It is usually better to buy from a local breeder than the local pet shop. You can call your local avian vet and ask them if they can refer you to a reputable budgie breeder in your area. You should be willing to take at least 30 minutes and up to an hour to watch and observe a group of birds before you pick one special one out.
- Surroundings should be clean and fairly tidy.
- Birds should have a good supply of seed in their bowls and a good supply of clean water.
- Birds should be happily chirping and even noisy if there are a lot of them.
- Surroundings should not be dirty, heavily soiled, or very messy.
- Should not be any strong odors present.
- Should not be empty or very dirty seed or water cups.
- There should not be a lot of birds sitting on the ground or sick looking. If so, you do not want to buy there! If many birds are sick or diseased, chances are the others have been exposed.
Once you have established the aviary or pet store surroundings are acceptable, begin to observe individual birds.
- Age – If you want a people-friendly budgie, you should buy one that is still quite young.
- A young budgie will be noticeable by the barring (stripes) on the head running on the forehead down to the beak (Albinos and Lutinos will not show this barring). See “Your Budgie’s Age” for more details.
- 6 or 7 weeks old is an ideal age to get a new budgie. The pet shop or breeder may know specifically how old the budgies are.
- You should not get a budgie older than 4 months. The bird may be much more difficult to train.
- Overall Health
- The budgie should be alert and playful with other birds.
- The eyes should be bright.
- The budgie should have good weight. Check the breastbone. You should be able to feel the slightly pointy tip under the skin surrounded on the sides by a healthy layer of muscle and flesh. The breastbone should not feel very sharp, protruding and pointy.
- Check the vent area. It should be clean and free of poop and debris. Never buy a bird with poop stuck on its rear end or with poop stained feathers around its vent.
- There should not be crustiness or discharge on beak, cere, legs, feet, or around the eyes.
- There should not be discharge on the feathers around the cere (nostrils).
- The budgie should not be very quiet for a prolonged period while the rest of the flock is active.
- The budgie should not be excessively puffy with constantly fluffed out feathers, especially around the rump.
- The budgie should not be sitting alone, away from the flock, especially in the corner or on the floor.
- Personality – Ask the pet shop or breeder if it is possible to interact with the bird.
- The budgie should be fairly confident around humans. It will be skittish, but see if you can get it to sit on your finger without biting. If so, the bird may be a good choice.
- The budgie should not be petrified. If you handle the bird and it immediately bites hard, or goes into a major freak out mode, look for another bird.
- Gender – Generally males are usually a bit easier to train and are more friendly. Females may bite more. But, these are generalizations. I’ve had some wonderful, sweet hens and I’ve had some mean, nasty, ornery, biting males. As for talking, it is said that both sexes talk equally well. Not every budgie will talk, but many will.
Click Here to download the New Budgie Checklist (PDF file) – it’s a checklist that you can print out with all the information you read here, plus all the equipment you’ll need to buy and set up before you bring your new budgie home!
Best of luck with your new bird!