This post is about Beryl, my new pet Budgerigar. A Budgerigar is a small parrot, more commonly known as a Budgie, or Parakeet. Our decision to get a parakeet was based on the fact that it was a small animal, which could socialize a lot more then most animals, and was generally fairly cheap to purchase and maintain. I picked Beryl because his colors were more vibrant then the other birds. I wanted to get a young bird so it would be easier to train. But I have since learned that younger parakeets (younger then 3 months or so) are all very pale in color, and their colors do not really stand out until after their first molting, at about 4 months old. So I think Beryl is about 4 or 5 months old. I also believe he is a male, as his cere (the 'nose' above a parakeet's beak) is violet/bluish in color. Often males will have pink/violet/blue cere's, and females will have more of a brown cere. I got him for about $22 dollars at PetSmart.
We considered going to a breeder, however we could not afford the $60 pricetag for specifically hand raised parakeets. We ended up buying a small cage for him, as per the pet stores (Pet Supplies "Plus"), however that cage ended up being way too small... I will get to that later. Upon bringing Beryl home, once he got into his cage, it did not take him long (maybe an hour) before he felt comfortable enough to explore his cage. And before 2 hours he was happily chirping and eating some food. I have read that it sometimes takes a budgie upwards of 2 days to get used to their new home sometimes, so I considered this an excellent first step. The problem was however that whenever he tried flying from perch to perch in his original cage, his wings would hit the toys we put in there for him. So he ended up spending most of his time at the bottom of the cage - and as time passed, we could tell he wasn't happy. On Day 3 we went out and purchased a larger cage, which measures 16x16x16. This is a huge step up from his 14x12x14 cage.
We really thought he would be freaked out and stressed out with moving to a new cage so soon after being introduced to his original cage, but the move went very well, and the second he was in his new cage he began to chirp happily, while perched up high, and for the first real time, he puffed out his feathers (a sign of a comfortable and relaxed bird), and began to prune himself. He then began to play with all his toys. Because of that, I recommend a 16x16x16 cage as a minimum. The parakeet needs space to fly around without hitting his wings on items. Considering the wingspan is about 8 inches, a 12 inch wide cage, is not wide enough. I have been Beryls 'tamer'. He has chosen me to connect with, and he feels comfortable with me petting him (very softly behind his ear - otherwise budgies generally don't like to be pet) and feeding him. He also is comfortable with my hand in his cage. On Day 5, I was able to use Millet to get him to step onto my hand. I then walked him over to my computer desk where he enjoyed a snack of millet while sitting on my hand.
On Day 6 I was able to repeat this process. So I would say that training is going well so far. I will keep updating as things progress.