Parakeets For Dummies
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Parakeets are engaging and intelligent birds, which probably explains the many websites devoted to them and their interests. These birds need protection from some common household items and natural predators, and if your parrot and your child share a house, you need to teach your child how to make friends with your parrot. You should also learn what to do in emergency situations, such as when your parakeet needs first aid, or when she has lain eggs or flown away.

2 colorful parakeets © JCLobo /

What to do if your parakeet lays eggs

If your single female lays eggs (or if there are only females in the cage or aviary), let her have them and sit them for at least 18 days or longer if you’d like. Removing the eggs before the full incubation period of 18 days may result in her laying more eggs to replace them. Most hens will abandon the eggs when she is ready, but if many weeks go by and she’s still sitting on the eggs, you must remove them. These eggs are infertile and will never result in babies. She may behave protectively around her nest and eggs, which can turn a sweet, hand-tamed parakeet into a little terror. Don’t worry, it’s temporary.

To prevent her from laying more eggs, make sure that she only receives light for around nine to ten hours a day, no more. This should calm her hormones. Also, remove bathtubs or temporarily stop spray misting, and remove anything that can be perceived as a nest. Often, a toy hut or other hollow toy that seems like a nest can prompt egg-laying behavior.

A hen (female) that’s laying eggs needs more calcium and vitamins than usual. Make sure that she has a cuttlebone and offer her crushed hardboiled eggs, shell and all. Lots of veggies are great for her, too, but avoid spinach and parsley at this time because these contain oxalic acid that binds calcium, making it unusable to the body (for humans as well).

If your hen is laying eggs and she’s a part of a male/female pair, the eggs might be fertile and may hatch into baby parakeets. In this case, you have a decision to make, whether you will remove the eggs or allow the pair to try to raise the babies.

Assembling a parakeet first aid kit

You may be in the position to treat a very minor injury yourself or at least get it under control before you take your bird to your avian veterinarian.

Even though you’ll be well equipped with your first-aid kit, it can’t take the place of care by your avian veterinarian.

Your birdy first-aid kit should include:

  • Alcohol (for cleaning your tools)
  • Antibiotic ointment (a non-greasy kind, for dressing small wounds)
  • Baby bird formula (for feeding babies or weak adults)
  • Bandages and gauze (for dressing small wounds)
  • Bird-safe styptic powder (to stop bleeding)
  • Bottled water (for cleaning eyes or wounds)
  • Cotton balls (for cleaning small wounds)
  • Dishwashing detergent (mild, for cleaning tools)
  • Eyedropper (for feeding weak birds)
  • Eye wash (for rinsing eyes)
  • Heating pad (for hospital cage)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (for cleaning small wounds)
  • Nail clippers (for clipping nails)
  • Nail file (for filing nails)
  • Pedialyte (to give to weak adult birds)
  • Penlight (to see better)
  • Q-Tips (for cleaning small wounds)
  • Saline solution (for rinsing small wounds or eyes)
  • Sanitary wipes (for your hands)
  • Spray bottle (for spraying solutions onto wounds or eyes)
  • Syringe (without needle, for feeding weak birds)
  • Towels (small, to hold bird)
  • Transport cage (to go to the avian veterinarian)
  • Tweezers (for whatever comes up)
  • Veterinarian’s phone number (so you can call in an emergency)

Never give your parakeet any over-the-counter medication meant for humans or other animals. Instead of trying to help the bird yourself, take it to an avian veterinarian immediately.

How to get back a parakeet that has flown away

If your parakeet is unclipped or if you suspect that the clip is growing out, be very careful about open windows and doors. Even a clipped parakeet can get far if the wind is right because they are light birds. Keep screens on your windows, and make sure your bird is in its cage when you open the door. Never take your parakeet outdoors on your shoulder. Parakeets flying away like this is very common. I’ve even found a lost parakeet who came to visit my birds.

If your parakeet flies away, here are some tips on how to find it:

  • Note the direction your parakeet flew and try to keep it in sight if you can. If you can see your bird, try to tempt it down with a piece of millet.
  • A cagemate is also a big temptation to return, so if you have other parakeets, bring them outside in a safe carrier to they can chatter to your bird.
  • Take your bird’s cage outside (or a smaller cage that it knows) and fill it with its favorite foods and lots of water. Your bird may come down to cage when it gets hungry.
  • Play the sounds of parakeets chirping. You can find something like that online or you can think ahead and record your parakeet’s vocalizations just in case.
  • If your bird hasn’t come down by nightfall and you have an idea of where it is, you can climb up and catch it. A bird net is really helpful at this time. Birds don’t see well at night and are easier to catch when it’s dark.
  • If you don’t retrieve your bird by the first evening, it’s time to make neighborhood signs. Post the parakeet’s photo on the sign or clip out a picture of a similar-looking bird from a book. Knock on your neighbors’ doors and ask them to keep an eye out for your bird. Offer a reward if you can.
  • Call your local bird club and pet shops and tell them about your lost bird in case someone contacts them about a bird they’ve found. Post its picture online as well. You can find local lost pet groups on Facebook and other social media sites.

In most cases, a tame parakeet will fly to someone when it gets hungry or lonely. It may land on someone’s shoulder, and ideally, that person will be conscientious enough to check online for a lost bird.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Nikki Moustaki is an accomplished avian care and behavior expert. She works with clients to heal strained relationships between themselves and their feathered friends. She has published 47 books, including more than 30 covering the care and training of exotic birds.

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