Buying a new budgie is such an exciting time!
The idea of welcoming a cute little feathered friend into the family is probably making you as impatient as a man in a women’s department store. Thinking of a name to call your new addition could be igniting a marital dispute.
You might also now have some preferences or very definite ideas about budgie color or sex. Or maybe not. Perhaps you are perfectly happy to choose your budgie on the day of purchase. Either is fine!
It’s very easy to be blinded and bamboozled at the pet store – the key aim of your visit should be to select a healthy pet. With a little advance knowledge, you can be confident in making the right choice of selecting a healthy budgie.
Read on my friends…
Allow Plenty Of Time – Don’t do a ‘grab and run’
Choosing a budgie is not something to race into. You must allow sufficient time to assess the store, environment they live in and the birds themselves.
It’s likely there will be many budgies available and you will have a far better idea of which budgie to choose if you spend plenty of time observing the birds – without feeling rushed to make a purchase.
Inspect The Living Environment
Have a good look around the store, bird enclosures and general environment. What do you see?
Palace or pigsty?
Ideally, you will find a clean and tidy shop, well cared for animals and interested and attentive staff. An uncared for shop floor could spell trouble ahead…
- Are the cages clean and in good repair?
- Is there food and fresh water available?
- Do the staff even look interested?
The best chance of choosing a healthy budgie is to buy from a seller who cares.
If you answered ‘NO’ to any of the above questions – it might be prudent to find an alternative place to buy your bird.
Watch closely – Feel the vibe
Healthy budgies are noisy budgies! With so many in such small proximity, the noise can be almost unbearable! But bear with it and stick around (from a short distance) to watch what’s going on in the cage.
Observe The Group
- Is the overall ‘look’ of the birds energetic? Do they look happy and are they making lots of noise? That’s good.
- Are the birds quiet, droopy, disheveled and generally looking sad and sorry for themselves? That’s bad.
Choosing a sad looking budgie from a cage full of other sad looking budgies is asking for trouble.
Now pay attention to any potential pet candidates.
Narrow Down To Birds With Potential
If taming, training and talking is part of your plan it’s a good idea to choose ONE young budgie. Or more specifically – one young male budgie, around 10 weeks old. Single, male budgies are more likely to talk.
Beware: Even with careful selection and a huge chunk of time invested in taming and training, some budgies will never talk. I don’t know why – they just won’t.
And you can’t predict this in advance. Carefully reconsider owning a budgie if a non-talking budgie is going to leave you devastated.
If you don’t really care about trying to teach your budgie to talk – go with either sex, but ideally a younger bird between 8 – 12 weeks old.
Younger birds adapt better to new environments and are easier to tame.
A young budgie can be identified by the horizontal striping that runs from the forehead to the back of the neck. At about 12 weeks, the budgie will undergo the first molt and the striping will disappear from the forehead area.
Inspect The Bird – Get up close and personal
Now for the fun part. Ask the staff for assistance in catching your bird of choice. You will need to look closely for signs of ill health or deformity.
I’ve prepared a handy little reference below to help you. If you observe any of the indicators of ill health or deformity, think carefully about choosing to buy this bird. Budgerigars can harbor disease that can be transferred to humans – unlikely, but possible! Personally, I would not buy a budgie that appears to be unwell from the outset.
Signs Of Ill Health Or Deformity
Where to look
|Indicators of good health||Indicators of possible ill health or deformity|
|Feathers||Smooth & glossy
(exc. wing clipping)
Wings can be fully extended
|Disheveled or missing feathers
Bare patches of skin
Difficulty extending wings
|Face – cere (nose) & eyes||Clean cere and eyes||Mucous or crusting around cere or eyes|
|Breathing||Quiet and regular||Wheezing or rapid breathing|
|Feet||Four toes – two facing forward & two facing backward||Missing toes
|Underside (stomach)||Visible ‘crease’ extending down the length||Lack of crease|
|Vent (bottom)||Vent is clean||
Soiled feathers around vent or faeces crusted near the vent
The more questions the better! As a wise person once said – knowledge is power. I encourage you to ask as many questions as you can.
Here are some good ones:
- How old is this bird?
- Is it male or female?
- How long have they been in the store?
- From where do you source your stock?
- Has an avian vet inspected this flock?
- What is your return or refund policy?
You should now have confidence in your ability to select a suitable and healthy bird to join your family.
If you are the proud owner of a new budgie – double congratulations! You won’t regret it.
Remember that, just like people, all budgies are different. They have personalities and preferences too! Play with your new budgie, look after it well and love it madly.
Don’t despair if you haven’t yet found ‘the one’ – keep looking. There are plenty of other fish in the sea. Did I say fish? *cue lame joke eye-roll* I mean budgie. Be sure to visit as many pet stores (or breeders) as you can. You will find your perfect budgie soon I’m sure. Fun times are ahead…
Do you have any questions about this article? I’d love to hear them. Feel free to leave your questions in the comments box below.