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UNDER CONSTRUCTION - I am reworking this web page to include new and updated information about husbandry and socialization based on primary scientific literature with its corresponding citations. Previously this site has been a parroting (no pun intended) of information gathered from sources not cited or from personal experience, as are nearly all breeder websites. I am striving to change this and to provide cited information from primary research in order to improve my credibility as a breeder and ensure all visitors get the most reliable and updated husbandry information. Viewers may see disjointed or even contradictory information here while I work on the updates. It is natural and crucial for husbandry practices to change according to newer scientific findings (otherwise science is a useless method). If this causes any confusion, please email me for clarification at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Little Green Men is a home aviary based in Exeter, RI where budgerigars play, chat, sing, whistle, and breed. Intelligent, affectionate, talkative, playful, silly, and riotously colorful, budgies are our favorite bird species. Their size makes all their goofy behaviors five times funnier to us than larger parrots. They are easy to manage and a blast to be around.
Commonly called simply the "parakeet" in the U.S., the proper common name for Melopsittacus undulatus is the budgerigar. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise - budgies are parrots. The arbitrary term "parakeet" is a term often applied to many smaller species of parrot, but there is no genetic or evolutionary delineation between "parrots" and "parakeets".
Budgies are the smallest parrots on Earth and remarkable among parrots for many reasons. Their spectacular budgerigar murmurations in the wild leave researchers stumped and viewers in awe. Wild budgies live in extended families of about 50-100 individuals, joining with other family groups at water sources where they unite for their mesmerizing performances of up to ten thousand budgies. They are entirely nomadic and may travel 250 miles in a single day across the vast red center of Australia to find the most recent rainfall, able to sense fresh rain at a distance of 40 miles. They are exquisitely adapted to locating their primary energy source of which no budgie should be deprived - seeds.
There is a lot of misinformation scattered around the internet about budgie care and bird care in general, but one important thing to note firstly is that budgies are seed birds. Seeds are not "like giving them doughnuts" by any stretch of the imagination. To suggest that a seed bird should not be given seeds is completely ridiculous. It is, of course, important to ensure they get a good variety and not just one kind of seed, and there are certain types of seeds that are very high in fat and should be given in particular moderation, but this is easy to accomplish. It is also important to allow your budgie to get plenty of exercise. Budgies who never have seeds tend to have loose, greenish stools, indicating that they are suffering from digestive imbalance (and probably discomfort). Greens, eggs, nuts, lentils, and many other human foods are fun for budgies to munch on and particularly important during periods of heightened stress when they need extra nutrients (breeding, molting), and pellets are great when they're functioning to round out possible gaps in nutrition, but all budgies still need their staple life source of seeds. Our care sheet provides more detail about this surprisingly controversial subject, but in the end, we aren't the authorities. If you want real information about budgie healthcare, do not ask a breeder. Ask an avian specialist veterinarian.
Our little seed-eating friends make excellent companions because they are flock animals. They are entirely reliant on their flock in the wild and stick close to them wherever they go. Anyone who has owned a tame budgie has seen this instinct in action. A budgie requires companionship, either in the form of other budgies to live with or its owner, in order to be a fulfilled and happy budgie.
Yes, they talk! They talk well. Single budgies who have bonded closely with their owner are especially proficient and can learn hundreds of words, including full sentences. In fact, the world record holder for the most words spoken by a bird belongs to, not an African grey, but a budgie. It is sometimes said that males are better at talking than females, but this is not true. A male and a female are likely to learn a phrase in about the same length of time with the same amount of practice. The difference is that males are more talkative - that is, once they learn the phrase, they may say it 100 times a day while the female might only say it when she feels like it. A budgie's ability to mimic is due to the need to recognize and repeat its own family's calls out of thousands of birds. Females must learn to repeat their family's unique chirps just as well as males, so they cannot be worse imitators. This necessity also explains why budgies most closely bonded with humans tend to speak most fluently.
We officially began our breeding program in 2017 after we had slowly acquired a large flock of budgies with widely varying genetics over several years. When we decided to begin to allow certain pairs to breed, we took into account several factors, the most important of which were overall health and disposition. Our budgies choose their own mates, but we make sure their choices are limited so that only unrelated, very healthy birds are allowed to breed. We now have some fantastic, robust second and third generation breeding pairs. Our experience rehoming chicks to loving families has been extremely rewarding.
Our breeding pairs regularly hatch many varieties in different combinations including less common morphs such as cinnamon and spangle. Some combinations of these traits are truly astounding.
We utilize a co-parenting approach in which, beginning at two weeks of age, we hand feed once daily in the early morning and let the parents feed the rest of the day's meals. In the evenings we take the chicks out again for some extra snuggle time. We notice no difference in the tameness of entirely hand fed budgies versus co-parented budgies, and the benefits of the parents' involvement are invaluable.
Safety and health first
Allowing the parents to do most of the rearing provides the chicks with superior nutrition and important immunities, not to mention a much safer and more naturalistic growing environment. It also prevents hens from continuously laying more eggs when their chicks are removed, thereby greatly reducing the risk of exhaustion and death. Our hens are allowed a maximum of two clutches per year and only breed from 1 to 3 years of age. Birds in molt are prevented from breeding whenever possible. We have a maximum of twelve pairing cages at a time (not all are actively breeding while paired) to prevent overcrowding, and the entire facility (that is, the second floor of our house) is cleaned throughout the day. We live and sleep on this floor, too, so owners can rest assured their budgies have been raised in a safe and comfortable place. Our main goal is to prevent stress and keep health and spirits soaring.
The chicks are weaned at their own pace (usually around six weeks) and learn to accept a varied diet of pellets, greens, whole eggs, grains and the ever-important seeds. We continue to handle them daily after they are weaned to ensure they are comfortable with people when they go home.
Most morphs: $60
Normal blues: $40
Cinnamon, spangle: $80
Occasionally throughout the year we are lucky enough to breed rarer morphs which may range from $80-120. The great majority of our birds, like the female greywing pictured, are $60.
Clipping: All our birds are flighted by default, but whether or not your bird is safer flighted or clipped is dependent on your bird's individual living situation. If you'd like to have your bird's flight feathers clipped we are happy to do that at no charge, and we are happy to advise if you're not sure.
Bird sitting and other pet sitting: Little Green Men serves as a sitting and boarding facility for birds, other reptiles and small mammals. Precautionary quarantine of newcomers is maintained in all cases.
A visit to our aviary will allow you to hold our chicks and pick out your new friend in person. These little lunatics never cease to surprise and entertain us. We look forward to spreading the smiles to your home.