Parakeets are beautiful birds, native to central Australia. The scientific name of this bird is Melopsittacus undulatus, which stands for “song parrot with wavy lines”. The name given to this bird by the Aborigines was something similar to budgerigar, the meaning of which is “good to eat”. These birds were eaten as snacks by the Aborigines. When the English explorers met the Aborigines, the name of the bird was shortened to “budgies”. Due to their resemblance to the parrots, they are also known as ‘parakeets’, or ‘keets’ in short. These birds have become favorites as pets, as they are friendly, easy to train, may learn to talk, and are flock animals. They are very social, and need either a human around them all the time, or other parakeets for company. Their life-span can be anywhere between 7 to 12 years, if appropriate care is taken, and if they are not breeding. There are some parakeets who have lived up to 20 years and more.
When you decide to get parakeets as pets, it is important to note that they originally grew in the grasslands of Australia, where they lived on eucalyptus trees. The grasslands, which consisted of fresh greens, fruits, berries, and seeds, fulfilled their dietary needs. From this, we can understand that the parakeet seeds, which is one of the pet foods, is not all that your pet needs. If you use pet products, then it is possible that your pet’s health will suffer. There is a lot of concern over whether pet seeds available at the pet shops are fortified with nutrients. However, it is important to note that the seeds are fortified only on the outside. Parakeets are known to hull the seeds before they eat them; the outer shell is thus left out and the nutrient fortification proves to be worthless. When you buy pet food from the market, make sure it does not contain added sugars.
Your pet also needs fresh fruits and vegetables. They enjoy eating fresh parsley, squash, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, pumpkin, yams, etc. In short they enjoy eating crunchy vegetables. Along with vegetables, fruits will also have to be included in the diet of your pet. You can slice apples, pears, or guavas, and place them in their cage. If you want to include any of the juicy fruits, then you may want to dab it with paper towels before they make their way to the cage. Parakeets also tend to be fond of cherries and berries, and you may include them in their diet.
Parakeets can also be fed with cooked beans, whole wheat bread, cooked rice, or pasta. You can also provide small bits of well-cooked meat for the protein content in them. Tuna can also be fed to parakeets. When you give them meat in any form, you will have to ensure that the pieces do not stay in the birdhouse for too long, as they can rot or get infected, and if ingested by your pet can turn out to be harmful. Hence, remove perishable items after an hour or two after you have given it to them.
Most parakeets are lactose intolerant, hence feeding them minimal dairy product is recommended. They are also allergic to chocolate and avocados; you may not want to give these to them at all. Like humans, junk food is not good for your pet as well. Hence, do not feed them with pretzels, potato chips, etc.
Pellets can also be given to the parakeet, but it is best to make sure that your parakeet’s diet is well-balanced and varied. Remember, when in the wild, these birds eat a variety of fresh, raw foods. Giving them a well-balanced diet is the key to their health. Also, it is important to note that parakeets do not usually tend to overeat. You will understand the likes and dislikes of your pet once you have tried some permutations and combinations with regards to their eating habits.