Life with a Parakeet:
The safer and happier your parakeet feels with you, the more aggressively it will try to satisfy its curiosity, its longing for companionship, and its urge to keep busy. If, however, you keep your bird locked up all day except for the daily flying sessions, you will soon have a dull, sleepy bird that succumbs to lethargy caused by the monotony of limited movement within the cage and by playing the same old games over and over with lifeless things. When released from the cage your pet will still fly, back and forth, perch on your shoulder, and court you by eagerly nodding its head, but this liveliness will disappear with the return to the cage because one short hour of freedom is not enough to prevent the dulling of spirit. The parakeet will gradually lose the ability to make use of its many-sided talents. But if you let the bird move freely in the room, it may attack wallpaper, posters, books, and papers with a passion, decorating them with innumerable chomp marks. Female parakeets keep especially busy with their bills and can cause extensive damage to any material fit for chewing on. However, with a little bit of effort you can protect your belongings against this destructive tendency of parakeets. If the wallpaper is within easy reach from a favourite perch, that section of paper can be covered with sturdy plastic, cardboard, or a thin board. Or small branches can be used to distract the bird's attention from the wall. Bookshelves can be covered with cloths temporarily, while a couple of books you don't care about are sacrificed and put in a spot where the bird is allowed to chew on things. Usually the bird starts losing interest in this rather boring "job" anyway and is unlikely to return to the bookshelves. With the typical inventiveness of a parakeet it will set out in search of new tasks. Needless to say, the bird will leave behind traces of its presence--regularly deposited droppings--outside the cage wherever it likes to spend time in the room. The only thing you can do about it is to let the droppings dry and then vacuum them up or to cover the floor beneath their favourite perches. These small daily problems can be avoided, however, if you create an appropriate living centre for the parakeet outside its cage, like a tree made of dowels.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



H&D Budgerigar Society Inc. 1996