Parakeets, also known as budgies, are intelligent and active little birds who enjoy interacting with you. To keep your avian friend busy, provide Bud with a playpen stocked with toys, where he can spend time outside of his cage and among his family. You don't have to purchase a ready-made playpen for your parakeet because you can make a customized one for him to use using inexpensive materials.
Creating the Base
The main component of your parakeet playpen is its base, which holds all of his toys. Ideally, create a square or round wooden base that's at least 18-by-18 inches in size. Attach sides to the base that are an inch or two in height to prevent his toys, droppings and seed from escaping the playpen. As a quick and easy option, you can even use a modified wooden crate, thick cardboard box, dinner tray or a wicker basket. Even a large ceramic or metal platter makes a good base for a parakeet playpen. Keep in mind that sealed, solid surfaces are easier to clean and will last longer.
Perches to Climb
No parakeet playpen would be complete without a few perches for Bud to climb and chew on. Purchase wooden perches varying in size from 3/8 to 3/4 of an inch in diameter, which are the perfect size for your avian friend's little feet, recommends the Budgiekeet website. Connect the perches to each other and the base of the playpen using stainless steel hardware and nontoxic white glue. You can use natural birch, manzanita, elm or beech wood branches to create perches for Bud to climb on. You'll need to wash the branches thoroughly and bake them at 225 degrees Fahrenheit before use to kill any pests in the wood.
Filling the Pen with Toys
Purchase premade toys or make some toys yourself to fill up the playpen. Things like ice pop sticks, yarn and wooden beads can be used to create a variety of toys. Drill holes through each end of an ice pop stick and thread a piece of yarn through them to create a swing. Stack the threaded pop sticks together, separating them with wooden beads, to create a hanging ladder for Bud to climb. String a few wooden beads together and hang them from the perches of the playpen. Attach a few metal bells to the toys as well to entice Bud with the jingly sound that they make.
Completing the Playpen
Add some small dishes on the base of the playpen for him to eat and drink from. A ceramic soap dish filled with water tucked into a corner of the pen makes a great bathtub for your keet to bathe in. Braided cotton yarn strung between the wooden perches can create additional walkways or swings for Bud to use. Once finished, place the completed playpen on a sturdy, flat surface, like an end or coffee table. You can even attach some handles to the sides of the base of the pen to carry it around with you so that Bud is always nearby and you can spend time with him.
- AvianWeb.com: FUN Bird Playgrounds
- Birds n Ways: The Toymaker: Make Your Own Bird Toys!
- Budgerigars: Everything about Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Behavior, and Training; Immanuel Birmelin and Hildegard Niemann
- The Budgie and Parakeet Place: The Budgie Personality and Drive
- ParrotFeather.com: Budgie Health
- The Caged Bird Courier: Your Information Source For a Safe, Happy, Healthy and Well Behaved Bird
- BirdChannel.com: New Parakeet Shopping List
- Tailfeathers Network: Homemade Bird Toys
- Budgiekeet: Perches for your Parakeet
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.