Parakeet Care Sheet

Maria Zayas, DVM
By Maria Zayas, DVM on Feb. 27, 2023

In This Article


Parakeet Overview

Parakeet Level of Care


Parakeet Lifespan

7–15 years


Parakeets are social little birds that can be housed either alone or in groups. Pet parents commonly keep 2–4 parakeets together in the same enclosure. When keeping a solo parakeet, it is important to spend even more time with your bird as they are highly intelligent, social creatures.

Parakeet Handling

Handling Considerations

Parakeets can be nippier than some other bird species. Parakeets raised by humans tend to be more social with their handlers and less likely to be stressed or nippy when handling.

Teach a perch command using either a perch or your hand, allowing parakeets to choose to step up to perch with you when they wish.

When holding a parakeets, make sure they can move their chest and abdomen in and out to breathe.

Recommended Home


Place your parakeet’s enclosure in an area that you regularly frequent so they can observe you throughout the day. Do not place them in an area with too much noise, large temperature changes, strong drafts, or strong smells, such as Immediately in front of or near doorways or kitchens and windows. Home offices, bedrooms, or living rooms work well for housing parakeets.

Pet Parents

Parakeets can make great pets for almost any age. Children old enough to handle the responsibilities of care and handling the birds safely will enjoy keeping parakeets. Their small size, small housing requirements, and low cost makes it easy to adapt your home and lifestyle to keeping parakeets.

Other Pets They Can Live With

Other small birds may live within an enclosure with parakeets, but larger birds will need to be housed separately. No natural predator, such as cats, should be present in a room with a parakeet when it is out of its enclosure. The same is true for animals with a prey drive, like dogs, which should be closely monitored. Large dogs that could break into an enclosure should not be left unsupervised with parakeets at any time. Other small pets like rabbits, mice, rats, and hedgehogs can safely be around a parakeet.

Family Friendliness Level

Parakeets make perfect family pets. They are highly social and thrive in situations where several people provide socialization and enrichment. They are easily trainable, will often vocalize (but not too loudly), and they can sometimes even mimic words.

Parakeets can be nippy depending on the bird and they can be hurt relatively easily due to their small size so adult supervision is recommended for children.

Parakeet Habitat


The minimum enclosure size for a single parakeet is 18x18x24 inches. A pair of parakeets require at least 24x24x36 inches. Provide more horizontal space rather than vertical space. There should be a quarter- to half-inch spacing between the bars.


Parakeet enclosures do not require a thick level of bedding, but the bottom of their enclosures but should always have a liner that can be easily removed for easy daily cleaning. Typical inexpensive and safe liner choices include:

  • Newspaper

  • Brown paper bags

  • Brown kraft paper rolls

  • Butcher paper

  • Paper towels

Avoid magazine paper or any other paper that is shiny or glossy as these can be toxic to birds.

The thicker layers of bedding commonly used for keeping smaller pocket pet species can harbor bacteria and mold. They also prevent easy observation of droppings, which is necessary for monitoring the health of parakeets.

Feeding Dishes

Feeding dishes can hang on the side of the enclosure, or heavy bowls can sit on the floor of the cage. Parakeets will likely try to perch on the side of the bowl to eat. Hanging bowls made of plastic or metal can be used for food or water but must be cleaned daily regardless of type or contents. Always monitor plastic dishes for sharp edges or cracks.

Water dishes should be large enough for one parakeet to bathe in at a time.

Each parakeet needs their own feeding area to prevent aggression or competition. Offer separate bowls for water, dry food, and fresh food.

Parakeet Diet

A balanced parakeet diet is made up of 60–70% high-quality pelleted food and 30–40% fruits or vegetables. Seed diets can pose significant health risks and are not recommended.

Common fruits and veggies that parakeets enjoy include:


  • Apples (no seeds)

  • Bananas

  • Berries

  • Grapes

  • Kiwis

  • Mangos

  • Melons


  • Broccoli

  • Carrots

  • Cucumber

  • Greens

  • Pumpkin

  • Sweet potato

Up to 10% of your parakeet’s diet can be treats. Examples of treats would be:

  • Seed and millet sticks

  • Seed and millet sprays

Foods to avoid include:

  • Alcohol

  • Avocado

  • Chocolate

  • Caffeine

  • Citrus

  • Dairy products

  • Fruit pits and seeds

  • Garlic

  • Green tomatoes

  • Meat

  • Onion

  • Raw potato

  • Salty foods

  • Sugary foods

Fresh, clean, filtered water should be available at all times and changed daily.


The most important supplements for parakeets are cuttle bones or mineral blocks. These function as a great source of calcium and minerals and are very inexpensive.

Parakeet Daily Care


Fresh water and one day’s portion of dry pellets should be offered at the beginning of every day. When you feed your parakeet in the morning, discard any leftover pellets. At the end of every day (or sooner as needed), clean and replace any water. Fresh fruits and veggies should only be offered for a few hours before discarding to prevent spoilage. Treats should be offered during training or throughout the day when interacting with your parakeet.


Most parakeets will bathe as needed in their water bowls. You can also use a misting spray bottle to keep them clean, usually a couple times per week.

Parakeets do not typically need beak trims, but nail trims are a typical part of parakeet upkeep.

Wing trimming is also recommended and typically needs to be done every 2–3 months. This prevents injury or escape during flight.


It is recommended that parakeets spend time outside of their enclosure every day. This allows them more room to stretch and flap their wings and is a great source of exercise.

Within their enclosure, parakeets can also be provided climbing or chewing toys for further exercise and enrichment throughout the day.


Liners at the bottom of the cage should be removed daily and replaced with clean paper. Food and water bowls should be washed daily. Deep clean all surfaces weekly with safe cleaners such as bird cage–specific cleaning products, soap and water, or diluted vinegar. Enrichment items in the enclosure can also be soaked in diluted vinegar and then rinsed and dried before their next use.


Parakeets thrive with consistent enrichment and interaction. They are easily trainable and can learn not only tricks but also commands for naturally occurring behaviors, like flying to certain spots and picking up items.

Enrichment also includes use of climbing, chewing, and foraging toys like:

  • Ropes

  • Swings

  • Ladders

  • Food foraging toys

  • Cuttle bones

Many parakeet owners enjoy making their own DIY toys. Safe materials for parakeets include hard plastics, parakeet-safe woods, paper, cardboard, or natural fabrics. Do not use adhesives such as glue. Use bird-safe fabrics or ropes to string items together or safe metals and woods to create items that attach to the bars.

Be sure to rotate enrichments toys and their locations around the enclosure for best effect!

Parakeet Veterinary Care

Annual Care

Every year, parakeets should see a veterinarian with experience working with birds for a physical exam. Annual diagnostic tests are not common for parakeets, although various samples may be collected if needed just like a dog or cat. During an exam, it’s always best to take along a fecal sample from their enclosure in case your veterinarian would like to inspect or test it.

Signs of a Healthy Parakeet

  • Ideal body condition

  • Smooth, brightly colored feathers

  • Clear and bright eyes

  • Nares with no discharge or discoloration

  • Smooth healthy skin

  • Clean vent

  • Formed droppings that are a green-brown color with a small amount of white

When to Call a Vet

If the behavior or appearance of your parakeet seems abnormal, it is always a good idea to seek medical care.

Symptoms of illness to watch for include:

  • Watery, loose, or discolored droppings

  • Vents that are moist or have fecal matter sticking to the feathers

  • Sneezing

  • Nasal discharge or discolored feathers over the nares

  • Tail bobbing

  • Open mouth breathing

  • Overgrown beak or nails

  • Growths, swellings, or discoloration throughout the body such as the skin, legs, feet, wings, and/or face

  • Broken, missing, or bleeding feathers

  • Seizures

  • Weakness

  • Lack of balance

  • Lack of appetite

Common Illnesses in Parakeets

  • Tumors

  • Goiters

  • Hypovitaminosis A (low levels of vitamin A)

  • Parasites (especially mites)

  • Obesity

  • Liver Disease

  • Bumblefoot and other foot disorders

  • Psittacosis

  • Osteoarthritis

Parakeet FAQs

Is a parakeet easy to take care of?

Yes! Parakeets are engaging, easy-to-care-for animals and aren’t too expensive to keep.

What shouldn’t I do with my parakeet?

  • Do not feed unsafe foods or provide unsafe materials in a parakeet’s enclosure

  • Do not leave them unsupervised with unsafe animals

  • Do not skip their annual exams

  • Do not overfeed treats

  • Do not leave unsupervised with young children

  • Do not leave them alone for more than 12 hours

  • Do not place the enclosure in direct sunlight, in front of doors or open windows, or in front of air conditioning or heating vents

  • Do not cook with non-stick cookware

Do parakeets need to be covered at night?

Parakeets do not have to be covered at night, but some parakeets might prefer it. It can help be a clear indication of bedtime or allow them to feel safer.

How do I keep my parakeet happy?

  • Provide regular, consistent interactions with them every day

  • Provide adequate enrichment

  • Feed a balanced diet

  • Keep them in pairs or provide adequate attention if keeping a single parakeet

  • Maintain annual wellness exams with your veterinarian

  • Provide a minimum of an hour of time outside their enclosure daily

  • Keep them in an active area of the house

Featured Image:

Maria Zayas, DVM


Maria Zayas, DVM


Dr. Zayas has practiced small animal and exotic medicine all over the United States and currently lives in Colorado with her 3 dogs, 1 cat,...

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