Budgie Care Sheet

Updated Apr. 28, 2024


In This Article

Species Overview

Budgie Species Overview

Budgies, also known as parakeet birds, are a great choice for beginner pets. These birds are adaptable to a wide range of environments, not too demanding in their day-to-day care, and can be trained to be handled making them ideal for first time pet parents.

Some budgies can imitate repeated words, phrases, or chattering sounds, and all budgies will chirp and whistle.

Most families will find that budgie birds are a pleasant addition to their home—but as with any pet, adult supervision is needed when kids are interacting with them.

Learn everything you need to know about budgie bird care, including supplies, food, grooming, and more.

Budgie Characteristics

Average Lifespan 

10–12 years with proper care 

Average Adult Size 

7” long, from head to end of tail 


Granivorous (grain-eaters) 

Minimum Habitat Size 

18” W x 18” D x 18” H 

Difficulty of Care 


Budgie Habitat

Budgie Cages

When selecting a budgie cage—an ideal enclosure for an individual budgie is 18x18x18 inches. When housing two budgies together, the budgie cage should measure 30x18x18 inches.

For more than two budgies, the cage should measure 32x18x20 inches. The bars should be spaced ½-inch apart or smaller.


The bottom of your budgie’s cage should be lined with paper for daily cleaning, and droppings should be monitored for signs of illness.

Several different types of budgie bedding can be used that are inexpensive and easily accessible including:

  • Newspaper

  • Paper towels

  • Plain paper packaging

  • Brown paper bags

  • Butcher paper

Avoid using glossy printed ads as the ink may be toxic if ingested by your budgie bird. Also avoid using pelleted paper or crushed corn cob bedding. These products will hold moisture that may promote fungal growth in warm environments. They also may hide signs of illness that would otherwise be observed when the droppings have an increased moisture content.

Feeding Dishes

When choosing a feeding dish for your budgie, options may include:

Dry food, fresh food, and water should be offered in separate dishes, and water dishes should be large enough to allow the budgie to bathe.

If more than one budgie is kept in the habitat, each budgie should have their own feeding station to discourage competition over food. Any worn or damaged dishes should be replaced with new ones to prevent injury.

Wash and dry these dishes daily.

Budgie Perches

Perches for a budgie should be offered in an assortment of sizes, heights, textures, and materials (i.e., rope). This will ensure your budgie can exercise their feet, which may help prevent sores.

Budgie perches should be a minimum of 4 inches long and 3/8 inch in diameter. Wider perches will limit proper gripping, which can lead to falls and other serious injuries.

To prevent bird droppings from soiling their water or food bowls, avoid placing perches directly above the budgie’s feeding bowls. Be sure to replace any worn or damaged perches for safety reasons.

Budgie Lighting

To supplement UV exposure when natural sunlight is limited, a full-spectrum UV light designed for birds should be used 10–12 hours per day.

Budgie Toys

Budgies should have an assortment of toys for enrichment, entertainment, and exercise. These can be made from either firm plastic, wood, metal, fabric, or paper such as cardboard. Options include:

  • A bird-safe mirror

  • Swings

  • Ladder

  • Foraging toys

Rotating your budgie’s toys weekly and replacing them monthly will help prevent boredom. Homemade toys and cages should not be used since common building supplies may be toxic to birds when ingested.

Budgie toys can be made from soft wood, paper, cardboard, or hard plastic without small pieces that can be removed and swallowed.

Budgie Diet and Feeding Tips

Budgie Bird Food and Water

A high-quality pelleted diet offers balanced nutrition and should make up 60–70% of a budgie’s diet. Recommended pelleted feed includes:

Budgies should have constant access to fresh, clean water that is changed daily. Filtered tap water or bottled spring water is preferred.

Budgie Treats

Treats, vegetables, and fruits should represent about 30–40% of your budgie’s diet in total, with no more than 10% of the diet given as treats.

Budgie treats can include fortified seeds and millet sprays. 

Fruits and vegetables may include:

  • Berries

  • Melons

  • Papaya

  • Broccoli

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Pea pods

  • Bell peppers

Supplements for a Pet Budgie

Mineral blocks or cuttle bones should be provided as a source of calcium and trace minerals, which are necessary for pet budgies to maintain:

  • Bones

  • Beaks

  • Nails

  • Feathers

Foods to Avoid

Budgie birds should never be given:

  • Avocado

  • Chocolate

  • Caffeine

  • Alcohol

  • Fruit pits and seeds should be removed before feeding to budgies

  • Foods that are high in salt, fat, and sugar

  • Sugar-free food and candy (may contain xylitol)

  • Garlic and onion seasonings and ingredients

NOTE: non-stick cookware should not be used around birds since an odorless, colorless toxic gas is emitted when these products are heated.

Budgie Bird Care


Daily care for budgies include providing one day’s portion of new food everyday and discarding any leftovers from the previous day. Fresh produce may be offered but should be discarded within a few hours to prevent spoilage.

Treats for budgies may be offered daily or as a reward for desired behavior when training.


Budgies may enjoy an occasional bath by dipping in a bowl of water. For birds that do not bathe on their own, a mist water bottle sprayer can be used to help them bathe a few times each week.

Healthy budgies should not need their beak trimmed as daily use will maintain them properly.

Routine nail trimming allows for more comfortable handling and prevents snagging on fabrics.

Routine wing trimming is encouraged to prevent escape and injury when flying. Wing trimming will need to be repeated every few months as a bird’s flight feathers are naturally replaced.  


Allowing unrestricted room for flapping their wings is an ideal exercise for budgies. This may occur with supervised time out of the cage or in an enclosed flight cage or aviary.

Toys that encourage climbing, foraging, and safe chewing behavior should also be provided. An hour of supervised time outside of the cage daily helps provide enrichment and social interaction.

Cleaning Your Budgie’s Habitat

Daily spot cleaning should be performed to remove soilage and discarded food. Food and water bowls should be washed daily.

The materials lining the cage should be changed weekly for a solo budgie or more frequently for multiple budgies.

A 3% bleach solution or a pet-safe non-aerosolized habitat cleaner should be used according to manufacturer’s recommendations. All surfaces should be completely rinsed and dried before the enclosure is reassembled.


When it comes to companionship, budgies are flock birds that enjoy the company of other birds. The ideal number of birds to house together is related to how much attention, time, and resources you have as a pet parent.

Solo budgies will likely require more personal attention from you to meet their socialization needs, while groups housed together have less need for human interaction.

Handling Considerations for Budgies

Budgies that are hand-raised by human parents are accustomed to being handled without stress. They may approach pet parents on their own and will eat when food is hand offered.

Birds that have been raised by their bird parents and not trained for human handling must be approached cautiously to reduce stress and injury.

During handling, wrapping a small hand towel around the bird can help protect both the bird and the handler from injury and reduce the bird’s fear of an approaching hand. This is especially useful when administering medication like eye drops.

Veterinary Care for Budgies

An annual physical examination by a board-certified avian or exotic animal practitioner is recommended.

During the exam, the veterinarian may perform a fecal test to look for intestinal parasites and bacteria.

Due to the small patient size, annual blood testing is not routinely done.

Signs of a Healthy Budgie

Signs of a healthy budgie include:

  • Ideal body condition (as recommended by your veterinarian for your unique bird)

  • Smooth, brightly colored feathers

  • Clear, bright eyes

  • No nasal discharge or discoloration above the nares

  • Smooth skin without any cracked, swollen, or thickened areas

  • No sticky material or discoloration around the vent

  • No visible swellings

  • Formed droppings of green-brown color with a small amount of white and minimal wetness

When to Call a Veterinarian

Symptoms of illness may include:

  • Watery, loose, or discolored droppings

  • Fecal material sticking to the feathers around the vent

  • Sneezing

  • Discolored feathers over the nares

  • Tail bobbing

  • Open mouth breathing

  • Overgrown beak or nails

  • Changes to the skin of the feet, legs, and face

  • Swellings on the body

  • Broken, missing, or bleeding feathers

  • Growths on the skin

  • Seizures

  • Weakness

  • Lack of balance

Common Illnesses in Budgies

  • Tumors

  • Goiters

  • Low vitamin A (pressure sores on feet, overgrown beak, fragile feathers)

  • Scaly leg and face mites

  • Obesity

  • Liver disease

  • Parasites

  • Foot disorders

  • Psittacosis

Budgie FAQs

What is a budgie?

A budgie, short for budgerigar, is a small, affectionate bird species most commonly kept as pets. Budgies are also known as parakeets.

Can budgies talk?

Budgies chirp and whistle, and will also imitate words repeated to them by a pet parent.

How long do budgies live?

With proper care, pet budgies can live up to 10–12 years.

Teresa Manucy, DVM


Teresa Manucy, DVM


Dr. Teresa Manucy is a 1997 graduate of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed an internship in small...

Help us make PetMD better

Was this article helpful?

Get Instant Vet Help Via Chat or Video. Connect with a Vet. Chewy Health