Is Your Family Arguing About Getting a Pet? Read this!

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Does your family have a pet or pets? We need a pet.

Everyone keeps telling me that a family needs a pet. When you have as many allergies as we do, it is very difficult to determine the best choice. With allergies to dust, fur, and cats our options for a pet, in a flat, that likes warm weather are: a reptile, a fish or a bird.

When you have mischievous small boys and a playful smaller cousin about, fish appears not to be a wise option. I shudder at the thought of broken glass and jumping fish as their pool of water spreads far across the room… Just “No!” Next!

We have a gecko, a small reptile like a lizard that visits us occasionally, when the weather is right. My children are forever searching to see if he has returned. We named him “Albie” and the occasional small gecko that pops up hereabouts, “Friend of Albie”. Again, the terrarium has me worried! Bouncing boys (and girl too but she is old enough to think and be careful most of the time) and glass do not really complement each other. – Not a good fit!

What we need is a Bird Whisperer!

Enter our children and my husband to this discussion and they all say at once “we want a bird!” Well, that is it then! Although, here begins my wariness… I grew up on a farm! However, I have never kept a bird in a cage. Even my chickens wandered about the farm by day, and we locked them in the chicken coop at night (to keep them safe from foxes).

Further discussion followed and covered singing birds like canaries and bulbuls, until my elder son pipes up, “No! I want a parrot! I want to teach it to talk!”

My husband is leaving for the markets and says, “I will see what I can find!” only to return some hours later with…. four budgerigars!  (Very curious! I still do not understand why four. Fortunately, they are little!)

“What is that?” says the first child.

“That’s not a parrot!” says the next.

“They’re not saying anything!” says the last.

I sent them to the Macquarie Primary Dictionary for a definition: Budgerigar (say: buj-uh-ree-gah) noun. A small yellow and green parakeet found in inland parts of Australia, but also kept in cages and bred in other colours. The shortened form is ‘budgie’.

Yes, I did say four budgies! I did not sign up for this willingly!! I do not know very much about budgerigars.  As an aside, they are very cute though!

Everyone is very very excited!

Maybe that is the problem… too much excitement floating in the air.

Help! This is not going to plan at all!!!

Someone tells me they are easy to look after.

✔2 teaspoons of seeds each day.

✔clean water

✔clean paper in cage

✔rice, fruit, vegetables…

✔happy budgies!

Someone says they like to have the same food we eat, extra to their seeds.

Not these cranky birds! The list of things they refuse to eat grows longer by the day, including all the things I tried to give them to keep them healthy. The “not too many sunflower seeds” they recommend against may need to be the next purchase on the list.

  • Apple
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce

Someone tells me easily trainable.

They go crazy anytime we go near the cage. Which, with three “excited to have a pet” children in the house, means many many times a day.

The children are starting to get frightened of them being frightened of the children…. *sigh*

Cleaning the cage even upsets them and I do it every day!

Someone tells me after about a week let them out to fly around the room.

Think we missed something in the instructions on this too as they flew straight into the wall. (You can imagine the totally distress that caused for all concerned!) I do not think these budgerigars had ever left a cage before!

These tiny creatures will not be flying out that tiny door until we work out some much better instructions.Definitely not in the plan!

We need some rather urgent tips on looking after budgerigars, if you please!

State the obvious! It would be very much appreciated! We are well and truly lost!

Thank you in advance!

Signed: Confused new pet owners


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Author: Josephine O'Brien

I am an Australian. Accountant by trade. Teacher by necessity. Advocating for learning differences, gifted, and multiliterate children. I grew up on a farm in country NSW, where I developed a love for languages hosting Japanese farmstay visitors, and as an exchange student. Studied several languages whilst working and met my Arabic speaking husband at University. Currently an expat, worldschooling in an effort to provide an holistic approach to bicultural. Find my ‘A sojourn to writing' at

5 Replies to “Is Your Family Arguing About Getting a Pet? Read this!

  1. We lost our dog of 15 years this spring and this has totally be the conversation since. They want a new dog… I can’t bring myself to replace him. I loved him so much but I know a new dog will be a different dog. THanks for this!

  2. They can become stressed so be careful about stressing them. My daughter took her budgie to school for show and tell and the next day our budgie went to birdie heaven. It is good you have 4 🙂 Enjoy! Merry Christmas!

  3. Haha, and this is why we don’t have pets right now. I would LOVE to give my kids a pet (or several!) someday, but right now with my little ones so young they’re about all I can handle.

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