The parakeets’ temperament makes them a natural choice to become household pets. They are highly sociable animals with a natural instinct to “bond with the flock”—that includes their human family! They will chirp merrily when you enter the room, and jump up and down to get attention. They will go out of their way to please you, and reward affection with loving warbles whenever you approach. They will even try to communicate with you, with a highly developed system of calls. After living with them long enough, you will be able to decipher their emotions just from the pitch or sound of their twittering. No wonder parakeet enthusiasts call them “the most human of birds!”
Parakeets are also very easy and inexpensive to take care of. They are sturdier than many other birds, and will need only a clean cage, toys, and a proper diet. You can expect to spend about a dollar per pound of seed, which will last for an average of 8 to 14 days. However, you will also need to buy gravel (which they need to digest the seeds) and vitamins.
However, parakeet owners must be wiling to invest attention. There is one thing these birds need more than anything else, and that’s socialization. These friendly, intelligent birds will quickly become depressed or listless if they have nothing (or no one!) to amuse themselves with. . If you will be out of the house for most of the day, get a pair of parakeets, and leave a radio on while you are away. You can also play a CD of bird calls, or position the parakeets near a window, where they can hear the sounds from the street. They will love interacting with the birds they hear (even if that “bird” happens to be the sound of car engines).
Parakeets are very intelligent and curious. Give them plenty of toys, and place their cages in rooms where they can get stimulation from watching the passersby. If you buy them when they’re very young, you can also train them so they can be safely let loose in the house whenever you are at home. (Just make sure all the windows are closed, and keep the cat in another room!)
If you need to leave the parakeets alone for several days, do entrust them to a friend or neighbor, or ask someone to drop by from time to time. Otherwise, they may stop eating or drinking from sheer loneliness!