The Budgie (known scientifically as Melopsittacus undulatus) is one of the most known parrot birds in the world. They are also known as parakeets. If you are considering buying an active playful, fluffy parakeet companion then the English Budgie is worth a try.
English Budgie is one of the sub-breed of budgies. They were bred in Britain and are popularly called the show budgie. They are bigger than their ancestors because of several generations of breeding with other breeds.
English Budgies also have larger heads than their ancestors with something like beard growth of feathers on their necks. It is not possible to know the gender of this breed until they are about six months, then the color of their ceres (the part of their beak with a pair of nostrils) may be instrumental in determining their sex. Male English budgies will generally have bluish ceres while their female counterparts will have brownish ceres when they are breeding and whitish if they are not breeding.
History Of English Budgie
The English budgie originated from the wild Australian budgie and has been bred for generations to have certain features the wild type of budgies do not have.
The history of the English budgie began when English sailors returned from the popular voyage to the Eastern Coast of Australia which was led by legendary Captain James Cook in 1770. The sailors reported they had seen flocks of green small birds in very large numbers, that they appeared to block the light of the sun whenever they were in flight. At that time the sailors did not yet know the name of these birds.
In 1805 the budgie came into the limelight via a description by George Shaw the British Museum natural history department’s assistant keeper. Shaw made the existence of the budgie known to the scientific community in Britain.
In 1840 popular renowned English bird enthusiast and artist John Gould brought a pair of this unique pair to England. John also included this breed of birds in his legendary book “Birds of Australia ” which was written and compiled in the 1830s. John’s book features 681 Australian birds with painted pictures of each of them. The book was later published in the 1840s in 36 series but was later compiled into 8 different volumes.
In this popular book, John says “budgies are the most animated, cheerful little creatures you can possibly imagine”. He said buddies were rare birds (this may be because he did not see a flock of these birds as the sailors had seen or this may be because of the rise of sheep farming in Australia. Budgies are natural grass and seed-eating birds and with the arrival of hundreds of ships in Australia grasses were reduced considerably).
John also added that the budgerigars were tasty and very good to eat. In 1845 a pair of buddies were gifted to Queen Victoria and by 1865, thousands of buddies were being shipped through popular ports to England.
John revealed that every ship coming into England from the Eastern Coast of Australia has several budgies in it. He also stated that he had seen many bird dealers in Wapping presenting over two thousand budgies for sale to the public.
By 1894 because of the vigorous exportation of budgies by other countries, Australia banned the export of this unique parakeet. However hundreds of buddies had already been transferred to England before the ban, and English breeders were already producing thousands of these birds. Australia was slower than the British in noticing the budgie breed, they finally caught on in the 1950s and also began to breed.
The rise to the popularity of the English budgie made several breeders interested in this breed, and by the nineteenth century, almost all classes of people owned this bird in England, from learned philosophers to cab drivers and cleaners.
Characteristics Of The English Budgie
English buddies are bigger than their Australian parents due to years of selective breeding.
English budgies weigh from 45.3 grams to 62.3 grams. They also stand about 10 inches tall from their tail tip to their nose. Although larger than most budgie breeds, the English budgie is a medium-sized bird.
They have large heads and fluffy feathers with feathers on their neck that look like beards in humans.
English buddies however do not live longer than their parents. They live for 7-10 years with few health conditions.
English budgies also love to be the center of attention, they enjoy being adored and loved. They are eager to learn new things like; new tricks, new behaviors, and mimicking their owners.
This breed also enjoys being with their kind (they are naturally flocking birds), they can be left in small groups to converse with themselves.
The English budgie had about 30 color mutations ranging from blue, white, olive, and gray to violet, unlike the Australian budgie which has just two, green and yellow.
English budgies are curious and like to explore. They are likely to use their beak to check out new things. These birds also love to grind their beaks when they are sleeping or fluff their feathers to keep their appearance. They also like to chew on things as a way of trimming their peaks.
English buddies generally would prefer to have all the attention and care of their owners. However, if the owner is busy and will not be available all the time, it is advisable he/she gets a pair of buddies. The best pair should be male and male – you can get a female and a male if you are ready to take care of their eggs. Females and females usually have disagreements over their territory (you can get them if you have two cages or a very wide cage).
English budgies can amass a lot of words but they are not very vocal. When teaching them repeat the word a couple of times and you will hear a low reply.
Female English buddies usually lay about 3-4 eggs and hatch them in just 18 days. Newly born English budgies are usually blind and require a lot of help.
Care Of The English Budgie
The English budgie’s cage should be a bit large as these birds love to hop and perch from one place to another. Their cage should have enough room to hold some of their interactive toys and allow regular movement of these birds.
An ideal cage for the English budgie should be (40L × 20D × 32H inches with a ½-inch space between the bars). However, if you have a flighted budgie (if their wings are not clipped) then it is advisable you buy a larger cage.
The cages should initially come with water cups, food cups, perches, and a cage tray. It will be nice if you fit paper towels on the floor of the cage to make cleaning the cage easier and faster.
English budgies will love to have mirrors, wicker toys, machine paper, finger traps, yucca kabobs, and wood perches as toys.
When you buy new toys make sure to watch your budgies play with the toys and then decide if it is suitable for them or not.
Note: it is better to introduce toys gradually to your English budgie rather than filling their cage with several toys. However, the best toy an English budgie can ever wish for is another budgie!
Finger Training And Teaching Your Budgie Some Words:
Finger training your bird means teaching it the act of hopping into your hands. This is very instrumental in the training of a budgie. Finger training would help it learn how to hop into your fingers easily without any issues, whenever it’s time for play or bath. Finger training a budgie will require enough patience and time.
Teaching your budgie some words will take some time but it is fun to do. Repeating short phrases daily is the best way to go about this, don’t forget to reward her with a treat whenever she gets the words correctly.
The first step is to make your budgie accustomed to your presence. You can start by putting your hands quietly in your budgie’s cage while talking softly, with some time the budgie will become comfortable with the presence of your hands, and probably walk across your palm or hope into your hands.
Do Not attempt to chase the budgie around the cage because it will make her lose her confidence and trust in you.
When bringing your budgie out of its cage, all windows should be closed, all breakable ornaments should be removed and all fireplaces are off-limits. When you let your budgie out if it is still unfamiliar with the surroundings and flies around, allow it to settle down before approaching it.
It is also advisable to try to put a thumb gently on its foot to prevent it from flying around.
Not bathing your budgie regularly will result in too dry feathers, which can cause feather disorder. English budgies require at least 3-4 baths per week. If you can not bathe her regularly due to some reasons, use a spray bottle to spray clean water on them to moisturize their feathers.
Because of their small size, too much heat will affect them. Health conditions like hypothermia and heat stroke are associated with excess heat in budgies.
The perfect room temperature for budgies should be around 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature should never be allowed to go below 40 degrees.
Feeding Your English Budgie:
When drafting your budgie’s diet plan you must add high-quality ingredients containing Calcium and Minerals, as well as a small percentage of millets (too many millets can cause overweight).
Ensure the food you serve them does not vary significantly from the food they were being served before you bought them.
Fresh green foods should also have a significant part in your budgie’s diet. Food like vegetables, fruits, etc. Adding shell grit will also aid your bird’s digestive system in the absorption and grinding of food.
Price Of An English Budgie
Because of their popularity, English budgies are not rare or expensive birds. Its price can vary from $60 to $100 depending on its color mutation and the breeder.
Before buying an English budgie ensure it has undergone all necessary medical examinations and you have all its health certificates. Also, get your English budgie from a reputable breeder.
Most of the English budgies’ health problems can be avoided if you maintain a strict level of hygiene.
When these birds grow old they are likely to develop tumors and bumble feet.
Gastrointestinal parasites are also a major concern in the health of an English budgie. These parasites can be prevented by quality food and good cage hygiene.
English Budgies will make great pals and family members. They are fun to be with and can learn a lot in the shortest time.
We hope this article has been helpful to you. Drop the questions you have in the comment section. Cheers!