Should I Buy Parakeets (Budgies) from Petco?

Parakeets from Petco

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Are you looking to buy a parakeet as a pet? Trying to decide where to get one? Petco is one of the biggest pet store chains that sells parakeets, but is buying one there a good idea?

At, we want to help you make the best choice when bringing one of these cute little birds home. This guide will go over everything you need to consider when deciding whether or not Petco is the right place to purchase your new feathered friend!

Parakeets Budgies

What are Parakeets?

Before deciding where to get your parakeet, let’s start with some key facts about keeping these small parrots as pets:

  • Other names: Budgie, shell parakeet
  • Come from: Australia
  • Size: 7-8 inches tall
  • Live for: 5-10 years or more with good care
  • Eat: Special food pellets, vegetables, some seeds
  • Need: A large cage, toys to play with

Parakeets can be fun pets when taken care of properly. Their little size and quiet sound makes them good for apartments. Plus, their pretty colors and ability to copy sounds are fun!

But they need a lot of special equipment and attention to stay healthy and happy. Buying from someone who knows birds is important to get a good quality parakeet.

Good Things About Getting Parakeets at Petco

Parakeets bought from Petco

So why might you think about buying your bird at big chains like Petco? Here are some main good things:

A Lot of Locations

  • With over 1,500 stores around the USA, there’s likely one near you for an easy trip home!

Lower Prices

  • A big company like Petco can charge affordable costs for parakeets. Expect to pay $15 to $30. This makes getting one less expensive.
  • They also have sales sometimes to make prices even cheaper.

Has All the Stuff You Need

  • Since Petco sells parakeets, they also sell things you’ll need like:
    • Cages
    • Toys
    • Food bowls
    • Treats
    • And more
  • This makes it easy to buy what you need to bring your parakeet home.

Some Employees Know About Birds

  • Special bird workers with handling experience are sometimes at stores.
  • If you find one, they can share good tips on caring for parakeets at first.

Not So Good Things About Petco Parakeets

But there are also some problems to think about with big pet stores:

Petco Gets Birds from Breeders Focused on Numbers

  • Petco buys parakeets from big breeders who care more about quantity than quality.

More Chances of Health Problems

  • Their high-volume breeding can make your parakeet more likely to have:
    • Genetic issues
    • Chronic illness
    • Trouble getting used to home life

Shorter Lives

  • On average, Petco parakeets live less years (3-5 years) than birds who get great care (10+ years).

Don’t Know Histories of Each Bird

  • You probably won’t get much info on a Petco parakeet’s personality, special needs, or past health. This can make adjusting to your home hard.

Most Employees Aren’t Taught Much About Birds

  • Besides specialized bird workers (not at every store), many Petco staff don’t get enough training on parakeets.

More Chances of Getting a Sick Bird

  • Because of quick breeding, shipping stress, bad store housing, etc. you’re more likely to accidentally get parakeets with illnesses or behavior issues from Petco.
See also  Complete Pet Parrotlet Guide

Signs of a Healthy Parakeet

If you think about going to Petco, be sure to pick the healthiest bird possible. Here’s what to look for:

Feathers & Skin

  • Feathers should be bright in color and smooth – not ruffled.
  • Cere (above beak) should be smooth with no crust or scales.
  • Check for missing feathers, wounds, lumps or leaks.

Eyes, Nose & Beak

  • Eyes should be clear, not drippy or glued shut.
  • Nose should not have gunk or crust.
  • Beak should close right with no overgrowing or damage.

Energy Level

  • Your parakeet should seem awake, watching their area, and wanting to explore.
  • Avoid tired birds with puffy feathers who aren’t moving around or socializing much.


Check cage bottoms for:

  • Runny poop
  • Odd color that can mean liver problems
  • Whole seeds meaning not eating well
  • Big/small deposits showing kidney or other issues


Listen for raspy breathing, clicking, tail bobbing (means respiratory infection).

Spend plenty of time watching and bonding with any parakeets before deciding. The more healthy signs the better!

Questions to Ask Petco About Birds

Talking to Petco staff who care for the birds daily can give you extra tips before you buy.

Important things to ask:

  • Where do you get your parakeets from?
    • (Hopefully they know details on breeders, how often new birds come in, deaths at the store, etc).
  • How often do parakeets here see the vet?
    • (This shows how closely they watch bird health).
  • What do you do to keep cages, food bowls, etc. clean?
  • How often are parakeets handled by workers?
    • (More is better to find sickness and make birds friendlier).
  • Have any parakeets been sick here recently?

Staff should be open about their care routines. Make sure you feel good about their bird handling before picking one.

What It Costs to Have a Parakeet

While Petco has cheap starter prices for parakeets, you’ll have more expenses later for care items. Here is what to plan per year:

First Costs

Parakeet$15 – $30
Cage$80 – $150
Toys + Perches$35 – $55
Food + Treats$15 – $25
Dishes$10 – $15
Total$155 – $275

Yearly Costs

Cage Stuff$35 – $55
New Toys$15 – $25
Vet Visits$100 – $200
Food + Treats$60 – $100
Other Supplies$20 – $40
Total$230 – $420

So plan for around $385 to $695 the first year, then about $230 to $420 per year after that (not counting surprise vet bills).

Caring for your parakeet right leads to better health and fun!

Setting Up a Good Home

To make sure your parakeet feels comfortable and safe after buying:

Get a Good Cage

Minimum a good size is:

  • Width: 18 inches
  • Depth: 18 inches
  • Height: 18 inches

Key things it needs:

  • Bars spaced right for climbing
  • A few doors to easily reach inside
  • Slide out bottom to clean poop off
  • Rolling lock wheels to move it
See also  Complete Pet Conures Guide

Have Proper Toys + Accessories

  • Food dishes that attach and easy to replace
  • Water bottle so less mess + stays full
  • Some perches made of wood, rope, cement for foot health
  • Fun toys changed monthly so not bored. Types like:
    • Shredding
    • Treat holding
    • Bell/noise making
    • Foraging
    • Chewing
    • Mirrors
  • Cuttlebone for bone strength & egg health
  • Treat holder for mental workout
  • Grit to help digest

Having the right things makes getting used to a new home easier!

Best Food for Parakeets

Petco sells some parakeet foods, but quality can be questionable. Here is what your bird really requires to be healthy:

What a Good Parakeet Diet Includes

  • Fresh vegetables + fruits: Give variety daily – carrots, kale, beans, apple, berries – for key vitamins.
  • Some quality seeds: Only about 20% of diet. Look for types without filler.
  • Mainly pellets: 75% of meals. Brands like ZuPreem FruitBlend, Lafeber Premium have balanced nutrition.
  • Clean drinking water: Change out and refresh a lot. Very key when hot out.
  • Cuttlebone: Lets them safely trim beaks + good for bones.
  • Sprouted seeds: Super healthy yet cheap if you plan ahead!

Don’t Feed


  • Chocolate, coffee, fizzy drinks as toxic to birds.
  • Avocado, fruit seeds, onion, garlic have poisons.
  • Dairy is too fatty + causes digestion issues.

Look at labels to find quality ingredients without bad additives. Vet advice on diet helps too!

Bonding With Your New Friend

Building trust and friendship with your parakeet takes some time but is so rewarding!

Give Them Time to Adjust

  • Know it takes weeks or months for parakeets to fully settle in and show their personality. Be patient.

Use Treats to Reward

  • Give tiny slices of seeds or veggies when they do good things to motivate more of it. Popular healthy rewards are millet spray pieces or tiny apple bits.

Try Target Training

  • Use a special stick to touch their beak and give the signal to fly to your hand, go in cage, etc.

Make a Schedule

  • Keep meals, playtime etc at the same hours always to reduce stress.

Sit Near the Cage Often

  • Getting them used to your company helps them feel safe around you for when you start handling down the road.

With regular gentle care and patience, a close friendship will grow over time!

Keeping Parakeets Happy

Stopping boredom by offering physical and mental activities is very important for health.

Fun things to do:

  • Change cage toys weekly
  • Hide treats around cage
  • Short fly times outside cage supervised
  • Play budgie sounds or music
  • Add safe plants or branches to check out monthly
  • Chat and play during daily quality time

Watch to see favorite activities to do more of.

Also aim to get more than one parakeet for company if gone a lot. Petco often sells individuals at lower prices if say getting a pair.

Watching Bird Health

Sadly parakeets from big breeders like Petco uses more often have issues. Here’s what to watch:

Physical Changes

Worrying signs include:

  • Not interested in food
  • Sitting on cage bottom
  • Missing feathers
  • Lumps or swelling
  • Sudden weight loss/gain
  • Weird poop
See also  20 Most Popular Pet Parrot Species in the World

Behavior Differences

Notice if stop:

  • Chirping
  • Balancing right
  • Being active and social

Fast vet visit is vital if see a combination of these as parakeets hide illness at first. Quick help means much better chance of recovery!

Finding a Bird Vet

Having an exotic vet you trust is so key for a parakeet owner.

How to find a good one:

  • Read reviews of vets near you to make sure very experienced with parakeets specifically.
  • Check for special certification which means extra training.
  • Call prospective vets asking how often treat common budgie problems – this tells you how comfortable they are handling.
  • Visit clinics and see if super clean and organized – this shows how careful they are with bird patients.

Take time to find the best care for feathered friends! This avoids stress, money loss and supports many healthy years together!

Comparison of Other Bird Stores

Curious how other big pet chains stack up to Petco for getting parakeets? Here’s a fast look:

PetcoSo easy to access & cheapest but birds tend to have some health problemsMaybe
PetSmartBit pricier birds but staff know moreYes
Local StoresHealthiest birds but less selectionYes, if found
BreedersBest quality birds but availability limited & costs moreYes

Local shops and breeders focus most on bird health and are best options if you can find them.

PetSmart also usually has employees with more training than Petco too. All beat big box stores on budgie life span and proper care.

Final Thoughts

Should you get your beloved parakeet buddy from Petco?


Easy access and low cost is nice. But also think about ongoing health problems and shorter lives their mass-produced birds tend to have.

We suggest checking out local stores and breeders first for chances of healthier parakeets that will thrive for years.

But if limited options or can’t spend a lot – carefully researching Petco practices, strictly evaluating bird health etc. can still lead to great friendship too!

With appropriate effort finding a quality vet, you can fight the odds to have an amazing Petco parakeet pal for many fun years together!


How much does a parakeet cost at Petco?

Parakeets at Petco are typically priced between $15 – $30. They also frequently run promotions that discount these pets and supplies.

What’s the average lifespan of a Petco parakeet?

Unfortunately, the average lifespan of parakeets from mass breeding operations like those Petco uses is only 3-5 years. This is quite a bit shorter than a well-cared for parakeet, which can live 10+ years.

Does Petco sell parakeet cages?

Yes, Petco sells cages made specifically for parakeets. Prices range from $60 – $150 depending on size and features. Be sure to get one that meets the minimum recommended dimensions outlined in this guide.

Can I return a parakeet to Petco?

Petco allows returns of live animals within 14 days as long as you have your receipt. However this can be very stressful on a parakeet. Instead, thoroughly vet potential parakeets beforehand for signs of health and compatibility.

Are Petco parakeets hand tamed?

It’s unlikely Petco parakeets have been hand tamed before purchase. Their high-volume breeding focuses less on socialization. Plan to put in special effort bonding and positively reinforcing your bird using tips in this guide.

Does Petco sell parakeet food?

Yes, you can purchase parakeet food blends at Petco. However as outlined earlier, these are lower quality with lots of fillers and few nutrients birds need to thrive. We strongly recommend buying higher-grade brands elsewhere.

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