask? For the simple reason that when keeping a pet, its welfare and happiness are the top priorities.
So, with this in mind, could the old, rectangular-type standard bird cage be improved upon?
The answer is yes – and then some!
The unique geodesic-dome shape of the Geo, and its central feeding station, are the stand-out features. To explain how we got there, let’s take a brief sprint through previous approaches to cage design.
Bird Cages – from Small Cells to Big Sales
Bird cages have a long history, and their basic shape and function has evolved over the years.
In the beginning a cage was simply a cell in which the feathered inmate – usually a finch, bunting or starling – was expected to sing its little heart out. These small cages were made from wicker or other light, pliable wood. By the 1830s cages were being made from metal and wire. The basic design remained bell-shaped (the kind of thing seen in Tweety Pie cartoons).
This design lingered into the later 19th century when keeping birds as pets underwent a huge surge in popularity, with budgies becoming the pet bird of choice for many. The cages were often ornate, but the emphasis was on decoration, rather than keeping the birds happy. These cages were all height and no width, usually.
By the early 20th century, rectangular, wider bird cages were mass produced – the kinds of things still sold as the standard finch or budgie cage in most pet shops. Design was, at last, part of the overall concept – seed trays that slot into the cage sides, water bottles that attach via clips, better, wider doors, removable bases for easy cleaning.
With a wide range of cage sizes, it meant you could ensure that the dimensions were right for the number of birds you owned. So what was left improve – why do we need the Geo?
Why the Geo Cage is Better for Pet Birds
The geodesic dome shape of the Geo cage provides the ideal dimensions for birds to move around in. When flapping and flying in a rectangular cage, birds don’t have much front-to-back space – the flying area is limited to the length of the cage. Also, birds cannot negotiate 90 degree corners: these are dead space when it comes to flying.
So, if you were to map the total usable flying area, you might be surprised to find that in a standard rectangular cage of 90x60x40cm (220,000 cubic centimetres) a budgie or finch can only make use of one tenth of the area for flying.
In contrast, the Geo’s 62x60x60cm (223,200 cubic centimetres) is nearly ALL flying space. There are no front-to-back limited space issues, and no right-angled corners to prevent a bird stretching its wings.
Birds are happier if they can fly outside the cage
In any indoor cage, a bird is only able to fly in a limited space. Ideally, all pet birds should be allowed to free-fly in the room – and we have advice on making this a safe and happy pastime in our Omlet Budgie Guide.
The Geo makes free-flying a breeze – it has two wide doors allowing your birds easy access to and from the cage.
Do birds need corners to hide in if they’re startled or afraid of something?
Yes and no. It’s more about the position of the cage. If the birds are in the middle of a room completely surrounded by activity they will have nowhere to hide if they’re feeling nervous. That’s why a cage – including the Geo – should be close to a wall or a corner of the room if possible.
Also, the Geo does have corners – lots and lots of them, just not the right-angled corners of a standard cage. You’ll still find your birds using these multiple corners to rest and take stock.
Looking good, feeling good
The Geo’s marriage of great looks and ultimate bird-friendly design set it apart from anything else available.
One of the most eye-catching features is its central feeding station. It’s a joy to watch birds gather together and feed, and the Geo has an extra bonus in that most of the discarded husks and dropped seeds fall into the feeding station’s hopper for easy cleaning.
The rounded shape of the Geo – not circular, but a collection of many flat sides – makes it a striking feature in the room. But, most importantly, it’s a striking feature that doubles as the perfect environment for your pet budgies and inches.
This entry was posted in Budgies
Budgies make wonderful pets. Not only will their beautiful plumage brighten up any room, they are also very intelligent and sociable, and will develop strong bonds with their owners. Like with all pets however, they come with responsibilities, and it is now your job to make sure they stay healthy and happy. Here are the most important things to think about if you’re new to budgie keeping:
FOOD AND WATER
Try giving your budgies the nutritional equivalent of what they would eat in the wild. The basis of their diet should be a good quality seed mix, and they should always have access to water and a cuttlefish bone. Leafy greens and herbs provide vitamins and minerals, and can be given a few times a week. Only feed your budgie fruits once a week, as they are high in sugar. Food and water containers must be refilled every day, and washed a few times a week.
Twice a year your budgies will moult, and their plumage will gradually fall out and grow back. To help them keep healthy during this time it’s important that the budgies get extra moulting vitamins in their water.
Like most pets, budgies prefer clear routines in their lives. Try feeding and letting them out of the cage around the same time every day, and if you want to put a cover over the cage at night time, it’s best to do this every day. This way the budgies will know what’s happening around them and feel comfortable in your presence, which will minimise stress and anxiety.
Budgies are very sociable creatures, and it’s always best to keep them as a pair, preferably two siblings of the same sex who are used to living together. If you just want one budgie, you will need to act as its friend and companion, and spend a lot of time together with your pet.
Most budgies like to bathe. In the wild the main purpose of the bath would be to clear dust and sand from their feathers and to cool off, and even if your budgies probably won’t have these daily requirements, they will enjoy splashing around in the water. You don’t have to have a bath in the cage, instead you can put a bowl of water somewhere in the room where the budgies are flying, but if you do it’s important to change the water as soon as it gets dirty. If your pet doesn’t seem interested, an alternative to bath time is a budgie shower. Hang some wet leaves (lettuce, basil and parsley are favourites) in the cage, and watch your budgie run through them.
The budgies should be offered the opportunity to fly freely (but supervised) outside the cage every day, at least 45 minutes, but ideally a few hours. Make sure the room is budgie proofed before your let your pets out. Close windows and doors, block off fireplaces, turn off fans and air conditioners and keep other pets out of the room. Budgies are intelligent, very sociable and active birds who will enjoy spending time with you and the rest of the family.
Check the cage weekly to see that everything is in place and nothing has broken. Perches must be kept clean and fully functioning. Toys are great for mental stimulation, they encourage physical exercise and wear the beak down. Change the toys every now and then to keep your budgie interested. You don’t have to buy new toys all the time, but rotate the ones you’ve got regularly and throw in a new one every now and again.
Budgies’ beaks and nails grow constantly throughout their lives, so it is important that they have access to toys to grind them down. In most cases you will have to trim the nails when they get too long, so make sure to purchase a pair of clippers suited for the task.
Budgies, like other pack animals, are very good at hiding pain and illness, so it’s important to give your pet regular health checks. When you get to know your budgie, it’ll be easier to spot irregular behaviours.
Normal signs of illness include changes in weight, discoloured feathers, reduced interaction with humans and toys, scabby nostrils and missing feathers around the eyes. Another way of spotting early signs of illness is to regularly check your budgie’s droppings. The disposable paper liners in the Geo bird cage makes it easy to monitor your pet’s health. When you do your weekly clean, check the amount, colour and texture of the droppings. They can vary somewhat depending on what your budgie has been eating, but all faeces should be firm, and the urine part transparent and clear. If you notice clear changes, or have other reasons to suspect that your budgie might be ill or in pain, contact your vet as soon as possible. Make sure to find a vet that specialises in small animals, ideally as soon as you take the budgie home, so you know who to contact if something goes wrong.
If you need more information, check out the section on budgie illnesses in our guide.
This entry was posted in Budgies
Finally there is a budgie cage as good looking as the budgies
The revolutionary NEW Geo Bird Cage from Omlet is a breathtaking, contemporary design that redefines what a pet bird’s habitat can and should be. The geodesic shape defines a light and spacious habitat for your birds, creating the perfect environment to reveal their natural beauty.
Rigorous design and testing have refined the Geo Bird Cage into a final form that has nothing superfluous but leaves nothing out.
Simon Nicholls, Omlet’s Head of Design said “The inspiration for the Geo Bird Cage came from a really amazing polymath called Buckminster Fuller, who pioneered geodesic domes in the 50’s. Once we had the form we developed over 60 prototypes to ensure that every aspect was optimised for both the bird and the owner. I couldn’t be prouder of the finished product.”
A good example of the care and attention to detail throughout the Geo is the central feeder. A delight for both owner and budgie to use, it’s also a remarkable piece of engineering. It intelligently catches any dropped husks and seeds in a hopper making this the cleanest bird cage of its kind.
Pet birds are the 4th most popular pet in UK households according to the annual PFMA report. Budgies have long been a favourite with children, parents and grandparents as they enjoy human company and can be easily trained to land on your hand and can even learn to speak. With Omlet’s latest innovation, keeping budgies is easier, cleaner and better looking than ever before!
Available in a choice of teal and cream base colours, the Geo Bird Cage can be further customised with a choice of two stand heights. Made from solid bamboo, the stand elevates your Geo Bird Cage to either coffee table level or higher. No other small bird cage creates such a captivating centrepiece for your home.
The Constellation Geo Bird Cage Cover is typical of the kind of thoughtful touches pet owners have come to expect from Omlet. Decorated on the inside with a map of the stars, when it’s placed over the Geo at night, budgies can try to spot Orion, Ursa Major and maybe even a shooting star before they nod off to sleep!
The Geo Bird Cage is available exclusively at Omlet, from £99!
This entry was posted in Budgies
Budgies make great pets. They’re easy to look after, intelligent, easily trained, and small enough not to eat you out of house and home or demand lots of space.
Because of the easy availability of budgies, it’s tempting to simply nip to the nearest pet store, bring one home, and take it from there. However, it’s worth answering a few questions first, to make sure you’re making the right choice, buying from the best place, and bringing the budgie home at the ideal time.
The best place to source a budgie is from a local breeder. They will know the bird’s pedigree (and may even be able to introduce you to your new pet’s parents!) They will also know the exact age of your budgie, and will be able to give you details of the variety of bird you are getting. This won’t make any difference to looking after it, but will help you understand exactly why your pet has a particular colour or pattern – e.g. Opaline, Spangle, Skyblue, Texas, Yellow Face, Frilled, or a dozen other varieties.
Check online of in a local directory for a list of local budgie breeders. The closer to home the better, as it’s best to minimise car journeys when bringing new birds home.
A good pet shop is the second best option. The budgies here will usually be healthy, but the shop will not have bred the birds itself, and so will not usually have full background knowledge of each individual. They may also be a little vague about the age of the pets they have on sale. Shop birds are often relatively old, and a bit set in their ways. This makes them more difficult to hand-tame.
Budgies needs a suitable space in the home, away from direct sunlight, draughts, steamy kitchens, scary dogs and cats, screaming children and bright lights. They also need a cage of a suitable size, equipped with all budgie mod cons. The geodesic Geo bird cage makes a perfect home for all small birds, including budgies.
When to Buy?
A budgie should not be brought home before it has passed the eight-week mark, and ideally it should be no older than 16 weeks. Young birds are much easier to hand-tame and train, and young males have a better chance of becoming talking budgies.
Older birds, especially ones that have lived in a cage with other budgies for a long time, tend to be less trusting of humans and therefore more difficult to train. However, an older budgie that has already had experience of perching on human hands will make the transition easily, regardless of its age.
You can check the age of the bird yourself, using a simple visual clue. Young budgies have horizontal stripes across their heads, including the forehead. These disappear after the bird’s first moult, (three to four months after hatching). So, any bird with a barring pattern on the head will be less than 16 weeks old.
As for your own part in the ‘when?’ question, bring your new budgie home at a time of relative peace and quiet. Renovations, house moves and long holidays are not good times to buy a new pet!
All budgies are beautiful, whatever their age, gender, colour or coat pattern. It’s best not be dazzled by colour. Sometimes you’ll see a budgie with unusual or colourful plumage and think ‘That’s the one!’ But there are more important factors to consider, such as age, personality, and gender.
Ideally, you want a young, confident bird. An older budgie will take more time hand-taming; a shy one is likely to remain shy and flighty; and a female bird is not going to talk (if that’s something that’s important for you as a budgie keeper – although bear in mind that no budgie is guaranteed to learn how to talk).
This is a deceptively simple question. Why do you want a budgie? Is it for you, for the children, as a companion for an existing bird, or a replacement for a budgie that has passed away?
All pets require our time, and budgies are no exception. They should never be purchased simply to make a house look prettier, but should be considered as friends and companions.
Children don’t make good budgie keepers – at least, not if they are under the age of 10. Birds are very fragile, and easy to injure or frighten. They also require regular and reliable care, in terms of feeding and cleaning.
It may sound like a good idea to buy your lonely budgie a new friend, but the birds won’t always automatically hit it off. The newcomer will often end up bullied and unhappy, and you may need to separate them. This is less of an issue if you have a larger aviary, with plenty of space for a new bird to find his feet, to hide if necessary, and to gradually work out his place in the hierarchy.
It’s not all pros – there are cons too, as with any pet. Budgies, although not in the same league as cockatiels and larger members of the parrot family, are still noisier than the average finch or canary. They mix their musical bubbling chatter with squawks that can become very grating.
If the squawking goes on and on, it usually means the bird is unhappy with something in its cage or in the immediate environment. Make sure there are no drafts, ensure that the bird is not trapped in sunlight without shade, make sure the food tray and water dispenser are topped up, and keep other pets out of the room.
Then there’s the mess. Budgies manage to scatter seed husks over the floor, and at moulting time the slightest breeze will send handfuls of downy feathers floating to the ground. They’re not super messy, but obsessively tidy owners may start to get twitchy! By purchasing a cleverly designed cage, like the Geo, you will minimise the spill from the budgie flapping wings.
If you’ve considered these basic questions and decided to go ahead and buy a budgie, the rest is plain sailing and many years of happy companionship with your feathered friend.
This entry was posted in Budgies