Little Green Men
Traditional breeding using modern science.
Traditional breeding using modern science.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION - Please excuse the disconnected information at the bottom as I am reworking the whole site.
Little Green Men is a traditional home aviary based in Richmond, RI where budgerigars play, chat, sing, whistle, and breed. Intelligent, affectionate, talkative, playful, silly, and riotously colorful, budgies are our favorite bird species. Adaptable breeders with a puzzling evolutionary history and fascinating genetics, budgies are also an important species to avian science.
Mission and Vision
Our mission is to raise healthy, strong, socialized budgie chicks in a clean, safe, and enriching environment, and to place them into well-matched, loving homes. Using the scientific method and meticulous documentation we improve our knowledge with each clutch and ultimately hope to become a resource for other breeders and to contribute our research to the fields of aviculture and avian behavior.
How we operate
We raise a limited number of budgie chicks at a time so that we can fully socialize every chick individually and place them with the perfect home based on personality and other characteristics specified in a reservation. When placing a reservation, you will be asked to describe exactly what you're looking for in a budgie and we will do our best to match as many of the characteristics you describe as possible. Every bird we raise is healthy and hand tame at the time of pick up because of the extensive amount of time we spend with them. While they are growing we get to know them well enough to match them with the best home. We have all new owners handle the birds at pickup time so they can confirm that the bird meets all their expectations.
Our husbandry practices include meticulous hygiene routines, enrichment, reduction of stress, and individual attention for every bird in the aviary, made possible by keeping a small-scale aviary and not overcrowding. Overcrowding means faster breeding and more chicks, but we condemn this technique in favor of safety, health and comfort. We also rest our females after only two clutches so they do not suffer exhaustion or worse tragedy. These policies mean that we raise fewer chicks, but that they are all healthy and well-adjusted. We even offer a MONEY BACK HEALTH GUARANTEE as long as the new owner has a vet check for their new bird within 24 hours of adoption. We are very flexible on pickup times, so we can arrange pickup after you've made a veterinary appointment that works with your schedule. We do not require you to make a vet appointment in order to pick up your new baby, but if you do not arrange one then we cannot offer the health guarantee due to the many possibilities for exposure once the bird is outside our home.
All new owners will receive a CARE PACKAGE when they pick up their new baby which will include a 3-week baby photo, a sample of the pellets we use, a favorite toy, and our extensive care sheet. All owners will also be treated with individual attention regarding their bird after adoption for as long into the future as you'd like. We are happy to help with advice about your other birds and avian science in general as well.
We encourage prospective owners to schedule a visit to the aviary (masked) prior to placing a reservation. We do not require this, but we do find it helps new owners feel more confident about placing a reservation and waiting for a bird.
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, or psittacines. 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 no more closely related to other small "parakeets" than they are to large "parrots". In fact, budgies appear to have diverged from other psittacines quite a long time ago and have a multitude of genetic novelties that occur in no other psittacine species. Recent morphological studies combined with information from previous mitochondrial DNA analyses have suggested placing Melopsittacus into a monophyletic family classification with Loriculus (hanging parrots), Agapornis (lovebirds), and the whole families of Cyclopsittini (fig parrots) and Lorrini (lories) (Mayr, 2008).
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 - seeds.
The inclusion of seeds in a captive parrot's diet is a surprisingly controversial subject which is addressed in detail in our care sheet. For the most current information about bird husbandry, about which we learn more all the time, it is a good idea to check Google Scholar for recent primary literature or to ask an avian specialist veterinarian as they both read and conduct this research on a regular basis. It is also important to remember that each individual budgie may have different requirements based on lifestyle, personality, habits and genetics. It will come down to careful attention to your bird on a daily basis to know if they are getting the right nutrition.
Our bizarre little 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. Every 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 somewhat misleading. 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 or when you're interacting with her. Though more research is needed to understand the nature of mimicry in the animal kingdom, one possible reason for the budgie's ability to mimic is due to the need to recognize and repeat its own family's calls among 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 their owners tend to speak most fluently.
Normal green (wild type): $60
Normal blue: $70
Most budgies: $75
Ino (albino/lutino/creamino): $80
Dark-Eyed Clear (yellow or white with black eyes): $85
Spangle (single factor): $100
Rainbow spangle: $120
Budgies with multiple mutations will be priced based on rarity and desirability among bird owners. Most of our budgies fall into the $75 category.
Prices are firm.
We do not sell cages or accessories.
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.
Egg volume: (length)2 × width × 0.51 (Hoyt 1979)
Your budgie should never be outside. Budgies are common carriers of many different pathogens, and no matter how careful you are or how many tests you perform, there are hundreds of potential contaminants your budgie may carry that can pose a threat to wildlife but leave your budgie in apparently perfect health. By the same token, wild birds can carry all kinds of diseases from poultry-based viruses to avian malaria and other diseases. Your budgie should not be exposed to these pathogens (Baron et al, 2014). Baron, H. R., Howe, L., Varsani, A., & Doneley, R. J. (2014). Disease screening of three breeding populations of adult exhibition budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) in New Zealand reveals a high prevalence of a novel polyomavirus and avian malaria infection. Avian diseases, 58(1), 111-117.
People tempted to bring their budgie outside should also remember that budgies like to forage on the ground, and our (U.S.) native flora and fauna is very different from the budgie's native Australian flora and fauna. The parasites are different, the bugs are different, the fungus is different, the bacteria is different, the plants are different. Budgies did not evolve in North America and are unlikely to be well-adapted to cope with all of our native microorganisms.
Another important reason to keep your budgie indoors is to maintain a steady temperature of their environment. Generally in the United States and United Kingdom where budgies are most popular outside of Australia (), the air is much more moist and dynamic than the red center of Australia where budgies are native. Rapid temperature changes and chilly breezes can pose a real threat. Budgies do have the ability to survive temperatures down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but they must adjust their metabolisms very gradually over months to achieve this feat (). We ourselves unfortunately lost our very first budgie to a January night when the heat shut off in our apartment, something that had never happened before and did not happen again afterward. The tragedy was made worse by our feeling of guilt that we didn't know it was happening. We had left the house to watch the AFC Championship game that evening and weren't home to know the temperature was dropping. If we had known, we could have gotten him out of there and to somewhere warm. We had only had him for ten days.
Even if the fluctuations are not enough to kill your budgie instantly, they can severely weaken his immune system and bring out dormant illnesses and digestive imbalances that can make him miserable or kill him secondarily (). Budgies don't need a heat lamp, they are perfectly comfortable between 60 and 75 degrees where most of us keep our houses, but they should avoid cool breezes and large fluctuations in temperature in general.
Lastly, the outdoors has predators. Budgies are extremely brightly colored. The odds that your budgie will be eaten are very high.
Are males better talkers than females?
For years we have been telling new bird owners that this is really not true, and we still 100% believe that. A study was done, however, that demonstrated that males almost invariably imitate the call of their mate, regardless of their age upon meeting or their familiarity with one another, while the females did not appear to imitate the calls of the males (Hile et al, 2000). This suggests that the reason for the mimicry performed by males is to solidify the pair bond during the mating season. However, the sample size in this study was very small (n=9), only one breeding cycle was observed for each pair, and the budgie pairs were only observed twice weekly, so it is possible the females were mimicking the males also but this was missed since they don't vocalize as frequently. Because so many females have been recorded mimicking just as well as males, an easily searchable phenomenon on YouTube or within our own aviary, we suspect that the purpose of female mimicry may simply be different to the purpose of the males'. More research is needed to determine the evolutionary significance of and the variables involved in the mimicking ability of both genders. Perhaps it is the inability of human owners to mimic the female's calls that forces her to conform to ours. Regardless of explanation, a single, well-bonded budgie of either gender is certainly the most likely to speak human words back to its owner.
The greatest threats that will face your budgie are:
While there are many other dangers a household can contain such as windows, other animals, teflon cookware, and drastic temperature changes, most of these are easily preventable as long as the owner is aware of them before bringing the bird home. The three I have listed are my primary concerns for new owners because they are the top dangers to budgies that aren't always obvious at a glance and can slip through the cracks as silent killers. Many owners will assume that their casual cleaning methods or cheap seed mix are sufficient for their bird's health because they "have never had any issues before", but it can become a serious threat at any time and without warning. If you take nothing else from this care sheet, please take away that your budgie's environment requires daily cleaning, stress can kill him, and good nutrition can save his life.
Hile, A. G., Plummer, T. K., & Striedter, G. F. (2000). Male vocal imitation produces call convergence during pair bonding in budgerigars, Melopsittacus undulatus. Animal Behaviour, 59(6), 1209-1218.