Next to canaries, budgies are probably the most popular pet bird in the world. They are colourful, entertaining and have great personalities.

Budgies, also called parakeets, are one of the smallest members of the parrot family. Part of the reason they are so popular is because they adapt rather well to living with us. It is also very easy to convince them to reproduce in captivity.I should know, I raised them for about five years and their cages were predominantly in my bedroom. Considering I was in my early teens at the time, looking back it’s quite impressive. They even came to appreciate the rap band I listened to and sang along whenever the music was on.

These small colourful birds are usually quite easy to train. With consistency and patience they can learn everything from perching on your finger, to riding on a shoulder while you’re doing house work, to talking.

One thing you should be aware of if you are planning to get one as a pet: they are very vocal. And I mean very, very vocal. If there is company in the house, they will want to join the conversation. And sometimes they’re whistles can get rather ear spitting.

They are also messy and cage cleaning is at least a once-a-week ritual. They love to shred paper or any plant they might get a hold of. So don’t let them fly around the house unsupervised.

The one problem with getting set up to get a budgie, is that it is difficult to find a suitable cage for them … not that there are not a lot of different cages out on the market.

The problem is that most of them are made for canaries and finches. Budgies need horizontal bars, as they are acrobatic creatures and like to climb. They also need a long cage so that they have room to fly back and forth.

Most of the cages you see are tall, for canaries, who are fine to flit up and down. But budgies need room to exercise their wings.

The solution? I built my cages. Now, before you get turned off by that idea, it is actually very easy. Get some half-inch rabbit wire, which is sold by the foot at most hardware stores. It can easily be tacked onto a frame or bent into a long rectangle and fastened together with wire or J clips.

These long cages are very light and can be suspended from the ceiling or set up on a stand. Put a perch at each end and your birds will be thrilled with the room.

I was going to go into budgies’ feeding requirements today, but I am running out of room for this issue. So I will continue this topic in the next one. Talk to you then.

Contact Jaime Hanna with your questions at [email protected]