There are 14 bars in the cage in different positions. This enables the budgies
to move around and chase one another and gives a lot of exercise, especially if
they do not fly outside very much. Some of the sticks may even provide some challenge.
On the other hand, if the cage is large enough there should be sufficient space to allow for flying
from one side of the cage to the other. This is particularly important if the birds do not often
get outside the cage to fly.
One bird has very small tail and wing feathers caused by a
disease from birth. The pair chase each other around the cage and
get to food sticks or food/water containers by foot rather than
flying. However, even if they get out of the cage, there must be enough free space and wing span width
for flight. The fully winged and tailed member of the pair flies about tshe cage
oen or more times a day and has even been seen flying in place.
Birds definitely need a partner
they talk to each other beak to beak
they talk to each other across the cage
they chase each other
they vie for the best perches
they preen each other particularly where it is difficult to reach
they feed each other
they generally keep each other company
In my experience, interaction of some kind takes place 75% of the day.
No bird should be alone - even if the human thinks that he or she can take the place of the second bird or wants the bird to learn to talk, etc. We cannot give the range of constant interaction that another bird will provide.
Water should be changed every day to reduce bacteria buildup. Also
if the water container is plastic, I feel that any residue or leaching from the plastic
(of course depends on the quality of the plastic) should not be allowed to build up.
Sufficient and clean water is extremely important and should be available at all times
For this reason, There should be two water containers in a cage. Even though you change the water every day:
1. the container may lose its water due to any number of reasons
2. droppings may get into the water
3. water may run out faster during some periods than others
and the birds are left without water or with unclean water or potentially high buildup of bacteria for part or all of the time.
Food (I do not give them anything cooked but others do)
It should be a variety of food. We can live on bread and water
but would prefer not to.
Different food should be given every day but seed should always be available.
Except for the seed, I stick most food on one of the old
baked seed-honey-egg sticks in easy reach distance from other sticks, or in a special tray or dish cleaned each day.
According to schedule below, I give them:
slice of corn on the cob every 3-4 days (raw - see above for other instructions)
apple slice every 2-3 days (be absolutely sure to take out the seeds)
parsley and once in a while lettuce every 1-2 days
two types of seed (replenished daily)
sometimes pear slices (which they usually do not eat)
slice of carrot (every two or three days)
once every 2-3 days a butter cookie or a wheat cracker
Once or twice a month, a baked seed stick with egg or honey which is purchased. After the stick is finished, I leave it in the cage as an additional perch.
However, for general information sheets on what you can feed your budgie:
fast faq sheet many issues
I suggest storing the seed in glass jars (large jelly or other food jars) which have tight covers and are absolutely dry,
and not in the plastic bags they often come in. Over time, plastic can leach chemicals.
I feed the birds a slice of raw corn on the cob which is skewered on a stick.
The finished cob is left on the stick. The birds like to pick at them even when
new corn is put in. I find that they like to stand on them presumably to give their feet a rest from
the narrower sticks. They also use them to hone their beaks and possibly for material to help mash food in the crop.
Mostly, all new food is initially ignored.
Pear slice was eaten but just barely. Other fruits not.
Chopped up hard boiled egg was ignored but with seed mixed in, they seem to
eat the seed and in that way get some of the white and yoke.
A new form of seed with egg and honey on a stick - yellow in color and very long was placed in the cage. They were afraid of it but finally settled down. However, they would not go close to it after 2 weeks, Miles was the first observed pecking at it. Then he talked to El for some time after that. I still never saw her eating it.
Finally got the new bird seed but it turned out to be for canaries. After checking in the book, I found it was ok to give to them. I bought some reddish seed which I decided was too old. El once gave me a long speech in the morning, overridden by Miles' input, about something. I finally decided that she had had it, having the red seed there within eye sight and not being given it. I finally bought a replacement sack of seed.
She has not been flying for some time now. I think Miles finally convinced her that her flying got him nervous since Cleo left that way. Or his experience with the lizard has changed both their perceptions of the world outside the cage.
Even forgot to feed the budgies once which I have never done before in the 3 years they have been here. I apologized profusely. El just looked at me.
I have found that each bird has his/her favorite spot as well as ones that they compete for
If a bird has a favorite perch which is not the regular one where the birds always sit, be sure to not move it or change it.
There should be one perch under something (in our case, a food tray) which
is far enough away from other perches so that when a bird goes there
it is difficult for others to reach them or to get down there if sufficiently
defended. My birds vie for this spot since it allows the bird to
be alone for awhile and away from the sometimes constant interaction with the others.
New perches can be put in at different places.
They often give the birds more exercise and also give the possibility that a new favorite can be found.
See Safe Wood for Perches from exoticbird.com
Perches have several purposes.
Some are only used for sleeping
Some are used for preening
Some are used for protection
from each other when they need to be alone for a while
from breeze or draft
Some are used for status and dominance
Some are used for eating
Some are used to stand on while eating
food on other sticks.
Some are used for exchanging food, touching, preening each other
from different levels and positions.
Some are used for cleaning beaks
Some are used for play and amusement
Some are used for escape routes
Some are used for exercise routes
Some are used to be together on
And many other uses I can not fathom.
This is not to say that you should try to provide for all of these things, since some perches are multidimensional.
Sticks and poles should be of different sizes to allow for different gripping and provide
greater or less support for long term resting.
Any way you look at it, if there are only one or two perches in the cage, this is a tremendous disadvantage to the birds and may cause a great deal of stress.
They used to eat the perches until I started leaving the
corn cobs in after they finished them. Before this, I had lost quite a few valuable store bought perches this way. I found that they spend a lot of time pecking at the dry cobs. This may do several things: provide grist material for the gullet (which I have been told is not necessary for budgies), and also keeps the beak sharp, and honed down, and
also provides something to do other than the usual interaction (see below 'trimming of beaks').
Solution: El has no problem in this area. Miles does. I didn't know what to do
other than try to cut them myself or take him to a vet. However,
before either, which would have caused unnecessary trauma to him, they got sufficiently long to break off by themselves.
This might cause other problems - grow in upside down, too short, even possibility that the whole nail is pulled out. It is best to have them cut if they are causing trouble navigating around the cage, sitting on the perches, or causes instability on the perches, or
are digging into the foot. One piece of advice. If you do it yourself, remember that enough
of the nail must be left on so that the bird can use them to hold onto the perches. These are what holds and locks - not the toes.
Trimming of beaks
Exotic Pet Vet.net An excellent online veterinarian site for everything avian. See left side of page for index.
Remedy: My wife was concerned that the beaks of our two budgies were getting too long and we would have to take them to the vet for beak trimming. However, I had an idea. I did at least two things which within one month had solved the problem without the trauma of being handled by the vet which my birds and especially Miles detests. The excess growth had been removed and the beaks were back to normal. Instead of
Step 1. I left behind several of the corn cob slices which I usually renew each day. I found that the birds continue to bill the old ones especially when they become dry and are nothing but the husks - apparently to keep their bills in shape as well as something to do when everything else has become boring.
Step 2. I placed a perch do the side of the block of calcium (or bone of the cuttlefish) for easy and comfortable access (it had not been strategically placed up until now) and found that the birds spent more time there sharpening their bills against the calcium block.
Step 3. Gave them a baked honey, egg stick which needed a lot of work and honing of the bill to eat.
Step 4. Also, perhaps it helps to provide a form of small grained sand with small pieces of shells mixed in. It is supposed to help in the digestive process (although at least one vet says that it is not necessary - When I was providing it (before I started leaving the corn cobs in the cage after the birds had finished eating them) one of my budgies went there each day while I have only seen the other visit it once) - perhaps also helps in honing process.
Within one week, their beaks were back to normal.
Once when I was about to feed them, I looked in at the apple which had not been eaten.
I said out load that perhaps I would not get a new apple slice since they hadn't eaten the last one. When I came back with the other food, the apple slice was gone. I looked on the bottom of the cage and it had been torn off the stick and dropped on the floor of the cage.
Needless to say, I changed the apple slice.
Miles used to talk to me a lot. That's until he realized that I was not comprehending what he was saying. Then he stopped. Now, I can sit and talk to him and ask him to respond but he just sits there. Except for those times when something is very wrong. Then he does everything
possible to tell me about it.
Once when the major bar had fallen, he talked to me until I fixed it.
These are not simple verbal utterances but comparable to those he used to give when, I believe, he was attempting to tell me why Cleo was unhappy. I knew that she was not particularly happy because she
would nest on anything in the cage which would provide a place for her.
We had decided that we should not have chicks and the best way to do that is just not to provide a place
for the female to nest. Shortly after Miles attempted to tell me about this, Cleo, waiting for her chance, darted from the far corner of the cage down to the door and out the window once when my wife was watering the flowers. She had never done this movement before and now she was gone. I went around the neighborhood with the cage calling to her but to no avail.
Miles was stricken with grief. He would call all day long until we decided that we had to get him another bird (see Postscript below)
Once when the window was open, Miles came over to the side of the cage that I was on and started to talk. He repeated himself over and over (paragraphs, not sentences or notes). He was really trying to tell me something. I told him I didn't understand what he was trying to tell me, and then my wife said "He wants you to close the window, it's too cold and drafty". I closed it and he looked at me as if to say "that's what I was saying" and he went back to the other side of the cage and sat there peacefully.
When I do not clean the cage with the accustomed regularity, El will talk and tell me
about it in long sentences. And just to make sure, she will repeat herself and look at the bottom of the
cage. As soon as I start doing it, she appears satisfied.
Click here for description of birds and stories on which the above is based
The kids who died in Jerusalem from a bomb blast -
Why? And what is life that it ends before it is fully lived?
What is life that we continue to generate it and continue to build
and destroy - only in the end to leave it all behind - to others
perhaps more fortunate, perhaps less - and perhaps neither -
for there is no more or less where there is no meaning.
But then, I watch my two parakeets talking to each other, and
touching. The young one who mourned the loss of his companion
(we got him when he was very young and she was already an
adult. We think that she had been like a mother to him) and continued
to mourn and to call out until we could not take
it any more and found another - a small young female. They sit
together for hours, with him talking to her. He taught her to talk
- to understand what he was saying. At first, she would emit
sounds which were different from his - had come from where she
was born - and gradually, her talking became more and more like
his, and she would sit for long periods of time - him talking to
her and her listening. These were true monologues - stories, with
tremendous depth of sound and intonation, each sound made up
of a multiple of chords - a complete vocabulary of hundreds of
sound groups. And gradually she started answering back in kind.
Then they would sit together for many hours in silence, although
sometimes she liked to sit outside the cage, but with a lot of
persuasion on his part, she would come back in and they would
sit together. He knew what life was about - at least for him - to
be together with her - to talk to her and have her understand -
and what he told her, or what she answered back I will never
know, but there was a sense of fulfillment there, of completion,
of having created and experienced a fullness of being which was
the total universe at that particular point in time.
To be together, to communicate, to be understood, to teach and
to learn and to create a universe of meaning where none existed
before - this is what it is about. It is the creation process, the
formulation of the new and the discovery that it is possible. It is
the attempt to touch the outer limits of that process - to embody
the new found form - to be one with it and to be it. To live but
for a moment and to experience this - this is enough - for we have transformed the universe by our being, our creation, our understanding, and we have been transformed.
Morgan December 2001
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