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Adopt : Birds : Parakeet Fact Sheet

birdThe Keet, American Parakeet, Shell Parakeet, English Parakeet, Budgie, and Budgerigar, are all the same species

Bird experts prefer that these birds not be called parakeets, for there are a large number of other parakeets found in Australia, South America, and the Indian Sub-Continent. "Parakeet" is simply a common term for a small parrot-type bird with a long tail. In the United States, the term "Budgie" is thought to refer only to the English exhibition or show Keet.

"Budgerigar" is an attempt to translate an Australian Aborigine phrase. When asked by a European explorer the name of the little birds that lived in huge flocks, the reply sounded like "Budgerigar" to Western ears. It really means something like, "tasty snack"! It was easy to hunt the birds by throwing a boomerang into the flock.

How long does a parakeet live? The average life span of a keet is 5-7 years.

What kind of cage do I need? There are many different types/brands of cages out there. The Cage should be a minimum size of 12" by 10" for one or two birds. (It's a good idea to take out the bottom base grid then it can hurt their little feet, and it is hard to clean) The size of the cage is important. Your keet needs enough room to exercise in. Naturally the bigger the better. It depends how much you can afford. DO NOT get a wicker or bamboo cage. The Keets will quickly chew their way out.

The spacing of the bars are also important make sure they are not more that inch apart. If bars are two far apart they have been known to squeeze there head thought the bars and choke.

What items and accessories do I need to buy?

  • Food dishes normally come with the cag; it's good to get one with a cover on it. It keeps the food clean.
  • Water bottle - Make sure in the beginning you place a water dish on the bottom to the cage, until your Keet learns to use the water bottle.
  • Toys - Keets love mirrors and bells.
  • Bird swings - These sometimes come with the cage.
  • Bird Buddy - If your keet is going to be living alone, it's a good idea to add a fluffy bird buddy.
  • BirdBath - Keets love to take baths, you can either buy a regular water bowl or a birdbath to insert on the cage.
  • Bedding - Never use wood shavings (Cedar or Pine) for your keet. They are toxic and can cause both respiratory and liver problems. Two most common and safe bleedings to use are Aspen and Carefresh. ( Anything made from recycled newspaper are safe too) A good idea is to just put plain newspaper at the bottom of the cage.
  • Carrying Case - It's important to buy a carrying case, incase you need to go to the Vet. The most inexpensive ones are the Rectangular Kritter Keepers.
  • Food -You can use most pet store seed diets. Pet shops have parakeet's diets. Refrigerating the food will prevent seed moths.
  • Cuttlebone - A cuttlebone should be placed in every cage.
  • Vitamins - Can be added to the water. Directions are on the bottle
  • Fruit/Veggies - You can give your Keet small amounts of fruits, Veggies on a daily basis.

Budgerigars, like many other species of birds, can carry Psittacosis, which can be fatal to people, and Coccidiosis, a protozoan parasite that can also attack people, cats, and dogs. It's a good idea to get your Keet tested at your vets.

Two male or female Keets can live together. If you get a male and a female Parakeet they will breed. You can distinguish the males, for the cere, that fleshy area over the beak, around the nostrils is bright

What's involved in daily care of a parakeet?
Keets are relatively low maintenance animals. That does not mean he/she does not crave attention and lack of proper care. It's important to clean water and food dish daily. Make sure your Keet is living in a clean cage. Every week or twice a week the cage should be cleaned thougholy.

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