Budgies; the colourful clowns of cageland.
Budgies are actually pests in some parts of the world, where they swarm in huge numbers, damaging crops as they migrate around their territory. To blame are the feral birds that managed to survive long enough to find sanctuary in a flock, there to breed like the flying mice they are. In general, a budgie's bright colours, noisy habits and general inability to fly well enough after a life in a cage, means they do not survive. Every other territorial bird it encounters, will bully it, and every predator wants to taste the brightly advertised snack. When you are running all the time, there is no time to eat and rest, and you will soon die. Don't release unwanted birds, even if the poor thing survives, it will only end up being a pestilence for some farmer.
That said, budgies are small agile birds that can get enough exercise in a relatively small cage. At Greenpets, relatively small means you can't walk in upright carrying two buckets without bumping anything. Relatively small is where you keep something you plan to provide with proper habitat sooner than later. Relatively big, on the other hand, can mean anything more spacious than the tiny wire jail they sold you your pet in. Sometimes just opening the cage and letting the poor thing fly around a bit makes me feel better already. One has to be careful though, sometimes the animal you want to teach some love, was taught some serious fear and hatred when young. Budgies are like that. Some allow you to handle them, especially the ones who know you from birth. New arrivals tend to visciously knaw on your fingers. They are quite strong biters, budgies are.
In general, budgies are very easy to keep, and with a bit of proper interest, you can keep them healthy and happy quite cheaply. See further down this page for all sorts of interesting things you can feed your budgie, you might be surprised to know where so-called budgie seed comes from. No, budgies are colourful all by themselves, they don't bloom and form seed, silly.
Budgies breed easily enough if the conditions are right, and you can run out of space very quickly once they get going. Like mice, comparitively speaking, when compared to, for example, the rare Agnodusian Eagle that lays one egg every leap year provided April first is a Sunday. Go see the page on breeding, it should tell you enough to get going. Which brings me to that part of the article we all dread: the neverending bitching about Natural Living and all that. Right now, 2017, in Gauteng, you will find budgies for sale all over, but they are starting to show serious signs of inbreeding. I was made aware some fifteen or twenty years ago that a chap from Lenazia decided to corner the budgie market in Gauteng. He went around buying up every budgie he could find, and selling back into circulation only males.
I am told he made some pretty moolah by monopolising the entire budgie trade, but now Gauteng's budgies are so inbred, we sit with four grey budgies, and five yellow ones, of which two are albinos. Yellow budgies are rare but not strange, albinos on the other hand... Add to that the more frequent appearance of assymetry, disturbed feather arrangements, beak deformities... Gauteng's budgies are in trouble, and we at Greenpets plan to do something. To start with, we offer a budgie exchange. We have had very few takers so far, admittedly, it sounds weird that we would swop you for another budgie that looks nearly identical, but as we get budgies in from further and further away, we are surer and surer to find fresh blood. Unlike the Sultan of Crippled Budgies, we are not trying to get rich, we are trying to help a species being bred into disease and failure by people who insist on profit no matter what damage they leave behind.
Support the Greenpets Budgie Genome Diversification Programme. No, that is just a thought-up name, trying to sound impressive and knowledgeable when all we want is for budgies and people to feel free again.
Newly born males may confuse you until their nostrils harden and starts discolouring. And there you have the single factor needed to sex your badgie: Males have darkened, blue to grey purple nostrils. There is a word for those nostril growths, you know? Anyway, females remain sort of pinkish cream all their life, and males become dark. That's it, you don't even have to open the cage. I must still see how this translates for the albino yellow ones...
Breeding Budgies is easy enough.
First, make sure you have a proper breeding pair. This means you did not buy them from the same shop, in the same city or even anywhere in your province. Chances are you are buying brother and sister, or at the very best a great granddaughter and her late uncle's twice removed nephew who mated with auntie who got bred from her own middle brother. See the budgie introductory moan about inbreeding and bad budgie blood in Gauteng, and please don't join the monetised march to budgie martyrdom. ...Or any other get-rich-quick breeding scheme you have bubbling in your noggin. On the other hand, almost two percent of new humans are autistic, so poisoned blood is fashion. Don't do it, dear humane human, if you think the money is worth the pain, then
Budgie Communication is classic Bimbo Yoohoo
No, really, budgies chirp chirp chirp, but it seemingly never changes. This implies there are sounds modulated onto that chirp we cannot hear, or that repetitive chirp actually has variety, only it is so subtle or fast we cannot distinguish a change. If they talk, I don't hear it.
Budgies do have a rather rich body language. Probably the first one you will spot is face-knawing. It looks like they are kissing, but there seems to be an element of intimidation too. Fighting males will also bite at the face, but they also pull feathers, sit on the opponent, push him up and down a perch. Wherever the poor thing wants to sit, is never good enough for the bully. The fighting is always about
Budgies make their own seed, therefor: Budgie seed.
Actually, there is no such thing as budgie seed. What the shop sells you, is a mixture of millets, oats and sometimes other small seeds. Budgies will eat any seed they can open up. You can collect the seeds from grasses and ribwort and sesame and sunflower, and oat grass, and finger millet, and all the other things growing where lawnmowers have not destroyed all. Any seed small enough will do, even evening primrose, cabbage seeds, mustard, dang, they eat like mice.
Some budgies even nibble on fruit, but I don't see them get as excited as when I, for example, bring a handfull of chickweed, or smutsgrass, or quickweed, carrot tops, soft green grasses, thistle flowers, anything soft and juicy, but NEVER FEED ROOTS TO BIRDS. Too many are poisonous to birds. Think Naturally now; how many birds have you seen dig after roots? Me neither. Dig for worms, yes, even bugs or small animals, but not roots. Yah, sure, quote me the rare and almost extinct Booligordian Carrot Cockatoo, that eats only beetroot. Bet you don't have one in your cage. If I had one, I would plant beetroot all over. But for now I stick to small seeds, soft greens and lots of fresh water with a small crystal of Aloe Ferox in the water. It turns the water brown eventually, but sometimes a stir helps to disolve it. All birds seem to have immediate benefit from this. In a small cage with limited variety of food, one of those mineral blocks they sell you at the merchant in innocent life is essential. If you are too lazy to harvest fresh food for your budgie, at least buy him something to nibble on for minerals. We at Greenpets much prefer the fresh greens way. It is Natural Rearing with Naturally Raw! food to support a Natural Living health conciousness. That's the Greenpets way. Go see the GREENPETS HERBAL for more edible greens to feed your birds.
Budgies are birds. With wings.
Birds fly high and wide, looking for food, shelter, mates. They must surely adore the effort you put into choosing the right plastic mirror for their wire shoebox jail. As said earlier, just setting the poor thing free does not absolve you of responsibility for the life you have bought and now claim mastership of. If you do not have the time to spend with an animal so it learns to share your space freely, why did you buy it? To prove you can afford it? Because it was sooo pretty? Well, congratulations, you afforded acquiring that beautiful, innocent life, now care for it. If you cannot share your habitat with it, either