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Buying A Parakeet
by Bart LeToad

Parakeets (Melopsittacus undulatus) are one of the most common birds purchased as a pet bird. These delightful pets are usually friendly and relatively easy to handle. Although they can sometimes be difficult to understand, with a little hard work they have been known to mimic our sounds.

Parakeet Facts:

Life span: 10-15 years (up to 20).Origin: Australia. Colors: the normal wild coloration is green with black bars on the wings, back and head.

Determining Sex: The area around the nostrils is called the cere. You can use this as a way to distinguish between males and females. Mature females will have a beige colored cere. Males will have a blue tint to their cere.

Temperament: Known for being a very docile and friendly bird, they are easily tamed if you acquire them while young. I've found that having more than one parakeet resulted in the parakeets being hard to handle and less vocal. When I have just one parakeet, the bird looked to me for interaction and was much easier to handle and actually could say a few words. I placed a parakeet mirror in the bird cage and was amazed at how much my parakeet played with his own image in the mirror.

Choosing a Parakeet

I highly recommend you choose a young bird that has been handled regularly and has been hand fed. The extra costs you experience buying a hand raised bird will be worth it in the long run. While their is nothing wrong with a store bought parakeet, my experiences have taught me that they are slower to adjust to being handled.

Use the same techniques you would use when buying a pet dog or pet cat. Look for a parakeet that is active and has shining and smooth feathers. A bird that is inactive and its feathers are puffed up may be a sign it is sick. Take note of the birds feet. Make sure the scales are smooth and the nails are in good shape. Don't forget to inspect the birds beak for any problems.

Parakeets are playful and active and do well in large cages. We always kept our parakeets on top of our refrigerator. We bought a cage that would fill the entire top of the frig. Add a couple of rod perches and maybe a bird swing along with your water and feed bowls. Even with a large cage, parakeets need a little time outside of the cage as well. Letting them out once in a while to stretch their wings is a good idea. The exercise is very beneficial for your pet bird.

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