Pros & Cons of Pet Parakeets (and Budgies) - Do They Make For Good Companions & Should You Get One?

So you want to know more about potentially owning a parakeet, right?

In this article, we're going to analyze this popular pet, revealing some of the characteristics and traits that make it so desirable.

You'll learn why according to many professional bird breeders, parakeets make for good pets - but not always.

Read on to find out why...

green and yellow paraket perched on a plant

What Are Parakeets Anyway?

First and foremost, it's important to note that parakeets aren't a specific parrot species, but rather a term used to describe any type of small-sized parrot with long tail feathers and a slender build.

According to some estimates, there are around 115 species in the Psittacinae (family Psittacidae) which are given the label "parakeet."

Are Budgerigars (Budgies) Part Of The Parakeet Family?

The most popular type of parakeet is the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), aka budgie, which currently ranks as the most popular pet parrot species in the world.

So all budgies are parakeets, but not all parakeets are budgies. Capiche?

Also known as the shell parakeet, this colorful small-sized parrot typically features a light green body with pitch-black mantle marking and yellow undulations. However, you can easily find budgies with blue and other color mutations these days as well. 

In the wild, the budgerigar lives exclusively in Australia, where it roams the wooded forests and coastal areas to forage on various seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

Nowadays, the standard bird you see as a pet is known as the Australian or American parakeet, but if you look around you can find one of their big brothers known as English budgies.

Diving Into The Pros & Cons

Now that you know what parakeets and budgies are, it's time to get down to business to decide if they are the right type of pet for YOU.

We'll summarize the key benefits and downsides on both sides of the argument in bullet points before exploring them in more detail below...

Parakeet Pros:

  • Parakeets are loving creatures that crave the attention of their owners.
  • Make wonderful pets for families living in small homes and apartments.
  • Excellent choice for families with small children and other pets.
  • Can comfortably live in smaller cages due to their small size.
  • Smaller parrots like the budgie are easier to transport.
  • Relatively quiet (for a housebird!)
  • Produce less mess than larger species, making their cages and surrounding environment easier to clean.
  • Very affordable - Tend to eat less than larger parrots like the African Grey, which means owners will save money on food and other necessities like toys.

Of course, you will need to get a cage for your parakeet (or any pet bird), and the cage should be completely set up before you bring your budgie home.

Cage quality and size is extremely important since this is your parakeet’s home.

Do your research and comparison shop before purchasing. Your parakeet’s cage will most likely be your largest upfront expense, followed by the cost of the bird himself.

These small-to-medium sized birds make wonderful family pets due to their naturally affectionate behavior and playful disposition.

Whether this is your first time raising a parrot or not, you'll find they make wonderful companions. Introducing a new pet into your home, especially a budgerigar, will make the transition challenging but at the same time fun.

Now with that said, there are a few things you should know about the species before agreeing to adopt one.

blue budgie on a tree branchIt is highly suggested that your parakeet’s cage should be quite roomy; at least 1.5 feet wide, 1.3 feet tall, and at least 1.3 feet in depth.

Parakeets are very active, as we mentioned before, so they need a cage with ample space to be able to spread their wings.

For safety reasons, be sure that the cage bars are no more than ½ an inch apart; curious “budgies” may find a way to get out, get stuck, or fall out of the cage if there is too much space between the bars.

Purchasing a very tall bird cage is usually not a good idea; width is better than height.

Check out the perfect, handpicked budgie cages right here:

Parakeets need wingspan space and a tall, narrow bird cage may turn out to be a waste of money.

Most birds, including parakeets, feel safer when they are perched higher, so if you buy a very tall cage, your “budgie” will most likely stay at the top of the cage, wasting all the space at the bottom.

A lot of parakeet owners love the smaller, more oval, traditional designs, but make sure that the cage is not too small. You don’t want your parakeet feeling constricted, and unable to spread his or her wings, or move comfortably around the cage.

Starting off with a very smaller cage may be fine, but it is wise, and kind, to upgrade as soon as possible to a larger, roomier cage.

Your parakeet’s cage is their home, and it is vital that they feel safe, comfortable, and have room to exercise and grow. It is also important to regularly clean your pet parrot's bird cage.

Just as you would not want to be living in a cramped space that does not allow for stretching and movement, your parakeet requires the same consideration. Take pride in the enclosure you purchase and make it a real home for your new family member.

Enjoy the fun and cheerfulness your parakeet will bring into your home. Their playful nature is what makes parakeets popular as pets, after all.

If you start training them young, you can easily teach a parakeet to socialize with others by simply setting aside some time during the day to hang out with them.

They are known to whistle and chirp, but an added benefit is with extra practice can even learn a few words and phrases!

If you feel that you will not have the time to devote to your parakeet every day, then you should plan to get two or more of these birds to keep each other company.

Remember that parakeets thrive when they have regular companionship.

Parakeet Cons:

  • Don't let their small size fool you into thinking these parrots are silent. While they don't squawk loudly, they can chirp constantly.
  • Short lifespan of 8-12 years (compared to 20+ for larger parrots).
  • Relatively fragile health; can easily get sick with slight temperature variations. Also susceptible to tumors and liver problems.
  • Require regular exercise to remain healthy and ward off disease and illness.
  • Parakeets don't exhibit the same high level of intelligence as some of the larger species.

Parakeets are playful birds, pretty smart, and also very popular as pets. Many are able to form a vocabulary of over one-hundred words.

If your plan is to get only one parakeet, you should be willing to be a good daily companion for your pet. Since parakeets are naturally flocking birds, they are physically and mentally healthier and happier if you socialize with them.

Should I Own a Parakeet?

Is the parakeet the right parrot for you? Are you still wondering if you're ready to adopt a pet bird?

It really depends on your current lifestyle and how much time you are willing to invest into raising and bonding with your new companion.

Individuals and families who are looking for a small-sized, fun-loving parrot will likely find the parakeet to the be the perfect fit, whereas if you're looking for larger parrots should probably stick with a Macaw or African Gray.

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  • I have a parakeet that is just so smart and lovable. Now I had to keep a dog and my parakeet has changed so much. She won’t have much to do with me and wants to bite me when I try to play with her. Is that normal? I feel so bad cause she was so playful now doesn’t want me to get her out of the cage.

    Barbara on
  • If fed properly, given fruits, vegetables, and grain instead of straight seed, parakeets can live much longer. I have had several live more than 15 years. Also, if you have pets that are a danger to your parakeets, you shouldn’t have one. Some of the comments above are disturbing. If your parakeets keep dying, maybe you are not the right home for them. They aren’t disposable pets.

    Kim on
  • If you want a parakeet that will welcome you into its world, get only 1 at a time. bond with that bird for a couple of months before getting another. If you can find a hand fed one, even better. Otherwise you may end up with birds that hate you!

    Laura on
  • A very good article! I just wanted to add that it is the buggies that have a shorter lifespan. Some of the other species of parakeets like the quaker live in excess of 30 years. Also my cage is a smaller one 18×24. I like it because I can transport it all over the house easily. You will find that it helps during times in the day when you can’t have your bird on you. Bring the cage upstairs etc. where he can see you….cage door should always be left open anyway while your home and your bird can be free to go to the top and play with toys. However this does not substitute the quality time you must spend with your bird daily, it just allows you to get some other things done and teaches your bird some balance and a little independence.

    Michelle Sweeting on
  • How warm do you have to keep the room with the parakeet in ?

    Peg on

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